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My first go at road tubeless...inauspicious

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My first go at road tubeless...inauspicious

Old 12-31-16, 04:41 PM
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DOS
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My first go at road tubeless...inauspicious

So Santa brought me some Schwalbe Pro One Tubeless Easy tires for Christmas, which I now have mounted onto my HED Belgium + Rims, but it wasn't easy.

I got them mounted easy enough, valve stems in place. I was hoping my floor pump would be up to the inflation challenge but, alas, it was not. Not even close. So I decided to take them over to my LBS to have them blast some air with their compressor. But even their air gun could not budge the tires to engage the rim. Moreover, it quickly became apparent that the LBS guys there did not know what they were talking about WRT road tubeless. They wanted to fill the tires with sealant before the bead was set, in fact they insisted it was only way, which I know to be false. I explained that I wanted to get bead set before sealant and then add sealant through valve as per manufacturer instructions because I was worried that adding sealant before confirming the bead would seat would create an ungodly mess, which it would have and still failed to get the tire installed. I discovered later that I had a different problem, see below. So I left and went to a second LBS. Right away it was clear these guys knew what they were doing; apparently they have been doing a lot of tubeless set ups for local racing team.

But then the mechanic couldn't get the tire to set up either. He tried tvarious approaches I had tried (putting tube in, to get bead to engage initially, trying different valve stems, etc) without success (which gave me some solace, I have to say since it made me feel better about my failure). I began thinking that maybe the problem was the rim tape, which was tubless compatible but had been installed by the wheel builder, not me. I was about to suggest that when the mechanic had the same idea. So he changed the tape and, voila, the tires started holding air. Apparently the tape used by the wheel builder was just a bit thick and a hair too wide for my particular rim/tire combo so was preventing the tire bead from engaging the rim correctly. So, new tape in place, the mechanic pumped them up, added sealant via valve the way one is supposed to, and I was on my way.

Had the LBS been able to just add air and sealant for me, they would have charged me 20 bucks for their sealant refill service. Adding tape kicked it into "conversion" service, so that was an extra 20. I am a little bummed that I am out of pocket 40 bucks when I had spent money on stuff to do it myself, but I guess I learned something so will be able to do this myself next time, and I certainly saved myself many hours of frustration. Besides, to replace the tape myself, I would have had to buy that, so I guess technically I am only out of pocket 30.00 above what I would have spent anyway.

Bottomline, when you set yours up, make sure the tape is right. If you have a shop do it, make sure they know what they are doing.

I will be getting myself a compressor of some sort but may start with the coke bottle hack I have see online. First ride tomorrow so I will report on that later.
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Old 12-31-16, 05:11 PM
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I have never tried tubeless and have no plan to try tubeless. Sorry for your troubles and headaches. I hope they ride spectacularly. Tubeless on road bikes seems like a solution without a problem, IMHO.
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Old 12-31-16, 05:38 PM
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Bought the Easton EA90 SLs specifically because they have a no-spoke-hole rim bed so no tape necessary. Did need a touch of dish soap to get my Schwalbes to mount. But only took about 3 minutes.

Very annoying about the LBS. Sucks when you can't get things sorted on your own.
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Old 12-31-16, 05:48 PM
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Haven't needed an air compressor with Ultegra wheels plus 2 different types of Hutchinsons (Fusion 5s suck, BTW).

Leaving a tube in all night makes more of a difference than you would think.
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Old 12-31-16, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by zatopek View Post
Tubeless on road bikes seems like a solution without a problem, IMHUO.
fify
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Old 12-31-16, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by DOS View Post
I will be getting myself a compressor of some sort but may start with the coke bottle hack I have see online. First ride tomorrow so I will report on that later.
I just installed a new set of Pro Ones (25s) and needed to use my compressor as well (I have one from my auto mechanic days). My previous set (23s) didn't need a compressor. Go figure.

Anyways, I was at my Trek dealer the other day and saw this "TLR Flash Charger" pump. Apparently you pump up & store a large volume of pressurized air and then release it all at once.

Might want to consider it as it's cheaper than your typical decent-quality compressor. But if you want to spend the dough, get a compressor. Because air tools.

Also, if you don't already have it, get a Kool Stop Tire Jack.

I was able to mount each tire in about 2 minutes flat, without using soapy water, thanks to this thing. Worth its weight in gold.
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Old 12-31-16, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by zatopek View Post
I have never tried tubeless and have no plan to try tubeless. Sorry for your troubles and headaches. I hope they ride spectacularly. Tubeless on road bikes seems like a solution without a problem, IMHO.
Agree 100%.
I truly dont get the point.
You still need to carry a pump and a tube for the worst case scenario.
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Old 12-31-16, 09:29 PM
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I love road tubeless though I have regular-tire bikes too. They work well, with the tubeless ones feeling a lot better. have come to realize one thing though. With these wide rims, there is much less pressure against the side of the rim, so it is not as easy. Also, tires are skinnier anyway when compared to the MTB side of things. It sets up a bit easier with slightly narrower rims and stays that way. With wider rims, it is more finicky though holds once set up. Without a tire shelf or bead hook, the tire can fall away when deflated. It will probably be a lot better in another year or two but the ride quality is amazing with no tube. Even at 95-100 PSI the ride quality is much smoother. I currently have two set up tubeless (one is a cross setup with 33s, and the other with 25 IRCs) while two are set up with tubes. Yeah, it is tougher to set up for sure.
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Old 12-31-16, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by sumgy View Post
Agree 100%.
I truly dont get the point.
You still need to carry a pump and a tube for the worst case scenario.
Here's the difference: in the past two years since I've ridden tubeless, I've gotten about 10 punctures . . . that I know about. There's been plenty of times I've washed my bike and found latex sprayed on the frame -- had no idea I'd gotten a puncture. Prior to going tubeless, I'd average 4-5 road-side flat repairs per year.

The first time, I pulled over and added some air . . . the sealant sealed the puncture before I came to a stop.

The remaining 9 times, I didn't even bother pulling over. Just kept riding and let the sealant do its job. On average, I lost between 5-10 psi per puncture.

I have yet, knock on wood, to have a catastrophic puncture requiring the use of a tube. If I hear a hiss while on a group ride, I don't worry. I just keep riding.

How many punctures have you had to pull over & replace a tube?

Last edited by RNAV; 12-31-16 at 09:52 PM.
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Old 12-31-16, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by RNAV View Post
Here's the difference: in the past two years since I've ridden tubeless, I've gotten about 10 punctures . . . that I know about. There's been plenty of times I've washed my bike and found latex sprayed on the frame -- had no idea I'd gotten a puncture. Prior to going tubeless, I'd average 4-5 road-side flat repairs per year.

The first time, I pulled over and added some air . . . the sealant sealed the puncture before I came to a stop.

The remaining 9 times, I didn't even bother pulling over. Just kept riding and let the sealant do its job. On average, I lost between 5-10 psi per puncture.

I have yet, knock on wood, to have a catastrophic puncture requiring the use of a tube. If I hear a hiss while on a group ride, I don't worry. I just keep riding.

How many punctures have you had to pull over & replace a tube?
2-3 a year over the past couple of years.
I ride tyres that are fit for day to day riding though.
The issues I see with tubeless for road are as described by the OP.
Painful and messy to set up.
Still limited tyre choice.
And if you do have a flat that wont seal then you still need a tube and pump (plus the pain of getting the tyre off, the sealant all over the shop and then the usual tube replacement and inflation).
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Old 12-31-16, 10:01 PM
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Yeah, ride in thorn country and you will know the benefit of tubeless. No system is perfect, but most of my punctures used to be thorns. Haven't had to stop because of a thorn since I went tubeless. That's enough to make me happy.

Once you get the hang of how to install a tubeless tire it's really not that much of a hassle. The hardest part is learning the first time, but it's well worth the effort.
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Old 12-31-16, 11:13 PM
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Those with no experience with tubeless should kindly go deposit their 2¢ elsewhere, as they offer absolutely zero value here. I had ~10,000 tubeless miles in 2016, without a single puncture, and I ride in one of the goathead and bottle glass capitols of the world. Tubeless tires cost no more than other high-quality tubed tires, but offer significantly better puncture resistance, equivalent or better rolling resistance (no tubes) similar weight to clinchers (again, no tubes) and can be run at much lower pressures, so they're more comfortable. Those who whine about the mess... get over yourself. The "mess" of a little latex sealant comes nowhere close to rebuilding a hub or cleaning a chain.

Stick with it, OP, and definitely invest in a compressor. Even if you're one of the less mechanically inclined, setting up/maintaining tubeless is something you should be doing yourself, if just for the economy of it. I've tried four different sealants-- Stan's, WTB, Orange Seal, and TruckerCo-- and so far, I'm liking TruckerCo Cream the best-- low ammonia, high solids count, cheap, and the injector they include with a bottle perfectly fits a Presta valve.
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Old 01-01-17, 12:21 AM
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Never rid tubeless..I am intrigued, but how does the sealant thing work? Ie, you run over a wire, nail, or thorn or something, which is stuck in your tire. The sealant goes to the escaping air hole and hardens there or somesuch? The object that's in your tire stays there or does the sealant force it out? Sounds like many don't even know they ran over something, so do these objects start collecting in the tires?

I only average about 2-3 flats a year, so not sure I'd find the value in the exercise of switching over from clinchers. The ability to run lower pressures doesn't make sense to me. Ok, you can run lower pressure, but then you go slower. I would assume you normally choose a pressure that aligns with your bike/body weight and the tire width you have, and then inflate to optimum (eg. if you subscribe to the 15% drop or somesuch philosophy)? For comfort, wouldn't it be better to run a wider tire but still inflate to what you're supposed to (which would be fewer PSI vs a narrower tire)?
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Old 01-01-17, 12:35 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post

Stick with it, OP, and definitely invest in a compressor. Even if you're one of the less mechanically inclined, setting up/maintaining tubeless is something you should be doing yourself, if just for the economy of it. I've tried four different sealants-- Stan's, WTB, Orange Seal, and TruckerCo-- and so far, I'm liking TruckerCo Cream the best-- low ammonia, high solids count, cheap, and the injector they include with a bottle perfectly fits a Presta valve.
Will do. I am pretty mechanically inclined, having done my own wrenching, including building my own wheels for better part of the last decade. I went to LBS mainly for lack of compressor but was not surprised, really, to discover the tape issue. Lesson learned, and not the first stime I have learned it, when doing something for the first time, do every step yourself. My mistake this time was assuming the tape was right.

Thanks for tne tip on Trucker. I had not heard of them before. Most things I read point to Orange as the best option compared to Stans and WTB, which is what I have and what my LBS used.
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Old 01-01-17, 01:10 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Those with no experience with tubeless should kindly go deposit their 2¢ elsewhere, as they offer absolutely zero value here. I had ~10,000 tubeless miles in 2016, without a single puncture, and I ride in one of the goathead and bottle glass capitols of the world. Tubeless tires cost no more than other high-quality tubed tires, but offer significantly better puncture resistance, equivalent or better rolling resistance (no tubes) similar weight to clinchers (again, no tubes) and can be run at much lower pressures, so they're more comfortable. Those who whine about the mess... get over yourself. The "mess" of a little latex sealant comes nowhere close to rebuilding a hub or cleaning a chain.

Stick with it, OP, and definitely invest in a compressor. Even if you're one of the less mechanically inclined, setting up/maintaining tubeless is something you should be doing yourself, if just for the economy of it. I've tried four different sealants-- Stan's, WTB, Orange Seal, and TruckerCo-- and so far, I'm liking TruckerCo Cream the best-- low ammonia, high solids count, cheap, and the injector they include with a bottle perfectly fits a Presta valve.
You sure like to make a lot of suppositions in your posts don't you?
Who says I have no experience with tubeless?
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Old 01-01-17, 02:18 AM
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Originally Posted by sumgy View Post
You sure like to make a lot of suppositions in your posts don't you?
Who says I have no experience with tubeless?
I was referring to the gentleman in post #2. The burden of assumption goes on you, for presuming I was talking about you. And while it's impossible to prove that something isn't, nowhere have you indicated at all that you have personal, empirical evidence to offer... so if I were so inclined as to make an assumption, it would be fair. I mean, you did offer up the typical trite complaints of the typical non-user.

So are you saying that you do indeed have experience with road tubeless? If so, please do edify.
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Old 01-01-17, 02:20 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
I was referring to the gentleman in post #2. The burden of assumption goes on you, for presuming I was talking about you. And while it's impossible to prove that something isn't, nowhere have you indicated at all that you have personal, empirical evidence to offer... so if I were so inclined as to make an assumption, it would be fair. I mean, you did offer up the typical trite complaints of the typical non-user.

So are you saying that you do indeed have experience with road tubeless? If so, please do edify.
I have no need to explain or edify anything to you.
Are you the thread police?
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Old 01-01-17, 02:25 AM
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Originally Posted by sumgy View Post
<incoherent gibbering>



...and before the actual thread police show up, I'll see myself out.
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Old 01-01-17, 02:46 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post



...and before the actual thread police show up, I'll see myself out.
Such a meaningful comment.
And you had the nerve to call me a Troll.

First sign of someone with nothing meaningful to add is usually verbal abuse, but you managed to jump straight to a meme.

Well done.
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Old 01-01-17, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by DOS View Post
Lesson learned, and not the first stime I have learned it, when doing something for the first time, do every step yourself. My mistake this time was assuming the tape was right.
Well, the tape should have been right, as your wheelbuilder said it was.

To my mind, the lesson is to get stuff from people who know what they're doing. Many people do not do what they do well.

There are companies and people out there very adept at what they do. They are specialists and professionals with a proven record of achievement. It can be a bit of work to understand who they are (because first you have to understand what gives value to the thing you want), but doing so can save time, money and aggravation.

Bontrager, IME, makes a very good sealant, BTW. But Stan's has been good to me, and OrangeSeal is fine, too, so I don't fret or over-think it provided it's road spec sealant. I tried Joe's Eco, but was MTB spec apparently, and did not work well.

And that bring me to another thoughr regarding tubeless: user expectations are some of the biggest problems. Usually, we think tubeless is some kind of bullet-proof miracle, and so when we get that unsealable flat, we're diappointed or even incredulous, and spend time thinking what we can do to help the sealant; we put the puncture on the bottom, or hope it seals, or wonder did we put enough, or should we have put another brand. When we puncture a tube, though, we know to just fix it; change or patch, that's it. We don't grieve the flat. Once we get the point where we understand and accept the potential and limits of tubeless, we can begin to appreciate its benefits.
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Old 01-01-17, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
Well, the tape should have been right, as your wheelbuilder said it was.

To my mind, the lesson is to get stuff from people who know what they're doing. Many people do not do what they do well.

There are companies and people out there very adept at what they do. They are specialists and professionals with a proven record of achievement. It can be a bit of work to understand who they are (because first you have to understand what gives value to the thing you want), but doing so can save time, money and aggravation.

Bontrager, IME, makes a very good sealant, BTW. But Stan's has been good to me, and OrangeSeal is fine, too, so I don't fret or over-think it provided it's road spec sealant. I tried Joe's Eco, but was MTB spec apparently, and did not work well.

And that bring me to another thoughr regarding tubeless: user expectations are some of the biggest problems. Usually, we think tubeless is some kind of bullet-proof miracle, and so when we get that unsealable flat, we're diappointed or even incredulous, and spend time thinking what we can do to help the sealant; we put the puncture on the bottom, or hope it seals, or wonder did we put enough, or should we have put another brand. When we puncture a tube, though, we know to just fix it; change or patch, that's it. We don't grieve the flat. Once we get the point where we understand and accept the potential and limits of tubeless, we can begin to appreciate its benefits.
I can't explain what happened with the tape. I had the wheels built by SugarWheel works in portland. They ar among the best online builders. In fact, as my LBS worked on mounting the tire, they were raving about the quality of the build. Also, they used HED tape on HED rim, wrapped twice, which is what HED says. So it should have been fine. Maybe the fact that the tape wasn't new and I had been riding clinchers with tubes for almost a year was an issue, I don't know.

Your point on tubeless expectations is well taken, and I dont really have any. Its been on my mind to give them a try since I got the wheels with tubless ready rims, although I didnt get the rims intending to go tubeless. My experience riding these wide Belgium+ rims as been really great, just a really smooth ride, so it will be interesting to see whether tubeless adds noticeably to my experience. Also, part of my motivation to try them is that Schwalbe is among the leading proponents of road tubeless. I really like the regular clincher Schwalbe One tires I have been riding, so I was intersted to give their tubeless version a try. I expect I will flat at some point, but hopefully not for a while. But I will continue to carry a tube.
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Old 01-01-17, 09:46 AM
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I only have had one flat with road tubeless. It was a Schwalbe Pro One on my NOX carbon rims. FYI- the 20.5mm internal width rim is simply too wide for a 23 tire. Even 25 is too borderline according to NOX and Mavic. 28 is the minimum (so it is now on my cross bike with 33s). Anyway, I heard a hiss and realized I had ridden over a tiny stone chip just right. There were plenty in that stretch. It kept hissing while I was riding, so I stopped and turned the hole to the bottom of the tire and kinda tapped the wheel on the ground a couple of times. The hissing stopped. I felt the tire and it was soft but okay. So I rode home and checked the pressure. I forget the exact # but it had gone from 85 to around 65. I rode that tire after that with no issues. Recently I have switched to NoTubes sealant instead of Orange Seal. I have not had any problems but will see. I think NoTubes seals a bit faster, given my experience with using both my mountain bikes and my fat bike. I use Orange Seal on the fattie because it apparently handles really cold weather better ad stat more stable.

I am sure the whole system will become easier and easier and more foolproof to set up and use, as time goes on. I like trying newer stuff like road disc brakes as well. Do you have to have road tubeless like you really should on mtn bikes? Probably not but it sure adds ride quality, fewer punctures, and a margin of safety in the mountains. Once you have it set, you practically forget it. On the downside, it is harder and more frustrating to set up and on some rims, a pain to get on. I also prefer using the tubeless tires on fast descents and during the winter when roads have all that mag chloride and stone chips strewn about

So consider the pros and cons. I have multiple bikes so it's easy for me to not get grounded in case I have problems with setup or whatever. For me the ride quality and the extra safety margin are the biggest draws. The puncture situation is also nice, obviously. If you run tubeless, make sure of one thing. IF you ever really tear up the tire beyond self-repair, you will need to use a tube. So make sure you practice getting a tube and tire on that very rim. It gets easier as that tire stretches and softens a bit. Not sure why people get all worked up about tubeless and discs. I'm good with both but they are not as essential as in mountain biking, where it is a bit silly not not use both for general trail riding like we do. Plus, all the big/popular rim and wheel makers are going to tubeless-ready rims. I just wish they keep tweaking the design to not just hold the tire on in case of air loss but also make the rims easier to mount tires on.
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Old 01-01-17, 09:50 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by sumgy View Post
The issues I see with tubeless for road are as described by the OP.
Painful and messy to set up.
Still limited tyre choice.
And if you do have a flat that wont seal then you still need a tube and pump (plus the pain of getting the tyre off, the sealant all over the shop and then the usual tube replacement and inflation).
And how much of a pain has this been in practice?
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Old 01-01-17, 10:00 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Chandne View Post

I am sure the whole system will become easier and easier and more foolproof to set up and use, as time goes on. I like trying newer stuff like road disc brakes as well. Do you have to have road tubeless like you really should on mtn bikes? Probably not but it sure adds ride quality, fewer punctures, and a margin of safety in the mountains. Once you have it set, you practically forget it. On the downside, it is harder and more frustrating to set up and on some rims, a pain to get on. I also prefer using the tubeless tires on fast descents and during the winter when roads have all that mag chloride and stone chips strewn about

So consider the pros and cons. I have multiple bikes so it's easy for me to not get grounded in case I have problems with setup or whatever. For me the ride quality and the extra safety margin are the biggest draws.
I was pleasantly surprised that the Pro Ones went on my rims relatively easily. I could get them mounted without use of a lever. Getting them off requires a lever, but, as you say, that will get a bit easier too as the tires soften.

On ride quality, what pressure are you riding as compared to what you would ride with a tubed clincher? I was thinking of dropping 10lbs from my normal clincher set up to see how that goes.
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Old 01-01-17, 10:07 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Never rid tubeless..I am intrigued, but how does the sealant thing work? Ie, you run over a wire, nail, or thorn or something, which is stuck in your tire. The sealant goes to the escaping air hole and hardens there or somesuch? The object that's in your tire stays there or does the sealant force it out? Sounds like many don't even know they ran over something, so do these objects start collecting in the tires?
There are particulates of varifying sizes suspended in the somewhat-viscous sealant. That mixture is enough to plug most punctures. Nothing needs to be ejected, because due to pressure foreign puncture-causing material never enters the tire anyway.

Yes you can run lower pressures on a traditional setup , without high risk of pinchflats, by going wider...But that means a heavier tire and also more tire deformation.

And yes it is silly for people to pip in with their hearsay on why they *might* be adverse to tubeless.

The first tubeless tires I ever installed took 20 minutes. The second took probably 3 minutes. I.e., same as it ever was.

If you have no experience don't want to try it, that's fine, but don't scare others off with your inexperience
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