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  1. #1
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    2 pinch flats in 2 weeks and I DON'T need tubeless - here's why

    Earlier this Summer it was wet. A lot. I was running my rigid Nimble 9 with just over 20 psi in my 29 x 2.2 tires. That worked perfectly fine.

    Then it started to dry out.

    Speeds started to pick up.

    My fitness was improving (at an embarrassingly slow rate). My speed started to pick up.

    I plowed a rocky creek crossing and pinched the rear tire.

    OK. 20 psi. High speeds. Rocky creek crossing. I was asking for it.

    2 weeks later. Now I'm running 23-24psi rear, 21-22 psi front.

    It's dry today. The trail was as fast as it's been all year and I was feeling my oats.

    I hammered the same creek crossing, but maybe, somehow, a little smoother.

    The next test was a big root cluster.

    Mind you, conditions are such that I'm going wayyy faster than earlier this year.

    I hit the first root - it is a good 3" high. The way I read the trail, I decided to just launch off that 3" root and clear the whole mess, which I did with envy-able grace and dexterity.
    ...but I heard that rear tube fail right on the launch. F***.

    So, what have I learned?

    I learned that I have to start thinking like a downhiller.
    I can't have tires squirming on the rims.
    I can't have rims denting every time I want to clear an obstacle by air.
    I need to run 25+psi or more. At that pressure - regardless of speed - it doesn't matter that there's a tube in the tire.
    If we had goathead thorns all over it would be a different story, I'm sure, but we don't.
    I will admit, when I'm riding slower (mud, snow, low fitness), the low pressure thing works perfectly fine. But as speeds increase, low pressure will not allow the tire to hold its shape and will not protect the rim. Plus, I change tires pretty regularly: Winter, wet Spring, dry Spring/Summer, Fall, and Pennsylvania/New York. So don't try to sell me anything.
    btw - I weigh 190# +/-.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  2. #2
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    Huh?

  3. #3
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    25 lbs seems a bit low.... But, that's just me.
    I was gonna stop by and see you, but the Jehovas witnesses came by. When they left I started drinking. Voicemail from Paul

  4. #4
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    Im 225lb on a Fuel EX 8 w/ tubes and I run 50 with zero issues.

  5. #5
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    50 is way too high. try 30 and get back to us.

  6. #6
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    Put a mountain biker in a room with 2 bowling balls and we'll break one and lose the other - GelatiCruiser

  7. #7
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    '14 Marin Attack Trail C-XT9
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  8. #8
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    Yeah, I think that was 44oz. of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale talking...

    In short, I have increased my tire pressure.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  9. #9
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    If you want to run that low of pressure...you need tubeless. I run UST at 28 psi, low 20's psi with tubes is just asking for pinch flats.

  10. #10
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    The pressure you're running seems perfect for tubeless but I would say a bit low for tubes.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    Yeah, I think that was 44oz. of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale talking...

    In short, I have increased my tire pressure.

    -F
    Even shorter GOYFA and ride smooth

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    Even shorter GOYFA and ride smooth
    I had to look that one up. Not even a huh.

    Well, above a certain speed, smoothness is no longer possible. It's more about hitting "the gates" - those passages through the trail that offer the least resistance - ...and hanging on.
    Sometimes even the path of least resistance has a lot of resistance.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    I had to look that one up. Not even a huh.

    Well, above a certain speed, smoothness is no longer possible. It's more about hitting "the gates" - those passages through the trail that offer the least resistance - ...and hanging on.
    Sometimes even the path of least resistance has a lot of resistance.


    -F
    Get off Your FA

    Regardless of speed, terrain or difficulty one can always ride a little bit lighter.

  14. #14
    Anytime. Anywhere.
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    Why don't you want to go tubeless?
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  15. #15
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    You're working with what you have like all of us and trying new things as necessary. I run tubes and low psi too. Not quite as rocky as PA. But here's some more ideas. 30mm inside rims can up your volume 24% or so. You will get better traction, sidewall support with less washout from fast rolling 2.2s. You can go 4-5psi less because of that volume. I'm 180+ and run 15 & 19 before I get rim hits. I use cheaper 26x2.1-2.5 tubes in 29x2.2s with no pinch flats this year or the last two seasons on 21mm rims.

  16. #16
    The White Jeff W
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    I ride my rigid bike tubeless around 20 psi front-25 psi rear. If I were using tubes I'd be changing 4 tubes every ride. Just sayin'
    No moss...

  17. #17
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    If I ran tubes in central Texas, I would have to walk more than ride, or fill my backpack with spare tubes instead of water.

  18. #18
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    There may be a lot of reasons to go tubeless but I agree with the OP that pinch flats aren't one of them. I run around 25# with tubes and if I went much lower I'd be destroying rims regularly, and tubeless wouldn't change that.

  19. #19
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    I've pinched at 40 psi, twice.

    The rule, as I've deduced it, is that the more pressure the less chance of a pinch flat, but there is no magic number where you can say you are safe from pinch flats. Carry spares.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    Get off Your FA

    Regardless of speed, terrain or difficulty one can always ride a little bit lighter.
    True.
    You may understand then, that if you are bombing a smooth trail/fire road at ~25mph, staying smooth is easy - until the road is washed out from a flood - or, better yet, there is also a bulldozer parked on the side in preparation for the repair. Sure, you can try to be "smooth", but how smooth are you going to be at 25mph over all the rocks that were exposed when the dirt washed away, and there's a huge rut cutting diagonally across the road/trail. I suppose one can attempt to stop and walk over, OR, if one is so inclined, just hang on and point the bike in a logical direction - or do some sort of bunny hop across the rut, despite the presence of many rocks in the landing area. One can be as smooth as they want, but they will take some hits. If their tire pressure is too low, they may pinch flat or dent a rim. I've hit things hard enough to break an alloy spoke nipple on the front wheel - without flatting or crashing. It happens.

    I am running 28mm Velocity Blunt rims. They have been really good.
    Tires have been 2.1 Ignitors, 2.2 Tsali, 2.2 Pisgah, 2.3 Exi-Wolf, 2.4 Racing Ralph, 2.4 Ardent.
    It looks like pressure will be 23/25 F/R.

    Here's some slow riding.
    MTB Video: How many of you like slow, technical rocks like this?

    That vid links to others - there's actually an entire video of me riding "not smooth" at Vulture's Knob race course (it even says so in the vid!). You can also see how F my A is.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  21. #21
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    People still use tubes?
    My name is Chris and I ride a Prophet 650b with a Lefty.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prophet Julio View Post
    People still use tubes?
    This.

    Tubes = obsolete.

    And yeah, 25 psi with tubes is WAY low. I weigh 175-180 I before I realized that tubes were obsolete I ran them 30 psi front and 35 rear. Then I realized there are zero advantages to tubes, so I shed some pounds, stopped fixing flats, and ran lower psi for more grip by switching to tubeless.

    :-P

  23. #23
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    I run tubes still but have a hard time understanding how I could run much lower psi. I get a couple rim hits at my current psi and if I dropped I'd be destroying rims. Are all you people who run ~ 20psi replacing rims every year? I go through about 2 tubes a year. 200# and run 26/32psi

    Honest question not just trying to stir the pot.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prophet Julio View Post
    People still use tubes?
    Quote Originally Posted by pointerDixie214 View Post
    This.

    Tubes = obsolete.

    And yeah, 25 psi with tubes is WAY low. I weigh 175-180 I before I realized that tubes were obsolete I ran them 30 psi front and 35 rear. Then I realized there are zero advantages to tubes, so I shed some pounds, stopped fixing flats, and ran lower psi for more grip by switching to tubeless.

    :-P
    What these guys said. I guess I don't understand why you're so against tubeless.

  25. #25
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    20psi is dangerously low.
    I like cheap stuff that works great and is very sturdy.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by pointerDixie214 View Post
    This.

    Tubes = obsolete.

    And yeah, 25 psi with tubes is WAY low. I weigh 175-180 I before I realized that tubes were obsolete I ran them 30 psi front and 35 rear. Then I realized there are zero advantages to tubes, so I shed some pounds, stopped fixing flats, and ran lower psi for more grip by switching to tubeless.

    :-P
    Thats just crazy talk. I ride aggressive XC with jumps & rock gardens etc. I run 23-25psi all day long and never pinch flat. That being said, i have a FS 6'er with 2.5 high volume tires.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    There may be a lot of reasons to go tubeless but I agree with the OP that pinch flats aren't one of them. I run around 25# with tubes and if I went much lower I'd be destroying rims regularly, and tubeless wouldn't change that.
    If you don't run tubes, there are no pinch flats. At all. Ever. The UST tires have stiffer sidewalls. The OP is running rigid, yes? So, try some bigger tires and wider rims, tubeless. The psi for tires are very rider weight dependent. I'm 235 lbs and run 30 psi front and 32 psi rear, most conditions, tubeless. 2.3 tire front, 2.4 tire rear. 1 flat in 2 years, big as$ chunk of glass. No thorn flats, no pinch flats. YRMV.

  28. #28
    I Got yer Activity Stream
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    I run tubeless mainly for flat protection. I don't see how tubeless lets you run significantly less pressure. If you bottom the rim on the terrain, you don't have enough air pressure to handle that particular situation. So you'll either need to increase the air pressure or change some other variable to prevent it from continuing to happen and damaging the rim.

    Granted if you are tubeless you can ride on and check the rim later, vs. tubed where you may be fixing a pinch-flat right then.

  29. #29
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    I just don't understand why people still discuss the merits of tubes vs no tubes. All I can say is to try tubeless for a while and you should never want to use another tube. You do have to take the trouble to do it right tho, but once you've got it down it is so fukkin easy.
    It's all Here. Now.

  30. #30
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    Everyone thinks they can't pinch flat a tire (not tube), until they have it happen. The rim can pound a hole near the bead in a tire just like a tube. Everyone thinks you can't pinch flat a tube at high pressure until it happens.

    For me, I really can't just pound the rear tire off of certain sharp edged stuff at speed under load. Both tubeless, and increased pressure provide additional resistance to pinch flats, but at some point I have to unload the rear to lessen the impact from the worst of the worst. There is endurance, speed, and skill. Only two were addressed by the OP.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by pointerDixie214 View Post
    And yeah, 25 psi with tubes is WAY low. I weigh 175-180 I before I realized that tubes were obsolete I ran them 30 psi front and 35 rear.
    :-P

    That's exactly what I weigh, apx. 25 psi front and rear with no problems.


    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    If you don't run tubes, there are no pinch flats. At all. Ever.
    I've had one pinch flat (I think) in the past year and that hit also destroyed my rim. It happened while riding my ridged Surly on a lift assisted black diamond downhill run, probably should have bumped it up to 30 or so and I would have had no problems. As I said in my previous post, tubeless would have been no help in this regard, maybe no pinch but I still would have trashed my rim.

    Quote Originally Posted by rockerc View Post
    I just don't understand why people still discuss the merits of tubes vs no tubes.
    I'm not against tubeless, nor am I anti-tubes, it just so happens that tubes are what I have right now and other priorities are preventing me from "upgrading" to tubeless just yet. It'll happen soon but honestly it's no big deal to me, my friend I usually ride with is tubeless and though I do confess that I've had a few more flats than he has over the past few years stopping on the trail for a repair is still a rare occasion, so it's pretty much a non issue.

  32. #32
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    I might have to start another poll: How often do tubeless riders change tires?

    It takes me 10 minutes to change tires (and tubes).

    Changing tubeless tires may only take 10 minutes as well, but what about the cleanup?

    And yeah, if you ding a tubeless rim, is the bead really still going to hold?

    The puncture resistance is the only tangible advantage to me. Rolling resistance? Weight? Maybe. But what about when all the sealant dries out, or accumulates?

    I'm not bashing tubeless. I'm just saying that tubes have been serving me well. I've tested the lower pressure limit and found it. I am adapting.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    That's exactly what I weigh, apx. 25 psi front and rear with no problems.




    I've had one pinch flat (I think) in the past year and that hit also destroyed my rim. It happened while riding my ridged Surly on a lift assisted black diamond downhill run, probably should have bumped it up to 30 or so and I would have had no problems. As I said in my previous post, tubeless would have been no help in this regard, maybe no pinch but I still would have trashed my rim.



    I'm not against tubeless, nor am I anti-tubes, it just so happens that tubes are what I have right now and other priorities are preventing me from "upgrading" to tubeless just yet. It'll happen soon but honestly it's no big deal to me, my friend I usually ride with is tubeless and though I do confess that I've had a few more flats than he has over the past few years stopping on the trail for a repair is still a rare occasion, so it's pretty much a non issue.
    I have tubes because my bike came that way, and I can't afford the switch right now. Sometimes money is an issue.
    "Geologic time includes now."

  34. #34
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    This thread has gone flat.
    Front Range, Colorado.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    I might have to start another poll: How often do tubeless riders change tires?

    It takes me 10 minutes to change tires (and tubes).

    Changing tubeless tires may only take 10 minutes as well, but what about the cleanup?

    And yeah, if you ding a tubeless rim, is the bead really still going to hold?

    The puncture resistance is the only tangible advantage to me. Rolling resistance? Weight? Maybe. But what about when all the sealant dries out, or accumulates?

    I'm not bashing tubeless. I'm just saying that tubes have been serving me well. I've tested the lower pressure limit and found it. I am adapting.

    -F
    Change tires? When they wear out. Less rolling resistance, no tube in there. Weight? See the no tube part. Some ust tires weigh more, but the trade off is more traction. I just add more sealant through the removable valve core. Every 2 months or so.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    Changing tubeless tires may only take 10 minutes as well, but what about the cleanup?
    You mean the part where you wash away excess sealant with a light hose spray for about 30 seconds?
    Nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by adaycj View Post
    Everyone thinks they can't pinch flat a tire (not tube), until they have it happen. The rim can pound a hole near the bead in a tire just like a tube.

    Yup. I did it to a Continental X-King Protection a few weeks ago.
    No moss...

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by debaucherous View Post
    25 lbs seems a bit low.... But, that's just me.
    I would kill any tire and rim with 25psi. The lowest I can ever go is 26 front, 29 rear. And that's for a course with flat (not bermed) turns and NO rocks or roots.
    Also, why would anyone want to use tubes? I haven't had the inclination in over a decade.
    Keep the Country country.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by spirit4earth View Post
    I have tubes because my bike came that way, and I can't afford the switch right now. Sometimes money is an issue.
    At full retail my shop charges $20 for 2 valves, 5$ per rim for tape, and 5$ per rim for sealant. $40 to almost eliminate flat tires and drop nearly a 1/2lb at the most critical spot. I'm sure you internet bargain hunters can find cheaper deals.
    Keep the Country country.

  40. #40
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    I have 2,300 miles on my front Pacenti Neo-Moto 2.3 set up tubeless. I changed the rear at 1,600 miles due to a gash in the sidewall. That was the only flat I ever got, set up tubeless. The Velocity Blunt SL rims are not Tubeless Ready and the tires are not tubeless compatible, but they have been more than fine for a long time. I add sealant through the removable Presta valve core about once every 4 to 6 weeks in the Summer. Less in the Winter. Worst thing other than the gash is a slow leak, but very slow and was fixed by adding sealant. I weigh 165# and ride 20 front 22 rear.
    My name is Chris and I ride a Prophet 650b with a Lefty.

  41. #41
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    Instead of injecting more sealant through the valve it's advisable to open the tire so you can see the condition of the existing sealant and remove dried clumps.
    Keep the Country country.

  42. #42
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    Sometimes I do that. If I hear a Stan's Ball rolling around, I do. The newer formula doesn't seem to last as long, but I never hear Stan's Balls anymore now that I think of it. No high speed wobbles, no flats, no burps, no trouble.
    My name is Chris and I ride a Prophet 650b with a Lefty.

  43. #43
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    burps are better than pinch flats any day of the week.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawg View Post
    burps are better than pinch flats any day of the week.
    Not on Thursdays, trust me.
    Front Range, Colorado.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    I might have to start another poll: How often do tubeless riders change tires?

    It takes me 10 minutes to change tires (and tubes).

    Changing tubeless tires may only take 10 minutes as well, but what about the cleanup?

    And yeah, if you ding a tubeless rim, is the bead really still going to hold?

    The puncture resistance is the only tangible advantage to me. Rolling resistance? Weight? Maybe. But what about when all the sealant dries out, or accumulates?

    I'm not bashing tubeless. I'm just saying that tubes have been serving me well. I've tested the lower pressure limit and found it. I am adapting.

    -F
    I throw some Slime in with Stans to retain liquid sealant.
    Cleanup is simple and not time consuming.

    One advantage you missed, and I don't think has been mentioned, is the improved suppleness of tubeless. Tires just seem to conform to the trail, rocks, etc. so much better without tubes IMO.

  46. #46
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    This thread reminds me about a new word I heard during a recent visit to a Fruita LBS to get a buddy's derailleur replaced, and tires re-Stans'd. The mechanic referred to Stan's balls as "Stanimals". And they had a collection of very interesting looking Stanimals that they had removed from customers' tires over the years.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoftballGuy View Post
    Thats just crazy talk. I ride aggressive XC with jumps & rock gardens etc. I run 23-25psi all day long and never pinch flat. That being said, i have a FS 6'er with 2.5 high volume tires.
    ^^^this^^^
    If your going to run tubes on rough terrain at near 200lbs, you'll benefit greatly from wider tires.

    I am +240lbs and run 2.5" with tubes front and back on 27mm inner rear and 23mm inner front rims in the low 20psi range on my 26" AM rig. No issues with pinch flats and this bike only gets used on the tech, chunky black diamond singletracks out my back door in North Lake Tahoe. High PSI would cause the tires to slip and bounce all over the place and it increases the rolling resistance. Both are bad.

    Wider tires will have the greatest impact on reducing pinch flats and increasing performance with increased contact patch along with lower psi for better cornering and braking and less rolling resistance. May add quite a bit of weight since you have a 29", but you will gain with the ability to run lower psi for less rolling resistance. Plus, you chose big hoops, so I assume weight isn't the main concern, more about better wheel performance with increased rollover. The big wheels by them selves don't do much to allow for reduced psi or increase contact patch. Only wider tires will do that. Run wider and maximize the big hoop performance.

    Also, I run tubes because there is no issue with pinch flats with wide tires and rims even at low psi, no thorns in Tahoe and I can't ride in the winter which would make for extra work dealing with dried out sealant every spring. Plus I have 4 bikes which would mean 8 dried out wheels to deal with every spring, no thanks. Also, tublless wouldn't allow me to lower my PSI any since I already run just above 20 psi without issue. Anything less would squirm even with the wide rims.
    Last edited by singletrackmack; 08-28-2014 at 01:17 AM.
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  48. #48
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    I dented a rear rim at Northstar bad enough that it wouldn't hold air. I was running 33psi in a 2.7 Minion DH casing on a V10. How you run low 20s in rocks without crushing rims and poking holes in tires is beyond me. On the enduro circuit it seems like everyone is running high 20s in front and high 20s to low 30s in back.
    Keep the Country country.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lelandjt View Post
    I dented a rear rim at Northstar bad enough that it wouldn't hold air. I was running 33psi in a 2.7 Minion DH casing on a V10. How you run low 20s in rocks without crushing rims and poking holes in tires is beyond me. On the enduro circuit it seems like everyone is running high 20s in front and high 20s to low 30s in back.
    Don't ride North Star. I like more natural trails with long down hills and have heard NS is washed out before mid summer. Plus, too many people and there are so many great places to ride with no lift fee if you know where to go. Below are few fun rides I recently went on. There are plenty more in this area, but locals secret. I would get called out for posting them here. The trails shown below have plenty of chunk and are rated black diamond (whatever that means).

    Not sure about your 2.7" minions, but my last pair of maxxis (minion DHR and DHF) said they were 2.35", but measure exactly 2". They are about as wide as my 1990's VCR gum wall 1.9" tires. My current tires, ITS Edge and Intruder, say 2.5" but measure slightly over and are large volume. Plus the 27mm inner rear rim width increases the volume even more. Not totally sure, but don't think enduro racers are running 2.5's or rims as wide. I would imagine they run something skinnier like 2.3's or so since climbing is part of the event. I am in no rush to get to the top and since I am on a 26er, the 2.5" don't add as much weight as they would on a 29er or 650b (which most enduro riders ride now), but still get about the same contact patch and allows for about the same PSI as a 29er or 650b running 2.5" tires.

    2 pinch flats in 2 weeks and I DON'T need tubeless - here's why-martis-watson-creek-singltrack.jpg
    2 pinch flats in 2 weeks and I DON'T need tubeless - here's why-brockway-around-mt-watson-carnelian-bay-via-trt.jpg
    2 pinch flats in 2 weeks and I DON'T need tubeless - here's why-martis-trt-dirks-descent.jpg
    Last edited by singletrackmack; 08-28-2014 at 02:10 AM.
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  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    ...I just add more sealant through the removable valve core. Every 2 months or so.
    Quote Originally Posted by Prophet Julio View Post
    ...I add sealant through the removable Presta valve core about once every 4 to 6 weeks in the Summer. Less in the Winter...
    Where does it go? Or does it just accumulate (and add weight)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lelandjt View Post
    I dented a rear rim at Northstar bad enough that it wouldn't hold air. I was running 33psi in a 2.7 Minion DH casing on a V10. How you run low 20s in rocks without crushing rims and poking holes in tires is beyond me. On the enduro circuit it seems like everyone is running high 20s in front and high 20s to low 30s in back.
    ^^^This is what I'm talking about. I have to think more like a DHer and run higher pressure. Obviously, even people running tubeless are running higher than I'm running with tubes.
    But understand also that my trails only have 2 spots that I can think of where people exceed 25mph. There are lots of tree roots, but not too many rocks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Circlip View Post
    You mean the part where you wash away excess sealant with a light hose spray for about 30 seconds?
    Where does the old sealant go? Do you catch it in something and pour it into the new tire?
    Honestly, I don't know. I've only heard of people spinning wheels so the sealant coats the entire inside, leaving them overnight, and bringing tubes anyway since they can't fix tubeless out on the trail. None of that sells it.
    edit: Neither do these first 2 posts: new to tubeless fail
    But that's not the point of the thread.


    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

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