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  1. #1
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    Tubeless vs tubes??

    I've ridden tubeless and tubed fat on a plethora of tire and rim combinations over the past few years and I'm interested in other peoples comparative experiences who have experience with both. Good or bad.

    Personally, at this point I'm leaning tubeless since there is the issue of friction between the tube and tire which seems to be rarely discussed. To me, that spells greater inefficiency to sealant. Which is the lesser of evils?

  2. #2
    All fat, all the time.
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    Way less flats with tubeless here. even huge sticks lodged in tire, with tubeless I rode up to 10 miles, with tube, flat in seconds.

  3. #3
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    I liken tubed riding to riding in soft dirt as opposed to hard pack. It just seems to feel sluggish. Same thing I noticed with skinny tires, but on a larger scale.

    I run tubeless and am quite content. No burps, no slipping tires, all seems right with the world.

    And yes, all the normal benefits of tubeless, less weight, fewer if any flats etc, still hold ture too.
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  4. #4
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    Running a tubeless front right now, had 3psi and rode a trail with a lot of rocks never had a problem other then fast cornering, I am going to switch the rear after we get some real cold to see if the tubeless works at real cold temps.

  5. #5
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    Go tubeless

  6. #6
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    I went tubeless this season and Iím not looking back. With tubes I would have to run higher air pressure = less traction. If I lowered the pressure to the point I got good traction I would wind up getting pinch flats.
    Now I get great traction the trails I ride have lots of rocks and roots and I havenít had a single flat. And I ride just about everyday.

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    fewer flats is my main reason. I used to get 1 per ride, but sometimes 2,3, 4, or 5. Super annoying! With tubeless, I've only had problems as a tire gets old. My ust ardent started leaking where the bead is attached to the tire and nothing I would do made any difference and over time it got worse. But still better than tube flats, as it just slowly lost air and I'd repump every 5 miles.

    I had wtb prowler tires and they burped alot when run tubeless, but every other tire has been good.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MendonCycleSmith View Post
    I liken tubed riding to riding in soft dirt as opposed to hard pack. It just seems to feel sluggish. Same thing I noticed with skinny tires, but on a larger scale.

    I run tubeless and am quite content. No burps, no slipping tires, all seems right with the world.

    And yes, all the normal benefits of tubeless, less weight, fewer if any flats etc, still hold ture too.
    Not sure about lower weight (except for uma's) but everything else you said sounds good.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTR2ebike View Post
    Not sure about lower weight (except for uma's) but everything else you said sounds good.
    In my case, I'm running Uma's. But any well executed ghetto tubeless version should be a chunk lighter too, unless you know something I don't???
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  10. #10
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    So I want to go tubeless!! I'm running Marge lite holy on back with Nate and holy rolling Darryl out front with Bud. Can these combos be set up tubeless?? Is there a good thread/instructions on how to run tubeless?? I run tubeless on my skinny tire bike no problems. Do you have to use the foam strip method/duct tape etc.. to set up fat tires?? Ready to do this on both our Mukluk's but unsure of best method. Any help would be appreciated!! Thanks!!

  11. #11
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    Wanting to go tubeless on both our bikes!! Is there any long term effects on running these tires tubeless?? Does Stan's effect the tires and what about the cold temps?? Wife and I just bought these Mukluk's.. Loving them!!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Tubeless vs tubes??-imgp2526.jpg  

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  12. #12
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    Cold hasn't been an issue for me with conventional tubeless, which I've been running for years. Of course, cold being relative, I'm in upstate NY, and we ride regardless, but I don't think we've seen too many rides colder than zero. Maybe a few below, but not by much. Running Stans sealant.

    So far, same thing with the fatties, and the fact that they're larger, is about the only difference, so I can't see any "long term" impacts on tires, wheels what have you.

    Split tube set up works well, for me. You may be able to get away from the foam, but if you don't mind doing it, it'll make the initial airing up go much more smoothly. I ran out of foam and needed to set one up the other day, used bubble wrap (little pinkie finger nail sized bubble type, not the big ping pong ball sized variety), worked fine too.

    I use 24x2.5-2.75 presta tubes. With your choice of bulking agent in place, stretch them on with valve installed. Split up the middle, and lay tube out over the rim edges. Install one tire bead, add a slop of sealant, install other bead, inflate. Much like regular tubeless, you may need to futz a bit, I find whacking the tire with my hand while running in pressurem seems to help getting the beads to seat up.

    A compressor makes the job infinitely easier.

    Duct tape method is not my go to, so someone else would be best for sharing that, but I'm guessing set up is close to the same....
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  13. #13
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    Couple questions? What is the best foam to use (width, size, etc.) and how do you attach it to the rim? Does it go on before or after the split tube? Never mind, I see in your post you are calling this the bulking agent.. Correct?? And, after you split the tube and "lay tube out over the rim edges" what happens to the excess exposed tube? (trim it off or is it not exposed after the tire is seated? Thanks for the info!!

  14. #14
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    Could someone explain to me why a tubeless set up is lighter? I'd like to go that route but I've never run it and don't get why it would be lighter. If using the split tube method, is it just the difference in using a lighter tube? In my tire now, there's just a tube. When I here some of the stuff used in a tubeless setup (extra rip strip, tape, foam, sealant .....) I don't get the 'lighter' aspect. Although if it is the case, when paired with some performance benefits, I'd be sold. Thanks.

  15. #15
    Chad
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    Lighter and More Compliant

    The split tube method described by Mendon is my go to method. The tube mentioned is nearly 1/2 a pound lighter than the standard Fat tube. That being said, the foam weather strip doesn't even register a weight on my scale. So 1 pound saved on the bike. Not a big deal for my 36 lb Moonie, BUT the ride quality is way better, and I can run 6 psi under my 180lbs and ride rocks, roots and gnar all day long.
    Go tubeless.

  16. #16
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    Good question Chris!! I wondered the same... Tubeless does give a better feel/footprint as you ride and allows for lower air pressure I believe. You also get the benefit of less flats from thorns, nails, etc.. Sealant will fill small punctures! I'm no expert but these are a few advantages!! Not sure on the weight differences for tube/tubeless??

  17. #17
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    The weight issue has been discussed before, and if I remember correctly it was something like this. Compared to the Surly "toobs", the weight savings is there by going tubeless. If you run a lighter tube like the Q-tubes, there is not really a lot of weight savings when you add up the weight of the 24" tube and the weight of the sealant.
    There are light weight tube options and you really need to decide if your terrain/riding style demands tubeless or not, or you want the lower tire pressure and "feel" that you can get from a tubeless set-up. Personally I feel more secure with Toobs when running in the cold winters I get.
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  18. #18
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    Saving a 1/2 pound on rotating mass per tire is probably comparable with saving 5 pounds of overall bike weight. I have not went tubeless yet on my moonie but a 1/2 pound per wheel is very significant and like others said the feel tubeless is much smoother.

  19. #19
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    A couple of things to notice when comparing weights:

    1) Even if all the foam, tape, split tubes and whatever tubeless recipe you use ends up weighing as much as a tube, the weight is placed at the radius of the wheel. A tube is further from the axle, so it means more inertia to overcome when accelerating.

    2) Liquid inside the tube is not rotating mass in the same sense as solids (foam, tape, tube...). There is some friction, yes, but it doesn't compare gram for gram. Accelerating a wheel with sealant inside is easier compared to a setup of the same weight without sealant.

    Right now I have a Schwalbe SV 13F tube in one tire and the Surly toob in the other. Weights are 185 grams and 440 g (weighed) respectively for each. I'm probably going to try out tubeless, but if it doesn't work out for me I'll happily go back to SV 13F's in each end.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gruitr1 View Post
    Couple questions? What is the best foam to use (width, size, etc.) and how do you attach it to the rim? Does it go on before or after the split tube? Never mind, I see in your post you are calling this the bulking agent.. Correct?? And, after you split the tube and "lay tube out over the rim edges" what happens to the excess exposed tube? (trim it off or is it not exposed after the tire is seated? Thanks for the info!!
    I use white closed cell foam that comes in sheets, perhaps 1/8" thick. Doesn't much matter, you just want light, and closed cell. Open cell will absorb water etc....

    Cut to slightly less than rim width, no rocket science there either.

    Goes under the split tube.

    Yes, once the tire is in place and inflated just trim off the excess flappage.

    That's the other thing in all this weight talk. You remove a third or more, of an already smaller diameter tube, so really, compared to a Surly fat tube, it's minimal. I don't add a ton of sealant either, about the same amount as a skinny tire set up. Surlys tires seem to be pretty well "rubbered". Once set up, they seem to just be good, not nearly the screwing around and sealing of side walls etc that seems to happen with skinnier tires.
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  21. #21
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    Regarding trimming the "flappage" of a split tube rim strip, does it make changing tires more difficult? I wouldn't want to buy and split a new tube everytime I have taken the tire off to check on sealant, but I can live with a bit of excess rubber if it makes things easier.

    On a side note, I got neg repped for my previous post with a comment "spoken like a true believer", as if simple physics was a question of belief.

  22. #22
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    are there any negatives to not trimming the "flapage"?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by aeronca7ccm View Post
    are there any negatives to not trimming the "flapage"?
    Just looks and a few grams of extra weight.

  24. #24
    Chad
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    It does make changing/checking tires hard. I have replaced the split tube for ease, but it can be done,
    not likely trailside though.

  25. #25
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    A nice tight trim will make it a bit trickier to change a tire in three minutes, sure. What I've found is, they tend to form into place a bit. and if you take the time to go around and break the bond between tire bead and tube on both sides, then remove the tire, they tend to stay pretty much in place. Then careful tire installation, followed by using a thin screw driver to slide stuck under tube edges back into place, and the whole thing adds a few minutes to the procedure, not too bad.

    And no, nothing beyond looks and the extra weight.

    Pointless neg rep, it's the new anonymous web cruising emo kid's passive aggressive outlet...

    I've gotten a few too, usually for stuff that just makes you go, huh???
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  26. #26
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    Theres someone who trolls the FatBike forum and neg reps people.... ive had a couple and whoever it is they seem to have issues with themselves, my last was along the lines of "Boasting again".... yeah whatever, im sharing my experience and taking pics to hopefully help someone else out. I reckon the negger is actually a fatbike rider too as theres a lot here recieving sneaky negs.
    He has a piddly rep score so dont worry, i'll make it up tomorrow when the 24h curfew runs out
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  27. #27
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    I'm I the only one who still prefers tubes?

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ze_Zaskar View Post
    I'm I the only one who still prefers tubes?
    I don't mind the tubes in my fatbike but would prefer Tubeless, but I'm not splitting tubes to do it. I'm going to have a good go at doing it with tape in the next week or two.
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  29. #29
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    I've used tubless tires on Mavic UST wheels for two yearssome years ago. The lack of pinch flats was cool, but never felt that big of a improvement in riding quality and traction.

    On my fatbike wheels I have a single layer of duct tape for rimtape and use Schwalbe ultralight freeride tubes. Quite a light combo and works really well.

    Tubeless has it's advantages, but I still go for tubes

  30. #30
    All Lefty's, all the time Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozzybmx View Post
    Theres someone who trolls the FatBike forum and neg reps people....
    It's funny you say that, I just checked mine, and apparently got some for liking and encouraging use of Leftys with fatties, but for not having an equally glowing supportive position on Maverick SC32's. I find them to be one of the less stiff forks I've tried, sorry, but it's my experience, shoot me.

    Opinions are only good if shared by all I guess.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ze_Zaskar View Post
    I'm I the only one who still prefers tubes?
    You might be the last....

    How often do you flat?

    First few months when I still had tubes, I flatted so often, I just couldn't stand it anymore.

  32. #32
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    My biggest issue with tubeless is the fear. I know that neither my rims (clownshoes) nor my tires are designed to run tubeless. I am concerned that at some inopportune time, my tire will roll or burp and I will crash. That said, I had so many tubes fail in the month or so before I did the conversion that tubeless conversion became the only sensible course of action. I do still carry a spare tube or two though.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    You might be the last....

    How often do you flat?

    First few months when I still had tubes, I flatted so often, I just couldn't stand it anymore.
    nope there's two of us and i won't be converting. Both methods are a pain to some degree be it initial setup, be it on the trail fix etc.

  34. #34
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    All the tubeless faithful still carry a spare tube. That alone says something IMO.
    I don't carry a tube. I see no point in it.

    Through the years I've seen plenty of handlebars, stems, forks, and frames break while on rides. No one carries extra of those items.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by alphazz View Post
    I don't carry a tube. I see no point in it.

    Through the years I've seen plenty of handlebars, stems, forks, and frames break while on rides. No one carries extra of those items.
    a bit extreme comparo to say the least. I see no point in going tubeless either but i also know it's functional but just not what i prefer.

  36. #36
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    Frequently changing tires is a good argument for using tubes.

    Also, I carry a spare tube, tools, and food always regardless of tubeless or tubed.

  37. #37
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    On my around 100 miles on the Pugs I'm yet to have a flat, and my area has a large amount of thorns (Rubus armeniacus mostly). I use Slime on my tubes, which really helps and overcomes something that sometimes is made sound like tubeless exclusive.

    I think it's important to mention that tubes still have some advantages over tubeless.
    - Way more flexibility, you can change wheels and tires with no fuss;
    - No problems in slashing tires, you can just sew them;
    - Regular Slime is a lot more durable than most latex based products used to seal tubeless setups;
    - Easier to repair anywhere;
    - No need to worry about tire-rim relationships.
    Just the ones that came to my head right now

    Nothing wrong with tubeless, just not for me. I would probaly use it if I was a racer, but I'm not. My bike is closer in concept to an expedition LR Defender than to a Mitsubishi Pajero Evo (that would be a Beargrease?), so the setup is accordingly different


    Quote Originally Posted by alphazz View Post
    I don't carry a tube. I see no point in it.
    You'll see the point when you open an hole on your sidewall in the middle of nowhere. Been there, done that

  38. #38
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    You'll see the point when you open an hole on your sidewall in the middle of nowhere. Been there, done that
    Well, let's see. I've been riding mountain bikes since the early 80's when we received the first production Diamond Backs in our shop. I've never opened a hole on my sidewall. But if I did, it's an easy repair requiring a patch just like patching a tube.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by alphazz View Post
    Well, let's see. I've been riding mountain bikes since the early 80's when we received the first production Diamond Backs in our shop. I've never opened a hole on my sidewall. But if I did, it's an easy repair requiring a patch just like patching a tube.
    he's not speaking of a pin hole that a toob requires but something along the lines of what would require a boot, ie a 1/2" gash of sorts.

  40. #40
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    I've opened sidewall slashes that I couldn't patch even if my life depended on it. On a tubed tire that can be repaired with a little dental floss and that's it

  41. #41
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    Come on guys. If you can patch it to run a tube, you can patch it to run tubeless.

  42. #42
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    I live in thorn country. In skinny tires, I went tubeless long ago - using stan's rims and rimstrips with DIY sealant. I found the positive change in rolling resistance to be well worth the change, but the "go a year w/o a flat" was the deal closer.

    But now, with fatties - pressures are 1/3 what I ran on the skinnies. With normal profile skinnyrims, at 30psi, there were burping issues especially when doing fast corrective steering on slow techy sections. My concern with tubeless fatties is more tread grip and less pressure leading to opening the bead. I note that this is on my local trails/conditions.

    I have never been a gram counter, but I know that my skinny tubeless setups were not lighter than a minimalist's tube setup - but they were lighter than the thornproof tubes filled with Slime that let me ride w/o flats!

    With fatties, I'm actually running moto tubes which are equivalent to the Surly Toobs (except schraeder valved). I have been slowly working on an inflatable beadlock system which should hold the beads tightly, as well as acting as a "run flat" insert. In the meantime, tubes work ok as long as they have sealant in them.
    This isn't a "you're doing it wrong" topic.

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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ze_Zaskar View Post
    I've opened sidewall slashes that I couldn't patch even if my life depended on it. On a tubed tire that can be repaired with a little dental floss and that's it
    And you can do the same on a tubeless sidewall. Sew it back together and let the sealant seal it. Baseball stitch works best.
    This isn't a "you're doing it wrong" topic.

    WSS/OSS: Open Source Sealant

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by wadester View Post
    And you can do the same on a tubeless sidewall. Sew it back together and let the sealant seal it. Baseball stitch works best.


    Quote Originally Posted by alphazz View Post
    Come on guys. If you can patch it to run a tube, you can patch it to run tubeless.
    It's not the same thing, a repaired slashed tire may be only capable of keeping the sidewall together and the tube inside
    Small slashes can be patched, but bigger ones may be impossible to repair that way. Also, sometimes the dental floss of a sewed slash can start to rip thru the sidewall fibers

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ze_Zaskar View Post
    I'm I the only one who still prefers tubes?
    Right there with ya.

    I still *want* tubeless to work on fatties. I run it on all my 29" bikes, and love it.

    So far the promise of improved performance (or even basic air retention) is a myth.

    With tubes I might get a flat every ~10th ride. Maybe.

    With tubeless I get 2 flats *between* every ride--they leak down to flat in a matter of hours.

    If I could get them to reliably hold air I *might* be able to trust them for longer rides--the kind where I could determine if the performance was actually different enough to be worth the hassle.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozzybmx View Post
    I don't mind the tubes in my fatbike but would prefer Tubeless, but I'm not splitting tubes to do it. I'm going to have a good go at doing it with tape in the next week or two.
    There really isn't much of a trick to the Gorilla Tape method. Just start with clean parts (clean the rims and rim strip (if you're using cutout rims) with alcohol and let it dry before you start taping and also, it helps to install the tire with a tube first, and seat one of the beads, and also use the tube to make sure your tape is pressed down in a uniform manner on the rim surface. Then, air down the tire, remove the tube, install the tubeless valve stem and sealant, pop your bead back on, go to your compressor, and carefully air it up, making sure not to blow the bead off as it beads up (typically the consequence of the tire attempting to bead asymmetrically on the rim).

    I just built a new set of Marge Lite rims over the weekend, and they were just as easy to set up tubeless as the Rolling Darryls they replaced (and are a ton lighter as well).

    Cheers,
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    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Tubeless vs tubes??-margelite_amclassicvalve_sm.jpg  

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  47. #47
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    Do other people have the same problem as mikesee, ie. poor air retention? Can you go a few days without airing it up?
    I proudly ride for these guys.

    My blog.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Logantri View Post
    Do other people have the same problem as mikesee, ie. poor air retention? Can you go a few days without airing it up?
    older (i.e., having seen more use not more years) tires tend to be worse in this regard. My 29er tires (ardent 29.4 EXO) will have drips on the sidewalls and my WTB's (2.3, exiwolf?) will have wet looking sidewalls a lot of the time. Generally tires vary a lot in this regard. My surly Bud's seem to lose no air whatsoever, but they're also newer than the ardent.

    Even with my ardent, I often only pump it up once per week and will thus not pump it up before my second ride of the week; I might though for the third or fourth.

  49. #49
    Vagician
    Reputation: EPcycles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    With tubeless I get 2 flats *between* every ride--they leak down to flat in a matter of hours.
    Never had that problem. Are you using sealant? What's your process?

  50. #50
    Laramie, Wyoming
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    I've been playing with lights and other stuff with my rear tire so it's kind of an experiment. My front tubeless has the same air I put in it when I set it up tubeless. They don't have to leak. Submerge your tire in water and figure out where you are having problems and fix it. Air retention in fatties is not a myth.

    A flat every "10th ride" would upset me.

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