Aha!

hand holding bicycle rim, showing latex residue in the spoke holes

With another weekend that’s too hot for cycling, I returned to the maintenance I began last weekend, before I found I had the wrong size rim tape.

I took a few minutes to clean off the glue residue left by the old rim tape, and then applied a layer of new tape. Remembering that the WTB tires are a loose fit, and the fact the tire wouldn’t mount despite my efforts last week, I made it a double layer. The first layer went down smoothly. There were a few bubbles in the second layer, but only in the center where they won’t matter.

I fetched the tire off the bike stand where I’d left it hanging and then filled up the bucket with a fresh load of soapy water. And just as I was about to start I realized I’d skipped a step: I needed to put the valve in before mounting the tire!

Bicycle wheel viewed from the edge, showing fresh rim tape
Double trouble

Getting the tire on the rim went smoothly. I pumped up the charging tank to 140psi, soaped up the tire, and …

A finer class of bubbles

That’s actually about the fourth effort there. It was so tantalizingly close each time. The bubbles were much finer than I was seeing last week, showing that the tire bead was in fact closer to fitting on the rim. I could hear some creaking noises as the tired bead crept closer to the rim’s edge. But there were no loud pops to let me know it had seated, and the tire was getting no closer to being properly mounted than before.

Either two layers of tape was a bridge too far, or the tire is just too old. In any case I decided to put this one aside for now, and I moved on to another wheel.

Getting to the Aha! moment now

Kuroko has been in the bike stand since last weekend for no particular reason. So she was all set for me to remove the rear wheel and try for a tubeless conversion. I’ve been riding with an inner tube in the rear since this infamous moment. So, hot off my success with the WTB tire, I decided to have a go at getting this one back to tubeless.

hand holding bicycle rim, showing latex residue in the spoke holes
Gunk in the holes

It took a few minutes to remove the tire, mostly because the leftover latex had glued the inner tube to the inside of tread. Then while pulling the tire free of the rim, the rim tape started pulling off as well. That was a sign of the trouble.

The rim tape wasn’t pulling off all the way around — it still put up a lot of fight in various places, but I eventually had it off. And then I had a ready visual indication of the issue: latex residue in the spoke holes. This shows the rim tape was leaking: latex shouldn’t find its way here otherwise.

I cleaned up the rim as well as I could and left it to sit in the heat of the balcony to dry for a couple of hours before I try new tape. And as I was setting it aside, I thought, “That rim feels narrower than the other one. In fact, it looks narrower.”

I have four rims from the same company: Hunt Wheels. Three of them have an internal width of 20mm, and one is 25mm. Two of the wheels came with the bike, and then I ordered a dynamo front wheel for Lejog. Finally, I ordered the fourth wheel to replace the one that kept breaking spokes after I’d put the chain into the spokes in the episode that nearly ended my Lejog ride. I’ve just gone through my order history with Hunt, and it’s that last one that’s the 25mm.

Work continues

All this faffing about with tires is just me putting off the real maintenance. I’m off to brave the heat in the Workshop in the Sky once again.

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