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Thread: Tubeless Tires

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    Tubeless Tires

    I'm looking to upgrade to tubeless tires and was wondering what everyone recommends. I'm currently riding a HT Motobecane 26" with Maxxis Crossmarks, which I really enjoy! I'm just a bit tired of changing tubes.

    I moved out here from Indiana last year and still figuring out what type of tires are best on these trails. Most trails in the midwest are hard packed dirt, not the loose stuff here. What do you recommend? Thanks!

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    So, are you looking for tubeless conversion *and* tire recommendations? Or just how to convert the Crossmarks?

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    Not looking to change out my rims, just tires. I'd love to keep my Crossmarks. Is it possible to convert them to tubeless?

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    Sure. (Almost) Anything can be made tubeless.

    Check for a Stan's rim strip kit for your specific wheels.

    Alternatively, contact Orange Seal and see if your wheel can be converted with their tape.

    In either case, use the Orange Seal sealant, as it doesn't dry out as fast in our climate here.

    There are also a number of ghetto tubeless methods. Search around the forums here and there are lots threads about that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maddslacker View Post
    In either case, use the Orange Seal sealant, as it doesn't dry out as fast in our climate here.
    .
    Are there issues here with tubeless because of the dry climate?

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    Yes, Stan's and Caffelatex tend to dry out quickly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maddslacker View Post
    Sure. (Almost) Anything can be made tubeless.

    Check for a Stan's rim strip kit for your specific wheels.

    Alternatively, contact Orange Seal and see if your wheel can be converted with their tape.

    In either case, use the Orange Seal sealant, as it doesn't dry out as fast in our climate here.

    There are also a number of ghetto tubeless methods. Search around the forums here and there are lots threads about that.
    If you are going to use tires and rims that are not designed to be tubeless, you need to be careful. It can be done obviously, lots of people do it, but be careful about using a tire that slips onto the rim really easily. If it's loose it's quite likely to blow off on you.

    I have had good luck using Specialized 2Bliss tires on a Mavic TN-719 rim. I haven't tried Orange Seal, but the next bottle of goop I get will probably be that stuff. Stans works fine for me (but guys, I gotta show you my latest booger! It is spectacular!)

    For ghetto setups where there isn't an available factory sealed rimstrip, I really like the stans yellow tape. I use it as the rimstrip on my wheels I run tubes in too. People use duct tape and/or electrician's tape, but the yellow stans stuff works super good and it's really not expensive. I think I've done three wheels from one $5 roll of tape.

    Then you need to get a tubeless valve stem. A trick I like to use to set up tubeless is to tape the wheel, at least two or three layers deep. Then use a hot nail to punch a nice round hole in it. Then I use caulk around the valve stem seal. Just put a tiny blob of caulk around your valve hole (inside the rim) slip the stem in and tighten up the nut on the outside of the rim. Then leave it overnight for the caulk to cure.

    All that said, tubeless presents a number of challenges, especially ghetto tubeless. You may very well wind up with rims and tires that don't play nicely. You may have headaches getting a tight bead to seat in the clincher hooks. You may futz about endlessly getting the thing to hold air. You will need a compressor...

    If all you really want is to not go through so many tubes, get sealant tubes. I ran them for years and years before I went tubeless. Heavy, and the weight is rotating, but they work. I will not say anything specific about the particular mechanical failure that they can help avoid, because that is bad luck. DO NOT SPEAK OF IT! TO SPEAK OF IT IS TO INVITE THE FAILURE INTO YOUR LIFE!

    But yeah, the easy way to avoid, uh, replacing tubes is to put sealant in tubes.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

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    Oh, I forgot to mention valves.

    I used Cafelatex valves when converting my fat wheels and they are awesome!

    They are $15 on Amazon for a pair, with free shipping.

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    For tires, I have been super impressed with Michelin Wild Race'rs. They are tubeless ready and mounted easily on two sets of wheels (tubeless ready Loaded Precision and UST Shimano, both 29er) They also mounted easily on my daughter's new Shimano UST wheels, but they were a pain on her Easton XC Ones with a Stan's kit.

    Mounting aside, I have also found them to be good for our Colorado terrain.

    They also make the Wild Grip'r with a beefier tread, if that's your thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maddslacker View Post
    For tires, I have been super impressed with Michelin Wild Race'rs. They are tubeless ready and mounted easily on two sets of wheels (tubeless ready Loaded Precision and UST Shimano, both 29er) They also mounted easily on my daughter's new Shimano UST wheels, but they were a pain on her Easton XC Ones with a Stan's kit.

    Mounting aside, I have also found them to be good for our Colorado terrain.

    They also make the Wild Grip'r with a beefier tread, if that's your thing.
    As maddslacker said these will work and here are some other options. Go with tubeless ready tires. UST's work well too. Maxxis, Continental, Kenda and Specialized 2Bliss all have good offerings in a variety of tire types and tread patterns. I enjoyed my Schwalbe Hans Dampf's. They were a great tubeless ready tire but wore out quickly here in CO. You really want something with a good sidewall casing. Ultra light weigh stuff tends to get ripped up quickly if you ride places beyond Green Mountain and Lair.
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    Thanks guys. Looking for something with the rolling ability like the Crossmarks, but will still bite into turns. I know that's great for Indiana's hard packed dirt, but seems like you need some tread out here.

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    As you can see from the above replies... just about anything works, with just about any tire. Set it up correctly and you'll be good to go.

    I do think it's funny that TomP loves the Stan's yellow tape; he's the first person I've heard say that. I personally think it's garbage- I use 1" black Gorilla Tape and have never had a problem. To each his own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smmokan View Post
    I do think it's funny that TomP loves the Stan's yellow tape; he's the first person I've heard say that. I personally think it's garbage- I use 1" black Gorilla Tape and have never had a problem. To each his own.
    Orange Seal tape has a bit of stretch to it, allowing it to 'snap' into place in the bed of the rim.

  14. #14
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    You might do yourself a favor and try a larger volume tire with tubes and see if the "changing tube" situation decreases. I presume you are pinch-flatting your tubes?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    You might do yourself a favor and try a larger volume tire with tubes and see if the "changing tube" situation decreases. I presume you are pinch-flatting your tubes?
    Actually, most of my flats have been by thorns. Only a couple pinch flats. I usually inflate my tires a little more than most people (around 35-39 psi).

    Might be a dumb question, but still learning, what do you mean by larger volume? Going from 2.1 to 2.2? Would I have to change out my rims too?

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    Quote Originally Posted by crosey View Post
    Actually, most of my flats have been by thorns. Only a couple pinch flats.
    Injecting sealant into tubes will fix this. But it is heavy.

    I usually inflate my tires a little more than most people (around 35-39 psi).
    Holy crap .. how do you have ANY traction?!? with tubeless you'll run 25 - 30, or even less depending on the tire construction. I run my 2.25 Michelins at 20/22psi.

    Might be a dumb question, but still learning, what do you mean by larger volume? Going from 2.1 to 2.2? Would I have to change out my rims too?
    Yes, that's exactly what it means. A lot of all mountain riders out here run 2.3" - 2.5" wide tires.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crosey View Post
    Actually, most of my flats have been by thorns. Only a couple pinch flats. I usually inflate my tires a little more than most people (around 35-39 psi).

    Might be a dumb question, but still learning, what do you mean by larger volume? Going from 2.1 to 2.2? Would I have to change out my rims too?
    If you're getting flats from thorns then larger volume will do you squat. Tubeless will definitely help out. That said - be prepared to do battle with setting up ghetto tubeless. It's not for the faint of heart.

    As a famous friend of mine once said: "But I mostly run tubeless, which works 97% of the time. The other 3% can be a real f**king b1tch, though. Make you wanna kick puppies and throw tools, in that order."

    Just for the record: 35-39lbs is ludicrous psi.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maddslacker View Post
    Holy crap .. how do you have ANY traction?!?
    Mainly tired of pinch flats and just deal with it. Still seem to figure it out. Sounds like I need a coach, might actually be able to keep up with people out here. HAHA.

    Like I said, I learned to mtb Indiana 4 years ago. All hard pack, dirt singletrack. Didn't have to worry about much rocks or loose gravel. Inflation didn't seem to make that big of a difference and traction wasn't an issue as long as you weren't riding slicks. Could bank a turn at almost 45 degrees if going fast enough. Learned quick you can't do that here.

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    35-40psi for a tubed 2.1 tire is perfectly fine. Biggest myth about tubeless is the ability to run stupid low pressures, yes you can run lower pressures and get better traction but there's a limit. Instead of pinched tubes you will get squirmy tires that burp air.

    The biggest benefit to tubeless is no more flats duh!, if you set it up right. There's some good advise here for setup but it can be a complete pain till you get the process down, but when you do just install tires and ride till the treads are done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crosey View Post
    Mainly tired of pinch flats and just deal with it. Still seem to figure it out. Sounds like I need a coach, might actually be able to keep up with people out here. HAHA.

    Like I said, I learned to mtb Indiana 4 years ago. All hard pack, dirt singletrack. Didn't have to worry about much rocks or loose gravel. Inflation didn't seem to make that big of a difference and traction wasn't an issue as long as you weren't riding slicks. Could bank a turn at almost 45 degrees if going fast enough. Learned quick you can't do that here.
    OK, a couple tips for mountain mountain biking as opposed to midwest mountain biking:

    Big fat tire, especially up front. Reduce pressure. Really tinker with it, take it down to the point where your weight and riding style don't cause pinch flats, but just barely. Nobody needs 40 lbs for that. If you're huge you might need 30. I'm huge, I run tubeless and if it's a 2.3 up front, roughly 20 lbs pressure. A little more if it's a 2.1. (narrower tires cost you cornering traction two ways--they need more pressure to not pinch and they are smaller. So you're cornering in rubble on a smaller, harder and less supple tire). You can go with a slightly narrower and less aggressive rear. Most everyone I know does that. I run a 2.2 (typically) at about 25 psi.

    Tubeless may or may not have you jacking around fixing your bike less. But even at the same pressure they are more supple because when the casing deflects it doesn't have to deform as much material. Less rolling resistance and better cornering traction at the same pressure using the same tire with a tube.

    One other piece of advice: here in Colorado we are ***** about our wheel size. Please either declare that you are going to switch wheel sizes and be a dick about it or start being a dick about your current wheel size.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    <snip>

    One other piece of advice: here in Colorado we are ***** about our wheel size. Please either declare that you are going to switch wheel sizes and be a dick about it or start being a dick about your current wheel size.
    QFT.

    I ride 26" wheels and can't believe ANYONE is buying all this goddam hype about 29" wheels and 650b wheels.

    Retahded, I tell ya. Completely reTAHded.

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    Tom - Thanks for the info! I'm pretty certain at some point I'm going to switch to 29er or 27.5, but right now I can't afford a new bike (So I'm stuck with 26 for a few years). Not trying to be a dick about anything, I'm just trying to learn what's best to maximize my riding experience.

    Tickle - Thanks! My biggest reason for switching is to eliminate flats from thorns and run a little lower psi without pinch flats. I really don't want to go with sealant. Not sold on the weight and I've heard it's a mess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crosey View Post
    <snip>
    Tickle - Thanks! My biggest reason for switching is to eliminate flats from thorns and run a little lower psi without pinch flats. I really don't want to go with sealant. Not sold on the weight and I've heard it's a mess.
    If you don't go with sealant you are going to be in a world of hurt. Mainly due to the fact that you will continue to get flats from thorns/punctures. But you've heard right - it's a mess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    As a famous friend of mine once said: "But I mostly run tubeless, which works 97% of the time. The other 3% can be a real f**king b1tch, though. Make you wanna kick puppies and throw tools, in that order."

    Just for the record: 35-39lbs is ludicrous psi.
    Spot on, some tire/rim combos just don't work. And my over weight butt runs 35 psi. BTW, more sealant = less problems.

    Best way to run tubeless is to just buy fully tubeless rims, I hate messing around with Stans strips / Ghetto. Mavic is my favorite but there are others.
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    In my experience, it's more about the tire as any wheel can be converted to tubeless. I would def recommend a tubeless ready or UST tire(same thing), with sealant. Those Crossmarks might not cut it plus you probably want a meatier tire like some have already said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tickle View Post
    2nd biggest myth about tubeless- you don't need sealant.
    Fist I've ever heard of this. Tubeless implies sealant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maddslacker View Post
    Fist I've ever heard of this. Tubeless implies sealant.
    I changed my post, I meant you do need sealant, def use sealant

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    As a famous friend of mine once said: "But I mostly run tubeless, which works 97% of the time. The other 3% can be a real f**king b1tch, though. Make you wanna kick puppies and throw tools, in that order."
    I'd listen to this guy. He sounds smart.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ithnu View Post
    ...Best way to run tubeless is to just buy fully tubeless rims, I hate messing around with Stans strips / Ghetto. Mavic is my favorite but there are others.
    Truth.

    I have been having all my newer wheels built with Bontrager Dusters. True non-UST tubeless, and really wide. Offset spoke bed, eyeleted, makes a nice strong wheel.

    I have a very strong and experienced rear wheel that's a Mavic TN 719 set up ghetto as previously described (with crappy yellow stan's tape!). I have had great luck with that wheel, stupid easy and works every time, but that's as long as I use a Specialized Captain Control 2.2. I'm happy with that tire for a rear (a disastrous front tire) so for as long as the wheel holds up that's probably what I'll keep doing. The wheel has an absolutely stupid number of miles on it, and the dt 240 hub in it has even more. I may throw some tax refund money at a new 240s in a nice handbuilt Duster wheel.

    But I digress.

    To the Original Poster: do not do this. If you are just finding out in this thread that sealant is not optional for tubeless, you will be doing yourself a disservice by trying to set up your own ghetto tubeless. If you haven't ever done something like this, it could best case be really frustrating, and worst case it could cost you your front teeth.

    If you really want tubeless, get a real tubeless ready wheel and a real tubeless ready tire and real sealant. Honestly, if I were you I'd go to a shop with a six pack in your hand and ask them to sell you the **** and show you how it all goes together.

    But I'm like that.

    Really, at this time you should probably just get a new bike since you're about to drop that kind of coin on a wheelset.

    And now is the time to really decide what your wheel size is! I say 29. Everything else SUX! It SUX! Go 29er, get a whole new bike that comes with tubeless. Then fsckin A tell everybody you see on a 29er that they rule (high five them) and when you see somebody on anything else politely explain to them that their wheel size SUX!

    Happy New Year everybody! Time for me to ride downtown and start the serious drinking.
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    Tom, I planned to go to a shop to get the tires installed. I've learned my lesson, some things you just don't jerry-rig (unless it's a car built prior to 1990). I was mainly looking for what specific tires someone would recommend, but then everyone started giving great info, so I sat back and took it all in.

    All in all, I'll see what it'll cost and if it's worth switching if I'm going to get a new bike in a couple years.

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    What is the best air for tubeless tire set ups and where can I get it ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by danaco View Post
    What is the best air for tubeless tire set ups and where can I get it ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pau11y View Post
    Last one on middle Rainmaker...the supercross 55 footer

    That's one FUN huck!
    Oh' yeah, there's that kind of air too !

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    I built a new Niner EMD9 last April with a Hope hubs/Stan's ArchEX rims wheelset. I originally ran 2.35" Nobby Nics tubeless front and back until I wore them out. I liked the performance, but they did wear quickly. When I needed new tires in a hurry, and on a budget (for a road trip); I picked up a pair of 2.3" 2Bliss Purgatory tires, and have been pleased with them as well. I go 215-220lbs, geared up, and 30psi front and 25psi rear has worked well on both sets of tires.

    This has been my first experience with tubeless tires and sealant and I have been surprised that it is much easier than I expected. Both the Nobby Nics and Purgatories sealed up, first attempt, with very little mess. I do have a compressor, and I'm sure that helps immensely, but the general lack of hassle has made me a convert.
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    Quote Originally Posted by smmokan View Post
    As you can see from the above replies... just about anything works, with just about any tire. Set it up correctly and you'll be good to go.

    I do think it's funny that TomP loves the Stan's yellow tape; he's the first person I've heard say that. I personally think it's garbage- I use 1" black Gorilla Tape and have never had a problem. To each his own.
    Same here. 1" gorilla tape with DT Swiss 420 + Spech Ground Control 2.3. Perfect. The front wheel lost air the first week but stopped after tightening the valve and sealing everything. I just came from a month long trip and they're fine. Stan's sealant is a must.
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    No one mentioned that a spare tube is necessary with a tubeless set-up. Add the hassle of getting a tire to seat properly and tubeless takes far more time than changing or patching a tube.

    Avoiding pinch flats is a combination of correct tire pressure and ability to see and avoid sharp corners: lifting the front or rear end, even minimally.

    Punctures from thorns is a matter of luck and staying on the trail and never riding on sidewalks or through parks in the city.

    The same tubes have been in my tires for four seasons, with maybe three or for punctures and no pinch flats. My last pinch flat was from casing the coping at the skate park. A street tire with 50 psi lets go with hilarious results. Six or more people yelled, "Gun," and hit the deck.

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