How to Remove Glue From a Tubular Tire

Written by edwin thomas
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How to Remove Glue From a Tubular Tire
If you are lucky, this Dremel tool is all you will need. (rotary tool image by CraterValley Photo from

Tubular tires are an alternative bike tire format popular in the serious racing community, mostly because the tire itself and the wheel that goes with it are lighter than the more common "clincher" wheel-and-tire format. Tubular tires are usually held onto the wheel by glue, and most of the time the grip provided by that glue lasts longer than the tire. However, sometimes the glue gives before the tire wears out, and to remount the tire it must sometimes first be cleaned of the old glue.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Dremel tool or drill with rotary wire brush
  • Dust sheet
  • Solvent
  • Plastic scraper
  • Safety glasses/goggles
  • Rubber gloves

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  1. 1

    Inspect the inner surface of the tire (where the tire makes contact with the wheel) closely to determine how much work you must do, if any. It's OK to have old glue on the tubular tire as long as the glue is uncontaminated by grime, dust or grit from the bike's brakes. If the old crust of glue has turned dark grey or black with contaminant particles, the glue must go.

  2. 2

    Deflate the tire if you have not already done so.

  3. 3

    Apply a drill or Dremel tool with a rotary wire brush to the patches of dirty glue. Use the tool gently to avoid damaging the tire itself. Gradually spread the glue patch until it peels up. This will remove the looser, more pliable bits of glue.

  4. 4

    Set out a dust sheet in a well-ventilated area and apply solvent to the adhesive. Depending on the glue used to secure your tubular tire to the wheel, acetone-based fingernail polish remover may be enough to dislodge the glue. Tougher glue requires either white spirit or denatured alcohol. Apply the solvent and wait several minutes, then try the adhesive with a plastic scraper. If it is not pliable enough to remove, try more solvent or a stronger solvent, and make a second attempt.

Tips and warnings

  • Always wear goggles or safety glasses and wear rubber gloves when working with solvents.

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