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  1. #1
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    Going Tubeless - can I get some advice on best practices?

    Buying a bike that is coming with Tubeless set up. I tried Tubeless a long while back but hated it...imagine things have gotten much better.

    Anyhow, what do I need to know? Should I carry 2 tubes on rides? How do you handle certain situations? How often do I put in the Stans? Tire pressures (27s)?

    Any thoughts on the topic would be fabulous!

    Thanks!
    I'm not sure how this works.

  2. #2
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    Personally I only carry one tube, since flats are so rare.

    Tire pressure will be an experiment depending on your weight and conditions your riding in.

    I'm experimenting with Orange seal right now, it's supposed to seal bigger holes and not dry out as fast as Stans.

    I carry a few Isopropyl alcohol packages that work well for cleaning off the sealant around the area of a sidewall tear to make it easier to stick a boot on.

    Get one of these kits, for bigger holes you can plug them quick and just put some more air in without taking off the tire.
    Amazon.com : Panaracer Tubeless Patch Kit : Bike Tubes : Sports & Outdoors

    Most tubless tire's will seal up with a hand pump. For a low cost compressor, you can just get an air tank and fill it up at the gas station for use at home.
    Sears.com

    Get a little presta to Schrader converter and you can just roll over to the gas station if your having problems seating one. If you have a good relationship with your LBS, they might let you borrow there compressor, that's what I do most of the time.
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  3. #3
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    1. Buy an air compressor (I have a 6 gallon electric version - works perfect, and $100 on Amazon). Not a high pressure tire inflator or large volume floor pump. Makes seating tires when replacing/swapping a snap. Make sure to get the attachment that works on presta valves.

    2. Your mileage may vary on how much Stans to use. I use one cap (2 oz) per tire (27.5 2.35 Hans Dampf). I think you are supposed to re-lube once a year, but more often if you hear the Stans boogers rolling around in the tire.

    3. I carry a tube or two and a hand pump. If it burps and unseats on the trail, pull out the valve stem, put in the tube, and be on your merry way. You could try to re-seat with a CO2 cartridge, but better to have bulletproof backup.

    I am so happy to have switched to tubeless. I used to have to replace a tube about two times a year on the trail due to leaks around the valve. Six months of tubeless riding, at pressures down around 22-25 psi (and I'm flirting with Clydesdale territory) in rocky places like Annadel and thorny places like Peavine and absolutely zero issues.

  4. #4
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    I carry two tubes,never needed them both. Most of the problems I've was from burping tires or not keeping sealant in them.I've also worn out tires without having a flat ,just changed a front that was on the bike for over a year and half. How often depends on how you ride and the temps , I go 2 or three months. There is a thread in the 29er forum on making your own sealant ,it suppose to not dry up.How tires fit to the rim makes the difference on how easy there are to seal ,some times you need to build up the seating surface by adding a layer of tape.

  5. #5
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    What bike are you buying squashyo?

  6. #6
    rho
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    Re: Going Tubeless - can I get some advice on best practices?

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus View Post
    What bike are you buying squashyo?
    That is the real question...

    Sent by smoke signal.

  7. #7
    JHH
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    What everybody said already. And..... Don't go too low on the tire pressure. Drop 5lbs from what you ride now and see how it rolls. Much of my early burps and issues with tubeless where by riding too little pressure for my riding style and weight.
    Keep pedaling no matter what

  8. #8
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    I'm betting on a uni.



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  9. #9
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    Fezzari - Timp Peak (fully loaded):
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Going Tubeless - can I get some advice on best practices?-tp.jpg  

    I'm not sure how this works.

  10. #10
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    don't run lower pressure than you are right now

  11. #11
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    Fezzari people at Sea Otter were very nice.

    I'm +1 for carrying a boot/repair kit on tubeless setup. Ya never know. Park speed patches work in a pinch (pun) as well.

    IMHO, FWIW, tubeless is a PITA and requires maintenance. Only maintaining I do is cleaning my drive train. The first "stans-all-over-the-place" flat you get way out in BFE will have you thinking.


    Sick bike, bro. A little added traction just may change your life! brap.

  12. #12
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    A cheaper but just as good alternative to stans is truckerco cream. You can buy it in small batches or in bulk from them on eBay. By the way, I also recommend their brake pads as well.

    Another trick to get the sealant to seal bigger holes is to add baby powder / glitter to the sealant. They provide a better binder/bridge for the sealant to span wider gaps.

    Finally, when you do get a puncture and hear the hiss, don't stop pedaling. If you stop pedaling, the sealant won't coat the hole. Also, the sealant works best at low pressure, so you might have a tire go almost flat before it will seal. Once it's sealed, you can just reinflate.

  13. #13
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    Regular pressure, new dose of sealant once tire starts loosing some pressure overnight (every 2 month for me), no tube for short rides, for long ones friends are always carry one for their tubed setup

    More important what tires you'll run. Ultra light casings give more troubles, true UST none at all, rest in between. I use conti trail kings Protection, they take couple of days to fully seal since sidewall mesh have some holes once stretched. Still worth it.
    Tubeless on 3 bikes for over 6 years.

    Tubless Ready tires are easy to deal with. They have extra lip around bead so its a breeze to seat them, but no extra rubber USTs have, so no extra weight.
    I used to run tubes like you are, but then I got thorn in my wheel.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by twowheelmotion View Post
    Fezzari people at Sea Otter were very nice.

    I'm +1 for carrying a boot/repair kit on tubeless setup. Ya never know. Park speed patches work in a pinch (pun) as well.

    IMHO, FWIW, tubeless is a PITA and requires maintenance. Only maintaining I do is cleaning my drive train. The first "stans-all-over-the-place" flat you get way out in BFE will have you thinking.

    yea the once a year 'stans everywhere' thing is much worse than the weekly pinch flats

  15. #15
    fc
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    How often do you get flats now Squashyo?

    fc
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    How often do you get flats now Squashyo?

    fc
    Sorta depends. Around here, not much...maybe 4 a year. DVille/Pinecrest...about 3 every 2 hours (exaggerator). I probably go through 10 tubes a year. Seem to come in waves too.
    I'm not sure how this works.

  17. #17
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    Get the Stan's injector for adding sealant. Easier than having to break a bead then worry about the bead not sealing. I think the best combo is a UST-certified rim with a tubeless ready tire and sealant.
    You may or may not need a compressor. My XT wheels with Racing Ralphs were no problem. Michelin Mud 2s on some old Mavic Reflex rims on my cross bike were a pain. I had to pull the valve out and use my compressor to get the tires to seat. Air leaked out too fast.
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  18. #18
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    Best practice? Avoid it.

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  19. #19
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    1. remove all sealant
    2. buy the tires you please
    3. put tubes in
    4. inflate to desired pressure
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  20. #20
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    I like the glitter idea. I instantly thought of a birthday party or something if I flatted. "Bang! You have a flat.. Oh no, wait! It's actually a party!"

    That was until I remembered 4 out of 5 strippers wear glitter as an accessory. That's all ll I need is misses twm questioning my solid alibi of "I was riding my bike, I swear!".

  21. #21
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    Re: Going Tubeless - can I get some advice on best practices?

    Glitter allegedly causes bead sealing issues. I've never tried it personally, so it could just be urban legend.

  22. #22
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    If you're having problem with leakage thru the spoke holes with non UST rims throw out the crappy rim strip you're using and use gorilla tape instead. it comes in a 1" roll at home depot for like $3

  23. #23
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    Not sure why so many people are against tubeless. I've been on Tubeless for more than 2 years and have never had any issues. My bike is lighter, and I also keep the tires at lower pressure than I could with tubes. The tires don't lose much air (Hans Dampf in front and Maxxis Ardent in rear on WTBs - using Stans, bike is Santa Cruz Blur LTc). I have not had any flats. I used to have High Roller UST tires with similar results. I carry one tube with me on bigger rides just in case, but have not had to use it.

  24. #24
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    For the record I never said that I personally was against tubeless. I was there back in '03. I saw it all go down. I saw tubeless and went plain loco when Mavic started it, Bontrager was doing it WTB was there. I was there. I was sold on it.

    I'm the kind of rider that doesn't throw anything away, ever. And it's that tire on the rack that ran tubes only, nice and clean, half worn, ready to give to a neighborhood kid or friend. Next to it, a tubeless tire coated in ancient Stans that has discolored and I need to throw away.

    Not to mention I got a free box of tubes at Sea Otter. Like 100 of them. So yeah. Im doing that for a while.

  25. #25
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by squashyo View Post
    Sorta depends. Around here, not much...maybe 4 a year. DVille/Pinecrest...about 3 every 2 hours (exaggerator). I probably go through 10 tubes a year. Seem to come in waves too.
    At 4 flats a year, it is hardly worth it. Changing 4 flats is way easier than sealing tubeless, adding sealant every few months and checking your air pressure every week. The hidden reality of tubeless is they leak air every day.

    The #1 benefit of tubeless is they prevent flats. So if you get a couple a week, it's hella worth it. The other benefit is it's 200 grams lighter and you can run 2-4 psi less pressure and not pinch.

    Some advice would be:

    - Use Stans but also consider other options like Bontrager Sealant or Orange Seal. They all behave a little differently as far as evaporating/replenishing and sealing larger holes.
    - dunk the tire in the bath tub to detect all leaks
    - get a valve core remover for adding sealant and for sealing tires with an unrestricted flow of air.
    - get a compressor
    - use new stuff like Tubeless Ready rims and Tubeless Ready tires. This means the bead and rim size is close to perfect and there's a much higher success rate.
    Last edited by fc; 06-24-2014 at 12:07 PM.
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  26. #26
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    I used to run tubes like you are, but then I got thorn in my wheel.
    I used to run tubes like you are, but then I got thorn in my wheel.

  27. #27
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    Another trick to get the sealant to seal bigger holes is to add baby powder / glitter to the sealant. They provide a better binder/bridge for the sealant to span wider gaps.

    Seriously? This is the best hack for tubeless I have ever heard! Baby powder might get a touch gloppy in the tire but glitter, that is pure genius! I can see what is going to happen now. There will be a mad rush of MTB'ers rushing to Michaels and asking for glitter. One note of caution though, choose your color carefully. If you go all rainbow and have a blowout, people will think a unicorn pooped on the trail and then a thread will be started about unicorn riders leaving the trails a glittery mess. Good luck Squashyo!
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  28. #28
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    I've been tubeless for many years now, and the only time I take tires off rims is when they wear out. It takes longer to set up, but then it's no worries. I set up my dad tubeless, and he doesn't even carry tubes now on local rides, which would freak me out, but it hasn't backfired on him yet.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by beaverbiker View Post
    don't run lower pressure than you are right now
    This^^^

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmarshall View Post
    Another trick to get the sealant to seal bigger holes is to add baby powder / glitter to the sealant. They provide a better binder/bridge for the sealant to span wider gaps.

    Seriously? This is the best hack for tubeless I have ever heard! Baby powder might get a touch gloppy in the tire but glitter, that is pure genius! I can see what is going to happen now. There will be a mad rush of MTB'ers rushing to Michaels and asking for glitter. One note of caution though, choose your color carefully. If you go all rainbow and have a blowout, people will think a unicorn pooped on the trail and then a thread will be started about unicorn riders leaving the trails a glittery mess. Good luck Squashyo!
    Just choose your color wisely. I've conducted double blind tests and found that color performance has a standard deviation approaching 20%. However for some it's fashion over function.

    Regardless, tubes suck and I run much lower pressures than I did with tubes. This is one of the major advantages of running tubeless. Why people are suggesting running the same pressure as before is baffling.

  31. #31
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    I love tubeless, wouldn't go back to tubes now - it's really more about ride quality than flats. The biggest change was dropping $90 on an air compressor at Lowe's because some tires are way harder to seat than others (I'm talking about you, Schwalbe), but I use it for other stuff around the house so it was worth it.
    I use 2 scoops of Stans and have to replenish every 6 months or so, but otherwise they're pretty low maintenance - and you've seen my bike so you know how little time I spend on it when I'm not riding.
    Biggest question for me is whether I'd run tubeless with a rim that has spoke holes. So far I've only used Mavic rims with solid beds, I have my doubts about how well the 'tubeless' rim strips really work.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stalk View Post
    Regular pressure, new dose of sealant once tire starts loosing some pressure overnight (every 2 month for me), no tube for short rides, for long ones friends are always carry one for their tubed setup

    More important what tires you'll run. Ultra light casings give more troubles, true UST none at all, rest in between. I use conti trail kings Protection, they take couple of days to fully seal since sidewall mesh have some holes once stretched. Still worth it.
    Tubeless on 3 bikes for over 6 years.

    Tubless Ready tires are easy to deal with. They have extra lip around bead so its a breeze to seat them, but no extra rubber USTs have, so no extra weight.
    I totally agree with everything you said! UST tires make all the difference in the world. Currently, I'm running Conti UST Trail Kings; I've had poor results with tubeless ready WTB and Hutchinson tires...the traction on those tires was not the issue. Your tire selection, tire pressure and riding style will all be factors...

  33. #33
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrWheels View Post
    I love tubeless, wouldn't go back to tubes now - it's really more about ride quality than flats...

    Ride quality... It is interesting but most people cannot notice the difference. If I gave 10 riders a blind test of tubeless tires vs. tubed tires of the same brand. I would say that 1 can guess correctly consistently (and only on very rocky trails which hardly exist here).

    I certainly cannot tell. At best a tubeless tire feels like it has 2 psi lower than a tubed. But then many UST tires have such a hard casing, they don't ride supple at all.

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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    Ride quality... It is interesting but most people cannot notice the difference. If I gave 10 riders a blind test of tubeless tires vs. tubed tires of the same brand. I would say that 1 can guess correctly consistently (and only on very rocky trails which hardly exist here).

    fc
    I suspect the ability to discern the difference is greatest on rigid bikes, less so on hard tails, and hardly noticeable on squishy bikes. I noticed a big difference upon changing to tubeless on my old rigid 29er several years ago. Certainly the ride quality difference had to do with the lower pressures I was able to run without pinch flatting. Actually bottomed out my Panaracer Rampage 'suspension' repeatedly on Dirty Harry, and without incident.
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  35. #35
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by Entrenador View Post
    I suspect the ability to discern the difference is greatest on rigid bikes, less so on hard tails, and hardly noticeable on squishy bikes. I noticed a big difference upon changing to tubeless on my old rigid 29er several years ago. Certainly the ride quality difference had to do with the lower pressures I was able to run without pinch flatting. Actually bottomed out my Panaracer Rampage 'suspension' repeatedly on Dirty Harry, and without incident.
    I agree!! I was anal about it when I rode a hardtail with rigid fork. Now, I really can't tell. There is sooo much suspension and variables with carbon bars and frame. And then all these tires have different casing and tpis. And pressure is a big deal. Now, I can't tell between tubeless and tubed. My only hint is tubeless is that ones that leak every week.

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  36. #36
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    One tip I got from the LBS which seems to help seat the bead - spray the sidewalls with Windex when you're mounting the tire. Makes it seat easier, and seems to add a bit of stickiness when it dries so that it stays put better. Never have had to use a compressor with this method.

    Also I find it helps to overfill the tire initially (say to 50 lbs or so), rotate it around a few times, then let it sit overnight at the higher pressure. Then next day drop it down to your normal pressure. After that I generally have no issues with losing pressure, or at least it's significantly reduced.

    I used tubeless for a while, but gave up when I kept burping tires unless they were basically full-on DH casings. You'll be more prone to burping if you jump a lot. These days there are more/better rim/tire options for tubeless, and having recently gone back to tubeless I'm a lot happier.

    I hate getting flats. It's not that it's a huge deal to change a flat, it's just such a buzzkill. And after flatting a few times in races that I spent a lot of money on and drove a long ways too... well that was a lot of incentive to go tubeless.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by squashyo View Post
    Buying a bike that is coming with Tubeless set up. I tried Tubeless a long while back but hated it...imagine things have gotten much better.

    Anyhow, what do I need to know? Should I carry 2 tubes on rides? How do you handle certain situations? How often do I put in the Stans? Tire pressures (27s)?

    Any thoughts on the topic would be fabulous!

    Thanks!
    Don't worry about whether you have a tubeless wheel set or are using Stan's rim strips or another system. The most important things I have found:

    A) Add sealant about every 5-6 months. Also, keep the tire bead somewhat clean when adding sealant is very important.

    B) Don't use any DIY tires.....
    If you run UST tires with rim strips or another "ghetto" rim system my experience has been positive as long as UST or tubeless ready tires are used.

  38. #38
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    Like you im just beginning to use tubeless. The first tire i set up had to use a compressor to seal and air up the tire. After conducting some research i uncovered another method which doesnt require a compressor. Francis hit it when he suggested getting and using a valve stem remover. First: remove the valve stem and seat the tire using air only with a pump. Then with the valve stem still removed pour your sealant thru the stem and third replace the valve stem and air up. Basically what im doing is adding a step to the process so that im not trying to get the tire to air up AND seal at the same time. This method seems like it would be more successful in the field since it doesnt require using CO2 or a floor pump in order to create the velocity of air youd need to air and seal a tire in the field.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrm View Post
    After conducting some research i uncovered another method which doesnt require a compressor.
    But it's a great excuse to buy another toy...er, I mean tool for the garage...

    I tried to seat a Hans Dampf using all the tricks - valve core removed, sealant around the bead, completely tubeless-ready setup, high volume floor pump - and ended up pumping madly for about five minutes with no luck. Three seconds of 120 psig air from the compressor later and SNAP-SNAP-SNAP, right onto the rim.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKD View Post
    But it's a great excuse to buy another toy...er, I mean tool for the garage...

    I tried to seat a Hans Dampf using all the tricks - valve core removed, sealant around the bead, completely tubeless-ready setup, high volume floor pump - and ended up pumping madly for about five minutes with no luck. Three seconds of 120 psig air from the compressor later and SNAP-SNAP-SNAP, right onto the rim.
    Only thing is that you wont have that compressor out on the trail. It just seems that learning to use only a pump is a valuable skill to learn thats all.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrm View Post
    Only thing is that you wont have that compressor out on the trail. It just seems that learning to use only a pump is a valuable skill to learn thats all.
    You can seat a tubeless tire with a hand pump? Color me impressed.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stalk View Post
    I used to run tubes like you are, but then I got thorn in my wheel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spindelatron View Post
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    So squashyo- convinced or confused at this point? I get about as many flats as you (maybe 3) each year on our local trails, so it just doesn't seem worth it.

    However, I am trying to come up with a plan for my next D-ville trip!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spindelatron View Post
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    Epic meme

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtvert View Post
    So squashyo- convinced or confused at this point? I get about as many flats as you (maybe 3) each year on our local trails, so it just doesn't seem worth it.

    However, I am trying to come up with a plan for my next D-ville trip!
    Lots of solid info. I actually get about 10 a year...just a few locally. I am definitely going to give it a go especially since the bike will be set up that way.

    DVille sounds good but I am more excited about Pinecrest...keep me posted as I might join you though. Riding this weekend? Saturday AM looks pretty open for me if you are around.
    I'm not sure how this works.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrm View Post
    Like you im just beginning to use tubeless. The first tire i set up had to use a compressor to seal and air up the tire. After conducting some research i uncovered another method which doesnt require a compressor. Francis hit it when he suggested getting and using a valve stem remover. First: remove the valve stem and seat the tire using air only with a pump. Then with the valve stem still removed pour your sealant thru the stem and third replace the valve stem and air up. Basically what im doing is adding a step to the process so that im not trying to get the tire to air up AND seal at the same time. This method seems like it would be more successful in the field since it doesnt require using CO2 or a floor pump in order to create the velocity of air youd need to air and seal a tire in the field.

    Sealing a tire with a hand pump is like building fire with a sticks. Stay away and just say no.

    fc
    IPA will save America

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    Maybe I have just had exceptionally good luck, but I have never really had much issue with tubeless. The first time mounting tires there is a bit of a learning curve, but throwing some new tires on my wheels is a relatively quick process. It took me about 30 minutes to mount some 40C Happy Mediums on a set of Black Flags for my cross bike last week. I set them on their side on top of a five gallon bucket and checked on them every 30minutes or so. I think I had to air them up twice more and flip them twice and they have held air since.

    A few keys:

    1. Soap the beads before trying to seat them. I just use a bucket of water with some dish soap and a sponge. A quick blast with the air compressor and they seat right up.

    2. Once you add sealant, turn the wheel on its side and shake it to spread the sealant. I usually do this on both sides, then leave the wheel on top of a 5 gallon pail or a garbage can. Let it sit for about 1/2 and hour, air up if necessary, flip and repeat. Do this until the tire hold air. Soap the bead again to see where the air is escaping and direct the sealant to that area.

    3. I have been using the tubeless brew outlined in the 2nd post here:
    Best Tubeless Brew?

    I have had great luck with it. Sealant will last about a year before drying up and no Stan's boogers to deal with. If the bike sits for a while i will see a little bit of weeping, but not bad at all.

    For me it is worth the little bit of set up hassle as I can run low 20s pressures and have no issues. I am tipping the scales at 200 right now (too much beer, not enough riding), and I've gone as low as 22 front/26 rear and usually ride 24/28 on a 2.2 front and 2.1 rear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spindelatron View Post
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    I admire those who are not as lazy as I am

    I'll put it as a wallpaper.
    I used to run tubes like you are, but then I got thorn in my wheel.

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