Monday, January 14, 2013

Mounting A Tire and Reflector

Well the mail brought some goodies today: tubes for the Schwinn New World. As you'll recall, I already had the tires on hand, and I purchased some cloth rim tape last week.

First, I took the trued wheel out of the fork and put it on the table in the shed. 

Second, I got out my roll of Fond de Jante rim tape. The the original tape was a red rubber. Some people like to leave in the original tape, and I can empathize with that desire. However, I pull old rim tape for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that old rim tape often becomes brittle and prone to cracking. If the tape fails, it can allow the spoke nipple head into the tube and result in a flat. The second reason is that rust can form under the old tape. In order to get that rust out you have to pull the old tape. Given the fact that it's basically 65 year old rubber at this point, pulling the tape usually means stretching it out of shape.

I like the Fond de Jante tape. I used it on both my '74 Raleigh and my '49 Columbia. The tape is pliable and can be easily worked into the rim. The tape is also quite durable.

Start by lining up the hole in the tape with the valve hole in the rim and simply work along slowly, getting out the air bubbles and getting a tight fit to the rim. Make sure all those spoke nipple heads are covered. If you have a sharp edge anywhere up against that tube, you'll find out the hard way and it can mean some walking.

Choosing a tube for a bicycle tire:

Now that the rim tape is on, it's time to put on the tube. It's important to choose the correct tube. I buy modern rubber tubes, in this case Giant brand. Some people like to reuse old tubes, but again, it means taking a chance with 65 year old rubber and possibly your neck. This is the front wheel we're doing, so we REALLY don't want a blow out. I like the peace of mind a new tube brings.

To choose the correct tube you want to know the tire's size and the ISO bead seat size of the wheel. In this case we have a 26 x 1 3/8 nominal tire, expressed as ISO size 597. The 597 is important. You may find other tires the same nominal size or similar sizes that are totally different. The common 26 inch tube size is actually about ISO 559 or so, which is too small for a 597 wheel. In this case we want either a dead-on 597 tube or a 590 tube, which is close enough to make work.  New 597 tubes are harder to find, but many shops still have 590 tubes around. On a Schwinn S5 or S6 rim like this, your size is 597, but either will work. On a Raleigh or other English bike of 26 x 1 3/8 nominal, the size is probably 590, so you can use the 590 for a dead-on fit. I get my tubes from Harris Cyclery, which I recommend as an internet dealer.

You may notice the tube has some grey or white dust on it. This is powder used to help keep the tube dry and prevent sticking unnecessarily. Leave that dust on there and do not remove it.

 Fitting the Tire

Now it's time to get the tire and tube ready. Take the folded up tube out of the box. Put a SMALL amount of air into the tube with a bicycle pump. Note, the tube is VERY weak on its own. However, you need a little air to give the tube its round shape. All you need is the shape, you don't need it hard.

Once it has it's shape, slide the tube into the tire shell. Now begin to seat the tire onto the rim by starting with one wire bead. Work around and around until the bead is entirely inside the rim's profile. You may need plastic tire levers to finish the the bead.

Next, take the levers and begin working the second bead into the profile of the rim. As you go MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT PINCH THE TUBE between the rim's edge and the tire's bead. This will cause a flat tire, so make sure the tube is entirely contained with the tire and not pinched anywhere. Again, work slowly and around and around until it's seated.

Now slowly pump the tire up to about 10-15 lbs of pressure. At this point the tire should have its shape but be very soft. Begin to work around and around both beads, pulled and squeezing until the tire's beads are both properly seated. Again, watch for tube pinches between the bead of the tire and the rim. Make sure it's not pinched.

Next, the tire should be a uniform shape and seating. Gradually pump up the tire to about 30 pounds. At 30 pounds do a quick check around to make sure it's good still. If it's fine, pump to full riding pressure. In this case, I pump to about 55 pounds, which is a little hard, but will give the tire a good stretch overnight.

Put on the valve cap and let the tire rest overnight. Come back tomorrow and check the shape and pressure again to make sure it's all set. If you notice any problems, deflate back to 10-15 pounds and re-work the seating until correct, then follow the steps for pumping up outlined above. I recommend a hand operated bicycle pump and not an air compressor for this because it lets you work slowly.

Reflector Time

 The reflector for the back fender also came tonight. I did some research and found the Gulotta type "Multi Bead" was a common reflector on light weights in the 1940s. The Columbia catalog lists the early 40s Sports Tourists as having multi bead reflectors, and a couple examples of late 1940s New Worlds I saw had the same. These are not too hard to find on Ebay, so I bought one for the bike. I also received a second, which I will use on the Columbia ballooner. I really like the look of these, and they're not too expensive.

Mounting is not hard: put the stud through the hole in the fender, then tighten the lock washer and nut inside the fender. It looks nice.

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