Removing tire from Alex rim

I got a flat on my summit, so I ordered a new tube and a new Luna tire since the old one is pretty bald. I just got them in the mail, and everything was good until I realized I couldn’t take the old tire off the rim. I have plastic tire levers, but they just can’t get the thing off. Does everyone have this problem with the Alex rim? Do I need a special tool?

Sorry if you’ve already tried this, but make sure the tyre, at the opposite side of where you’re working, is sitting right in the middle of the rim. That should give you a bit more to work with.

Good luck!

P.S. It’s 2.40am and I want to go to bed!!!

Sometimes it helps to put some soapy water around the bead of the tire. Of course, you may just need to get some metal tire levers.


I got to experience the fun of removing a trials tire from an Alex rim yesterday. It wasn’t my uni that suffered the flat, but I offered to help repair it. It wasn’t easy getting that tire off the rim. I finally resorted to using my metal tire lever that’s usually reserved for the Coker/Airfoil or the Gazz. The metal lever made the process much easier. The plastic levers were not doing the trick.

Park Tool makes a good set of metal tire levers. Bike shops that cater to the DH and freeride crowd will have some alternative metal levers. Use the metal lever to pry a section of the tire over the rim. Then use plastic levers to slide under the bead and work the rest off the rim. Metal levers will scuff up the surface of the rim so it’s best to use the metal levers to pry and then use plastic levers for sliding around to get the rest of the bead off.

I once managed to get this tyre off using my bare hands, but I think the tyre in question was more co-operative than is normal…

My hot tips would be:
1). make sure the inner tube is completely flat & not getting in the way.
2). use the tyre lever (mine are plastic) to tension the tyre while you position the part of the tyre furthest away from the lever into the middle of the rim, where the rim is slightly smaller diameter. The tension helps the tyre stay where you put it. (this is what Andrew is saying in his post & is the key to success)
3). use a friend to help you get tip 2 optimised.
4). have patience & enjoy the experience.

If you use metal levers it is hard not to leave marks on the rim.


Thanks to everyone for their advice, I was victorious in removing the tire! It took a lot of determination and brute force but I did it with my plastic levers.

Now I can’t get the new tire on!! This is turning out to be an enormous task. How on earth am I supposed to get the new tire on the rim when it was so hard to get the old one off? I’ve got the valve through the hole in the rim, and the tire a little more than halfway on, and it won’t budge anymore. Should I be doing this one bead at a time, like I removed the tire? Or should I be trying to pry the whole thing on at once? The levers don’t seem to be very effective for putting a tire on, just pulling one off. Do I need another tool, or do I just have to use the levers effectively? Can I manage to do this without taking it to the bike store? Help, please!

my experience getting the tire back on was easier than taking it off. I used soapy water and that made it easiest. You really have to fight with it though because it’s pretty tight. I broke one of my plastic levers taking it off which sucks cuz now I need a new set. I really should have some metal ones around.

Yes, you do need to put the new one on one bead at a time, and no, you don’t need any special tools for it. Your tire levers should be sufficient to get it on. It won’t be easy, but it’s possible.

The only thing I’ve had a harder time taking a tire off (and putting a new one on of was my dirtbike.

The difficulty with the Alex DX32 rim is that it is not very deep in the middle. It’s cross section is rather flat. Some rims have a cross section that looks like a “V”. The trick is to push the opposite side of the tire (the part 180 degrees from where you are trying to pry the tire on or off) into the deep section of the “V”. That makes it easier to pry the opposite side of the tire over the lip of the rim. Since the cross section of the Alex DX32 rim is so flat this trick doesn’t work as well as with other rims.

Park Tool has a very good FAQ on how to remove the tire, fix a flat, and then replace the tire. Park Tool Tire FAQ

If you have a friendly local bike shop you can ask them to show you how to get the tire back on the rim. It’s easier to see than to try to explain the process with words.

Re: Removing tire from Alex rim

On Mon, 5 Apr 2004 00:01:02 -0500, “Rockey” wrote:

>Should I be doing this one bead at a time, like I removed
>the tire?

> Or should I be trying to pry the whole thing on at once?
You can guess that one.

>levers don’t seem to be very effective for putting a tire on, just
>pulling one off.
Don’t use levers or any other tools. You risk damaging the tube. I
learned this the hard way.

> Do I need another tool, or do I just have to use the
>levers effectively?
Bare hands. Inflate the tube slightly so that it doesn’t get pinched
between tyre and rim. Seat the rest of the bead in question in the
deep part of the rim. Make an effort to do this accurately, and repeat
it during the process as needed. If you work on the second bead, then
the first bead is /past/ the centre, if that makes sense. Use soapy
water to reduce friction. No oil or grease.

>Can I manage to do this without taking it to the
>bike store?
Let us know.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

I think profile should make some stronger 145mm cranks - Ryan Atkins

I just finished putting a Gazz 3.0 on an Alex DX 32 rim for the second time. The first time I developed a tiny leak in the tube. It required a tub of water to find it. I repaired it and put the tire back on the second time … in the wrong rotation direction. I think this is unimportant for a unicycle but perhaps important when using it as a downhill tire, which is what it was designed for. Any opinions?

I used plastic levers to replace the tire. It was very difficult. I cursed the tire frequently. One of us will not see the gates of heaven as a result of this. I only hope I used the correct cursing and the tire is the one that fails to make the journey.

Unfortunately the Gazz is a very bouncy tire. Everything you say to it bounces off and lands on you.

I know the feeling. My Coker tire and Airfoil rim was my undoing. I’m never going to get to see the Pearly Gates because of that experience.

But what about the rotation direction? It’s on backwards.

Kris rode with the Gazz rotating the wrong way. If it works for him it should be good enough for you. With the tread facing backwards it should theoretically give you more traction on the crazy technical downhills that you love to do.

You could switch the cranks to opposite sides and turn the frame around, but then your rim and, perhaps most importantly, your spokes will be rotating in the wrong direction.

BTW, speaking of using soapy water for lubrication, I once tried it and ended up with rust in my rim because the water inside didn’t ever dry out. Has this happened to anyone else, or did I miss a step?


Geez; I must be a brute or something…I put a new Gaz on my KH24 without much problem , In fact I took it off and put it on again (all of this with 1 plastic lever) because I did the Harper “oops it’s backward thing”…?..

Harper and everyone else,

Directional tires are designed to perform a function when rotated in the direction which the arrow indicates.

Road or street tires are designed to dispurse the water when riding on a wet surface.

Downhill tires are designed to rotate smoothly and freely when rolling forward down a hill and to bite the ground when the brakes are applied.
Most downhill tires are smooth when rubbing your hand in one direction and very hard to rub your hand in the other direction.

When appling pressure on the rear crank as it is coming up when going down a hill on a unicycle, a downhill tire will dig into the ground giving much more traction.

I will get a picture of a downhill tire and post it in the next few days. It is always easier to understand when you can picture it or see what is being explained.

To answer your question, use the tire in the direction it is intended to be used.

A Monty or Luna for example, is non-directional
and doesn’t make a difference which way it rotates.

The only time a downhill tire will be useful running it backwards is for a uphill event where you will get more traction than having it on the right way.

Pictures coming soon.

As for installing and removing Trials and MUni tires on Alex rims… the answer is a spray can of Silicone spray !!!

You can get a can at most auto parts stores. Home Depot’s have it around here as well. About 6.00 a can. It’s the same size as a spray paint can.

Spray the lip and side where the tire seats and install it by hand. I do it almost every day with Luna 20" trials and 24x3" Gazz.
Yes, by hand, no tools !
You will still need tire levers to remove them.
The best ones are the new-last-year Park steel
Sometimes there is the odd one that makes you say things like *%$@#&^#%$@ but most just slip on.

Make sure the tube is out of the way as well with these rims.

Spray a decent amount of silicone on when installing or removing the tire where it contacts the rim.
The silicone spray dries within a few minutes.
It is good for the rubber and won’t cause any problems.

It works well on the side of Ultimate wheel tires too. Spray it on both sides before you ride.

Try it ! You will be glad you did !


I’ve seen cross country tyres that are marked to go in one direction for the front wheel and the opposite way for the back wheel. Any idea which way these should go? Presumably it’s some kind of trade off between braking performance and traction?



Thanks for the response. I think I’ll try it backwards to see if there’s any difference at all. If there is, I’ll go with the silicone spray technique when I switch it or just yank the cranks and reverse the frame. Soap and water always bothered me because it won’t evaporate and will corrode metal surfaces inside the wheel as mentioned earlier.

Well, I finally got the tire on a couple days ago. I got a much better tire lever. The ones I were using before were very cheap and did not have a deep enough lever edge to get the very last bit of tire onto the rim. Thanks to everyone for the advice. My Summit feels great to ride with the new tire. In the future, maybe I’ll get some silicone spray to make it easier. I wore down my old Luna tire after about 9 or 10 months of use. How fast has everyone else wore down their trials tires? I might wear down my new one sooner since I’m learning how to glide on it right now.

Re: Removing tire from Alex rim

“joemarshall” <> writes:

> I’ve seen cross country tyres that are marked to go in one direction for
> the front wheel and the opposite way for the back wheel. Any idea which
> way these should go? Presumably it’s some kind of trade off between
> braking performance and traction?

On a bicycle the driven wheel is in back and most of the braking is
done by the front wheel (n.b. the rear wheel lightens up when you
brake hard). So the recommendarion makes sense.

Which way is best for your unicycle depends on where you want to
optimize traction. For uphills mount the tire as a back wheel, for
downhills it’ll work better mounted as a front tire.