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Running tubeless: Help me get past the goop

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Running tubeless: Help me get past the goop

Old 08-18-17, 06:14 AM
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Running tubeless: Help me get past the goop

I'm generally an early adopter for most intelligent bicycle trends. (Press fit bottom brackets missed the "intelligent" cut, so . . . ) But I've avoided tubeless tires primarily because of the goop. It's not JUST the mess when you have a flat. It's not JUST that you still have to carry everything you have to carry with a tubed tire. It's also that you have to remove the tire periodically and clean / scrape / sand blast the congealed and dried goop from the inside of your tire and rim.


Help me get past this third barrier. Has goop technology improved to the point that service intervals are reasonable? What brand goop do you use . . . and how often do you have to clean it out of your tire/rim and replace it? If the bike sits for a month or two, does the goop set up at the bottom of the tire (requiring service before going out)?


Help rehabilitate this tubeless skeptic / luddite. What are your experiences with tubeless?
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Old 08-18-17, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
It's also that you have to remove the tire periodically and clean / scrape / sand blast the congealed and dried goop from the inside of your tire and rim.
Really? Why would you have to do that?

Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
Has goop technology improved to the point that service intervals are reasonable? What brand goop do you use . . . and how often do you have to clean it out of your tire/rim and replace it? If the bike sits for a month or two, does the goop set up at the bottom of the tire (requiring service before going out)?
I'm using Orange Seal (regular), I've only been running tubeless since early spring, so take it with a grain of salt.

I have 38s set up on one wheelset for gravel and I took them out on a ride over the weekend because of a slash to my road wheelset - it'd been 3.5 months since they'd last been ridden and the sealant was still sloshing around just fine.

On the road wheelset, I've had one puncture that didn't seal and it was because the sealant had been used enough that it dried out (I had two known sealed punctures and who-knows-how-many unseen/unheard punctures; totally my negligence on not checking the level after 4 months or so of use). The sealant in the front wheel, which was put in at the same time and which evidently hadn't seen as much action, was a-okay. Whether wet or dried out, the sealant cleans from the rim/tape easily with just a wet paper towel. I see no reason to get particular about cleaning out the inside of the tire carcass - pull out the spaghetti noodles but I'm not going to worry about the rest.

Moving forward, I'll just periodically check the level and fluidity, 'specially if I know that the tire has seen some punctures. If it's low/dry, I'll top it off - I'm not going to worry about a monster tubeless booger when I'm only using a ounce or two per tire and the tires have a tread life of less than 6 months.

To me, the biggest obstacle with tubeless isn't the goop but the installation - it's a tight fit, there's a learning curve and it can be frustrating when it's time to swap out tires. In particular, seating the bead can be a challenge. If you don't have a compressor, either get one or get an air blast canister for your floor pump.
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Old 08-18-17, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Really? Why would you have to do that?
Why periodically replace congealed/hardened goop? Because, as you have found, when tire goop congeals or dries/hardens, it no longer serves its intended purpose. And when you leave it in the tire and add more, it adds unnecessary weight to the tire/wheel assembly.
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Old 08-18-17, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
Why periodically replace congealed/hardened goop? Because, as you have found, when tire goop congeals or dries/hardens, it no longer serves its intended purpose. And when you leave it in the tire and add more, it adds unnecessary weight to the tire/wheel assembly.
Going on 18 months with Clement MSOs and Stan's on my gravel bike without having to do this. I've pulled many tubeless tires off of my fat bike and MTB after similar amounts of time and there's been minimal build-up. All of the weight of sealant is in the liquid which evaporates off, not the crystals. I think those crazy "Stanimal" pictures you see online are from people who put 20 ounces of sealant in their tires and then leave them for months in a hot garage while never riding.

I used to be the biggest tubeless skeptic. I agree it seems like a hassle. I still don't really think it makes sense for high pressure road situations, but that's me. I'm now a convert for all but 23-25 road tires. Honestly, the biggest issue with tubeless is getting it set up the first time. The problem is that tire and rim manufacturers refuse to conform to standards. You have to screw around with either building up layers of tape to tighten the bead or breaking your thumbs trying to mount a too-tight tire. We need a tubeless standard that everyone uses. Alternatively, have a mechanic take care of this faff for you, most charge about $30-$40 per tire for labor (well worth it, if you ask me)

Once tubeless tires are setup and given a day or two (and a couple of rides) to settle in, it's terrific. The sealant has stopped several flats I'm aware of and probably countless flats I'm not aware of. I can run the tires at 35 psi without worrying about pinch flats. At this point, I trust the sealant enough to just carry a small pump, that's it. I put in an ounce of sealant through the valve every six months or so. With a good tubeless setup, you can forget thinking about your tires until they need to be replaced.

Last edited by Hiro11; 08-18-17 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 08-18-17, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
Why periodically replace congealed/hardened goop? Because, as you have found, when tire goop congeals or dries/hardens, it no longer serves its intended purpose. And when you leave it in the tire and add more, it adds unnecessary weight to the tire/wheel assembly.
Okay, so you've got two issues: whether or not it actually impedes the functionality and the additional weight.

In terms of the functionality of adding fresh sealant to dried sealant, I don't see the issue - if air is finding a way out, the fresh sealant would find that way out, too.

In terms of the added weight of dried sealant, it's negligible. Per Orange Seal, 4 liquid ounces = 120 grams. You wouldn't use more than 1-2 oz in a road tire, so 30-60 grams wet and dry would be a *lot* less - I previously mentioned "spaghetti," but "spider web" would be more accurate. Cut off one finger of an examination glove - that's about the amount of weight/material that we're talking about. I can't imagine a tire living to see more than a few 1-2oz applications of sealant.
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Old 08-18-17, 08:55 AM
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It sounds as if nothing has really changed with regard to tubeless technology. I don't get many flats -- and even fewer that sealant would seal. There's no weight advantage. There are some real in-the-field flat fixing disadvantages. I can run tubes safely down to 70 psi on the road and 40 psi on gravel and don't see a reason to drop below that. From where I sit, it looks like a lot of hassle with no real advantage to be gained. (Except that I could use some of the tubeless-only wheels that are on the market.)

For the same amount of hassle, and for a lot greater benefits, I could go with tubulars.

Thanks for the input. Maybe I will go to tubeless someday. But not now. Maybe I will skip tubeless and wait for the "next big thing."

Last edited by FlashBazbo; 08-18-17 at 08:59 AM.
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Old 08-18-17, 09:27 AM
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Lol.

"Help me get past this third barrier. "

Hears from multiple people that the third "barrier" is a non-issue.

"Yeah, never mind."
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Old 08-18-17, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Lol.

"Help me get past this third barrier. "

Hears from multiple people that the third "barrier" is a non-issue.

"Yeah, never mind."
Actually, I heard from only two people. And neither of those two gave me any indication that tubeless offers enough benefit for the added hassle in my application. If anything, my long-term skepticism was confirmed. Using sealant means more maintenance hassles, but not much (if any) benefit to me.

Part of making intelligent decisions is being able to say, "no."
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Old 08-18-17, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
Actually, I heard from only two people. And neither of those two gave me any indication that tubeless offers enough benefit for the added hassle in my application. If anything, my long-term skepticism was confirmed.

Part of making intelligent decisions is being able to say, "no."
Does 2 != multiple?

And those two people addressed your exact stated objection. I fully embrace that there's a trade-off to tubeless and that many people won't find it to be a beneficial trade-off, but that's just disingenuous.
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Old 08-18-17, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Does 2 != multiple?

And those two people addressed your exact stated objection. I fully embrace that there's a trade-off to tubeless and that many people won't find it to be a beneficial trade-off, but that's just disingenuous.
Take a deep breath, WhyFi. You're waaaaay too emotionally overwrought on this one. I made a judgment. It disagreed with yours. That doesn't make me a liar. Save your personal attacks for somewhere else.
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Old 08-18-17, 09:50 AM
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If you don't regularly get flats from small punctures-- thorns, radial tire wire, small bits of glass-- then be thankful you can continue to buy cheap clincher tires and not have to go tubeless. Between my two bikes, my wife's bike, and a one of the wife's co-workers that rides with us now and again, I have fixed 9 flat tires in 15 days. My cross bike has been tubeless since the day I built it. The wife is now on tubeless. My new bike will be tubeless before the weekend is over. Not because i want to-- but because where I live, and with the road conditions here, switching to tubeless is literally cheaper than running tubed.

If you do need to run tubeless, the sealant is probably the least bothersome part of it. It's liquid latex with some rubber in it. It cleans up easier and more neatly than any other fluid associated with bicycles. I spend more time cleaning sweat and Gatorade drippings off of the frame than I do messing with sealant.
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Old 08-18-17, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
Take a deep breath, WhyFi. You're waaaaay too emotionally overwrought on this one. I made a judgment. It disagreed with yours. That doesn't make me a liar. Save your personal attacks for somewhere else.
Lol - you're reading fraught emotion where there none. If there's any emotion in my posts, it's that of bemusement. As far as personal attack? Uh, yeah, I don't know where you're getting that from.
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Old 08-18-17, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
Take a deep breath, WhyFi. You're waaaaay too emotionally overwrought on this one. I made a judgment. It disagreed with yours. That doesn't make me a liar. Save your personal attacks for somewhere else.
I'll jump in. Your complaints were negated, and you ignored what you were told. WhyFi's bemusement is completely understandable. I, being far more cynical, just shook my head. Another one looking for confirmation of previously held beliefs and closed to anything else.
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Old 08-18-17, 10:31 AM
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This went south quickly.


OP: The stuff is water soluble. Cleaning a dirty bike chain is worse.
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Old 08-18-17, 10:40 AM
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Although your mind seems to be made up against tubeless, I'll just chime in as a proponent to road tubeless provided you have the right components, meaning proper tubeless tire and proven tubeless wheelset. The "goop" is a non issue because if you have a new rim, new tire, and a valve stem with a removable core its very easy to add sealant especially with the hutchinson or stans single use bottle that attaches to the valve stem and you squeeze the liquid in, most times without spilling a drop. I go through rear tires every 6-8 months riding 60-100 miles a week and weighing 225lbs so when it comes time to replace the rear I always dismount the front and hose out the old sealant to add fresh. If anything is gobbed up or dried it comes right off with a toothbrush.
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Old 08-18-17, 10:46 AM
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Also, I do still carry a tube to get me home should I encounter a very large cut but I've have had a few small cuts that the sealant has sealed up and saved me the hassle of taking a wheel off on the side of the road. In addition to that, I feel that tubeless gives me a better ride quality due to being able to keep my inflation down around 80-90psi and that's enough to keep me rolling without tubes.
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Old 08-18-17, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by dvdslw View Post
Although your mind seems to be made up against tubeless, I'll just chime in as a proponent to road tubeless provided you have the right components, meaning proper tubeless tire and proven tubeless wheelset. The "goop" is a non issue because if you have a new rim, new tire, and a valve stem with a removable core its very easy to add sealant especially with the hutchinson or stans single use bottle that attaches to the valve stem and you squeeze the liquid in, most times without spilling a drop. I go through rear tires every 6-8 months riding 60-100 miles a week and weighing 225lbs so when it comes time to replace the rear I always dismount the front and hose out the old sealant to add fresh. If anything is gobbed up or dried it comes right off with a toothbrush.
Since you are doing all that, you might as well just remount the front tire on the rear. Then put the new one on the front. That is the 41-preferred method to always have your best tire on the front.
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Old 08-18-17, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
I'm generally an early adopter for most intelligent bicycle trends. (Press fit bottom brackets missed the "intelligent" cut, so . . . ) But I've avoided tubeless tires primarily because of the goop. It's not JUST the mess when you have a flat. It's not JUST that you still have to carry everything you have to carry with a tubed tire. It's also that you have to remove the tire periodically and clean / scrape / sand blast the congealed and dried goop from the inside of your tire and rim.


Help me get past this third barrier. Has goop technology improved to the point that service intervals are reasonable? What brand goop do you use . . . and how often do you have to clean it out of your tire/rim and replace it? If the bike sits for a month or two, does the goop set up at the bottom of the tire (requiring service before going out)?


Help rehabilitate this tubeless skeptic / luddite. What are your experiences with tubeless?
Go tubular. Less hassle, greater performance. Simple eh?
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Old 08-18-17, 11:07 AM
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I've been running tubeless on my mountain bike for years. I haven't come across a bunch of congealed crap in it and I put way more sealant in there than I would with a road tubeless.


The problem with road tubeless that I had was that when you do get a flat on the road, it is next to impossible to get the bead broke free to put a tube in, which means a call to my wife who is now angry as hell because she has to drop what she is doing to come pick me up. It happened twice and I can normally change a flat tire pretty quickly. I don't know if that is a standards problem or it is by design, but the tires are on the rim so tight that it is very hard to get them off the bead.


So I said screw all of that and went back to tubes. They are easy and ride fine. Frankly, I never did feel any significant difference in the ride between tubed and tubeless, and once the flat changing problem happened twice I gave up on it.


I do run tubeless on my mountain bikes and will highly recommend that. I'm going tubeless on my cross bike but that is just because I don't own tubular wheels.
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Old 08-18-17, 11:21 AM
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I've never had to do that. I always wear out the tire before anything dries out. When I take it off there's some dried goo between the rim and the bead, but that's what you want. It comes off easily with a toothbrush.

I've used both Stan's and Orange Seal, and didn't notice a difference.
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Old 08-18-17, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by RJM View Post
I'm going tubeless on my cross bike but that is just because I don't own tubular wheels.
Have you listened to Psimet's podcast, Road is Dead? I'd check out this episode before going tubeless for CX.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/...390682325&mt=2
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Old 08-18-17, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
Have you listened to Psimet's podcast, Road is Dead? I'd check out this episode before going tubeless for CX.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/...390682325&mt=2
I did listen to it and I can't say I disagree with his opinions with regard to road use and he is most probably totally and completely correct about tubeless for cross. However, I ride a bit higher pressures anyway, so I will see if I get into burping problems. Also, I'm actually running a set of I9 Trail 245 mountain bike wheels since that is what I had lying around and they are a bit wider rimmed. If they don't work I'm out the cost of some sealant and I will just ride the stock wheels. I set the I9 wheels up last night and will take it out this weekend to see how it does. Really, I want to go tubular with this bike but just don't have the cash right now to do it. Tubs and a power meter for that bike are next on the list.
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Old 08-18-17, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by RJM View Post
I did listen to it and I can't say I disagree with his opinions with regard to road use and he is most probably totally and completely correct about tubeless for cross. However, I ride a bit higher pressures anyway, so I will see if I get into burping problems. Also, I'm actually running a set of I9 Trail 245 mountain bike wheels since that is what I had lying around and they are a bit wider rimmed. If they don't work I'm out the cost of some sealant and I will just ride the stock wheels. I set the I9 wheels up last night and will take it out this weekend to see how it does. Really, I want to go tubular with this bike but just don't have the cash right now to do it. Tubs and a power meter for that bike are next on the list.
how high on pressure are you running for cross? If you're running higher than levels where you pinch flat why not just run with tubes?
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Old 08-18-17, 12:00 PM
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You don't have to scrape and scrub the tire... just every so often (6 months or so), or when you notice you have a tire that's not sealing, you have to pop it off the rim and add more sealer.

You still carry the tube and co2 (and a decent sized tyvek boot). You just very seldom have to use it.

Buy a box of nitrile gloves. Makes drivetrain and tubless service less annoying.

I personally find that working indoors over good floors, that I find it messy and annoying. But in a garage, wearing work clothes, at a workbench... it's really not messy at all.
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Old 08-18-17, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
how high on pressure are you running for cross? If you're running higher than levels where you pinch flat why not just run with tubes?
With this setup I'm not quite sure where I will wind up with regard to pressure. I'm more curious to see how these wheels will work out (and the color of the wheels totally clashes with the color of the bike in a cool way, so there are some positives. lol) than anything. Hopefully I can get a set of tubular wheels fairly soon. If it makes more sense to go tubes I will just do that too.


The one thing using tubeless does do for me is get me less flats. When I was mountain biking with tubes I used to get flats every other ride or something ridiculous. Now that I'm tubeless I can't honestly remember the last flat I got on the trail. My cross bike is also my gravel bike so being able to fend off flats is another consideration.


In fact, I just got a flat on this bike the other day using tubes while just out riding around. Hopefully tubeless with fix a lot of those.
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