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  1. #1
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    Tubes, tubeless, or slime?

    On my "real" mountain bike I have proper tubeless tires with Stans rims. They setup nice and short of a major casing cut I pretty much never have flats. I am a huge fan of tubeless technology.

    The only problem is.....

    I recently build up a new dedicated commuting bike and got some cheap wheels. With the cheap rims the tires did not setup tubeless.

    What are you guys using for your commuting bikes? Are you going tubeless or running old style tubes? Does anyone use slime in tubes and does that approach work as well as proper tubeless tires?
    Mark Farnsworth
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  2. #2
    I Ride for Donuts
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    I'm Ghetto tubeless on my commuter... WTB Speed disc rims, gorilla tape, homebrew sealant, non-tubeless specific tires. No flats on that bike in 3 years, and I'm in Goathead country.
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  3. #3
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    I haven't gone tubeless on my commuter, but I've thought about it the next time I replace tires. I've got a few hundred miles left on my current ones, and IME, it's not worth attempting to convert old tires to tubeless.

    I just run tubes in my commute bike. No issues so far, but the tires have a kevlar belt in them as well as thicker rubber in the tread area for puncture resistance. It'd be nice to have the same low incidence of problems, but with lighter and more supple tires. So, I've had no reason to try putting Slime in my tubes, either.

  4. #4
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    I just run flat resistant tires with tubes. Conti Gatorskins on my road and commuter. 3k miles and 1 flat (very sharp metal shard made it's way through).
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  5. #5
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    I'm running good old fashion tubes in my commuter. I've got cheap wheels and don't want to hassle with tubeless. I haven't had any problems with flats in a very long time. I've run slime in the past and it helps if you have issues with small punctures from goatheads or similar.

    I do run tubeless on my mountain bike but that has much better wheels/tires and I run significantly lower pressures so pinch-flatting is a concern.

  6. #6
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    I haven't jumped into the tubeless arena yet. Somehow it sees like it would be messy and I think you have to replace the sealant on some kind of interval - Ain't nobody got time for that. I have used the self sealing tubes with good luck on my foul weather bikes. Otherwise, I just change flats as I get them. I also keep the pressure pretty high in the MTB tires because I am a pinch flat expert.

  7. #7
    Natural Born Killer
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    I've just recently converted my mountain bike to ghetto tubeless and the conversion went well. So far I'm liking it. I'm still running slime tubes in my commuter and I'm not quite ready to make that leap yet. The slime tubes have been working well, but I also feel like maybe I've just been lucky. Last year I did have a staple in a tire that poked several pairs of holes in the tube and the slime couldn't keep up. One of my concerns with tubeless is dealing with the sealant mess on the side of the road while trying to fix a flat so I can make it home or to work.
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  8. #8
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    Full ghetto tubeless on my MTB and Stans No Tubes in the tubes on my Commuter bike punctures are a distant memory.

    See here for Ghetto Tubeless Conversion using gorilla tape: How to on ghetto tubeless conversion using Gorilla tape - YouTube

    See here about inflating the tyre:

    How to inflate a tubeless bike tyre - YouTube

    See here for running tubes with Stans in: Puncture proof flat proof your existing bikes inner tubes quickly, simply, effectively - YouTube

    Cheers

    Go out ride and enjoy.

    Joel

    PS ref changing the sealant only change it once you start getting puncture again... simple as that.
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    Hi I'am an On-One Carbon 456 mountain bike, follow me to find out what i get up to...

  9. #9
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    Good videos Joel. You skipped over the part where you actually got the bead to seal on the how to inflate video which seems like it might be the toughest part. Anyway, I might have to experiment with it sometime.

    Cheers!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by febikes View Post
    On my "real" mountain bike I have proper tubeless tires with Stans rims. They setup nice and short of a major casing cut I pretty much never have flats. I am a huge fan of tubeless technology.

    The only problem is.....

    I recently build up a new dedicated commuting bike and got some cheap wheels. With the cheap rims the tires did not setup tubeless.

    What are you guys using for your commuting bikes? Are you going tubeless or running old style tubes? Does anyone use slime in tubes and does that approach work as well as proper tubeless tires?
    I have three sets of UST rims (1 Mavic and 2 Shimano)...

    I run tubeless Knobbies, tubeless studs (they now have tubes because the side walls will no longer seal some 12000 km on them), and slicks. I ran the slicks tubeless but like most tires after significant amount of wear...15000 km the side walls do not seal up anymore.

    My last flat was a pinch on the rear slick going over a plate of metal.....the front tire was down to 30 psi (normally I run it at 70 +psi).

    I should maybe get some new tires and pay attention to the pressure more.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bedwards1000 View Post
    I think you have to replace the sealant on some kind of interval - Ain't nobody got time for that.
    Stongly temperature dependant....maybe a month in Arizona....maybe twice a year in Canada.

  12. #12
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    This is going to be really long...

    I think it really depends where you live, and what kindof tires you run. I am not in goathead country, and I tend to run big tires, so I maybe get 1 flat per year.

    I ran my three bikes tubeless for about a year and a half. They were all ghetto setups, with a pretty random mixture of tires and rims. They all went pretty well, but I'm back to tubes.

    For me it came down to time.

    Once I got really good at doing tubeless setups it still took at least 45 minutes per tire - between cleaning the old goop out of the tire and off the bead and rim, and airing it up, and shaking it, and letting it sit, I just could not get any faster. I have two bikes that I swap to studs over the winter and it just took too long.

    I also had more mystery leaks than I would have liked. Your tire is inexplicably flat after work, and it sounds like your sealant has dried up because you left it too long. You add some sealant, give it a shake, and hooray it's holding air! Tubeless is great! Except that sometimes it's flat again the next morning. Then you spend an hour troubleshooting where the leak is, when changing a tube would take five minutes.

    I have one bike that sits all winter. I checked on it, added sealant once or twice, and gave the tires a spin, but by spring both tires were flat. I added more sealant, and the front tire was basically good to go. But the rear tire never sealed again properly, and after a few weeks of slow leaks I had to pull it off, clean it up, and redo the tubeless from scratch.

    Tubeless was great at first, but it got worse over time as gunk built up on things. The bead seals got less reliable and more prone to mystery leaks. And my biggest frustration was the valve cores - whenever I really needed to add sealant, they were inevitably gummed up.

    tl;dr version:

    In a normal year I'd maybe spend 2 hours swapping studs on and off and fixing a flat or two. In the year and a half I ran tubeless I figure I spent upwards of 24 hours futzing with my tires.

    Now I run normal tubes, but I carry 2oz of sealant in my toolbag. If I have a flat I just inject a bit of sealant through the stem. I had to do that once last winter, the tube aired up, and is still going strong.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    Stongly temperature dependant....maybe a month in Arizona....maybe twice a year in Canada.
    I am indeed in Canada, but I don't actually *replace* the sealant, I just add watered-down stans before the stuff in the tire completely dries, and then pop the bead off maybe once a year, and scrap out the dried stuff to "save rotating weight".

    So far this has worked for the useful tread life of most tires.

    On-topic. I use tubeless for everything but my road bike.... and I seem to get a lot of flats on my road bike.

  14. #14
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    There is a new road tubeless setup. Rim and tire interface.

  15. #15
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    I tried the same tubeless setup I use on my MTB. Gorilla tape, Stans stems and Stans sealer. I ran 100psi and ended up losing air between the valve stem and its rubber base. When I took the stems out the stems looked like they were pushed out of the rubber bases slightly. This is in June-July heat in AZ so rubber does get soft. I'll keep doing tubeless in my MTB but went back to tubes on my commuter.
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  16. #16
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Plain tubes. Tires with the usual puncture resistant belt. I really only have trouble with the cheapest road slicks, with no puncture resistant belt at all.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  17. #17
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    Get some good, tough tires. They will be heavy. I have Bontrager hardcase 700x32s and have never had a flat on them. ( knock on wood)

  18. #18
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    Are smart guards worth the weight and cost over green guards? Anyone tried both?

  19. #19
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    Panaracer Pasela TourGuards and standard tubes. They roll well and I never worry about flatting.

    There are others, but I agree that a good tire combined with a regular tube works well.

  20. #20
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    I have been running belted tires, usually Conti or Schwalbe, for the last eight years or so with very good results. I'll usually pick up a nail or screw once or twice a year and have to change a flat roadside but that only takes a few minutes and is actually a hugely empowering experience. Given how few flats I get I have recently gone to ultralight tubes to cut some rotational weight with excellent results.

  21. #21
    I Ride for Donuts
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    On the nuisance/maintenance of tubeless:

    Before tubeless I was dealing with 7-12 flats per commute 'year' (school year for me, I'm a teacher). After Tubeless I deal with 0-1.

    I mixed up my own homebrew sealant (search for a thread in the 29er components section called "best tubeless brew"), and I have gone 10 months without adding sealant (pushing my luck there, but I average 4 or 5 months before I worry about it and add sealant...which takes about 2 minutes per tire if you use removeable-core valves, like the Stans ones, which I do.

    Jeffscott is right about temperature affecting sealant life... defininately can go longer in the winter.

    The 'hassle' of tubeless, based on my experience, is completely nonexistant. It can be a pain to get a tire to seat sometimes...so maybe once a year you have to do the air compressor/tire/rim dance to get a tire to seat up. Other than that, the predictability of it is total bliss compared to the "am I going to get a flat?" nature of using tubes.

    Would you rather change 10 tubes a year, or squirt some sealant into a valve stem once a year, while being virtually guaranteed no flats? To me it's a no-brainer.



    If you don't care about weight AND don't want to go through the tire-seating process, injecting sealant into a traditional tube is a win/win...although you still run the risk of a pinch flat.

    After being tubeless a few years, I see tubes as a 'band-aid' fix to get me home in an emergency, but I'd never use them long-term.
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  22. #22
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    I ride a fat tired bike year round on my commute and the only flats I have had have been from ripping the stems out in the winter when rolling at less than 5 PSI. In the summer I've rolled over glass and other detritus and, because of the lower pressures haven't yet had a puncture. Of course, riding a fatty with low pressure tires year round had made my legs look like He-Man's, but that's another story....

    In the past, in South Dakota with a high number of goat head thorns, I used slime liners - which worked fine until they got kinked, then they became the cause of the flats. I've also use kevlar impregnated tires and found that they generally work really well. I've not yet made the switch to tubeless so have no opinion on that.

  23. #23
    I Ride for Donuts
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    ^^ I tried those slime liners before I was tubeless (same issue...goatheads), and if you let the pressure go down below "as high as humanly possible" the edges of the liners would wear grooves in the tubes, and cause flats. The "Mr. Tuffy" liners have tapered edges which I thought would prevent this, but I went tubeless before I had a chance to try them.
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  24. #24
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    Tubes, tubeless, or slime?

    I run conti gator skins with mr tuffy and slime tires.
    Cause nothing sucks more then getting a flat at 5:15 am on a rainy morning.

    Bill

  25. #25
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    Tubes, tubeless, or slime?

    I used some liners (forget the brand) many years ago on my mtb and found that my local thorns (from honey locust and osage orange trees) are stout enough that they laugh at tire liners.

    Haven't used them in over a decade.

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