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Taking tubeless wheels and planes

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Taking tubeless wheels and planes

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Old 02-06-19, 04:49 AM
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Lenbrazil
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Taking tubeless wheels and planes

A customer support rep from Jenson said it was a bad idea to put tubeless wheels and bikes with them on planes because the variations of pressure and temperature can cause the fluid to leak and create a big mess. Is that true?
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Old 02-06-19, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Lenbrazil View Post
A customer support rep from Jenson said it was a bad idea to put tubeless wheels and bikes with them on planes because the variations of pressure and temperature can cause the fluid to leak and create a big mess. Is that true?
This is a variant of old "bicycle tires will explode on airplanes" canard. The cargo hold is pressurized just like the rest of the plane*. The pressure in the plane is about the same as 6000 to 8000 feet which means the pressure is slightly reduced to about 12 psi from 14psi at sea level so the effective pressure in the tire rises slightly but not significantly. Your tire will see a slight increase in pressure but shouldn't be enough to cause any beading problems with the bead. If the fluid leaks out, it's because you have other problems.

Even if you were to throw an inflated tire into a vacuum, it is unlikely to have issues. Most tires will stand much more than a 14 psi pressure differential...and that's all you'll see. It's the difference between what you measure with the gauge and the absolute pressure which includes the atmospheric pressure.


*Think about it. They put dogs and other animals down there.
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Old 02-06-19, 10:49 AM
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I'd be concerned with temperature as well. If it's not the low temperature rated fluid, it might dry out at an accelerated rate.
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Old 02-06-19, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Elvo View Post
I'd be concerned with temperature as well. If it's not the low temperature rated fluid, it might dry out at an accelerated rate.
Not a concern either. A low temperature doesn’t accelerate drying of the sealant. It slows it. And it takes a long time for sealant to move out of the tire...much, much longer than even a flight to Europe.
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Old 02-06-19, 04:10 PM
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Why not bleed off a little pressure? Leave enough pressure for the tire to hold itself on the rim, but no need to have it full. It could be embarrassing to have issues occurring.
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Old 02-07-19, 09:13 AM
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If you have to let the air out of the tire to fit it into a crate or case, that might be a problem.
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Old 02-07-19, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
If you have to let the air out of the tire to fit it into a crate or case, that might be a problem.
n=1, and all that, but when I did it there was no problem. 29+ tires are pretty big and I had to deflate them to get them into the box comfortably.
Everything was just fine.
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Old 02-07-19, 03:51 PM
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generally tubeless tires are stuck pretty well to the rim mechanically and with sealant. I am pretty sure I could totally deflate my gravelbike tires and have no issue on a plane with sealant escaping
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Old 02-07-19, 07:19 PM
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"Some" cargo hold are pressurized. Either way no biggie. Just air them down before you give them to the airline.
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Old 02-11-19, 11:24 AM
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I've flown with my bikepacking bike a few times. Never had a problem with tubeless tires. Just drop the pressure a bit and you're GTG.
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