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road tubeless

Old 09-02-15, 08:17 AM
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HardyWeinberg
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road tubeless

Anybody enjoying and/or rejecting road tubeless setups for commuting? Eliminating pinch flats and potential puncture sealing on the fly sound really cool to me.
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Old 09-02-15, 10:25 AM
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It's great, the main drawback is the cost. Road tubeless tires are pricey. The sealant works and is really nice to save you from needing to change a tube.

The only drawback is that you need to top off the sealant every 3-6 months, but that can be done in the comfort of home.
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Old 09-02-15, 10:54 AM
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l use 6800 Ultegra rims that are both tube and tubeless. I haven't gone tubeless yet.
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Old 09-02-15, 11:04 AM
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I looked hard at it but did not convert. The advantage is that you can run a racier tire than usual for a commuter, but you'd need to keep up with the sealant maintenance, whereas a tube you can just ignore until you have a problem.

I looked for stories of people using their backup tube and it was almost always either in cases where they let the sealant dry up, or in cases where there was massive tire damage that also requried a boot.
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Old 09-02-15, 12:24 PM
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Seems like a winner, for sure. I have "racy" tires that run tubes, room mate has tubeless 700x28s. He hasn't had a flat in all the time he's had them. I don't care to share how many I've had. We also work together, so ride the same exact route. resealing every 3 months at home or in the shop is way better than changing tubes on the side of the road when running late to work.
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Old 09-02-15, 12:33 PM
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I would like to try it, but I like Continental tires and they have not embraced it.
My friend rides the Hutchinson's and likes it a lot.
Works well until he cut a tire, but you'd be SOL on tubes in that case also.
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Old 09-02-15, 01:43 PM
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I think it is a good option for 28mm tires and smaller. Pinch flats are my biggest issue in that size range, with the crappy streets around here.

It is higher maintenance.

Conti may not like it, but schwalbe seems to have embraced tubeless:

Even Schwalbe points out that not too long ago they were skeptical of tubeless tires for the road. Mountian? Sure. The benefits were clear, but for road bikes, touring bikes, even beach racers? That would require some research. So Schwalbe set out to do exactly that, and after years of testing the merits of tubeless they’ve come to their conclusion “Tubeless is the tire technology of the future.”

Listing many of the same benefits that tubeless manufacturers have put forth for years, Schwalbe points out that tubeless systems offer lower rolling resistance, the ability to ride at lower pressures, and provide superior puncture protection. After launching their new Pro One tire, Schwalbe can add lighter and faster to that list as well…
Shoot, you can even get a huge big apple 60-622 tubless tire @ 440gm. most 60mm tire/tube combinations are going to weigh more than 1KG
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Old 09-03-15, 08:04 AM
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They make a 28 mm, that's it. I would love to see some commuter type tubeless set ups. Tires that are 700x 35-50. And the ability to run pressures 40-75 psi. Nothing yet, kind of disappointing. Seems the commuter would be a perfect fit for tubeless.
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Old 09-06-15, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Leebo
They make a 28 mm, that's it. I would love to see some commuter type tubeless set ups. Tires that are 700x 35-50. And the ability to run pressures 40-75 psi. Nothing yet, kind of disappointing. Seems the commuter would be a perfect fit for tubeless.
Have you seen the Compass line of tires? I ordered some 700x35s to run tubeless. Really looking forward to being able to use light tires without worrying about goat heads ruining my rides.
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Old 09-07-15, 12:17 AM
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Originally Posted by chas58
“Tubeless is the tire technology of the future.”
And yet it's uncanny how much it's like single tube tires of the distant past!
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Old 09-07-15, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Leebo
They make a 28 mm, that's it. I would love to see some commuter type tubeless set ups. Tires that are 700x 35-50. And the ability to run pressures 40-75 psi. Nothing yet, kind of disappointing. Seems the commuter would be a perfect fit for tubeless.
That's the no man's land of tubeless (35~45mm). Narrow tires use high pressure to lock the beads in place and keep everything solid. Wider mountain bike tires (2.0+in) have large volumes that can easily accommodate impacts and side-loads. The middle ground is cyclo-cross tires, which are notorious for burping and rolling beads under hard cornering. The pressure is too low to really lock beads and the low volume makes them prone to impact issues.

I will vouch for the flat prevention though, that's been wonderful. I entirely wore out my first tubeless tire (Schwalbe One) before getting a single flat.
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Old 09-07-15, 02:02 PM
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My experience with tubeless was woefully short-lived-- I managed to get less than 1900 miles out of two rear Schwalbe Ones, before they experienced some sort of cut or nick that would grow and grow until it would no longer seal, patches or no. Ride quality was great, excellent grip, superb flat protection with Stan's/WTB fluid... but the cost and the service interval (I was having to add sealant every 3-4 weeks) ended the experiment. It's just not a sustainable model at the present time, at ~$70 a tire and a $10 bottle of sealant every two months. I back on tubed Contis, and the pair of tires and tubes cost less than one Schwalbe One. I fully expect to get 2,000+ miles out of the Contis.

Short version: I never had a problem with the Ones, they did what they were designed to do: roll great, grip great, flat protection, last ~1000 miles. Too rich for my blood.
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Old 09-07-15, 02:23 PM
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My experience was identical to DrIsotope, they were a fantastic ride for a few hundred miles and then became unrepairable. I went back to Continental 4000s II for awhile and am now experimenting with Tufo tubular clinchers.
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Old 09-07-15, 03:15 PM
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I appreciate everyone's experiences. I am up to 918 miles after ~2 months on schwalbe ones and they don't look like they are falling apart, so I am pretty happy with them under the conditions they've seen. They definitely work for a summer-only roadbike w/ no pretensions of taking it out while the going is tough. I am on the fence about trying out some 28s on a different bike that will see nastier conditions in the fall and spring. Folks here in aggregate seem to be having experiences leaving me on the fence... (the big expense for me is getting a rear wheel, I need a front wheel and it will be tubeless ready; I don't NEED a rear wheel but if I were going to make a go of tubeless on this bike too I would get a new rear wheel with a rim that would make tubeless easier...)
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Old 09-07-15, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by gsa103
It's great, the main drawback is the cost. Road tubeless tires are pricey. The sealant works and is really nice to save you from needing to change a tube.
I'm not sure that the extra hassles are worth the price. You could just as easily get tubes with sealant in them and not have to do the extra steps to mount the tubeless.

Originally Posted by gsa103
The only drawback is that you need to top off the sealant every 3-6 months, but that can be done in the comfort of home.
This is one of those things about tubeless that I just can't wrap my head around. The tire is sealed as is an inner tube. Where does the sealant go? Slime tubes, for example, don't need "refreshment" every few months so why do tubeless tires? Do they leak that much air? And even if they leak air the water in the sealant should be harder to get through the rubber give the polarites of the materials and the size of the water molecule. Carbon dioxide can quickly diffuse through rubber but water simply doen't diffuse out of rubber vessels at any appreciable rate. I would expect a water balloon...a much, much thinner vessel...to remain a water balloon for decades without any appreciable loss of water.

Where doe the water in the sealant go?
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Old 09-07-15, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Where doe the water in the sealant go?
I don't know the science behind it, but its kind of like paint left over in a sealed can, it dries out because there's enough volume within the container for the carrier to dissipate. Slime dries out too, just much slower, I can't offer any explanations as to why other than personal experience.
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Old 09-07-15, 03:34 PM
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If it were just water it would be gone in a matter of days due to temperature changes. The liquifying agent in most sealants is similar to antifreeze (propylene glycol) and the issue is viscosity. After less than a month of riding in SoCal temps, the sealant will thicken up and no longer flow in the rim/tire, so it doesn't do a great job of sealing. The tires themselves are also quite porous to begin with, and sill soak up ~2oz of sealant after mounting. In my experience, weight savings isn't a feature of tubeless-- the sealant + absorption + tire weight roughly equals that of a traditional combo. I did however experience only 1 flat per tire over the 1900 mile period that required me to stop and re-air the tire. Most punctures would seal before I knew they happened.

Still too expensive.
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Old 09-07-15, 03:35 PM
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I reject tubeless...I can't find any fault with a traditional tube/tire set up.
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Old 09-07-15, 04:44 PM
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Tubeless Configuration Blows!!!

Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg
Anybody enjoying and/or rejecting road tubeless setups for commuting? Eliminating pinch flats and potential puncture sealing on the fly sound really cool to me.
I gave it a try. It was allot of trouble getting the tubeless tire on. When I finally them got on (with attendant soapy mess) I had to inflate tire quickly so as to activate the goop inside, making it properly stick to the rims. After some fumbling, I got this done too. Then I rode on them. I must say that the ride quality was markedly better. And I do mean markedly better. I suspect this is due to the lower PSI. Whatever the case, it's allot better. So I roll on for a couple of months, becoming a tubeless zealot with each passing mile. Then the inevitable happened: A tire slash. As the wheel spun, it sprayed sticky white goop everywhere! Ok, they say that I can just use my handy dandy pressurized canister with the goop in it to reseal and repair the flat so I can carry on. 3 cans later, and allot of white goop spraying about, I finally made it home. When I took the tire off to replace it, I had to take wire cutters to it in order to get it off. Then there was all that disgusting white goop all over the place inside the rim, which had to be cleaned before the tire change could be done. When I got the bright idea to forget the tubeless configuration, and just go with standard clincher, the tire gave me a whole lotta trouble going on! My eBay seller screen was the next step in the process. I don't want to think about how I would feel on the matter if this happened on the way back from a century+ with 10K of climbing on a hot day. Oh yes, yes, put the bead in the proper slot on the rim, and align the gizmo just so... I have serious doubts as to whether the wheel would make it home to be listed on eBay.

Just not interested in getting a PhD in tubeless maintenance! The trouble is, that allot of road wheel manufacturer's are now marketing tubeless wheels as the best thing since sliced bread, and I can't find any decent carbon wheels for my new DISC brake road bike!!! ARRGHHHH!!!!

Have I said that tubeless wheels blow?

Mike W.

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Old 09-07-15, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
I'm not sure that the extra hassles are worth the price. You could just as easily get tubes with sealant in them and not have to do the extra steps to mount the tubeless.
Tubes with sealant don't work. When the tube rubs against the tire, the sealant plug repeatedly gets knocked off. It still leaks, just more slowly, so you don't have to immediately stop, but you're still replacing the tube. I tried them, and kept losing air anytime I rode on a tire with a puncture. And the slime leaks out, making patching more difficult, so its best to replace the tube.

The liquid evaporates off. I have no idea how or where, but generally you're left with a uniform coating on the inside of the tire. The sealant in Slime tubes is a different formulation, and the tube is absolutely full of sealant, far more than you would use in a normal tubeless tire (the tube weigh a ton). It does seem to dry out over time, leaving a thick coating inside the tube.
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Old 09-07-15, 05:36 PM
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slime tubes never worked for me.
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Old 09-07-15, 06:04 PM
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Sealant sounds heavy and messy. Plus whatever rim you are using will be toast with goo so it's got to be dedicated. Better tires mates. I'd rather put on some specialized armadillos (non folding, kevlar), they are not light but you can bet your money on em that they'll carry you through the roughest roads. Pretty much bulletproof. Thousands of Kms without flats, super reliable. In 4 years I have flatted only once using them

Originally Posted by AlTheKiller
Seems like a winner, for sure. I have "racy" tires that run tubes, room mate has tubeless 700x28s. He hasn't had a flat in all the time he's had them. I don't care to share how many I've had. We also work together, so ride the same exact route. resealing every 3 months at home or in the shop is way better than changing tubes on the side of the road when running late to work.
If you are having frequent flat issues try Mr. Tuffy's tire liners they work quite well
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Old 09-08-15, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by kickstart
I don't know the science behind it, but its kind of like paint left over in a sealed can, it dries out because there's enough volume within the container for the carrier to dissipate. Slime dries out too, just much slower, I can't offer any explanations as to why other than personal experience.
Nope. Sorry that doesn't work. When paint is left in the sealed can the paint can polymerize but the water stays in the can. And the amount of water that can be carried by the air in the can is limited. Air will hold only so much water and it's a pretty tiny amount. At 70F, air will carry 0.015lb (7 g) of water per pound (453g) of air. One cubic foot of air weighs 0.08lb (36g) at that temperature so a pound of air is 12.5 cubic feet (0.3 cubic meters). Giving up on the Imperial system, 0.3 cubic meters is 12,500 L.

Let's assume that a wide bicycle tire has a liter of volume, which is too high but the math is easier Going the other way on the math, the most that the air in the tire could carry is 6 mg (1/1000 th of a gram). The usual charge of sealant is around 2 oz or 56g which is mostly water. It would take 100,000 liters of air to carry that much water.

And that's at atmospheric pressure. At higher pressures, the air can hold less water. So where does the water go?

Originally Posted by DrIsotope
If it were just water it would be gone in a matter of days due to temperature changes. The liquifying agent in most sealants is similar to antifreeze (propylene glycol) and the issue is viscosity. After less than a month of riding in SoCal temps, the sealant will thicken up and no longer flow in the rim/tire, so it doesn't do a great job of sealing. The tires themselves are also quite porous to begin with, and sill soak up ~2oz of sealant after mounting. In my experience, weight savings isn't a feature of tubeless-- the sealant + absorption + tire weight roughly equals that of a traditional combo. I did however experience only 1 flat per tire over the 1900 mile period that required me to stop and re-air the tire. Most punctures would seal before I knew they happened.

Still too expensive.
Looking at the Stan's MSDS, the amount of water could be 30% to 65%. The amount of propylene glycol is 20% to 40%. Even assuming the lowest water content, there just isn't enough air in the tire to carry the water. And temperature changes wouldn't make a difference. It's supposed to be a sealed system. The water has no place to go and the glycol would be even less likely to evaporate unless something weird and funky is going on with the glycol (like carbon dioxide).

Your comment about the tires "soak[ing] up ~2oz of sealant after mounting" may indicate that something is indeed funky with the glycol but, frankly, that's a strike against tubeless. I've seen a number of tires that blistered because of the sealant which indicates that the sealant is damaging the tire. Adding glycol to the rubber compound will change the characteristics of the rubber in unpredictable ways and I don't any change would be for the better.

Originally Posted by gsa103
Tubes with sealant don't work. When the tube rubs against the tire, the sealant plug repeatedly gets knocked off. It still leaks, just more slowly, so you don't have to immediately stop, but you're still replacing the tube. I tried them, and kept losing air anytime I rode on a tire with a puncture. And the slime leaks out, making patching more difficult, so its best to replace the tube.
I don't personally use Slimed tubes nor any sealant. Even in goathead territory, I haven't found them to be that useful and mostly messy. But I'd say the same about any sealant. However, if the plug can be knocked off by friction between the tube and tire, any sealant plug that would form with tubeless would be subjected to even worse friction. The tube and tire shouldn't really move relative to each other so the friction between the systems is minimal. The plug on a tubeless is going to be subjected to friction on the riding surface which is far higher. The plug would be more easily dislodged.

I doubt, however, that either plug will be dislodged to any great extent because the actual "plug" is inside the hole within the rubber of the tube or tire.

Originally Posted by gsa103
The liquid evaporates off. I have no idea how or where, but generally you're left with a uniform coating on the inside of the tire.
The uniform coating inside the tube is just the residual latex...a defacto inner tube. As a uniform layer it would do nothing to stop punctures. If the sealant is dry or the latex has cured out and formed a dreaded Stan's coral, the sealant doesn't do anything except add weight.

And we still have the problem of how does the liquid "evaporate". It's a sealed system. Do the tires go flat more often? If it is holding air, it is holding water.

Originally Posted by gsa103
The sealant in Slime tubes is a different formulation, and the tube is absolutely full of sealant, far more than you would use in a normal tubeless tire (the tube weigh a ton). It does seem to dry out over time, leaving a thick coating inside the tube.
There are lots of different formulations for tubeless sealant as well. That makes little difference. As to the amount, the sealant in a Slime tube is about the same as for a tubeless...2 to 4 oz. They only seem heavier because you have the tube filled with sealant in your hand and you can't really handle a tubless tire with the sealant in the same way. I doubt that you could tell the difference between a wheel with a Slimed tube in the tire and a tubeless tire by simply hefting the wheel. The wheel's mass is so much higher than the sealants it would be difficult to judge.

Finally, I've had to handle a lot of Slimed tubes at my local co-op. I can't recall ever seeing one that had "dried out". Frankly, I wish they would because then I would get the glop all over me.
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Old 09-08-15, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
The uniform coating inside the tube is just the residual latex...a defacto inner tube. As a uniform layer it would do nothing to stop punctures. If the sealant is dry or the latex has cured out and formed a dreaded Stan's coral, the sealant doesn't do anything except add weight.

And we still have the problem of how does the liquid "evaporate". It's a sealed system. Do the tires go flat more often? If it is holding air, it is holding water.
There are some distinctions that should probably be clarified here. There are several different grades of tire: true tubeless, tubeless-ready, and normal clinchers. True tubeless tires have an air-tight layer inside the tire and can hold air without the need for sealant, they have a leakdown rate similar to a standard butyl tube + clincher. Tubeless-ready tires typically have reinforced beads and some sealing, but will leak considerably if inflated without sealant. Sealant will weep through the sidewalls, sealing the tire and bringing the leak rate to at or below a standard clincher. Normal clincher (mountain bike only) tires can be run tubeless, but the tire will absorb a considerable volume of sealant as the sealant fills the micro-pores of the rubber tire. The seepage is fairly common after sealant is applied.

The majority of sealant is probably lost due to flat prevention. A couple of micro-punctures will cause sealant to wick in and re-seal everything.

Remember that bicycle tires are only approximately sealed, they still need inflation on a regular basis. If sealant weeps into the tire, it then is fully exposed to air and can quickly evaporate. It's well known that sealant loss is much faster during the first application of sealant to tubeless-ready tires. Even still the usual re-fill time period is ~3 months. The second re-fill interval is usually longer, and frequently not needed due to the tire needing replacement from normal wear.

Much of this is speculation considering that tubeless technology is relatively new, and mainly adopted in the mountain bike community where the flat frequency is very high. After my last mountain bike ride, I noticed my tires had 4-5 places where sealant had wicked through to re-seal the tire. I suspect not all of those cuts would have punctured the tube, but I suspect at least one would have resulted in a pinhole flat. Prior to going tubeless, my normal riding would result in a flat tire the next morning. With road tubeless, I get fewer flats, but the flat I did get resulted in significant sealant loss. I have no idea how long sealant would last in something like a Marathon Supreme which already has considerable flat protection, its possible that the sealant could easily remain a year or more.
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Old 09-08-15, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Nope. Sorry that doesn't work.
Whatever,
Like I said, I don't know or really care about the science behind it, I just known that sealent like paint will cure when dispersed in a sealed container.
That's just the way it is.
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