How to mount a tire
In this article I will try to attempt to describe how to mount a solid rubber tire on a high wheel bicycle or hard tired safety using a Wiedman type tiring device, a practice in use since probably the 1970’s by various people with excellent results. Actual mounting takes time and practice, and things happen that can be frustrating, not to mention dangerous! Remember, persistence is the only talent. As with everything this carries some risk and antique bicycles can be dangerous in their own right, there is the danger of you losing the tire with potential bodily harm or death, proceed at your own risk. The author assumes no risk or liability for any attempts anyone may make to mount a tire, you use this information at your own risk. That being said, I have never lost a tire using this procedure, but your mileage may vary!
OK, let’s get started. Here is the layout of most of the tools I use. Silicone Spray, MAPP gas torch, silver solder, flux, vice grips, craftsman all purpose cutters, side cutters, short lengths of tire rubber so I can easily determine the correct tire size, and finally a ratchet to crank the wire tight.
Here’s the silver solder and flux I use, got it at a welding supply place.
You will also have to have your tire and wire ready, you need to order diameter of wheel x 3.15 plus 2 feet , and I use 12 gauge galvanized wire, which you can get at most hardware stores. You can order the tire from Ray Rittenhouse in IN, you might want to give yourself a few weeks lead time so you can make sure you have your tire the day of your project!
The patient here is a later (1890 or so) 53”, yes, 53” Victor Light Roadster. I chose 7/8 tire, but with this bike, you could use ¾. The Victors were kind of in between . I feel 7/8 offers the rim more protection in this case I also cleaned the rims VERY well and cut down the spokes that were sticking out with a die grinder. Old Victor tires are an incredible pain to get off. Contact me if you want some tips on that one.
Lets get the tire on the rim, you need to wrap the tire around the rim and cut the tire 2” longer for every 10” of wheel diameter, so a 50” wheel would need an extra 10” . I usually cut it maybe an inch longer so I have room to square the ends of the rubber on the side of a grinding wheel so the joint looks good. This is not absolutely necessary, but it makes a cleaner looking joint. I can get the cuts pretty good with the Craftsman cutters, so I can get away without the grinding if necessary.
The wire is now cut; I pull the excess wire away so I have more room to work. This was cut with a pair of side cutters or dikes, but I’ve used hacksaw blades in a straight holder many times too. Side cutters are easier if you have a pair that fits. Take a small bladed screw driver and push the wires together and make them lie side by side. Clean the wire ends with emery cloth, sand paper, wire brush (Dremel will work nice here), apply flux and braze with silver solder and MAPP gas (my preference) you could use oxy acetelyne and a small tip also.
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