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Tubeless troubles

Old 12-30-15, 10:38 AM
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Tubeless troubles

I've spent about a day converting my wife's & my new 29ers to tubeless.

The method: gorilla tape to seal the rim, tubeless valves (I didn't have any tubes with removable-core valves to snip out), TruckerCo cream latex sealant (now with rubber pieces! plus red glitter for good measure), and this rig to create a nice blast of pressurized air (since I don't have a compressor). Both wheelsets have been running with tubes for a couple months, so the beads should 'know' how to seat.

For my rig I used a 1gal (=3.83l >> 2l) apple cider bottle with a wider cap (easier to squeeze to valves in). I could get it up to about 45-50 psi before it started leaking. 29x2.1 tire volume: profile radius 1.05", unrolled length 29"*pi, convert to cm, volume is about (pi*2.667*2.667) * (pi*73.66) cm^3 ~ 5.6l (is that right?) 3.8l at 45psi expanding to 3.8+5.6=9.4l would be maybe 20-25psi in the tire all of a sudden? Anyways....

It worked pretty well on my wheels: WTB i19 with 29x2.1 Kenda small-block 8 tires. It held 60psi overnight, then I dropped it to 30, and it's been holding that for about 24h now. Recent rain means I can't take it on a bumpy trail ride yet.

Then I got to work on the wife's wheels: WTB i25 with 29x2.1 WTB Bronson tires. Neither would 'pop', and they just kept blowing out sealant pretty much everywhere, even though as far as I could tell it was well seated everywhere. The next morning, I gave one wheel a shot with the hand-pump, to my surprise, the bead pretty quickly sealed up -- I guess enough of the sealant that I had pushed into/through the bead the night before had dried up. As I kept pumping I got it up to 60 (max pressure listed on sidewall is 65 -- this is foreshadowing), and I started to get new leaks: through the threads of every spoke nipple with attendant sealant! But those eventually sealed up, that tire has been holding 60 psi for about 24 hours now. I'm not planning to open it up and re-tape. Don't fix what ain't broke!

The other tire, no such luck, it just kept bubbling sealant all around the bead. I cracked it open and verified that the gorilla tape was covering all the spoke holes, well centered (and not blocking the bead's travel over the 'shoulder' into the seating area of the rim), and well pushed down into the central well. Sealed it back up again, kept hitting it with pressure blasts from the rig, and I was able to get the tire+rig up to 20psi, and the bead looked ok, EXCEPT

I was losing air fast, at one spoke (about 90deg from the valve), not through the threads like the other wheel, but around the outside of the spoke. And, NO SEALANT!

I cracked it open again, totally cleaned it all out, slightly corrected the tape (starting end too close to a spoke hole), put it back together with fresh glitter and sealant, then we took it to my work, where the facilities guys have an air compressor in the parking lot. Just letting the compressor continuously push air into the tire and push sealant through the bead, the bead eventually sealed up, but still air leaking out of a spoke hole. Not very loud or obvious, but it dropped from 60 to 40 psi in about a minute. Didn't have time to fully investigate which one (or more than one?), because with uncareful use of the compressor, we blew the tire off the rim.

Pretty scary, crazy loud of course -- I thought we had ruptured the rubber, or broken an (aramid!) bead, can't believe after that noise the tire is still intact. Sealant blew everywhere, all over our clothes, legs, arms, and heads (got some in my eye, not irritating at all fortunately). We were fortunate that our only injuries were impacts to our hands, causing some bruises for me, and a blood blister on my wife's palm.

WHEW!

All that to plead for advice. What could be making this rim/titre so much harder to tubeless than the first pair? The i19 rims had so little clearance around the spoke holes I had to be super exact with the rim tape. After that, the i25 rims were so luxuriously wide it was easy (I thought) to get a well-sealing tape job -- with a wider strip of tape and more room for the bead to seat up into the edges. On the first rim there obviously must be a sealing-strip failure that allowed sealant to get inside the rim and push sealant through the threads of the spokes. Even though it's holding pressure, do I need to take that apart and re-do it? On the second rim, what could conceivably allow air to escape around a single nipple (maybe a few others, but by no means all) -- and that with no sealant? After blowing off the rim, I mounted the bare, messy tire onto the rim, haven't gone back to clean up up yet, but it seems ok. Is it actually damaged? Unsafe to keep trying tubeless with? Unsafe even with a tube?

Last edited by RubeRad; 12-30-15 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 12-31-15, 06:44 AM
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I suggest ditching the Gorilla tape and use some real tubeless rim tape like Stans or Velofuze. Its very thin and slippery and conforms to the contour of the rim. I like to run the tape from edge to edge, so the tire bead sits on the tape and there is no chance of the sealant getting under the edge. Make sure to overlap the tape by a few inches where the ends meet and cut out the valve stem hole. You can't just leave the tape off the valve stem area to avoid having to cut a hole for the valve stem.
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Old 12-31-15, 06:58 AM
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Definitely not a fan of Gorilla tape as rim strips, tubeless or otherwise. Very thick, the adhesive oozes, and it leaves a sticky mess behind when you remove it. If using something other than official rim strip tape, my preference is Kapton tape.
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Old 12-31-15, 08:26 AM
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Just last night I installed 2 non-tubeless tires on tubeless rims. They were studded Schawalbe tires, and I find that brand is often very tight to get on a rim, so it makes a better seal against the rim. When the bead seated it was quite a loud pop, so I'm confident that it is a tight bead seal. The rims were Shimano XT tubeless rims, so I had no issue with leaking out the spoke holes.

I had some trouble to mount the tires, but this is what I did to make it work:

Install tube, pump up tire so bead sits, then on one side only, unseat bead and remove tube. That way, you already have one bead seated.

I dribble some Stans sealant around the unseated bead and let dry, this seems to stick the bead to the inner side of rim, allowing just enough air to stay in the tire and seat the bead when you blast air in. I usually have success with my compressor, but sometimes I have to use a Co2 cartridge. Last night the compressor worked on one tire, but I had to use a cartridge on the second tire.

I've run across tires (non-tubeless) that simply will not hold air even when you have Stans sealant inside. The air leaks out the sidewalls.

It has been my experience that when the tire forms better to the rim, I have much less trouble, to none at all, reseating the bead.

Of course, the best solution is to use tubeless tires and tubeless rims. But I could not find a Schawalbe studded tubeless tire.
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Old 12-31-15, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by digger
It has been my experience that when the tire forms better to the rim, I have much less trouble, to none at all, reseating the bead.
This is why it was my hope that these tires would be easy, since they had been run with tubes for a few months, so the bead should be used to the rim. For the first bead, when there was one bead mounted I reached inside and pushed it in place all the way around, then worked on the second bead.

I don't think I'm losing air straight through the sidewalls, as I'm NOT getting sealant poking through like this guy (scroll to last pic)

I can't figure out how I'm losing air through a spoke hole without any sealant coming with it (since the first wheel had sealant bleeding through all the nipple threads)

My plan is to give it another try, plan for it not to work today, but get back to where I've got a nice even bubbling of sealant all around both beads, then leave it alone overnight and hope that enough of that sealant dries in place that the next day I can try again and it will work. If that doesn't work, then I'll squeeze a little bit of sealant into the tube, and just run it with that tube and be protected against goatheads.
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Old 12-31-15, 12:58 PM
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What version of Bronson tires do you have? Is the tire marked "TCS"? Without TCS, you will need a Stans kit or a "ghetto" setup.

One other tip- you should never need go above 40-45lbs to get a tire to bead on the rim. Going up to 60lbs is almost always going to push sealant under the tape and/or blow a Stans kit or "ghetto" setup off the rim.
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Old 12-31-15, 04:46 PM
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Sorry, not Bronson, I was mistaken. It's a WTB Nano 29x2.1. The tire itself does not say TCS, but the rim does. This is the bike.

I've gotten back to the point where the bead is SEALED, no bubbling at 30psi, but air leaking through just a couple spokes (no sealant coming out the spokes though).

So I guess it must somehow be the case that the gorilla tape is letting air through, but small enough to not be carrying sealant with it?


I'm starting to think I made a mistake cutting the gorilla tape thinner to avoid riding up on the shoulders ("on-ramp") and interfering with the seating of the bead. Looks like the intended design is for tape to be all the way up there and pinched by the bead.

If I did full-width gorilla tape, that might work better. Or if I go buy a roll of stan's yellow like dsaul recommends, would that be strong enough on its own (2-3 wraps?) Or would air pressure rupture it through the spoke holes. The entire Stan's system includes also the rubber rim strip + valve to go over the tape.
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Old 12-31-15, 06:16 PM
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Found my problem. Took the wheel apart, took off the gorilla tape in preparation for cleaning and putting full-width (1") gorilla tape, it was clear where the sealant was getting under/through the gorilla tape. Opposite the valve, at the rim seam, there were two additional holes. Small, maybe 1.5mm, but off-center, right about at the edge of where the gorilla tape was laid. Looks like they were probably part of the rim-joining manufacturing process. I must have gotten lucky on the other rim.

The rim is totally clean now, dry on the outside, hanging overnight to drip-dry whatever is left inside the rim. Tomorrow I will lay a full 1" of gorilla tape, hopefully the extra thickness on the "on-ramps" won't make it too difficult for the bead to seat. This time I am confident it will work.
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Old 12-31-15, 07:13 PM
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmMsBSbFq-g
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Old 01-01-16, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by dedhed
Yikes! Looks even more dangerous than blowing the bead off the rim with too much compressor pressure!
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Old 01-01-16, 12:22 PM
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Seems pretty obvious what the problem is. Gorilla tape is not a good enough tubeless rim tape. Buy actual rim tape and be happy.
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Old 01-01-16, 01:04 PM
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Gorilla tape is fine, as long as it covers the holes. Tons of people use it successfully.

I had it, right within my grasp, I cleaned everything up good, laid a new, wider strip of gorilla tape, used digger's trick to seat the beads with a tube, then pull the tube out so at least one bead was already seated. Then first hit from the apple cider bottle rig the second bead seated with a friendly little pop. Took the rig off, added the sealant, aired up with the rig, almost no sealant leaking, took the rig off, put the core in the valve, started airing with the pump, it was holding! I was 'done', just needed to air it up to 60 to sit and cure a bit (sidewall says max 65). At about 58, the tire blew off the rim. If I had aimed for 55, I'd be done.

But also, I am done. Given that the tire will not hold on the rim at rated max pressure, I'm not trying it again. I added some sealant into a tube instead, threw it all together, aired it up, scrubbed off the extra latex etc, and that's how it will be. Once these tires wear out I'll try again with new tires.
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Old 01-01-16, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33
Seems pretty obvious what the problem is. Gorilla tape is not a good enough tubeless rim tape. Buy actual rim tape and be happy.
Clear Gorilla tape works better than any of the bike specific tapes I have ever tried. I have used it in tubeless setups on two bikes for years with flawless results.

The OP is still talking about using 60psi in his tires... that will never work on a MTB tubeless setup using non-tubeless ready tires. Never.
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Old 01-01-16, 01:18 PM
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Gorilla Tape has lots of good uses; rim tape isn't one of them. At least, not ALONE.

Electrical tape is a good base, at least two layers thick. Then you can use the Gorilla.

Also, for non-tubeless tires: get a can of automotive Fix-A-Flat, and spray it inside the tire while off the bike. Roll the tire around til the entire inner casing is coated, and let dry. SEALED.

Come spring, I'm going to experiment with F-A-F as the BASE for my tubeless setup. I have two sets of wheels to do, we'll see.
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Old 01-01-16, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by CrippledKonaBoy
Gorilla Tape has lots of good uses; rim tape isn't one of them. At least, not ALONE.

Electrical tape is a good base, at least two layers thick. Then you can use the Gorilla.

Also, for non-tubeless tires: get a can of automotive Fix-A-Flat, and spray it inside the tire while off the bike. Roll the tire around til the entire inner casing is coated, and let dry. SEALED.
The internet has made the accessibility to information easier than ever. Itís also made opinions that arenít backed by experience or fact more common than we ever thought possible.
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Old 01-01-16, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Wingsprint
The OP is still talking about using 60psi in his tires... that will never work on a MTB tubeless setup using non-tubeless ready tires. Never.
I would never ride a mtb on 60 psi. I was just airing up to a nice hard pressure to force sealant through any remaining small leaks. If there are leaks that only manifest at 60psi, and you only ever air it up to 30psi, what happens when you hit a rock or drop off a shelf and your tire pressure spikes? After letting it sit and cure for a few hours at high pressure, I would then drop it to riding pressure.

The other three tires that successfully went tubeless all went to 60psi and held for at least 24hr before I dropped them. This one was just weakened I believe by the first blow-off.
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Old 01-01-16, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad
I would never ride a mtb on 60 psi. I was just airing up to a nice hard pressure to force sealant through any remaining small leaks. If there are leaks that only manifest at 60psi, and you only ever air it up to 30psi, what happens when you hit a rock or drop off a shelf and your tire pressure spikes? After letting it sit and cure for a few hours at high pressure, I would then drop it to riding pressure.
Never is a long time; there are MTB tires that perform better >50 psi. I'm running a set now, and have had a set that rolled like fecality at 55, but sweet at/above 59. (NOW: Michelin Country Dry 2.15; then: Intense Micro Knobby 2.25. To contrast, my RedShifts roll best at 46 psi.)
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Old 01-01-16, 01:30 PM
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Folks... the reason to go tubeless on a MTB is it gives you the ability to run very LOW tire pressures.... Many run tubeless tires from the low 20's to 30psi at the most.

Don't take my word for it- Check MTBR or google "advantages of tubeless MTB"
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Old 01-01-16, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Wingsprint
The internet has made the accessibility to information easier than ever. It’s also made opinions that aren’t backed by experience or fact more common than we ever thought possible.

Is this a hint that my suggestion is based on anything BUT experience? We have an ignore list for a reason, and that kinda shiitake is a reason.

I'm not even waiting for you to reply; you're gone.
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Old 01-01-16, 05:24 PM
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OP should dump the Gorilla tape and go with Stans tape. It also appears he's trying to go tubeless with non-TR tyres, not worth doing these days with all the choices in TR tyres. I've set up several TR rim/tyre wheelsets and used Stans tape exclusively because it works. I can't imagine why someone would try and save a few $$, use G tape and have it not work....

Finally, the reason I went tubeless was to eliminate pinch flats and thorn flats, they're epidemic here in the Rockies with tubeless. I don't need low pressure, I allow the suspension to take care of that. I'm running ~35psi to protect my rims and keep the tyre from flopping around.
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Old 01-04-16, 09:04 AM
  #21  
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Uggg, try not to reinvent the wheel. Take rim and use 2 wraps of real rim tape like Stans or other. Use a new UST/ tubeless type tire. Start there. New bikes have the tubeless rim and tire combo installed. Look for a used/takeoff tubeless set up? My enduro has roval tubeless rims. Put on Maxxis tire. Put in 3-4 oz Stans sealant, inflate with floor pump to 30 psi, ride bike. It's that easy.
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Old 01-04-16, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by CrippledKonaBoy
Never is a long time; there are MTB tires that perform better >50 psi. I'm running a set now, and have had a set that rolled like fecality at 55, but sweet at/above 59. (NOW: Michelin Country Dry 2.15; then: Intense Micro Knobby 2.25. To contrast, my RedShifts roll best at 46 psi.)
What kind of trails are you riding? Smooth dirt? Racing? Racing rider weight? Those pressures seem WAY high. @ 235 lbs, I run 28- 30 psi front and 30 -32 psi rear for my enduro with 29x2.3 tires. The idea for tubeless is the ability to run low pressures for better traction and grip. Everyone I ride with runs from about 20 -35 psi, depending on rider weight and trail conditions.A lower psi mt bike tire will roll faster over the bumps, not bounce off the rocks. And grip better. The science is there. YRMV
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Old 01-04-16, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Leebo
What kind of trails are you riding? Smooth dirt? Racing? Racing rider weight? Those pressures seem WAY high. @ 235 lbs, I run 28- 30 psi front and 30 -32 psi rear for my enduro with 29x2.3 tires. The idea for tubeless is the ability to run low pressures for better traction and grip. Everyone I ride with runs from about 20 -35 psi, depending on rider weight and trail conditions.A lower psi mt bike tire will roll faster over the bumps, not bounce off the rocks. And grip better. The science is there. YRMV

Wrong assumption #1 -- because I ride a mountain bike, I MUST ride trails? I'm larger than you, I have back and joint issues, thus cannot ride a rigid/hardtail. Road bikes, besides being narrow and uncomfortable, have no suspension. When I WAS 235#, I couldn't run tires below 40 without a flat or a wipeout due to rollover of the sidewalls. "The science is there"? Personal experience is the exception to the science. My POINT to you was that your assertion was not an absolute, and I demonstrated why. (BTW, "the science" is NOT there, there's no empirical and repeatable evidence to demonstrate the traction coefficient of knobbies on rocks and various dirt. It's all personal experience, just like my exception.)

Final point: someone else's experience that differs from yours is not WRONG, it's just different. Experiences are subjective, therefore not even "rules of thumb".

I commute/utility ride on my Kona Coiler just about daily (up until I got hurt in October, it WAS daily). It's too good a bike to just abandon because I can't ride it like I used to.

THEN...and NOW.
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Old 01-04-16, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by CrippledKonaBoy
Wrong assumption #1 -- because I ride a mountain bike, I MUST ride trails? I'm larger than you, I have back and joint issues, thus cannot ride a rigid/hardtail. Road bikes, besides being narrow and uncomfortable, have no suspension. When I WAS 235#, I couldn't run tires below 40 without a flat or a wipeout due to rollover of the sidewalls. "The science is there"? Personal experience is the exception to the science. My POINT to you was that your assertion was not an absolute, and I demonstrated why. (BTW, "the science" is NOT there, there's no empirical and repeatable evidence to demonstrate the traction coefficient of knobbies on rocks and various dirt. It's all personal experience, just like my exception.)

Final point: someone else's experience that differs from yours is not WRONG, it's just different. Experiences are subjective, therefore not even "rules of thumb".

I commute/utility ride on my Kona Coiler just about daily (up until I got hurt in October, it WAS daily). It's too good a bike to just abandon because I can't ride it like I used to.

THEN...and NOW.
Yowzer. First, happy new year The thread started as a mt biking thing riding trails. My bad on assuming otherwise. Those pressures make sense for pave. And the science IS there. And chillax.
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Old 01-04-16, 10:28 AM
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CrippledKonaBoy
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Originally Posted by Leebo
Yowzer. First, happy new year The thread started as a mt biking thing riding trails. My bad on assuming otherwise. Those pressures make sense for pave. And the science IS there. And chillax.
I WAS "chillax" til you typed "chillax". HATE that word. I'm just chill.
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