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My personal war with tubeless tires

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My personal war with tubeless tires

Old 06-03-19, 07:38 PM
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bgdoyle
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My personal war with tubeless tires

I recently bought a Giant Defy ('18) that came with 25mm tubeless tires. Road real nice but the rims were exposed to rocks ect. Front tire worked OK but the rear kept losing air. Put on some 28mm GravelKing tubed tires and ran them for 200 miles. Decided to install Schawlbe Pro Ones (tubeless) and had quite a battle getting them to seat. Finally bought a Harbor Freight 5 gallon air tank. Sliced of the air chuck and just slid the 1/4 tube over the valve stem. Seated immediately but then popped off when the pressure dropped. Finally got them both to seat, with valve cores, and they held air. 80 PSI. Next morning front was at 75 and rear was at 30. Factory tape pealing up. New tape still leaked. Took off again, new tape, held air, but bead didn't locate properly. Let out air, soaped the rim and it seamed to seat right. slight runout but looked OK. Only dropped about 5 psi over night. Progress. Now add sealant. Front pop off bead but I was able to get it seated with sealant. Rear I had to soap the rim again to set the bead and I think most of the sealant wound up on the floor. Any sugestions?

TLDR: how to add sealant when tire pops off rim when air pressure drops.

Thanks!
Brian
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Old 06-03-19, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by bgdoyle View Post
Any sugestions?
Install tubes.
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Old 06-03-19, 09:00 PM
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I have tubeless on my 2.8" 27.5+ tires. On those it makes some sense. I haven't felt compelled to go tubeless on anything else, including my "gravel/adventure" bike with 38mm tires that I run at half the pressure you do. I just don't think it is worth the hassle. If I got flats frequently, I would probably change my mind.

My tubeless setup works much better than yours, but it is still a high-maintenance hassle.

I think it is safe to say there is no way to add sealant without completely deflating the tire. In my case, the beads stick to the rims, so injecting via syringe through the vale (with stem removed) works, but this whole ritual of dumping latex crap into the tires doesn't strike me as an improvement. Several times I have found a tire flat for no apparent reason, pumped it up, put in sealant, and then it is fine for several months. Or not. Sometimes it leaks at the valve, especially when I thread on the pump. It is completely random, and that bothers me for multi-day trips.

Orange seal for me seems to work better than Stan's.

Last edited by wgscott; 06-03-19 at 09:14 PM. Reason: words keep leaking out
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Old 06-03-19, 09:11 PM
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Surrender is not an option...
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Old 06-03-19, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by bgdoyle View Post
Surrender is not an option...
Are different tires an option?

If so, get the widest ones you can cram in your frame, and keep the pressure low.
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Old 06-03-19, 09:38 PM
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The Schwalbe Pro Ones @ 28mm just clear the front fork by .25 inch. These are the different tire (from the GravelKings). If I can keep the pressure lose to 5psi or so a day they will work.
The factory tape had starter to unwind and leak. Steep learning curve. Just wanted to see if I might of missed a trick or two.
I really noticed a difference when they work.
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Old 06-03-19, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by bgdoyle View Post
Surrender is not an option...
Pick your battles [better].
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Old 06-03-19, 09:51 PM
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Unless a tire specifically says it can be run without sealant, it requires sealant. So you don't wait a few hours, or overnight, or a few days to put in the sealant. Once the beads are seated, it's simply not going to get better on its own. The sealant is what makes the rim/tire combo airtight.

--Mount the tire wet, always. Use your choice of mounting fluid: a few drops of dish soap in water, bubble juice, whatever.
--Seat the beads with a quick blast of air, make sure it has seated all the way around. Leave it aired up for 30-45 seconds.
--Let the air out slowly. Shoot in the desired amount of sealant through the valve stem with a syringe. Don't have one? Get one. I do 45mL for a 700x25.
--Install the core, air tire up to normal operating pressure. Put the wheel on the bike, spin it.
--after initial install and prior to being ridden, a tire might lose a bit of air the first night. It's normal. Riding it circulates the sealant better than just spinning it in the stand.
--As the tire is ridden, pressure drop will lessen. After a few hundred miles, my tires will typically only drop 2-3psi every 24 hours, before leveling off ~70psi.
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Old 06-03-19, 10:37 PM
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DrIsotope,
You listed 6 steps. Step three has two parts. Between part A and part B is a loud Tack, Tack as the tire slips of the rim. The first time I tried I lost a lot of the sealant. This time I left the rim on the bike so no external forces acted on the tire and I was able to reseat with minimal lose. Time will tell if it did the job.
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Old 06-04-19, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Unless a tire specifically says it can be run without sealant, it requires sealant. So you don't wait a few hours, or overnight, or a few days to put in the sealant. Once the beads are seated, it's simply not going to get better on its own. The sealant is what makes the rim/tire combo airtight.
--Seat the beads with a quick blast of air, make sure it has seated all the way around. Leave it aired up for 30-45 seconds.
i.
I would just add to this that after initial blast, pumping the tire up a bit more, I usually go all the way to 100psi or so helps get the bead completely seated. I use a an airshot canister with a pump, so after I blast air in and the tire inflates, I can use the pump to add a bit more pressure to fully seat the bead. Invariably, I get a final snap of bead seating as I pump but I never have an issue with the tire coming unseated when I deflate to add sealant.
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Old 06-04-19, 05:45 AM
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On my road bike, I run Swiss tubeless ready rims with Hutchinson tires. Once the tires lift onto the seat, they usually stay put and are a PITA to get off once some sealant has set up around the bead. I do lose a little air here and there but that is to be expected. IMHO, all rims and tires are not created equal when it comes to tubeless. I ran a set of tube tires a few weeks back and had 2 flats on 2 rides. I will never go back to tubes.

The tape on the inside shouldn't peel up although I recently experienced that on one set of tires where I had laid down a layer of vinyl tape under the Stans tape. That was on me though. I buy the tape by the roll and clean the inside of the rim very well before installation.

When I mount tires, I put one side on completely, then the other about half way before adding sealant. I finish seating the second side and then pump it up with a floor pump with the valve still installed. I have never had a problem with them. But then again they are good rims when it comes to tubeless.

Every mountain or bikepacking bike that I've ever built has had tubeless rims either Stans or WTB. Those have also seated very easily, oftentimes by hand pump.

I cannot imagine running tubes ever again. That's just me though.
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Old 06-04-19, 06:05 AM
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I get my tires to seal without sealant. I view sealant only for flat protection, not for bead sealing. If tires don't seal, there is a leak somewhere, and it's best to find the problem before putting in the sealant.
Suggest new, quality tubeless rims. Also 2 wraps of stans tape for higher pressure road tires.
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Old 06-04-19, 08:25 AM
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The most expert guy at the local Trek store continues to make the case for tubeless, and I have Bontrager Race and Paradigm rims set up tubelessly (?) with R3 tires. I find tubeless, for road tires that I'm riding at 116psi, to be a PITA. First, the valve cores get gummed up and I have a hard time inflating the things. Getting the right amount of fluid in was an ordeal til I got a syringe setup with a little tube - that works fine. Stan's sealed things ok, but the rubber settled to the bottom of the bottle int a bit wad of chewing gum. Expensive chewing gum. I'm now trying Bontrager,sealant and while it doesn't settle out into wads, the little sparkley stuff setttles out rapidly. If I didn't have the syringe, non of that stuff would ever make it into the tire.

When I put tires on I clean off all the old congealed goop from tire and rim, using a plastic scrubber. A PITA. I rinse the tire, and get rid of most or all of the water. Then I mount the tires, and then use a compressor tank to seat them. I don't think I'd ever be able to seat those tires with a floor or hand pump. Too much leakage. Once they're seated, I remove the valve core and use the syringe to put in 30-45 ml of sealant. As I mentioned above, with the Bontrager stuff you have to really shake it, suck it up into the syringe immediately using the tube stuck into the bottle. Then when you shoot it into the tire all the solid stuff goes in with it. I once tried putting sealant in before the tires were seated. Will never to that again! On the other hand, large section of the wall of my kitchen will never leak air again...

Now when it works, the tubeless ride seems a little livelier and more comfortable. Slightly. Not sure that its worth it. In fact, I actually have the valve plug up so badly that I blew up the (unreinforced rubber- poor design) hose on my Park floor pump! So tubeless isn't just a PITA, it blows up expensive tools!

To top it off, last weekend I was just about to throw the bike in the SUV to go to a trailhead (Betzwood Park on the Schuylkill River Trail, FWIW) when I noted a little nub of tar on my wheel. Wasn't tar. Was sealant, through a cut in the tire. So now I have to pull the tire, clean and dry the tire, apply a patch, and reseat and reapply the goop.

On the plus side, this will "allow" me to clean the valve thoroughly.

Are there Presta valve stems that work better than others in not getting fouled by the tire sealant? I do store my bikes with the stems at 4:30 or 7:30 so that any sealant drains from them. Any other tips?

Last edited by WizardOfBoz; 06-04-19 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 06-04-19, 08:33 AM
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I just looked at Bontrager's tire offering. It seems to me that their TLR tire selection is vastly reduced. The only road tire that's TLR is a 32mm. Anyone else notice this? Is the industry retreating from tubeless for smaller (<32mm) tires?

If so, I guess I'll be buying a couple pairs of Conti race innertubes.

Last edited by WizardOfBoz; 06-04-19 at 08:40 AM.
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Old 06-04-19, 08:33 AM
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This year , as the Trans Am racers did last minute preparations , day before the race start,

a repair stand was provided on the sidewalk , so the typical tubeless sealant mess could be hosed off ,

long compressor air hose provided..






....
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Old 06-04-19, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
I get my tires to seal without sealant. I view sealant only for flat protection, not for bead sealing. If tires don't seal, there is a leak somewhere, and it's best to find the problem before putting in the sealant.
Suggest new, quality tubeless rims. Also 2 wraps of stans tape for higher pressure road tires.
Most tubeless tires state that they are only to be used in conjunction with sealant. A UST tire used with a companion UST rim should be airtight without sealant, but for everything else, sealant is a near necessity.
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Old 06-04-19, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by WizardOfBoz View Post
I just looked at Bontrager's tire offering. It seems to me that their TLR tire selection is vastly reduced. The only road tire that's TLR is a 32mm. Anyone else notice this? Is the industry retreating from tubeless for smaller (<32mm) tires?
The Bontrager R3 TLR only comes in 700x24, so that seems unlikely. Giant make about five flavors of tubeless 700x25, Pirelli makes a 700x26. Schwalbe, Hutchinson, IRC, and Maxxis all have multiple versions of 700x25 tubeless tires.
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Old 06-04-19, 09:08 AM
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Thanks, Dr. Isotope. That's weird, though. I have R3 TLR in 26mm on four 4 wheels right now, and it would appear that if I wanted to keep a TLR setup (and not switch to 24 or 32mm) I'd have to go to Giant/Schwalbe/Hutchinson. All that hullaballoo about tubeless and tubeless ready and Bontrager now fails to have sufficient offerings in the area.

It's enough to make one give up tubeless. Or Bontrager tires!
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Old 06-04-19, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Most tubeless tires state that they are only to be used in conjunction with sealant. A UST tire used with a companion UST rim should be airtight without sealant, but for everything else, sealant is a near necessity.
Not true. Just your opinion.
I never said to ride the tire without sealant. I said get the tire to seal without sealant before putting the sealant into the tire.
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Old 06-04-19, 09:28 AM
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What? I mean... what? My opinion? No. Not really.

Just read the bit right there above the bold text that says TUBELESS TIRE INSTALLATION. The same instructions can be found with Maxxis and Pirelli tubeless tires.

Now if you mean make sure the tire is seated, then sure. But it's not going to seal on it's own unless it is a UST tire used on a system compatible UST rim.


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Old 06-04-19, 02:22 PM
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to me for under 32 mm tires tubeless does not look like a good way to go. I can't see anyone ride a tire that small at such a low pressure that pinch flats should be an issue. Ride is not as good because of stiffer sidewalls. Tires are heavier According to my LBS guy there is some documentation about tubeless increasing rim failure ( I have not been able to confirm independently, but this guy works on everthing and is not a luddite) I seen lots posts on hard to install, leaks etc. installs are complicated. You till need to carry a tube.

I know Dr. Isotope has stated he gets less flats, so would be interested in his set ups.

but we all choose our crazy... me I am doing more tubular

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Old 06-04-19, 02:42 PM
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The wife's bike has used Hutchinson Fusion 3 and Giant Gavia Race1, both in 700x25. Since converting her bike to tubeless, she has not recorded a single flat. Somewhere around 4,000 miles.
My Cervelo has used Maxxis Padrone, Schwalbe PRO One, Giant Gavia SL and Gavia AC1, all 700x25. The most miles are on AC1s. I've lost a few to catastrophic cuts, but no flats due to typical "nuisance" punctures. About 9,000 miles.
My "go anywhere" bike has used Maxxis ReFuse TR (700x32,) Panaracer Gravelking SK (in 35, 38, and 43,) Hutchinson Overide (700x35,) and currently Pirelli Cinturato Velo TLR (700x35.) I lost an Overide to some drywall screws about 18 months ago, but no puncture flats otherwise. Total tubeless miles on tires 32mm or wider, somewhere in the 19-20k neighborhood.
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Old 06-04-19, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by bgdoyle View Post
The Schwalbe Pro Ones @ 28mm just clear the front fork by .25 inch. These are the different tire (from the GravelKings). If I can keep the pressure lose to 5psi or so a day they will work.
The factory tape had starter to unwind and leak. Steep learning curve. Just wanted to see if I might of missed a trick or two.
I really noticed a difference when they work.
.25 inch is more than 6mm. Sounds like you have room for 700x40.

You have convinced me never to try tubeless for road tires.
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Old 06-04-19, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
.25 inch is more than 6mm. Sounds like you have room for 700x40.
Not with 17mm internal width rims. The narrow rims will push up the center of the tire. 32s rub in the center.

Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
You have convinced me never to try tubeless for road tires.
That's too bad. They ride real nice at 90 psi. My only issue was getting the sealant actually to stay in the tire while the bead is off. Once I left the rim on the bike so the rim was supported and the tire was just loose, it all worked fine.
This bike was a demo that sat in the shop (2018 model) and from the looks of it, it was never ridden. I got a very significant discount so I really don't mind a few 'issues'. I put some 175 miles on it after I changed the factory Gavia 25mm (tubeless) to the tubed GravelKings. Was interested in the difference of tubeless and the adventure began.
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Old 06-05-19, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by bgdoyle View Post
That's too bad. They ride real nice at 90 psi.
All is not lost. My 'road' bike is a Surly CrossCheck, and I typically ride ~50mm tires at 20-40psi. That rides REAL nice. And shouldn't be too hard to tubeless if I ever get around to it. I would go ghetto (split-tube instead of tape)
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