Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Credit Agricole - Tubular Technique

While wandering the pits in a post-stage 6 haze and as hurried fans rushed to catch a glimpse of their favorite riders, BKW set up camp at the Credit Agricole (CA) service course to catch a complete gem-of-an-experience: watching the mechanics prepare for the final stage of the ATOC.

The last of the day's riders hadn't even rolled in before team mechanic Jerome Picart began work on the team's countless wheels. Below view highlights of the well-rehearsed, finely-honed art of gluing tubulars.















26 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love picture of the one-eyed check to see if the tire is on straight.

Colin Griffiths said...

Is that solvent in those drinking bottles? If it is I guess health and safety aren't high on the agenda re flammability, spillage, fumes or ingestion!

bicimechanic said...

Ah, whens the last time you heard of a spontaneously combusting mechanic? I do love those Continental overalls he has.... Ok I want a pair. They would go great with my Campagnolo mechanic suit!!

Radio Freddy said...

Colin - Funniest was the exchange between Jerome and some young suvenir hunters. They were collecting bottles from the teams and tried to take the bottles containing the solvent. Jerome and I could not get past the language gap but the bottles contained a "solvent". It had a turpentine smell to it. It was an interesting choice because in 20 years of bike world experience turpentine was never on the list.

andrew said...

The one trick that I swear by is "masking" the braking surface with blue painters tape. You put it on before the glue, and razor-blade off all the excess, then glue. When you have the tire mounted, cleaning up only involves peeling off the tape rather than getting into solvent and elbow grease.

Fer rilla said...

What's going on in the first picture? Did he cut the old tire to remove it?

Great stuff!

Anonymous said...

This is a fine example of the crudeness pro mechanics sometimes exhibit "to get the job done". Cutting a tire off that has perhaps two days of use on it? It's fast. Also dispels the notion that race mechanics are exactly precise, all the time. Memory recalls either a MG or Gewiss mechanic cutting a Bianchis' headtube with a HACKSAW to adapt a riders' position for use with a Rock shox road fork the day before P-R.
Beautiful.

Jeremy said...

Was he using normal "road" tubular glue that stays tacky, or was it a track-type glue that sets up hard? I always wondered if racers do that now that they never have to change a tubular on the side of the road, and because of the higher rolling resistance with the losses from glue flex.

josh said...

Andrew - I also do the tape over the rim surface trick. However I use electrical tape. It stretches far more than blue painters tape does, making it easy to match the curve of the wheel (eliminating the razor blade step)in one big continuous piece of tape (and if you stretch it a lot, you use less tape). Plus, its something you usually have plenty of lying around the workbench at a shop or at home. Regardless of the tape you use, it is a great trick to keep brake surfaces clean, and I find the more tires I glue that I need it less and less, but it's a good precaution.

Anonymous said...

oh, neat!!

Anonymous said...

The loading ramp half-pulled out for a workbench...Nice!

blue squirrel said...

great stuff, everyone can learn something new. i do dig the cut tire / screwdriver trick. but i usually only race my tubulars and thus have re-glue them, what a pain.

quick observation: a team sponsored by conti' but using vittoria glue / mastic? any theories other than you can't ship [fly] volatile glues?

Jim said...

Is that a 25 tooth cassette or am I counting wrong? I am a little surprised.

Radio Freddy said...

Blue - it is indeed Vittoria. This is a perfect case of the mechanics using the best for the job.

Jim - It is indeed a 25. This was stage 6 - Santa Barbra to Santa Clarita. Does seem tall doesn't it?

Padraig said...

My heart nearly stopped when I saw him cut the first tubular; that tire was so new ... no patching going on here.

Mastik One was always my favorite glue--it didn't get brittle on cold days and didn't melt on the hot ones.

One thing the photos can't communicate: Jerome worked very quickly and efficiently. His movements were practiced and economic.

To clarify about the use of the 25: The stage into Santa Clarita went up Balcom Canyon which reaches 22%. It's a short climb, maybe 1k, but absolutely brutal.

Bluenoser said...

Thanks,

It sure brings it back. I used to repair and mount my own as a junior at 15 years old. Couldn't afford to have someone else do it. Never had one come off.

-B

Jon said...

warning: stupid question to follow.

Are tubulars as much of a pain as this looks? I mean, I couldn't imagine riding them with out a guy like this around to mount/change tires for me. What happens if you get a flat on the road and have to replace your tire/tube? Do you need to bring all that stuff with you to change your tire? Or do you just count on making the "call of shame" to get a ride home?

Again, sorry for the ignorance here. Love the blog, though.

pompier said...

love those conti overalls, total euro! very willy wonka!

Anonymous said...

I don't think a a lot of people ride tubulars except when supported, at least I don't see too many where I live, but you can change one using tubular tape, which sucks but will work. And you need to carry an extra tire of course, which is bulky but doable.

Jim said...

I've only got a couple years racing experience and only use tubulars for cyclocross, where low pressure and their smoothness over chattering ground definitely make them worthwhile - can't speak to road use though I'm considering it due to the comfortable, float-y ride quality. Mounting them is a bit of a pain, taking around an hour and 5 minutes to glue up a pair, but it's not bad, kind of relaxing even.

My Tubie Ritual (and I'm open to worthy tips if you've got 'em): First turn on your favorite 1 hour long TV show and crack open an Ommegang. Stretch each tire by standing with your foot in it, then pulling up - hard - for a half minute. Using a brush, spread glue on the cloth surface of one tire, hang it up, and let it dry for around 20 minutes, while you spread glue on the other - spreading glue only take 2-3 minutes once you're used to it. Hang that tire up, and as soon as the other is tacky spread on another coat of glue. Watch TV, sip beer during the waiting periods. Repeat until you have 3 coats of glue on. Use the down time to clean the rims, tape the braking surfaces, or repack the bearings. When three coats are on and dried to tacky, mount the tires. Basically two thirds of the tire just slips on, and you can work half of the remainder on by just lifting and dropping it into place. The last 6" is tougher - put it on the floor, put your foot into a gap in the spokes, lift the tire up off the rim (careful not to grasp it by the glue) then drop it into place. Inflate them to a high-ish pressure to seat them, and work the tire around a little on the rim to make sure it is evenly on and dead straight. Finish the beer and let the tire sit for a day or two for the glue to cure.

Jim said...

I've only got a couple years racing experience and only use tubulars for cyclocross, where low pressure and their smoothness over chattering ground definitely make them worthwhile - can't speak to road use though I'm considering it due to the comfortable, float-y ride quality. Mounting them is a bit of a pain, taking around an hour and 5 minutes to glue up a pair, but it's not bad, kind of relaxing even.

My Tubie Ritual (and I'm open to worthy tips if you've got 'em): First turn on your favorite 1 hour long TV show and crack open an Ommegang. Stretch each tire by standing with your foot in it, then pulling up - hard - for a half minute. Using a brush, spread glue on the cloth surface of one tire, hang it up, and let it dry for around 20 minutes, while you spread glue on the other - spreading glue only take 2-3 minutes once you're used to it. Hang that tire up, and as soon as the other is tacky spread on another coat of glue. Watch TV, sip beer during the waiting periods. Repeat until you have 3 coats of glue on. Use the down time to clean the rims, tape the braking surfaces, or repack the bearings. When three coats are on and dried to tacky, mount the tires. Basically two thirds of the tire just slips on, and you can work half of the remainder on by just lifting and dropping it into place. The last 6" is tougher - put it on the floor, put your foot into a gap in the spokes, lift the tire up off the rim (careful not to grasp it by the glue) then drop it into place. Inflate them to a high-ish pressure to seat them, and work the tire around a little on the rim to make sure it is evenly on and dead straight. Finish the beer and let the tire sit for a day or two for the glue to cure.

john said...

I was always told that there was a risk of damaging the casing with the stand-and-pull stretch method - much safer to put them on an old rim without glue for a few days.

bikesgonewild said...

...i'm sure these guys are never paid what they're really worth to a team...
...long days, constant work, little glory...

blue squirrel said...

almost forgot, he is working on a carbon rim and yet is using tools that have been traditionally used on alloy rims. my question for this now adjunct glueing forum, is this. carbon is a very special material and only performs well for its intended purpose. i would think that the use of a wire brush and a scraper [albeit custom], would damage and or weaken the carbon fibers. i was always told to simply use new glue on old glue to soften it up and remove the excess that way. all the while being careful not to damage or scrap the carbon rim. and definitely do not use solvents on carbon rims as it will damage the integrity of the carbon / polymer [resin] bond. so is this just an example of a protour team that has great sponsors and can afford to replace carbon frames / wheels at will or an acceptable maintenance practice.

[as most of your readers probably already know, the dirty little secret of carbon frames / wheels used by protour teams, is that they break and are replaced often, which is a cost prohibitive practice for us mere mortals]

Anonymous said...

Squirrel;

It's probably not the best practice, but you can definitely use a metal tool to scrape glue off without damaging the rim bed. Carbon rims, at least the bed to which the tire is glued, are very hard.

Retro grouch said...

Conti 4k'd PITA to say the least here are some tips and tricks for you guys. Get that tire on a ri,m to pre stretch it just like the pros do, think in terms of weeks if you have the luxury ( days will work but not as nice) Once the tire is ready now the gluing can begin thin even coat on a clean rim hang it and let it dry for a day next work a layer of glue into the base tape if it is conti's do two in a couple hours time. Remember the key difference between a euro pro job and yours is yours must last a season. The pros must last a few days short cuts for them is fine for you it can be deadly. Prepreation is the key and the base layer are key. Do another layer on the rim and let it sit until it becomes dry then add another thin coat of glue next go back to the tire and put on a layer. When the glue on the tire is tacky it is time to do the dance as shown in the pictures above. It is far easer to use your weight and strength to push down to stretch the tire on. (currently i have 4 sets of wheels to do with 4k mavic, campy, DA and campy all have to be done on short order it by no means is fun)

Personally for todays tires I prefer Mastik one better glue, less vapors and bigger tubes nuff said.


Good tires are worth the extra money & time spent enjoy them.