Easy Coker Airfoil tire change

Last year I had the pleasure of trying to install a Coker tire on an Airfoil rim. I had a very difficult time trying to get the tire on the rim. I had such a difficult time that I wrote a thread about it: Putting a Coker tire on the Airfoil rim.

When I got home from NAUCC this year I had the pleasure again of installing a new Coker tire on the Airfoil rim. This time it went much easier.

At the beginning of the 10K at NAUCC I noticed that I had about a 1/2" cut in the tread of my Coker tire. The cut was in the center area of the tread. Fortunately it wasn’t on the sidewall, and fortunately it didn’t go all the way through the casing. But it was clearly a bad cut and I was going to have to replace the tire. Bummer. The tire still has lots of tread left.

This time the tire change was much easier. The trick was switching to a different rim tape. Last time I used Velox rim tape. The Velox rim tape is good stuff, but it’s rather thick and not very slippery. The thickness makes it more difficult to install the tire. The lack of slipperiness makes it more difficult to get the tire to slide all the way into the center lowest part of the rim channel during the tire install.

This time I tried Rox Ultralight Rim Strip. This rim strip is very thin and very slippery. I’m not sure it would do well in a super high pressure road bike tire (120 psi to 160 psi), but for the Coker tire the Rox rim strip should have enough substance to keep the tube away from the nipples and spokes. A single roll contains two rim strips which is enough to do two bicycle wheels or one Coker wheel.

The Rox Ultralight Rim Strip made the Coker tire install sooooo easy. I did the tire install using two Quik-Stik tire levers and a bicycle toe strap. I used the toe strap as a third pair of hands to hold the tire in the center part of the rim channel while I used the tire levers on the opposite side of the wheel. Easy. The Rox rim strip allowed the tire to easily slide all the way into the center area of the rim channel (where the diameter of the rim is the smallest). The toe strap held it there. Prying the rest of the tire over the rim was easy. I think I could have actually pried the rest of the tire over the rim without any tire lever tools at all if I had to. Wow!

The big trick is the Rox Ultralight Rim Strip. U-Turn has been using Salsa rim tape, but I couldn’t find the Salsa tape at any local bike shops. I was able to find the Rox rim strip. I haven’t tried the Salsa tape so I don’t know how well it works and how easy the tire install would be. The Salsa rim tape is thicker than the Rox Ultralight rim strip so I would expect the tire install using the Rox Ultralight rim strip to be easier.

No longer am I scared of repairing a Coker flat out on the road. I know I could do it if I have to.

Rox Ultralight Rim Strips rock!

LBS, here I come!

Thanks John

The last time you changed the Coker tire was in October. How hot was it? This is August and a hot one at that. I left my Coker in the sun for about an hour and was able to remove the tire without any tools, I was just wondering if that made it different for you.

In both cases the tire was at indoor temperature. Not enough of a temperature difference to expand the tire. In both cases it was a brand new Coker tire.

The big difference really was the rim strip. With the Rox rim strip the tire slid easily down into the center channel area of the rim. With the Velox rim tape the tire would get hung up on the edge of the rim tape and would not slide down. With the Velox rim tape the tire was actually dislodging the rim tape during the install. It was a real hassle.

Now that people are back from UNICON I’ll bump this up.

I’m curious if anyone has experience with the Rox Ultralight Rim Strip in a Coker or any other wheel. The Rox rim strip is really really thin which kind of makes me nervous about it. It’s so thin that it makes you wonder just how it can hold.

I’m going to wait about a month and then deflate the tire so I can look at the rim strip to see how it’s holding up. Hopefully the rim strip will be fine and I can stop worrying about it.

I took the tire off my Coker last week. When I took the tire off I noticed that the Rox Ultralight Rim Tape had slipped in a few places and exposed some spoke hole edges. Not good. It doesn’t look like the adhesive on the tape is strong enough to keep it in place in the Airfoil rim. Bummer.

I’m not sure what caused the tape to move. I stretched the tape tight when I installed it. It was in place when the tire was installed back in August. Then I check it again about a month later and it was still in good shape (I just deflated the tire and took a peek inside without removing the tire). Now I check it in April and there were two sections where the tape had moved over and exposed the edges of some spoke holes.

Oh well.

I’m trying three wraps of electrical tape now for the rim tape. That should work OK. Three wraps of electrical tape is a bit thicker than the Rox tape and it was slightly more difficult to install the tire. But only slightly more difficult. No great difficulty getting the tire back on. I hope the electrical tape holds up.

I’m going to try the electrical tape for a month or so and then check it to see if it’s staying in place. If it’s good then I’m going to consider switching to a 29er tube instead of the stock Coker tube. I’m not going to try a 29er tube until I can find a rim tape solution that is going to stay in place. The 29er tube won’t be as forgiving about exposed spoke hole edges compared to the stock Coker tube.

Electric tape is what i have used for years, use a high quality electric tape, and I only use two layers and I have never had a problem. Maybe that’s why I had no trouble getting my coker tire on the new bigger airfoil rim.

Definitely use a high quality tape, because the cheap stuff will end up turning into a sticky mess as it gets hot. The dark anodized airfoil rim is bound to get pretty heated up in the summer sun.

i buy all my electrical tape from the dollar store.

a few wraps has been on each of my many tires (bikes and uni’s) and i have never had to replace it

side note:

I heard there was now clear duct tape!

edit: I believe you yanks have something similar, 'the Dime Store?

The eighty cent store.

The Dollar Store.


Not too long ago I tried to put a 29" tube, and a Brand New Coker Tire on my new airfoil rim with the help of my Dad and two metal tire levers. We didn’t use any lubricant, or special rim tape, and we managed to pinch the 29" tube and put a hole in it. But we did get the tire on. It was pretty hard to get the tire on, but not impossible.

Today I patched up the 29" tube and we went to try to put the tire on again. I put electrical tape over the current rim tape to allow the 29" tube to slide better. The tube we got on ok, but we coulnd’t manage to get the tire on this time! The tire was on almost all of the way with less than a foot of the bead that was off of the rim, and we were pulling the little metal levers as HARD as we could. Out of the both of us, we just couldn’t get the tire on.

Sooo, we decided to bring it to our LBS, 1000 feet down the road. They were amazed at the size of the Airfoil rim and Coker tire, naturally. After 15 min of extreme prying, they popped our tube again, and couldn’t get the tire on. They actually considered it impossible. Since they popped the tube they also gave me another one for free and didn’t charge for labor. They were really nice about it. Plus, they even broke 4 of their tire levers just trying.

But the people at our LBS did have one suggestion: to heat up the tire either by sticking it in the dryer or using a heat gun. Anybody ever done this? I am thinking that if I use a heat gun, I should heat the tire while it is already on the rim. That way, it won’t cool down by the time it takes to get it on because it’s already on. Would this be okay?

I am extremely frustated right now because even the LBS guys said it was impossible :frowning: . Could I have gotten a defect tire that is too small, or a rim too big? Think of it this way, trying to stretch a non- stretching material, like the tire, over something that is way bigger than it, the rim… It looks like I am damaging the tire with the amount of force being applied by the tire levers.

If heating up the tire to get it to expand is ok then I plan on doing that next. Also, using a lubricant such as water and soap.

Thanks for your replies,

get some metal tire levers (the kind they use for downhill bikes and motor cycles)

a typical plastic lever would probably go from the right hand side of the pictured lever tothe right hand side of the logo section

you should get 1 (2 would be better, but one does the trick)

I used shaving cream as a lubricant on the tire. It worked very well. You also have to get the tire thats on the rim into the well of the rim. This will give you a little bit more tire to pull over the rim to get it on. Squeeze the tire beads together to get it centered into the well. It can be done. I have one of the “defective rims” and I was able to get the tire mounted without much trouble. The "defective rims were a little bit larger which made mounting the tire harder. Once you get the tire on the rim, pump it up to about 65 lbs. That will seat it properly. Good luck.

with the proper tools, you won’t need gimmicks like lubricant and heating guns

With a common household lubricant, you won’t have to invest in tools.:smiley:

you’ll have a tire lever on the trail when you need it, even if you are freshly shaven


Having smooth legs is a plus especially for summer riding.
Who the heck rides a Coker on the trails anyway?

You guys can shave each other in the middle of a lap…

Quite seriously, you should be able to put the tire on with no tools and no lube. The bead-in-the-channel thing is the trick. Recall rim or not.

Heating up the tire is not a good idea, IMHO.

Bring your Coker to a NYUC meeting, and I’ll show you in person. :slight_smile:

The Coker tire can be very difficult to get on an Airfoil rim. The proper tire mounting procedure needs to be followed to make it a humanly possible job.

Get the bead of the tire down into the deepest part of the rim (where the diameter for the rim is the smallest) while you’re putting the tire on. I use old-school bicycle toe straps to hold the tire in place. Get the bead into the center part of the rim and cinch it down with a toe strap. Then move to a place about 1-1/2 feet away and cinch that spot down too with a toe strap. Now start prying the tire over the rim working to a final spot that is on the opposite side from the toe straps. As you’re working the bead over the rim keep pushing it down into the center part of the rim as you go along. For the last bit you can use a metal tire lever or a very stout plastic tire lever (like the Pedros lever). See the picture in this thread.

Heating the tire sounds like a very bad idea. It is completely unnecessary and could possibly damage the tire. The tire isn’t going to expand when it gets heated. All the heat will do is possibly make the tire more pliable and easier to work with. The heat isn’t going to make the diameter of the bead bigger.

A little silicone spray lubricant works well. If you’re using a brake you’ll want to keep the silicone spray off of the brake surface or else clean the brake surface with something after you’re done. I just spray the bead of the tire with silicone spray. That makes it a little easier for the tire to seat after it is installed and inflated for the first time.

I gave up on the electrical tape. The tape didn’t stay in place well enough. It wanted to creep. I didn’t trust it to stay in place.

Continental makes a rim tape that I want to try. Next time I change my tire I’ll give it a try.

Right now I’m using yellow 16 mm wide Pedro’s rim tape. It’s nylon fabric style tape. But the adhesive didn’t seem as strong and sticky as I would like.