Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Sticky, Squishy Love, Part II: Of Tubeless Tyres, Their Joys and Sorrows



On the heels of a certain holiday which celebrates all things heart shaped, I thought it apt to post this second installment of 'Sticky, Squishy Love.' In Part I, as you might recall, I shared some notes on my experience with tubular tyres. Allow me now to share my experience with tubeless setups.

By way of a basic introduction, the term ‘tubeless' refers to a clincher tyre and rim setup, which foregoes the use of an inner tube. Instead, the tyre is inflated directly. To the naked eye, a tubeless tyre and rim look identical to an ordinary clincher setup. However, it requires some modifications. Namely, the rim needs to be completely sealed to ensure no air leaks from any part of it. Also, a valve needs to be sourced, since the tube it would normally be integrated with is absent. Finally, a specially formulated sealant is pumped into the tyre prior to inflation.



In theory, a number of factors makes setting up one's bicycle with tubeless tyres attractive. The lack of an inner tube is said to make the tyre more compliant, thereby improving ride quality and reducing rolling resistance. It also saves weight. 

But perhaps more importantly, tubeless setups are said to offer superior puncture resistance. The reasons given for this are two-fold: The absence of an inner tube removes the possibility of pinch flats. And furthermore, the sealant used in tubeless tyres is meant to be self-sealing in the event of a puncture, eliminating the need for repairing flats on the go (see, for instance, this video, for an ideal version of how this is meant to work).

Unlike tubular tyres, giving tubeless a try requires less of a commitment, since it can always be converted back to an ordinary clincher setup simply by inserting a tube.

And speaking of: Although some rims and tyres are specifically labeled as tubeless-compatible, often even those not labeled as such can be run tubeless. The basic idea, is that the rim needs to be sealable, and the tyre needs to sit airtight. But there are no hard and fast rules and in the end it is really just trial and error. If you are curious whether a specific rim and tyre combination can be run tubeless prior to investing in a bunch of supplies (see next section), an online search will soon bring up accounts of others who have tried it. Although mind you, there is no guarantee.


If running a tubeless setup for the first time, you will need the following items (in addition to the rims and tyres, of course):

. tubeless rim tape
. 2 valves
. valve core remover
. sealant
. an injector for delivering the sealant into the valves

The process itself is fairly straightforward:
. Seal the rims with tubeless-specific rim tape, cutting small holes for the valves.
. Insert valves into the vale holes in the rims.
. Fit the tyres.
. Remove the valve cores and pump sealant into the valves using the injector.
. Rotate the wheels to ensure sealant is evenly spread.
. Replace the valve cores and inflate the tyres.

Now, that last step - and tubeless enthusiasts tend to keep slyly mum in this regard! - is where people tend to run into trouble. Some rim and tyre combinations are very difficult, if not impossible to inflate using an ordinary track pump, and instead require the use of an air compressor which is able to deliver air in quick blasts.

They do make special tubeless floor pumps now, which store pressurised air in a separate chamber and are able to 'pop-inflate' the tyre. After reading their descriptions I am a little skeptical they have enough oomph, but will with-hold judgment until I get a chance to try one.

There are also conversion kits sold, where a thick rubbery layer of padding is placed over the rim to re-shape it for a more airtight fit with the tyre. But for anyone interested in weight savings this rather defeats the purpose. Plus it adds more complexity and cost to the process. And in the end, I am told, it still does not always work.

That is all to say... you may or may not be able to inflate a tubeless tyre without access to dedicated equipment!


My own forays into the tubeless world consist of the following two experiences:

Spada rims (700C) + Schwalbe Pro1 Tyres (tubeless specific)

Over the summer, my husband acquired a set of tubeless-ready 700C road wheels by the Italian manufacturer Spada. Conveniently, they arrived already taped, and with a tubeless-specific version of Schwalbe Pro1 tyres. With the help of the internet, we figured out the other stuff we needed. Installation went smoothly, and we were even able to inflate the tyres with an ordinary floor pump.

Gary enjoyed the feel of the wheels and tyres very much, and after 'running' them for a month and a half on his modern roadbike, he decided to try them on his vintage Italian bike for comparison. The vintage racing frame has tight clearances in the rear triangle, so he had to deflate the rear tyre in order to squeeze it in. We then spent hours trying to re-inflate the tyre, with no success! Having stretched after some use, the tyre would not sit on the rim sufficiently tightly, to be inflatable with a floor pump. No matter how quickly we pumped, the air was not being delivered fast enough. The tyres sprayed white fluid everywhere but would not inflate, inspiring jokes of a nature not fit to be retold to a cultured audience such as yourselves.

At length, we admitted defeat. Gary took the wheel to work and got it inflated with an industrial air compressor. Despite the rims and tyres being tubeless-specific, that was the only way he was able to successfully re-inflate the tyre ...a method that would obviously be unavailable in the event of getting a flat mid-ride! (And I know air cartridges are an option ...but not so much for wider tyres, and not everyone likes this disposable solution). The discovery of this limitation pretty much ended his excitement about tubeless setups. However he continues to ride his Spada wheels (they are his only remaining clinchers) and has had zero flats so far.


Pacenti PL23 rims (650B) + Pari-Moto Tyres 

Several months later I decided to give tubeless a go myself - on Alice, my DIY 650B bike with the Pacenti wheels I had rebuilt. My reasons for this were in equal measure to reduce flats, to save weight, and to achieve an even nicer ride feel than the bike had already. There are no tubular options available for (non-disc brake) 650B wheels, so I thought I might as well give tubeless a try - especially since we still had all the supplies.

Now, as far as I understand, neither the Pacenti rims nor the Pari-Moto tyres I used are tubeless-specific per se. But I knew that others (most notably, Peter Weigle) had successfully run this combination tubeless, and that allegedly it worked.

It worked for me as well ...but only with the use of the afore-mentioned industrial air compressor. We were not able to inflate the tyres in the house with a standard floor pump. However, a quick blast from the compressor did the job, and with weekly air top-ups using the floor pump at home they are holding air without problems.

As for the ride feel, having experienced the same tyres with and without tubes, I have to admit it does make a difference. Run tubeless, the same tyres feel 'squishier' and make for a softer, pleasanter ride feel. I imagine on a bike that is harsh, they would reduce that harshness considerably. On a bike that already rides nicely, as mine did, getting rid of the tubes makes for absolute luxury.

After 4 months or so of pretty frequent cycling (it’s the bike I’ve put the most miles on over this winter), I’ve had no flats so far. Whether that’s luck, or the sealant doing its job, I cannot say for sure. However, when run with tubes, I had found these same tyres to be pretty fragile.


In summary...

My impression is that tubeless tyres are an excellent idea in theory, but that in practice their usefulness is seriously limited by the fact that - more often than not - they require an air compressor to inflate successfully. I would also add that not knowing about this in advance can lead to lots of frustration at the user end, so the industry is not doing itself any favours by trying to downplay this drawback.

The availability of special pressurised air floor pumps is intriguing, and I do hope to test one in the near future. But once you start adding special pumps, and rim conversion kits and the like to the mix, the cost and awkwardness of the whole thing starts to rise pretty quickly. I suspect that in the future all of this will somehow be ironed out, and I look forward to that time. The idea in itself is appealing. And tubeless tyres eventually becoming the norm is, I think, inevitable.

As always, if you'd like to share your own experiences, you are very welcome to. Have you tried tubeless setups? Which rims and tyres? And was it love or hate?



54 comments:

  1. I once talked with a friend of mine (a mountain cyclist who runs tubeless) about what to do in the case of flats while riding; he carries a tube. So, if you were to get a flat, you'd just install the tube the same as if you got a flat with a normal tire. Seems like that would work pretty well.

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    1. This is exactly right. I run tubeless on my road bike and I carry a spare tube just as I would with normal tyres. I haven't had a flat with the tubeless tyres (touch wood) but better safe than sorry.

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    2. Yup, you have to carry a spare tube. Or an air cartridge, if suitable.

      But, I don't know, to me it just seems like that defeats the purpose! Tubeless should mean tubeless.

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    3. If the purpose was to never have to look at a tube ever again, then yes, you're right. Carrying a tube seems like a small price to pay for a better rolling and more puncture-resistant tyre.
      Out of interest, what's your strategy for tubular punctures? Pre-glued spare, or mobile phone?

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    4. A pre-glued spare. And a mobile phone just in case : )

      Re carrying spare tubes: A friend was explaining that his main issue, since every one of his bikes has different sized wheels or tyres, is that he still needs to own multiple spare tubes and pick the right one to take on every ride - which was something he was hoping tubeless would liberate him from. It is not a catastrophe of course. But if people do have the impression that tubeless means not ever dealing with tubes again, realising that's not the case can be a bit of a letdown.

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    5. I understand your definitional issue but, really, it's carrying one tube instead of three, and it's tubeless rolling weight.

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    6. Sealant works for tubulars too! Orange Seal, in particular, reliably seals punctures in tubular tires with latex inners. I mostly just carry a valve core remover and a 2 oz. bottle of sealant when riding tubular tires.

      Tubeless tires with sealant make life easy too, particularly off-road.

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  2. You only need the airport compressor the first time you inflate the tire, to settle it in the rim. And you can use a CO2 cartridge pump instead, if you don't have access to a compressor.
    One of the nice things about tubeless is that you can run lower pressures and still avoid snake bite flats.

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    1. We had the opposite experience with the Spada + Schwalbe Pro1 combination. They did not need an air compressor the fist time, but did after deflating. I suspect there are as many different experiences in this regard as there are tyre & rim combinations.

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    2. Yeah, every experience is different. I found my 28mm tubeless Schwalbe Ones to seat much easier after the first time, only using a floor pump. That's on Velocty A23s, so maybe the internal shape of the rim has something to do with the ease of seating the bead.

      FWIW, I reckon the benefits of tubeless far outweigh the initial (potential) hassles of setup. If all goes well you should only have to set it up once and not worry until you've worn the tyre out.

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  3. "There are no tubular options available for (non-disc brake) 650B wheels, so I thought I might as well give tubeless a try - especially since we still had all the supplies.""

    This statement confirms my impression, that you are less enthusiastic about tubeless than tubular. Funny, because most consider tubular more difficult complicated and messy. I am however an old man with old habits and so your preference makes me smile.

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    1. The thing is, difficult / complicated / messy are all subjective terms. If you ever see me changing a flat on a normal clincher tyre it is a spectacle involving ruined clothing, broken fingernails, even bruising! I am not saying everyone should switch to tubular tyres. But it's good that options exist for people with different strengths and weaknesses.

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    2. When my clincher tires deflate the tire separates from the rim, period. No strength, no pushing, pulling, forcing, nothing. Grasp the tire and put it where you want it. To re-inflate place tube and tire in approximate position, pay close attention to tube so it stays inside tire.

      So long as the tire bead sits in the rim bead seat there is no disadvantage to loose fitting tires. Tires that are hard to mount are no more secure than the loose tires. There is no reason to get bruised mounting a tire. When I meet a tire like that I give it away. I won't even complete the initial install. This does mean that I will never use certain popular tires. Too bad. I am not a masochist.

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  4. I find the Pro 1 tubeless tyres with the Spada wheels a joy to ride. They have a fantastic quality of how they roll along the rough roads here. They are fast, comfortable with a pleasant hollow soundtrack as they roll. In addition having the security of not getting punctures on long rides in remote areas is reassuring. I do admit they are difficult to inflate but feel that the positives are worth the effort. After using these tyres for several months now I highly recommend them.

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  5. I run my mountain bike tires tubeless, and it works pretty well. No pinch flats after many miles, but a sharp rock slashed a sidewall and destroyed a brand new tire last year. It's helpful to slosh soapy water on the beads and the outside of the rims with a sponge when inflating the tire. Using this method, I'm usually able to get the tire seated and pumped up with just the floor pump. Admittedly, that sharp "pop" was pretty startling the first time those tire beads seated.

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  6. I went tubeless on my mountain bike 2 years and absolutely love- the ability to run at 10 psi on my 29+ tires made a world of difference in how I ride in the woods, not to mention zero flat tires since then. I used the split tube method since neither my rims nor tires are tubeless compatible, never mind tubeless ready along with being between sizes on the Stans rim tape. I had zero issues with the setup and zero issues with reinfalting after adding sealant at the mandated times. The traction is astounding and not having nearly a pounds worth of tube to get up to speed is a wonderful thing. The only issue i have is reusing the cut down tube but a new one is a small price to pay when it comes time to replace a worn out tire.

    The road bike was a different beast to convert to tubeless altogether...

    I use Mavic Open Pro rims and when I came due for new tires this past summer I opted for tubeless 28mm Schwable Pro 1's because "why not"? Worst case it didn't work i could always run tubes in the tires and be no worse off than I was before. This time around I opted for the "official" method of converting non-tubeless ready rims to tubeless via Stans rim tape to try it out. With everything setup and ready to go, the front tire seated/sealed perfectly on the first attempt with the home compressor. The rear was a nightmare and no amount of effort would get it to seat, resulting in the basement floor looking like... well a place you wouldn't bring polite company. I ended up going back to the split tube method where the same tire seated perfectly on the first attempt. When I had that tire off to apply an internal patch from a small slit that kept popping open (the sealant would work then a pebble would reopen it 2 rides later) on me. With a fresh split tube, the whole assembly snapped right back into place with zero hassle again. Despite the front is still running the rim tape without any issues or flats, when the time comes to dismount/reinstall I'll use a split tube and take the minor weight penalty in exchange for ease of install.

    There is a world of difference (to me) in the feel of the tires with/without a tube inside it. The split tube setup hassle is worth it to me for the gains in comfort and perceived speed/cornering ability from running tubeless at similar pressures.

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    1. OK, I just spent 20 minutes cruising about the net trying to find what the split tube method is. Everybody talks all around it, no one specifies one single thing. Clear to the initiated but not to anyone else.

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    2. I second that notion please!

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    3. Split tube AKA "ghetto tubeless." http://www.mtbtechniques.co.uk/MaintananceGhetto.html

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    4. V, there are YouTube vids on it; if you just search tubeless tire conversions (or something like that) they usually pop up. In a nut shell it involves using a spare tube on the inside of the rim to "seal" it. in order to do this the tube is slit, tubeless tire mounted and the excess cut away. Seems dodgy to me, but plenty have used it with success, unfortunately to me it sort of negates much of the weight savings so the remaining advantage is flat resistance. - masmojo

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    5. Mas

      So does that mean there is a remnant of inner tube sitting between tire bead and rim bead seat? And that inner tube is expected to just sit there? And the bead is still secure? That may work temporarily, especially on fatbikes with 5psi. On any roadish bike at road pressures that is a preposterous safety risk. That some are able to get away with such Rube Goldberg expedients is not a reason to try this at home. Your choice is the word 'dodgy' seems most appropriate.

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    6. The example I saw was a mountain bike 29+ (I think?), but it matters little; while the width of a mountain bike wheel probably helps with the stability in that use, the higher pressure of a road tire would probably be more of a help then a problem, not unlike the way tire pressure helps a tubular tire. I make no representations of anything since I have not tried it myself. As I said Youtube is your best information source - mas

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    7. I've had zero issues with cornering or the tire shifting out of position. I've got well over a thousand miles with 100psi in each tire and the split/ghetto tube system in place. The 2nd rear flat tire i suffered (when the sealant plug failed) happened at 40mph, rolled to stop safely while my frame was covered in a sealant spray. The bead stayed put despite having to take a left hand corner while slowing down with minimal pressure in the tire. On the mountain bike I've run very low pressures (low enough on a similar tubed wheel that the bead out wrecking the tire) with it staying put so that is definitely Not a concern of mine.

      There is still a weight penalty from the tube remnant but then again, I ride a steel bike so it's not a big deal to me. The improved ride quality and flat resistance is the real benefit to me.

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    8. The split tube, used as explained above, is an obstruction placed precisely where the tire is secured to the rim. Cautions about running with scissors or playing in traffic come to mind.

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  7. My sister rides a motorbike, and bought herself a small tyre-pump compressor thingy for home use. It looks like a cordless drill; it is about the same size and shape, but the electric motor pumps air instead of spinning a drill bit.

    I wonder if something like that would be useful around the house for inflating tubeless tyres?

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    1. Unlikely. Those things deliver high pressure, not high volume.

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  8. My 29er mountain bike will seat the tire on the rim with a floor pump, but not with my portable pump. However, using a Co2 cartridge will seat it just fine.

    When I lived in non-thorny Central Wisconsin I ran tubes in my mountain bike. Now that I live in the rocky and thorny scablands region of eastern Washington State I run tubeless. The self healing nature of tubeless tires is a huge help here. Just pull out the thorn and re-inflate your tire and you're on your way.

    There are plug kits, just like for fixing a puncture in a car tire, for larger punctures in tubeless tires, but I don't have any experience wit them.

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  9. I have not tried tubeless, the main reason being I have read that the sealant dries up over time and should be replaced every few months; given that I currently own 5 bikes this would be a major chore x5. This is further compounded with the revelation in your post about reinflating the Spada + Pro1 combination. I'll stick to tubes thank you.

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    1. I bought a bottle of Orange Seal because that is the one supposed to stay liquid the longest. In a new sealed bottle there was a solid plug of dry material about half an inch thick. If it can dry out in a full sealed bottle you can be sure it dries in a tire.

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    2. The sealant thing is a furphy. I didn't ride my road tubeless bike for nearly a year, decided to rotate the tyres for some reason, and the sealant was still fluid.
      I think the people advocating sealant replacement are the people selling the sealant.

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  10. Again, I enjoyed this post as I did the tubular post, but purely for educational purposes. Nothing about this makes me want to go and try it myself! I understand the attraction for you, since you have problems getting a tire off the rim and hopefully tubeless will mean no flats. But I have no problems changing and patching inner tubes, so all this valve core remover and syringe business sounds like a total nightmare!

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    1. Having just spend an afternoon patching tubes from my pre-tubeless days, give me tubeless.

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  11. Nope. This confirms it. No thanks! Oh and I never get flats on my Schwalbe Marathon Plus.

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  12. Going tubeless is much easier if you can just start with tubeless-specific equipment from the get-go, although obviously that isn't always an option. I'm running Easton EA90 road tubeless wheels with Clement X'plor MSO tubeless-ready tires and was able to get them on without levers and seat them with just a floor pump. Easton doesn't even recommend sealant (and I was able to inflate and test them without sealant), but I used it anyway for puncture resistance. If I hadn't needed new wheels in the first place though, I'd probably have just stuck with tubes.

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  13. I am intrigued with the concept and I will eventually try it on a couple of bikes that I ride most frequently: the downside I find with Tubeless stuff is that the tires tend to be a little smaller and the rims a little bigger, which helps the tires seat when inflated, but makes them harder to install with tubes. So probably the division for me in the future would be whether the tire rim combination was designed for tubeless or not. If so? I'll probably just go tubeless and save myself mounting headaches; if it's something that is going to require funky conversions - I won't. By and large I find that most disc brake wheels you buy these days are tubeless ready, and increasingly the industry is headed that way, so I'll probably try them first. - masmojo

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  14. There once existed 60 gram inner tubes that offered many of the ride quality benefits of tubeless. They cost one dollar more than a standard tube and were just as reliable as a standard tube. Then, in the 1990s, the industry forgot how to attach a valve to an inner tube. The 60 gram tubes became completely unreliable.

    Since reliable tubes are no longer sold the industry now sells loose valves and riders basically fabricate their own tubes with liquid latex sealant.

    I have a near new Schwalbe One Pro tubular. In most ways it is the best tire ever. It developed a slow leak. With considerable effort it was determined the leak was coming from the base of the valve stem. Same as clincher tube failure. Since it is not possible to patch up to a valve that tire now has sealant. For the moment it works, who knows how long.

    It should be possible and simple to put air in a tire. That is not a lot to ask. The bike industry continually shoots itself in the foot, pausing only to shoot itself in the head. Since riders have zero effective leverage on the vendors of product, normal consumers give up and get back in the SUV. Bike riding is so much fun a band of the dedicated continues to put up with all the nonsense.

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  15. Although I do have tubeless-ready rims and tyres on one bike, I don't plan to try it. I'm put off by the need for sealant – I'd certainly make a huge mess with that! – and for CO2 cannisters, which I don't like the idea of because of their disposability. Just more waste! But also, the benefits don't strike me as huge: I'm not plagued by punctures anyway (though the last ones I had, two in one day back in November, were due to thorns so presumably should have self-sealed on tubeless), the weight saving of a tube doesn't sound great, and though comfort and grip from lower pressures do sound attractive, I tend to run my tyres toward the softer end of their recommended pressures anyway (in the past I did the opposite, believing it was more efficient, but experience has show me I was wrong).

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    1. Waste is relative, a CO2 canister (recyclable) & I guess some sealant from time to time or X number of inner tubes? I am intrigued, because I currently run real nice supple casing tires, but fudge it up by putting Mr. Tuffy liners in so I don't get flats; they add weight AND sort of kill the ride quality of an expensive tire. with the tubeless I could enjoy lighter weight, ride quality AND not worry as much about flats. - mas

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    2. CO2 cannisters are recyclable? Really in practice as well as in theory? Any links to places/firms/people/techniques of doing this?

      I've never quite seen the point of Mr Tuffy tape, for the reasons you mention and because I've known it cause punctures in a companion's tyres when the edges wore through his tube (and we were only half a mile from the pub... )

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    3. @mas: CO2 canisters are a one-shot deal, and so they're inherently disposable and wasteful; contrast them with a pump, which is not. Clinchers + tubes needs no sealant or CO2 cartridges, only a pump at home and one on the bike for roadside fixes.

      As for your tires: follow BQ's advice and run them at low pressure, without the tire liners, and you'll make the tires more resistant to punctures. Take, for instance, my Schwalbe Marathon Supremes, ISO 50-559. Jan Heine and the regular commenters at his blog are not so hot on these tires due to the kevlar linings, but I can compensate for that by running them at 20-25 PSI. That's much lower than the sidewall markings, but it works: the ride is comfortable and the tires are highly puncture-resistant.

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  16. Nice overview, agree that the air compressor requirement is an obstacle right now for the majority of riders. For tubeless road setups, is topping up the air pressure in the tires ever necessary before a ride? I'm guessing "yes" and if that's the case, does the sealant tend to spray out of the valve onto the pump and make a sticky mess?

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    1. The pressure does slowly go down over time, at the same rate as it would for the same tyres with tubes. I top mine up not so much before a ride, but about once a week. The sealant doesn't spray during top-ups. There is no mess and it's just like inflating an ordinary tyre. The sealant will only spray if the tyre goes entirely flat and separates from the rim. Hope that makes sense.

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    2. I think this is true when conversing about road bike tires which typically don't hold air very well. But, I have plenty of tubed mountain bike tires that will keep adequate pressure for weeks, months, sometimes years. BUT, from what I understand almost without exception tubeless setups have to be topped up with air regularly. I think this is acceptable on a bike that gets ridden regularly, but if it's a bike that gets ridden once a month or less, it's probably best to stay with tubes. Another factor that came up when I researched the subject some months ago was how often you change tires! If you are constantly changing tires, trying different ones then tubes make more sense. - mas

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  17. For me, the key to tubeless success is that the tire's beads stay locked in place, and airtight, even when the tire is fully deflated. That's how my 700C X 50 Furious Freds fit the Velocity Blunt SS rims on my Matthews "road bikefor dirt). Thus, periodically removing the valve cores to top up the sealant (Orange Seal dries into a film, not the little rubber octopuses that Stan's leaves behind) poses no problem; just inflate back to pressure as usual.

    I've tried other tires tubeless where the bead and rim separated when air pressure fell, and I considered those setups too risky -- even sealant sometimes won't seal a leak until after pressure drops below what would be needed to keep these beads in place.

    I have to say though that I could very definitely feel the better ride without a tube. I'd ridden Schwalbe Kojaks with tubes on one of my road bikes, then tried them tubeless. Tubeless, the ride approached the ineffably nice ride of the Compass Elk Pass Extralights (with tubes; and Orange Seal in the tubes).

    For the off road Matthews, I do carry a spare tube (with slime) in case of tears or holes too big for the sealant.

    And, FWIW, I used to run pressures as low as 12 psi front in tubes with 60 mm Big Apples -- never a problem with pinch flats, so at least IME, you don't need tubeless to run very low pressures.

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  18. Have you tried latex tubes? How does the ride compare with tubeless or tubulars?

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  19. All I want from my bike is to keep it simple and easy. I know there are dozens of options on every issue (and hundreds of opinions on each of those options) but I'm no longer interested in exploring them for their potential benefits since I've found a happy place. After seven years, and close to fifty thousand miles of daily riding, flats are a tiny issue and easily fixed (I've maybe had ten) so I'm no longer biting. I now read about others adventures in the comfort of my simple world :)

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    1. Yes, it is all quite interesting but I leave the exploring/experimentation of these matters to others, I am happy to just ride my bike.

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  20. For what it's worth and in my estimation,actual words are not so hard to type or spell, really FTLOG use real words when commenting , I also live in a simple world.

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  21. That comment is directed at Bertin 753, and meant in a nice way !!!!

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  22. Steve from WestchesterFebruary 17, 2017 at 2:18 PM

    Not having tried tubeless yet, I am curious about a few points here.

    1)Exactly how much of a mess does the sealant make if you need to change tires? Is it water soluble, and how hard is it to clean up once dry? Do you need to carry wet wipes to clean up in case of a flat?

    2)So if you need regular applications of sealant, don't you eventually negate the weight savings? And how long does it take to erase the weight savings?

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  23. I've been riding seriously for over 40 years now. I occasionally have a flat. I fix it. I always carry a spare tube and a patch kit. If you practice a bit before you find yourself with a flat by the side of the road, you ought to be able to change out a tube in 5-10 minutes. If you are worried about getting your hands greasy, throw some cheap rubber gloves in your tool bag (you do carry a tool bag at all times, don't you?)

    I have no trouble in always having the correct size tube for each bike, because when I buy or start riding a bike the first thing I do is to outfit it with its own tool bag, containing all the Allen wrenches needed, a couple of plastic "tire irons", a patch kit, a spare tube, a spare chain link, and a chain tool, plus some money. Because each bike has its own tool bag, each bike always has the correct tube size for its tires. (I make sure the bag is also big enough to carry my cell phone and my keys.)

    I also use only full-length proper pumps; each bike has its own pump, that always stays with it.

    Doing otherwise seems to me kind of like trying to remember to put the spare tire in the car you're driving that day. No, each car has its own spare tire. (For that matter, each of my cars (currently 3) has its own tool kit and jumper cables in.)

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  24. 6 to 9 months after initial installation, sealant invariably will dry out and must be renewed in order to have flat protection. Dried sealant will not fill holes and will not stop punctures.

    Often when the sealant dries out, the tire bead will also lose its seal, rapidly deflating, and becoming unseated from the rim. In this case, the tire may partially come come off the rim. It can be fixed using a tube. Optionally, fresh sealant can be added in order to continue running as tubeless, but only if you have a compressor.

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  25. Late to this but thought about it today as I went to a local high end big box store in search of a new chain for my bike. Amongst all the stuff on display was a kit to go tubeless. I think it was sixty or seventy dollars which is more than I pay for a tire. Then I scratched my chin wondering why one might want to do this. It was an eight mile ride to the store, eight miles back, and I'm always leery of a flat along the way so I carry pump and patch kit just in case. This has been my thinking for a long time. Turns out I might flat during a ride maybe once or twice every couple of years. Those times I did it was maybe twenty minutes to get back on the road. So I gazed at all those products on display and thought, as I often do, that 99% of stuff calling out for my attention and suggesting that life would be with if only I'd buy them just simply is not the case. I found my chain and was glad it was under twenty dollars and left the store knowing I've added to the wear on my sprocket and cog and many more miles of lovely riding. As you mention, 'joys and sorrows,' why mess with a joy which has not caused a headache over thousands of miles? Happy cycling!

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  26. I always felt sorry for the guy in the shop where I worked that had to change out a tubeless tire. There was sealant all over him and some of his tools. Since I am a very old guy, I still run tire savers on all of my road bikes, can not remember when I had my last flat. Tire savers will not fit on all modern road frames so I made a bending jig and make my own out of spokes. I still carry three tubes two for me and one to hand up to someone who may need some help.

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