I'm an amateur cyclist trying to change worn out tires for the first time. I ordered some new tires from Amazon and got them in folded form.

The tires are flat like a belt and just won't go on the wheel. I bend them from the edges but they go back to being a flat belt like shape. Is there some special procedure I need to do to get them in shape or are these faulty?

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  • To clarify are you wanting to know how to mount folding tires on a wheel? Place one bead on the wheel, lightly inflate the tube and fit into the tire (this will provide shape) then starting in one place work the other bead into place with your thumbs.
    – Rider_X
    Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 14:54
  • Yes. What's this called? A youtube video will be helpful. But search engines are failing me. As a flat tire means a punctured one. Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 15:01
  • How about searching “changing bicycle tire”? youtu.be/eqR6nlZNeU8
    – Rider_X
    Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 15:11
  • 5
    We can tell you're an amateur -- if you were a pro, your mechanic would be fitting the new tyre for you. ;-) Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 15:52
  • 3
    Don't let people tell you it's all in your head. A "folding" tire (not simply a Kevlar bead tire) is shipped flat, and the cross-sectional shape of the tire is distorted. It takes a fair amount of monkeying to get it to fit. Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 22:26

5 Answers 5


The procedure is mounting the tires on rims and inflating them. When mounting the first bead of the tire, it helps to keep the part already on rim pulled tight so that it does not fall off the rim.


The problem is that, if you force the tire into a circular shape, the center of the tread is only maybe 3 cm "taller" than the beads. This makes it hard to fit the tire onto the rim, with the tube inside. Once the tire has been fit and tube inflated the tread "stretches" to a more normal shape, but getting that initial fit is a challenge.


The diameter of the tire bead does not change even though the tire has assumed a flattened out shape due to being stored that way. The bead diameter should be slightly smaller than the diameter of the rim flanges, so it you get one bead on the rim it should stay there.

the Park Tool Company YouTube video on fixing tires may help you. If you place the inner tube in the tire and inflate it a little before fitting the tire on the rim, that should help push the tire into its proper shape.

  • 1
    Has nothing to do with the bead diameter. A new folder has a TREAD diameter that is much smaller than the tread diameter of a standard tire. This makes it hard to fit. I'm sure there are tricks of the trade that bike mechanics know for this, but for the average Joe it's about 30 minutes of profanities. Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 22:24
  • The bead diameter must be less than the rim flange diameter, otherwise the tire would just blow off the rim. Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 22:36
  • If the tire is speced for the rim, and the manufacturer is not incredibly incompetent, the bead diameter is less than the rim diameter. That's not the problem. Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 12:11

Place the rim in a vice with the vice tightened on the spindle bolt (axle). Then place the tire on the rim holding a start point and spinning the tire while guiding the rest of the tire onto the rim with your fingers. Made an impossible job I thought into about a minute install.

  • Hi, welcome to bicycles. I think the problem here is more about getting the tire to assume a shape that will get both beads into the rim. Any suggestions for getting the 2nd bead seated with a tube installed?
    – DavidW
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 18:32
  • Welcome to the bikes SE! In addition to what David asked, you could clarify what you mean by spindle bolt. Do you mean clamp the exposed part of the hub axle into a vice, or some other part of the wheel?
    – Weiwen Ng
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 18:39
  • @WeiwenNg Spindle Bolt will mean Axle. Suggestion is to stabilize the wheel so that both hands are free to work on the tyre, which is a reasonable idea and could make the difference to OP. Personally I tend to work on wheels either on top of a freezer, which is open space, or on my lap at the roadside. Its this first fit-up which is most difficult.
    – Criggie
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 23:35

Another solution if you only have two hands is to employ cable ties/zip ties or ideally some velcro straps to hold the tyre on the rim while you work around to other parts of the rim.

At the last 5% where you probably need tyre levers, a that point the straps have done their work and can be removed.

Note once the tyre has been installed for a night it will take a "set" and be much easier to deal with in the future, like on the road-side.

BTW I've never seen a perfectly flat folding tyre - the ones I buy tend to have a decent curve already, though they are folded into 8 segments.

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