I have a road bike tyre that is proving impossible to get off its a 700x25 on a set of tubeless ready rims (i know these can be more difficult to deal with).

It was very tight to get on in the first place.

I have tried a number things. I cannot free the bead to get a tyre lever under.

I have tried using my thumbs (led to blistering), standing on the tyre and pulling the rim, as well as a set of pliers to pull on the tyre but it won't come loose.

Any suggestions? I am considering cutting the tyre off if anyone as any experience of this that would also be useful.

  • Have you tried using the pliers to squeeze the beads together. Pinch the tire as close to the bead as possible without contacting the rim.
    – mikes
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 11:48
  • not sure if i can get the pliers close enough to the bead
    – Edward
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 11:51
  • There are special two part mounting levers that squeeze both side-walls of the tyre at a time.
    – Carel
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 12:42
  • Is that the VAR levers? bikeradar.com/reviews/maintenance/tools-kits-and-boxes/…
    – Edward
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 14:02
  • @mike may be correct about squeezing the tire beads together. I don't think you need pliers. On tubeless ready rims, there's a depressed center channel in the middle of the rim. Your beads should normally be hooked right under each side of the rim. If you squeeze the tire such that the bead go into the center channel, you may loosen the entire system.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 15:07

4 Answers 4


Road tubeless generally should have tighter tolerances but there is no single standard so the target measurement may differ between manufacturers leading to potentially problematic rim/tire combination. Furthermore, tubeless systems that are designed to be run at high pressure (i.e., road) require beads that stretch very little, otherwise bead could become dislodged under pressure leading to a catastrophic deflation event. The rigid bead can further exacerbate issues associated with tire/rim mismatches.

That said, most tubeless compatible rims will also have a deep center channel, which is intended to be used when mounting the tire and when removing the tire. Once you have the bead in the center channel this should give you slack to get part of the bead over the rim.

When removing a tubeless tire go around the rim dislodging the bead into the channel. You will often hear a load "thwack" as you dislodge the bead into the channel due to the release of tension caused by the tight high fit needed for an air tight seal. This is the critical step that may require a reasonable amount of hand strength. As you work around the wheel also check on areas you have already dislodged into the channel as the bead can work its way back out of the channel and back to the bead seat.

Once all of the beads on both sides of the tire are in the channel you should have enough slack to get a tire lever under the bead and to dislodge the bead over the rim. You may need a second lever, one to hold a dislodged bead in place, the second to continue dislodging more tire bead over the rim.

If the tire starts becomes incredibly tight while dislodging the bead, check that the remaining tire bead is properly nested in the channel and has not worked its way out of the channel.

Finally, if you are running tubeless tires on a non-tubeless rim, older varieties of rim (i.e., more than 5-10 years) may have no or an insufficiently deep center channel for the easy mounting/dismounting of tubeless tires. In this case I would suggest forgoing the tubeless tire and sticking to regular clincher tires, most manufacturers still offer both construction types.

  • 2
    "This is the critical step that may require a reasonable amount of hand strength." This is the problem the OP is having - it sounds crazy until you've encountered it, but it can require a lot more than hand strength to break the seal
    – Andy P
    Commented Sep 13, 2019 at 7:55
  • Isn't the central channel usually covered by the tubeless tape? Commented Sep 13, 2019 at 11:31
  • Thanks for your answer @rider_x but as Andy P says the problem I was having was getting the bead free. After that it’s not a problem I am aware you can get more slack in the bead by pushing it into the central channel
    – Edh
    Commented Sep 14, 2019 at 9:55

So I am actually answering my own question haha (created a proper login rather than just guest)

Managed to get the tyre of using the following

A bed (yes a bed!!)

4 tyre leavers

I lay the wheel flat on the floor and trapped one side of the tyre under the leg of the bed. I then lent on the bed just above the leg to put some added weight on the bed to stop the tyre from slipping out. I then pressed down using my foot with my own weight on the opposite side. (This had to be done for both sides of the bead). This unseated the bead enough to get the tyre leavers underneath (still needed four of them though).

  • 1
    Moar leverage is sumtimes the answer
    – Swifty
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 18:05
  • definitely was the case. I then had to get another tyre on which took another 2 hours haha
    – Edh
    Commented Sep 13, 2019 at 12:28

This will be somewhat trickier with a road tyre, but the one time I had this problem (with a 27.5x2.8 mtb tyre), the way that finally solved it for me was to put the wheel on the ground and stand on the tyre on opposite sides.

Obviously this gives the less than ideal scenario of the hub/wheel bearing a lot of weight in a direction it wasn't designed for, so it's up to you if its a risk you feel happy taking.

  • i have tried that but difficult to get enough purchase on the tyre given it is a road tyre
    – Edward
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 12:12

Edh, I see this is an old post, long since solved, but as I too have experienced impossibly stuck tires to rims, I wanted to chime in. When maximum thumb strength proved not to budge my tires, I’ve resorted to standing on the tire as close to the rim as possible. No dice. Then, with ire setting in, I used a big pliers. Same result. It didn’t budge. Finally, what worked for me was squeezing down on that optimal, close to the rim spot with the biggest vice grip I own. It may seem radical to some, but with great torque, it finally dislodged.

To pose the question I’m left with (please answer — anyone!), what can be done to PREVENT this sticking problem in the first place? I hate to be faced with this issue after getting a flat out in the wild!


  • The trick is to get the tyre's bead to sit in the floor of the "valley" around the rim, where it is lowest. Some use a series of zip ties or string to do this.
    – Criggie
    Commented May 2, 2023 at 18:09
  • 1
    Hi, welcome to bicycles. The part where you ask a follow-up question might be best posted as your own question instead of leaving here in an answer.
    – DavidW
    Commented May 2, 2023 at 20:22
  • 1
    Yes, Criggie, the valley is the right place to have you beads … when you’re putting the tire on. We’re talking about the much bigger problem of getting them off the rim, if/when they’re fantastically, beyond thumb-strength stuck. Commented May 3, 2023 at 20:50

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