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  1. #1
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    Specialized Fat Boy: How I went tubless

    There is already plenty of information on how to convert to tubeless, but Specialized Fat Boy rims have special needs because of the 10 vent holes in the rims. If you don't cover these holes, the air will escape out from the seams. Here's a pictorial of how I did it. The objective was to keep it simple, light and inexpensive.

    I just got this Expert model 24 hours ago and did the modification before it ever hit the dirt.

    Here are the vent holes, there are ten total. I supposed they were drilled to vent gas in the manufacturing process, but I don't know for sure.


    The first thing was to deburr the holes as they had some rough edges.
    I used a countersink cutter. Just knock the sharp edge off.




    Using 91% alcohol, the rim and any area where the tape will contact was cleaned. Make sure to clean your finger tips with the alcohol too as this keeps the tape from getting contaminated.
    Tubeless rim tape was first applied at the seam of the rim. Trim with razor blade.


    A piece of rim tape is cut to span and cover the holes. Make sure the tape has no wrinkles as it tapers into the red rim band. It took a few tries for me.




    After all the small holes are covered, it's time to apply the Gorilla tape.
    One layer of 3" wide tape is all it gets. The first thing was to cut a hole for the valve stem. I used a cardboard hole cutter (from Harbor Freight) to make a nice hole.


    With a block of wood, apply a layer of tape. This keeps the wood debris out of the actual piece that will be used. Lay the tape over the tape covered block.

  2. #2
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    Drill the tape in the center with a 6" leader to the edge.


    Nice hole.


    Place the Stan's valve stem through the tape and into the hole of the rim to center the new rim strap.


    Start working the tape around the rim. Don't worry about the center, the edges are all that matter. Make sure there are no wrinkles here.


    Take out the valve stem and reinstall the tube and tire. Air it up to 25 psi or so and let the tape glue cure for a bit.
    I took off the tire at this point and you can see that the pressure pressed the tape in the center nicely.


    Take the tube out and reinstall the Stan's stem. Put the tire on and inflate. There should be very little air leaking out. If there is, find the problem and fix it. It's easier to fix the problem without the mess of the Stans goop to deal with.
    Once you are satisfied with the results, add 6 oz of Stans.

    After I added the Stans, there was only one tiny leak (at the seam) that the Stans quickly took care of.

  3. #3
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    Re: Specialized Fat Boy: How I went tubless

    Cool thanks.

    Have you ridden it yet? Any issues with running super low pressures on those hook less rims?

  4. #4
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    Specialized Fat Boy: How I went tubless

    Excellent write up thanks.

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    Great write up!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by matto6 View Post
    Cool thanks.

    Have you ridden it yet? Any issues with running super low pressures on those hook less rims?
    I haven't ridden the bike at all. The maiden voyage will be this Thursday when I will be riding the entire 130 mile Mojave Road. Hope it works, but if there is a problem, I'll bring some tubes.
    I wanted to get this down while it was fresh in my head. I'll let you know how it worked out.

  7. #7
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    nice work raspberry, see you Thursday

  8. #8
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    I replaced the flat pedals with Ti clipless and removed the inner tubes.
    That's it. Here's where it's at.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Specialized Fat Boy:  How I went tubless-dsc_0394.jpg  


  9. #9
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    The tubes came in at 2 lbs 7 oz. for the pair.

  10. #10
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    Awesome! Appreciate the walkthrough.

  11. #11
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    I tried to do tubeless with tape on the front of my Fatboy. I didn't cover those holes individually instead I ran two strips of tape around the rim, with the tape going almost all the way to the edge of the rim.

    I could never get the tire to hold air for more than an hour or so. I looked at it a week later (much riding in between with the tube back in) and found that the tape did not adhere to anything in there - rimstrip or rim. The tape had pulled back from the edge exposing those holes, which is where I was losing air. It was really easy to pull the tape off, which is not good - it wasn't stuck to anything.

    I am not sure if I got a bad roll of tape or there is something on the rim that makes the tape not stick. I did it inside at room temp, so it wasn't a cold thing. I ended up going split tube with the front (which worked great and is probably about the same weight as two layers of tape). I'm going to take your lead here and try the back tire with tape again, but this time I'll wipe the entire rim with alcohol, maybe there's something on the rim.

    I'll be interested to hear your longer term review, and if the tape stays in place.

    The rim has a good bead pocket and I expect that it should hold the bead in place better than some rims - no need for foam or anything else to create a ridge.

  12. #12
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    I've been tubeless of my Fatboy since I got my in Dec. Basically the same setup. One strip along the left edge then right and one down the center. I've had it down to 2 psi. However I think the sweet spot is between 7-8 psi.

    Sent from my RM-893_nam_tmous_201 using Tapatalk

  13. #13
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    Excellent write-up and pictures.
    Thank you for posting!

  14. #14
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    Is that Kapton Tape?

  15. #15
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    Its Gorilla Tape

  16. #16
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    No, the clear / orange'ish tape used to plug the 'vent' holes. Not the black gorilla tape. It was called just 'tubeless rim tape' i guess? It's not yellow like Stans tape, it looks like kapton tape to me.

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    gotcha, I don't know about that tape.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drolic View Post
    Is that Kapton Tape?
    The roll says "Rim Tape DT Tubeless"
    Honestly, I don't know. The guys at the local bike shop gave me some for the project.
    I bet you could even use packing or gorilla tape for the holes.

    I thought about silicone for the holes. The problem is that if the silicone is on anything but in the hole, the tape will not stick to it.
    One might be able to use tiny self tapping screws to plug the hole. That would actually be a pretty solid way to do it. The biggest leak is at the seam.

    Both tires were flat this morning. I'm not worried because I didn't ride the bike after doing the job. I aired them up and shook them - they're holding fine.

  19. #19
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    great write up!

  20. #20
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    Let us know if they hold air in the long term.

    Sent from my HTC6500LVW using Tapatalk

  21. #21
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    Update!

    Fail.

    The tires were holding air but I decided to dismount them to have a looksie.
    It appears that the Stan's doesn't agree with the gorilla tape glue. Mostly, the tape was sealing just fine to the aluminum rim. There were breeches where the sealant got underneath the tape


    I thought about redoing it with two layers of tape that would span the entire distance, but then there is still a seam where the Stan's could penetrate.

    I went ghetto. It wasn't worth messing with the tape anymore. I'm sure it works for some, but I didn't feel confident with it.

    In haste, I promptly sliced an inner tube to do the ghetto fix when I realized I cut a 26" tube. No bueno. I forgot you need to start with a 24" tube. Back to the store for 24" presta tubes. All they had were stupid thick down hill tubes, but at this point I gotta get it done.

    Here's the filleted 24" tube


    Of course, it ends up with these flaps.


    I know it's going to be more difficult to service, but I couldn't stand the flaps so I did a circumcision. The flap strips came to 140 grams per tire.


    This *should* take care of it. I'll let you know.

  22. #22
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    Split tube. Tried and true. Not the lightest but the best!

  23. #23
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    So is the hassle of doing all this worth it for a fatbike? What's your primary motivation?

    I know that on a skinnier tires tubless allows you to run lower pressures without pinch flatting. But is that even true on a fatty? Does burping kick in before or after pinch flatting?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by matto6 View Post
    So is the hassle of doing all this worth it for a fatbike? What's your primary motivation?

    I know that on a skinnier tires tubless allows you to run lower pressures without pinch flatting. But is that even true on a fatty? Does burping kick in before or after pinch flatting?
    1. I'm riding the Mojave Road tomorrow. 130 miles through the desert with thorns hiding all over. The Stan's keeps me pedaling instead of fixing flats. I hope.
    2. Less rotating weight. Even with the split tube, I still lost at least a pound.

    Some say tires roll easier without tubes, I can't really tell the difference.

    I don't have any experience with pinch flatting on fatties or any experience riding fatties at all for that matter.

  25. #25
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    Yeah Excellent write up, thank you too. It starts to answer some questions that have been just theoretical in my head, until now.
    It's not dirt in my apartment --it's Earth.

  26. #26
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    I used gorilla tape on mine, been setup tubeless for 2 months and it holds air fine. Ran down to 3 psi (accidently) with no issues. I've also ridden this at -10 F without issues. The key is to make sure that the gorilla tape does not have any wrinkles that could allow the stans to leak through. Also, make sure not to exceed 9-10 psi on the high end. The higher pressure allows the air to blow the stans through the tape and it will start to leak.

  27. #27
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    Thanks, good info. I think I'm going to just use a split tube, its probably a bit heavier, but there's a lot less that can go wrong.

  28. #28
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    Specialized Fat Boy: How I went tubless

    Layers seem to be the key with gorilla tape. I have about 500 miles on my wheels and no leaks
    Marty
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  29. #29
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    How did you layer the tape? I assume one strip down each side then one down the middle? Did you run the tape up the side wall?

    I want to use gorilla tape (because I have all the materials at hand), but it seems I'm not the only one having issues with the tape adhering well to the rim. I spent a lot of time making sure I had no wrinkles in the tape where it attached to the rim, but it just slid down the rim exposing the seam and venting holes as I aired it up.

  30. #30
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    I'm curious about the suggestion for layers as well. Is it that thickness needs to be built up to create a larger diameter? It wouldn't seem to help with adhesion.

  31. #31
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    I just deburred, alcohol swiped, taped the holes, gorilla taped then aired up my rear tire. I'm getting air leaking out through the rim strip, which tells me it's getting under the tape somehow. I still don't think I'm getting good adhesion.

    It looks like I'm going back to the split tube method. I'll keep airing it up over the next few hours and see if the stans sets.

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  32. #32
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    Specialized Fat Boy: How I went tubless

    Layers are your friend and so is a heat gun

    I put a narrow layer on each side and then a wide layer down the middle.

    I also wipe the rim breads with sealant to help start the sealing process.

    Your first ride you will see a couple leaks but by the second ride they should be sealed up
    Marty
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  33. #33
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    I just pulled the tape off mine. I used two wraps of 2" tape. As I said above I taped up the holes and the seam with packing tape. I made sure there were no wrinkles in the tape stuck to the rim, but didn't really worry about how the two pieces stuck together in the middle. I put a tube in and pumped it up to 25PSI to set the tape. I pulled the tube out after a half hour or so.

    That was my mistake. When I pulled off the tape, there was a wrinkle where the two wraps met each other. It was big enough that there was sealant leaking onto the rim strip, but the sealant didn't seal it up. I'm going to give it one more shot with tape and make sure there are no wrinkles in the middle or on the sides.

  34. #34
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    The next chapter in my continuing saga, I know I should just give up and go split tube, but I'm stubborn. I bought a roll of 3" Gorilla tape. I cleaned the rim, and re-wiped with alcohol swipes. The 3" tape is wide enough that it spans the cutouts, I figured this would prevent Stans from getting into seams as long as it stuck well to the rim (and my packing tape stays in place). It was pretty easy to get the tape perfectly flat on both sides of the rim, it looked good when I was done, no wrinkles at all.

    I tried airing up without any Stans in first, but I couldn't get it to seal well enough. I probably should have stuck the tube back in just to push the tape down, but besides being stubborn I'm also impatient.

    I wiped a little Stans around the tire bead and it aired up instantly, that little bit of moisture is enough to start the seal. I got a small amount of seepage around the bead, but the Stans did its thing and sealed it up. Over an hour's time it lost some air, I pumped it back up and its been holding air with no pressure loss for about 2 hours now.

    It will take a while before I trust this one. I had the front (done split tube) down to 3 PSI (estimated) today, it worked great until I hit a rock sideways and burped out enough air that there wasn't enough in there to hold the seal. I got to within 25' of my truck before it lost the rest of its air. I pumped it back up with the floor pump and its holding fine now. I'll have to get some time on dirt to find the right PSI, which I imagine will be high enough to hold the tire on the rim. Today's conditions were a bit unique with softening snow and bare patches. I had to be aired way down to float on the snow, but it was too low once I hit the bare patches.

    I have a tube to go split tube and I'll do that if I can't get to the point where I trust this one.

  35. #35
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    I am a split tube guy but I have to set up another set of Bud and Lou tubeless on Clownshoes and I will try one new thing once. If it works great if it doesn't I am forever split tube!
    I bought a roll of 4" wide very flexible, very thin shrink wrap plastic that is used for packaging, like holding objects on a pallet. I am thinking I will try two or three wraps on the rim making sure to wrap over the edge of the rim and then insert a Stan's presta valve. Install the tire and air up to seat the bead. Remove valve core, insert 8 oz of Stan's sealant, reinstall valve core and air up. Slosh and ride. Should work!

  36. #36
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    Pretty sure I'll be back on the split tube before this is over.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jisch View Post
    Pretty sure I'll be back on the split tube before this is over.
    Sounds like your not having much luck with this. Your split tube failed while you were out riding, so go back to tubes?
    I'm waiting for my bike with 3" knards to come in and want to try tubeless but it seems like so much mixed results.

  38. #38
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    I have confidence in split tube, I have run them for years without issue. I have run them very low on snow with no issue. Yeah I burped today, it happens, no big deal.

    Sent from my HTC6500LVW using Tapatalk

  39. #39
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    Jisch, split tube works okay until running at low pressure in extreme cold. Your lack of adhesion could be helped with cleaning your rim as you said you have done, pulling the tape very tight, and maybe using a heat gun (I've never done this but it makes sense).

    It's surprising to me that a company like Specialized would put out a fat bike without putting any effort into making some tubeless rims.

  40. #40
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    Honestly I wanted to go tubeless on all my mountain bikes but hate to say it when I did a tubeless set up on my 29er SS I ended up saving meh amount of weight vs tube with stans in it. I switched back the next day after work. Never even took it out just didnt feel comfortable using it. Tubes work and you can always patch it or put stans / slime in them. I have yet to be stuck on the side of the trails. Maybe I have just been lucky but as they say "if it isn't broke don't fix it".

    Even with my fat bike I was so dead set on going tubeless but I said screw it and just put some stans in the tubes. Running over tons of gnarly stuff, blasting roots and logs and haven't had to think about anything other then riding. I hate to say it but I am just not sold on tubeless, id rather ride my bike vs having to mess with all the complication of making something work. I know people love tubeless but its just one of those things that I like the idea about it but I feel like its just not for me.

    I am sure you can run a DH 26er tube with some stans in it and have less issues then you have had. I have had my tire pressure so low on my fat bike that it bottomed out over some logs and when I took the tire off to see if I pinched it it was still golden. I had probably way to low of tire pressure in it on those rides so I couldnt see going any lower. I am only 150lb

  41. #41
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    ian0789, there are some things I would like to say but I'll hold my tongue. Suffice it to say that you live in New Jersey and don't have some of the riding conditions that many have where tubeless really shines. It won't take hitting the rims on roots and logs very long before you have some flat experiences. It does probably help that you are only 150 pounds.

  42. #42
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    I am just saying that's my thoughts on it even if I was in conditions that "called" for it people have been riding tubes for years no problem. I am not saying there isnt benefits but I for one like a tube and if you look from the 1st post doing the cheap setup on normal rims its more of a hassle and something id trust a tube on a 130mile ride vs having your tire fail on you.

    I am not saying its a fad or hype, I know tons of guys who love it (stans kits, ghetto, split tube) but its just not for me. Having to factor in all the things that can go wrong with the setups just doesn't seem worth it to me. Living in NJ has nothing to really do with a personal preference.

  43. #43
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    I hear ya, but there is less to go wrong with fat tubeless than with tubes. There isn't really any issues with tires failing. That's been talked about before and there wasn't anyone who could say they had a tire fail. That, is a non-issue. 130 miles isn't a long ride and there are few 130 mile rides where there is no help available, not even here in Wyoming.

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    I just got back from the desert. As mentioned before, we rode the Mojave Road from Afton Canyon to the Colorado river. 123 miles.
    The split tube tubeless set-up worked perfectly. The best thing was I never worried about it. By design, it would be pretty hard to fail. The only improvement might be to find a lighter tube than I did to start with, maybe drill for a Schrader valve?

  45. #45
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    The tubes I have are Schrader - I hope there is enough room to drill out for it, has anyone checked? As suspected my gorilla tape tubeless failed over night, completely flat. I'll try pumping it up again, but I just don't trust it.

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    How I did the gorilla tape…and it's worked for over 2 months with no failures. I bought the 2.88 wide tape. I started by putting 1/2 width on each side, making sure to run up the sidewall (lip) so that the side of the tire would pinch the tape to the rim. I then ran a strip down the middle, making sure to push it down into the middle (rim strip) before sealing it to the side tape. I also made sure that there were no wrinkles where the center strip of tape contacts to the side tape. Part of the problem with not pushing the middle all the way down first is that when pressure is applied, the tape slides to the center, even if using a tube to accomplish this.

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    Looks like I need to give it one more go with tape. The guys at gorilla tape love me.

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    I will say you are persistent, but I like that! Don't worry, your split tube will be there waiting.

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    Hey guys,

    I posted this elsewhere, but I used a 4" wide leading tape from Pegasus Auto website. Someone else posted it on one of the tubeless fat bike threads, so I tried it. I've done 4 Fatboy wheels and they all hold air perfectly. And I am only using one layer of this stuff, it's pretty thick. The tape hangs over the rim and you trim it to get to internal corners which covers the holes. I put a tube in it overnite, in a warm environment, to make sure it was adhered well. No issues. And I am running some low pressures.

    Jisch, I know you ride Case MTN, so you probably live close to me, I think I have enough to do at least one and probably two wheels if you want to try it. You can replace it at a later time, as I should be all set for at least this season.

  50. #50
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    By the time you do all that, how much weight are you actually saving?

    OP great post once again, I have learned a lot.

  51. #51
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    Approximately 1 pound per tire. The tubes are 630-670 grams each. The tape is 100-120 grams plus sealant, which is another 100-120 grams approximately. The sealant weight is very different from tube weight because it flows freely in the tire, so it does not require the same effort to spin up.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpd131 View Post
    Hey guys,
    Jisch, I know you ride Case MTN, so you probably live close to me, I think I have enough to do at least one and probably two wheels if you want to try it. You can replace it at a later time, as I should be all set for at least this season.
    Thanks! I'll give this Gorilla Tape one more shot, I didn't think I needed to go up the side of the rim, but that seems like a good idea that could help.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bearhunter View Post
    By the time you do all that, how much weight are you actually saving?

    OP great post once again, I have learned a lot.
    Not trying to save weight. Better ride and no flats.

  54. #54
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    Great thread… Thanks! Can't wait to try a fat bike tubeless conversion.

  55. #55
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    Specialized Fat Boy: How I went tubless

    Ah, thanks guys

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    Thanks for posting this step by step conversion. I followed it and it worked on my tires (i own a fatboy too). the difference is i taped both sides near the edge of the rim, then third application of the gorilla tape was the center. And as what as you described, put back the tubes to cure/seal the tape into the rim. Also, some differences, i just sandpapered the holes, smoothing them and I applied the gorilla tape to those holes too. On the last step of blowing up the tires, I used CO2 Cartridges, mostly 20gms, you need some instant/powerful blast of air for those suckers to blow up thus sealing those beads. Again, thanks man for the post,it was worth the try. Props to you!
    2013 Niner Air 9C
    2014 Specialized Fatboy
    2013 Specialized Carve SL

  57. #57
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    Interesting, let us know how it holds up

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    It held up ok, it's been more than 48 hrs, still at 12psi.

    Just to summarize, I followed the the instruction except the ff:
    - i didn't drill on those holes, I just sandpapered it, smoothen it out and apply the gorilla tape to seal it.
    - after taping it (those tapes will run across the edge of the rim, use any blades to cut out edges, rim should maintain flat surface for tire bead to latch on.
    - gorilla tape first both sides and lastly the center.
    -put back the tubes, inflate to 12 or at least for the newly applied gorilla tape to cure/stick to the rim. let it stay for awhile, mine's 30 mins.
    -deflate, remove tubes, attach stans presta valve, all the while not disturbing the tire bead seal on the other side, this'll help pretty much inflate your now tubeless tire so easily, you have no choice but to re-insert your tubes back to reseal it, inflating both unsealed beads is a waste of time, no amount of CO2 can pop both beads that fast to seal it (too much gap)..unless you have a industrial tire pump.
    -apply 6ozs/240ml of stans sealant. screw in tight those valves.
    -inflate, I use CO2 20gms cartridge, it'll pop those suckers enough to seal the beads. prepare to be surprised, haha..
    -wiggle, run, shake, dance or just shimmy with your tire so that all corners/beads the sealant to sip in. you'll hear lots of air sipping or the sealant leaking out, that's normal. wait for a few secs and it'll die down, meaning the sealant is doing it's job.
    -inflate your desired psi using a floor pump.
    -and off you ride!!! no more flats! pure peace of mind...and less weight too. it took of 1.4 lbs off my fatboy.
    2013 Niner Air 9C
    2014 Specialized Fatboy
    2013 Specialized Carve SL

  59. #59
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    What did you lay down in lue of the rim tape (before using the gorilla tape)? Did you use some ribbon and just tape over that?

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    just straight up gorillla accross the OEM (white) rim tape.
    2013 Niner Air 9C
    2014 Specialized Fatboy
    2013 Specialized Carve SL

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    Ah..gotcha thanks

  62. #62
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    I pulled apart my wheel again. I can see that the gorilla tape just doesn't adhere to the rim material.

    The 3" tape doesn't go up the edge of the bead (it doesn't even make it to the edge). I got the tire to air up, but it wouldn't hold air and again, I could hear air leaking out from one of the cutouts in the rim, so I knew air was getting under the tape (again).

    When I pulled the tire off I could literally slide the tape on the rim in some spots, so Stans got under the tape again. I cleaned everything up with ammonia, water and alcohol again. I then took the 2" tape and ran strips around each side of the rim, so now I have tape running up the edge of the rim. I trimmed it off extra right at the top of the rim.

    I aired up by putting a little Stans around the tire and hitting it with the air compressor. The bead made a huge pop when it moved into the bead seat. I got bubbles around the rim, but right now I don't feel or hear any air moving out under the rim strip. The Stans needs to set up, but I think it will seal.

    This is the last attempt though, I'm on to split tube if this doesn't work, I'm essentially creating a tube with tape and I'm certain the weight differential between a tube and this much tape is negligible (if there really is a difference).

  63. #63
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    Tire was low, but not flat this morning. I think this one will hold based on my past experience with Stans.

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jisch View Post
    Tire was low, but not flat this morning. I think this one will hold based on my past experience with Stans.
    Your split tube is calling you!

  65. #65
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    What people need to know is just holding air does not necessarily mean it's a success, it first needs to be well ridden at low psi.

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    I may still have to go there!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    What people need to know is just holding air does not necessarily mean it's a success, it first needs to be well ridden at low psi.
    What he said!

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    I agree! I've done 3 (now 4) fat tires tubeless and countless regular tires. I can predict pretty well whether the tire will be a success. We are probably at the end of our "low pressure" season here, so I won't get to test these under 7 or 8 PSI until next winter - all that to say I might not be the best test subject on whether this is successful (though I know split tube is successful!).

  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    What people need to know is just holding air does not necessarily mean it's a success, it first needs to be well ridden at low psi.
    And then, it needs to be ridden at low pressure in extreme cold, which many aren't successful at.

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    What size tubes do you think would work well on the FatBoy rims to go split tubeless with?

    Thanks!

  71. #71
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    I don't have a fat bike but am fat curious and have done some 26" ghetto tubeless setups. I highly recommend schwalbe tubes. Because their cores are removable even in Presta and Schrader valves are fully threaded.

    For a fatty i read that a 24" mtn tire hugs the rim well and splits open wide enough. So, schwalbe AV10 add should work great.

  72. #72
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    Q-Tubes 24X2.75 presta with remove able core work very well. I use these on Clownshoes. Simply trim off the excess when done for a clean look.

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    Cool, thanks for the info!

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcappy View Post
    ... trim off the excess when done for a clean look.
    This was called a circumcision earlier in thread. Why are we not talking about that? Or has this new term (that im now going to use as often as possible) already made the rounds?

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    My Gorilla tape experiment seems to be holding now. I lost most air overnight, which sounds bad, but I could see the Stans had set up and sealed in the bead. I added some more Stans to the tire (on shaking the tire I heard none sloshing around) and aired it up this morning, there was NO bubbling at the bead and four hours later its still at the same PSI. I need to take a solo ride on it to verify its all set, but it looks good for now. I would say that the split tube tire sealed up much more quickly and with less Stans than I used in this tire.

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by drolic View Post
    This was called a circumcision earlier in thread. Why are we not talking about that? Or has this new term (that im now going to use as often as possible) already made the rounds?
    Call it whatever you want to. It's just making a nice clean rim/tire interface.

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    Gcappy FTW, I went out to grab the bike for a ride this morning and it was completely flat. Ugh. I pulled the tire apart and the Stans had once again worked its way under one of the narrow strips on the side.

    I cut a tube, laid it in, washed it off with soapy water and pumped it up with the floor pump (wife was still sleeping so I couldn't use the air compressor). It aired up like I had a tube in there. Trimmed the fat and went for a ride.

    In a 2 hour ride, no loss of air I didn't even have a single bubble of Stans around the rim.

    I didn't have time to drill out the hole where the stem comes through, so I just repositioned the rim strip so it pokes through a cutout. It looks stupid, but I don't _think_ there is any harm in leaving it like that - worst case some damage to the stem on the tube I guess. There's not a lot of room for drilling, so I am not all that psyched to drill it anyway.

    So maybe some others got Gorilla tape to work, good on you, but for me split tube is the way to go, its 100% waterproof, zero chance of the tape getting undermined by the Stans. If I could span the entire rim with a single piece of tape, maybe it would work.

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    If I read that right you only had a schrader tube?

  79. #79
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    Yeah, I used a tube that is schrader. I don't have a presta one on hand right now, this was one of the reasons I wanted gorilla tape to work so badly, I had everything in stock to make that work.

    For split tube I think schrader is easier as you can pull the valve core and refill stans easily. I find the removable core presta tubes to be a bit of a struggle to get the core out and get the stans in, its only a slight difference though.

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jisch View Post
    Gcappy FTW, I went out to grab the bike for a ride this morning and it was completely flat. Ugh. I pulled the tire apart and the Stans had once again worked its way under one of the narrow strips on the side.

    I cut a tube, laid it in, washed it off with soapy water and pumped it up with the floor pump (wife was still sleeping so I couldn't use the air compressor). It aired up like I had a tube in there. Trimmed the fat and went for a ride.

    In a 2 hour ride, no loss of air I didn't even have a single bubble of Stans around the rim.

    I didn't have time to drill out the hole where the stem comes through, so I just repositioned the rim strip so it pokes through a cutout. It looks stupid, but I don't _think_ there is any harm in leaving it like that - worst case some damage to the stem on the tube I guess. There's not a lot of room for drilling, so I am not all that psyched to drill it anyway.

    So maybe some others got Gorilla tape to work, good on you, but for me split tube is the way to go, its 100% waterproof, zero chance of the tape getting undermined by the Stans. If I could span the entire rim with a single piece of tape, maybe it would work.
    Sorry Jisch. Following your story it was almost inevitable you would come back! It's fun to try different things and some people have had luck with tape and foam but I want simple and sure that where split tube comes in. Weight loss is nice but is a small concern for me. My primary concern is no flats followed by better ride.
    I will say that I am going to give my other idea one try. If it works it will be the bomb. If not it's right back to the split tube forever!
    What is it you ask:
    4" wide stretchy plastic used to secure things to pallets like shrink wrap. A couple wraps around a Clownshoe with this stuff will probably not register on the scale. That and a Stan's presta valve with removable core and that should do it. It will be a couple weeks before I get to it but I will let you know. Split tubes are at the ready!

  81. #81
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    Mostly I do tubeless for flat free riding, but there is a significant weight savings with a split tube over that heavy tube that came in the bike, and I'm not so sure that there is much of a weight difference between the tape and a split tube. I don't have a scale to measure.

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    Jisch, I believe you're right, it would be very close with the tape that I used. The tape weighs 120-130 grams. I am gonna be building a LB fat rim wheelset soon and the tape used on that set will be even lighter. I am estimating about 60 grams less. Between the rim and tape there will be a significant difference in wheels.

  83. #83
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    Ever since I got my Fatboy in early February, I had been thinking of going tubeless. However, after reading all the problems reported here I think I'll stick with tubes. One change I did make was to replace the stock Specialized tubes at 610g each with Surly ones at 381g each. Saved over a pound total and I can still use the Spec's as spares (or give them to unsuspecting friends).

  84. #84
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    Split tubeless works great on these rims and tires, Gorilla tape not so much.

    Sent from my HTC6500LVW using Tapatalk

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    Re: Specialized Fat Boy: How I went tubless

    Quote Originally Posted by Jisch View Post
    Mostly I do tubeless for flat free riding, but there is a significant weight savings with a split tube over that heavy tube that came in the bike, and I'm not so sure that there is much of a weight difference between the tape and a split tube.
    But what about compared to just running a lightweight q-tube? And if you want flat protection put some stans in it?

    I'm still failing to see the point in doing all this work to go tubeless.

  86. #86
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    I have run light tubes before, and got two pinch flats in three rides - this was summer rides where there were a lot of rocks and roots, but I didn't feel comfortable with the light tubes.

    I know I posted a lot here that probably makes it seem like a pain - and the Gorilla tape was painful! The split tube was NO problem at all, both front and rear tires aired up and stayed aired up easily. The rear tire aired up with a floor pump and it was really like there was a tube in there - that's how easy it was to do.

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    I'm with Matto on this, too much effort and hassle to go tubeless. I've got a bunch of good rides with lighter tubes and no issues so far, granted they have been winter rides so I probably haven't hit sharp edged objects as hard as I will in the near future but pinch flats are part of the game with mt biking. Until you find that "just right" pressure they will happen. I have had some encounters with sharp objects and wondered "will this be the flat?" and it hasn't happened yet.

  88. #88
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    I get that not everyone wants to do tubeless, it takes a bit of messing about to make it work sometimes. I've done many other bikes split tube over the years so I'm comfortable with what it takes and confident when it works. To me the chance of an issue is no worse than the chance of getting a pinch flat with a tube.

    The Specialized Ground Control tires and Fatboy rims are probably the easiest tire/rim set I've ever done split tube (once I got over my pig headed-ness about doing it with tape).

  89. #89
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    Specialized Fat Boy: How I went tubless

    Any pics of how to do it with a split tube?

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    I didn't take pics, but its pretty easy:

    Get a 24"x 2.3 tube, cut the tube lengthwise starting at the valve (cut it down the middle so both sides are equal). Lay it over the rim with the valve stem in the hole, as I said above I got a schrader valved tube, so I repositioned the rim tape so the hole is in one of the cutouts, but you can also drill the hole so a schrader will fit, I think).

    Take a wet rag with a small blob of dishwashing soap and wipe the tube, this removes the powder, provides a little lubrication to help start the filling process. Put the tire on as you would a normal tire.

    If you're a gambler (like me) put 4-6oz of Stans in the tire at this point. If you're the cautious type, you might want to try airing it up first to make sure everything will work before you commit to the Stans. You can also put a little Stans on the bead, if the soap isn't staying in place or is drying out before you get the tire started.

    Make sure the bead on the tire is sitting as far out on the rim as you can get it on both sides, it doesn't need to be all the way out, but at least get it so its resting towards the outside so there are no large gaps where air can escape.

    If you are using a schrader valved tube, remove the valve core, it just makes for better air flow for airing up. I used a compressor for my first one and the floor pump for the second one. It should air up like there's a tube in there. If not you can take a ratchet strap and go around the tire, tighten it down just a little, this will force the beads out a bit. I didn't need to do that for either tire, but it can help. Sometimes I've had to work the bead out by hand a bit as I tried to add air to get that bead up against the ridge so it will start taking air.

    As you air up the beads should migrate out toward the rim until they fall into the bead groove in the rim. One of my tires made a popping sound as the bead got in place (done with an air compressor), the other (done with a floor pump) moved out slowly so it didn't make that sound.

    If you didn't put Stans fluid in before, add it through the valve stem, replace the valve and you're good to go. There may be some small bubbles that come out through the rim/bead interface, that should stop as the Stans seals it up over a period of an hour or so. My first tire had some bubbles, my second one did not. Shake the tire and roll it around to get the fluid where it needs to be to seal up any leaks.

    I keep adding air during the Stans cure time, keeping the tire at 15-20PSI. I let it sit overnight before airing down to riding pressure.

    Take a pair of scissors and trip off the excess tube that's hanging out over the rim. If you're a gambler (like me) you can trim it very close. By trimming it close you are reducing the chance that you'll be able to re-use that tube if you have to re-do things down the road - its hard to get it in exactly the right place if its trimmed close.

    Hope that helps!

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    Specialized Fat Boy: How I went tubless

    Great write up, thank you Jisch!

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    bpd131- would you mind elaborating on the leading edge tape you used? Seems like you had no problems. Is it the 11mm black tape from pegasus? You say it hangs over the rim and you trim it- do you trim it so it's still going up the wall of the rim (the bead lock)? Or just into the corner below the wall of the rim?

    Quote Originally Posted by bpd131 View Post
    Hey guys,

    I posted this elsewhere, but I used a 4" wide leading tape from Pegasus Auto website. Someone else posted it on one of the tubeless fat bike threads, so I tried it. I've done 4 Fatboy wheels and they all hold air perfectly. And I am only using one layer of this stuff, it's pretty thick. The tape hangs over the rim and you trim it to get to internal corners which covers the holes. I put a tube in it overnite, in a warm environment, to make sure it was adhered well. No issues. And I am running some low pressures.

    Jisch, I know you ride Case MTN, so you probably live close to me, I think I have enough to do at least one and probably two wheels if you want to try it. You can replace it at a later time, as I should be all set for at least this season.
    "There are two kinds of mountain bikers in the world: those who are faster than me, and me."

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    Quote Originally Posted by alshead View Post
    bpd131- would you mind elaborating on the leading edge tape you used? Seems like you had no problems. Is it the 11mm black tape from pegasus? You say it hangs over the rim and you trim it- do you trim it so it's still going up the wall of the rim (the bead lock)? Or just into the corner below the wall of the rim?
    Sure I used this tape: Part number 3323-4 Black Leading Edge Tape, 4 inch x 100 feet, 11 mil Thickness from www.PegasusAutoRacing.com. It is NOT 11mm wide, it is 11mils thick and it is 4 inches wide.
    I trimmed it close to the top of the bead and because it was stretched on initial taping, the edge popped in to BSD and rode up the edge (bead lock area) a little. I believe how up the edge is irrelevant as long as it is beyond the BSD.


    The theory is not that much different than using a tube, except for the separate stem, which doesn't matter, as long as the tube has a removable core for future sealant charging. This tape is thick and heavy. 110-130 grams for the rim. I am not sure what a split tube weighs.

  94. #94
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    Specialized Fat Boy: How I went tubless

    Just curious, but by the time you use all that tape, is it really that much lighter than a lightweight split tube?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bearhunter View Post
    Just curious, but by the time you use all that tape, is it really that much lighter than a lightweight split tube?
    I agree that it may not be much lighter, if at all, but I guess it depends on the tube you split and use. The tubes in my Fatboy were 670 grams or so. Jisch I think used a 24" tube that was much lighter. I saved just over a pound per wheel.

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    ^Sweet- thanks. Ordered that tape and will try the setup when it arrives. I previously had Rolling Darryls, one set up with split-tube, one set up with Gorilla tape, both worked great in all conditions, but the Gorilla Tape always had a slow leak.

    FWIW, one reason (for me) to use something other than a split tube is the re-use factor. It can be tricky to get a split tube set up more than once after trimming the excess off.

    bpd131- not to be dense, but when you say you ran it up to the top of the bead, you mean to the top of the wall of the rim? You say like a tube, but you mean like a split-tube, correct?
    "There are two kinds of mountain bikers in the world: those who are faster than me, and me."

  97. #97
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    You can trim a split tube with enough extra to allow for re-use, both the split tubes on my bike right now are on their second spin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alshead View Post
    ^Sweet- thanks. Ordered that tape and will try the setup when it arrives. I previously had Rolling Darryls, one set up with split-tube, one set up with Gorilla tape, both worked great in all conditions, but the Gorilla Tape always had a slow leak.

    FWIW, one reason (for me) to use something other than a split tube is the re-use factor. It can be tricky to get a split tube set up more than once after trimming the excess off.

    bpd131- not to be dense, but when you say you ran it up to the top of the bead, you mean to the top of the wall of the rim? You say like a tube, but you mean like a split-tube, correct?
    Yes, that is what I meant.. Good luck

  99. #99
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    Leading Edge Tape is the bomb

    Wow- bpd131- thanks for the tip on the tape. Easiest tubeless setup I've ever done on a fatty (and I've done a few). I highly recommend this stuff to anyone looking to go tubeless- on any fat wheel set.

    Part number 3323-4 Black Leading Edge Tape, 4 inch x 100 feet, 11 mil Thickness from www.PegasusAutoRacing.com.

    I pulled the tape around tightly and pressing into place as best as possible while turning the wheel, overlapped about 10" over the valve hole, and cut. I pressed it into the corner of the bead with a tire lever, then trimmed it using a utility knife to about 1/2 up the rim wall. Inserted valve stem and removed core and the rear seated right up without any coaxing (using a compressor). On the front, I had to put a tube in to get the tire to seat- left it for 30 minutes and popped one side, removed the tube and inserted the valve stem, removed core and it seated right up. I put in about 60ml of Orange's new cold weather sealant (it's not cold here any more, but I didn't want to end up mixing sealants next winter), a few spots around the bead bubbled and sealed right up. Left them overnight at @ 20psi and rode them this morning at around 6-8psi. Absolutely awesome.

    Using the Leading Edge Tape, I dropped nearly 1lb off of each wheel (from 7lbs 7oz to 6lbs 9oz), and my Medium Fatboy Comp, with CB Egg Beaters, AND a Command Post dropper comes in at 29lbs 6oz.

    Word.

    Specialized Fat Boy:  How I went tubless-img_6300.jpg

    Specialized Fat Boy:  How I went tubless-img_6301.jpgSpecialized Fat Boy:  How I went tubless-img_6304.jpgSpecialized Fat Boy:  How I went tubless-img_6328.jpgSpecialized Fat Boy:  How I went tubless-img_6329.jpgSpecialized Fat Boy:  How I went tubless-img_6339.jpg
    "There are two kinds of mountain bikers in the world: those who are faster than me, and me."

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    Quote Originally Posted by alshead View Post
    Wow- bpd131- thanks for the tip on the tape. Easiest tubeless setup I've ever done on a fatty (and I've done a few). I highly recommend this stuff to anyone looking to go tubeless- on any fat wheel set.

    Part number 3323-4 Black Leading Edge Tape, 4 inch x 100 feet, 11 mil Thickness from www.PegasusAutoRacing.com.

    I pulled the tape around tightly and pressing into place as best as possible while turning the wheel, overlapped about 10" over the valve hole, and cut. I pressed it into the corner of the bead with a tire lever, then trimmed it using a utility knife to about 1/2 up the rim wall. Inserted valve stem and removed core and the rear seated right up without any coaxing (using a compressor). On the front, I had to put a tube in to get the tire to seat- left it for 30 minutes and popped one side, removed the tube and inserted the valve stem, removed core and it seated right up. I put in about 60ml of Orange's new cold weather sealant (it's not cold here any more, but I didn't want to end up mixing sealants next winter), a few spots around the bead bubbled and sealed right up. Left them overnight at @ 20psi and rode them this morning at around 6-8psi. Absolutely awesome.

    Using the Leading Edge Tape, I dropped nearly 1lb off of each wheel (from 7lbs 7oz to 6lbs 9oz), and my Medium Fatboy Comp, with CB Egg Beaters, AND a Command Post dropper comes in at 29lbs 6oz.

    Word.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Nice job with pics. I never seem to find the time for that, or even weighing everything every time. Glad I could help.

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