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Touring on tubeless tires

Old 09-21-23, 06:57 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
I kind of hate replying to zombie threads, but I found this interesting. My experience with tubeless is limited, but I have trouble imagining this being a huge issue. With the rim/tire combos I have used beads stay seated unless you make fairly considerable effort to unseat it. The valves can be closed so I wouldn't expect any mess.

Personally, I'd just deflate the tires close the valves and take my chances.

I guess that it is possible that a TSA agent could intentionally pop a bead off the rim, but IME adents are far more likely to be incompetent than malicious

That said you could remove the sealant and even rinse it out if you were worried. I doubt that is necessary though. I'd imagine if you really wanted to you could remove the sealant with a syringe inserted through the valve stem. I've read of someone changing sealant that way. So unseating the bead wouldn't even be necessary to remove most of the sealant. Also the stuff is water based so a little minor spillage isn't a huge deal any way.

Given that tubeless is very common these days I'd imagine lots of people fly with tubeless and I have not heard horror stories. Have folks here generally had success? Horror stories?
The main problem is that I use an S&S case, so I have to completely remove my tires from my rims or the bike won't fit in the case. That's one problem. The other problem is that tubeless sometimes needs a compressor to seal. Yes, often you can do it with a hand pump. But can one guarantee that? Especially if the tire has been off the rim and folded. 100% of the time? No.

Can one fly with CO2 cartridges? I don't know. What if the cartridge doesn't do it and you run out of cartridges?

I like to assemble my bike at the airport and ride out. Should I rub soapy water on my tires in the airport lobby? If I can't inflate the tire, I'm stuck at the airport. Then I have to take a taxi into town and find a compressor. It would have to be a van or SUV taxi, because the bike is not going to fit into a sedan taxi. Can you imagine having to do all that in Hanoi or Rome where you don't speak the language? That's a headache I don't need.

​​I often do multi leg tours where I fly, ride, fly again, ride again, etc. I'm on one of these tours right now. Tubeless is just too much work. I hardly ever do local tours starting from home anymore.

Last edited by Yan; 09-21-23 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 09-21-23, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan
The main problem is that I use an S&S case, so I have to completely remove my tires from my rims or the bike won't fit in the case. That's one problem. The other problem is that tubeless sometimes needs a compressor to seal. Yes, often you can do it with a hand pump. But can one guarantee that? Especially if the tire has been off the rim and folded. 100% of the time? No.

Can one fly with CO2 cartridges? I don't know. What if the cartridge doesn't do it and you run out of cartridges?

I like to assemble my bike at the airport and ride out. Should I rub soapy water on my tires in the airport lobby? If I can't inflate the tire, I'm stuck at the airport. Then I have to take a taxi into town and find a compressor. It would have to be a van or SUV taxi, because the bike is not going to fit into a sedan taxi. Can you imagine having to do all that in Hanoi or Rome where you don't speak the language? That's a headache I don't need.

​​I often do multi leg tours where I fly, ride, fly again, ride again, etc. I'm on one of these tours right now. Tubeless is just too much work. I hardly ever do local tours starting from home anymore.
Out of curiosity what do you do with the case while out on tour? I just use a traditional frame and use a regular bike travel case for circle tours leaving the case at the start location and for one way tours I use cardboard bike box outbound and clear airline supplied bag one the return leg.
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Old 09-21-23, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
Out of curiosity what do you do with the case while out on tour? I just use a traditional frame and use a regular bike travel case for circle tours leaving the case at the start location and for one way tours I use cardboard bike box outbound and clear airline supplied bag one the return leg.
Depends on the tour. If I'm not doing a circle tour I mail it home. I use the S&S backpack case which folds down. I use regular cardboard bike boxes for all subsequent flights.

I flew only once with my bike totally unpackaged. They didn't put a bag over it. The airport worker just wheeled the bike away. Upon landing a worker wheeled my bike out. I did take the derailleur off to prevent damage. That was Asia to Asia though. Not sure how many airlines in the west would accept that.

I think the plain cardboard box is the best option. Actually I find the greatest benefit of S&S couplings is actually when you are not on the plane. You can carry the case on your back, and it fits easily into taxis. If you are two people, both your bikes can fit into one taxi, which will never happen with full sized bike boxes unless you get a van or SUV taxi. Taxis in some countries are very small.
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Old 09-22-23, 05:15 AM
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I can see the S&S case complicating the issue for tubeless. For many of us the S&S case doesn't have much appeal any way particularly since airlines have started to have reasonable policies wrt bikes as baggage. My flights have all been domestic US and I never fly home from the same terminal as I start my tour from. I am guessing that you must fly in countries where airlines charge more for bikes in boxes over 62" so the S&S case has an advantage otherwise if you wanted to run tubeless you could just pack the bike in a regular cardboard box or case that was larger than the S&S one.

So yeah, it is probably a choice between the advantages of tubeless or the advantages of S&S. I probably wouldn't try to deal with removing tires to fly with my bike with tubeless either.

BTW, I get why you like the backpack case. I have used a soft case that has some of the same advantages. Mine is for a non S&S full sized bike, but it is still nice to have a case that folds up and carries easily. When packing real light I have managed to get bike and gear to all fit in mine and just make the 50 pound limit. With the shoulder strap it was pretty easy to lug the whole thing around the airport. Mine has no padding so I add some cardboard. I like that because I can discard the cardboard if I want to mail the case home or ahead or if I want to carry the case along for a while.
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Old 09-22-23, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Yan
... Actually I find the greatest benefit of S&S couplings is actually when you are not on the plane. You can carry the case on your back, and it fits easily into taxis. If you are two people, both your bikes can fit into one taxi, which will never happen with full sized bike boxes unless you get a van or SUV taxi. Taxis in some countries are very small.
Fully agree. And, a solo traveler in an airport has to watch their luggage or run into trouble with security, it is a lot easier for a solo traveler go to the can or stand in line at a food station in the airport if they don't have the full size bike box tied to them like an anchor chain.

My S&S bike uses 26 inch wheels, tires stay on the rims. I have to deflate the tires to make everything fit, a 57mm tire takes too much volume if inflated, and some security staff will conclude that air in a tire is compressed gas that is illegal on planes.

I have more relaxed tours, land at an airport, take a shuttle bus to or near a hostel, assemble the bike, buy groceries, maybe procure maps, maybe look for a local sim card, etc., then start the tour after staying at the hostel for a night or two. I have only done loop tours from a hostel, thus have not had to ship my case anywhere.

I was fortunate to get my couplers and the Backpack Case paid for with airline fee savings before some of the airlines dropped their fees for oversize. It would be hard to justify buying them now, but now I already have them.

I am sticking with tubes to, but for other reasons. I regularly ride several bikes each year, I average one puncture a year, maintaining sealant on several bikes would be a big hassle that I can avoid with tubes..
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Old 09-22-23, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
I am sticking with tubes to, but for other reasons. I regularly ride several bikes each year, I average one puncture a year, maintaining sealant on several bikes would be a big hassle that I can avoid with tubes..
Yes, I can see where maintaining sealant in tires on bikes that you don't ride for extended periods would be a pain. I have a number of bikes that fall in that category and I think they will remain tubed. I may convert one bike that is currently tubeless that I seldom ride back to tubed.

For touring I'd like to run tubeless, but I seldom ride the bikes I might tour on when not on tour and I have been a long time between tours lately.
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Old 09-22-23, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
Yes, I can see where maintaining sealant in tires on bikes that you don't ride for extended periods would be a pain. I have a number of bikes that fall in that category and I think they will remain tubed. I may convert one bike that is currently tubeless that I seldom ride back to tubed.

For touring I'd like to run tubeless, but I seldom ride the bikes I might tour on when not on tour and I have been a long time between tours lately.
My light touring bike and my heavy touring bike have 37mm and 57mm wide tires, respectively. I often ride those on local gravel trails, one trail has enough loose sand spots, that I only want to ride the 57mm tires on that trail. Otherwise on pavement, mostly ride my rando bike (32mm tires, wide gearing with a triple) or my road bike (28mm tires, narrower gearing). And my errand bike gets occasional use, that is so rusty that a thief would be embarrassed to steal it. Two weeks ago rode my errand bike 35 miles after I completed my backpacking trip, had to ride the bike back to where my vehicle had been parked 12 days earlier. Those are the most frequently riden bikes.

I use tires that have reasonable flat protection. Not extreme like the Schwalbe Plus tires, but still reasonable, not the super supple ones that I think most sealant users are attracted to. I have only had one puncture on a tour. But I have not toured in thorn country, I usually tour at locations with cooler weather that mostly lack thorns.
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Old 09-22-23, 08:15 PM
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I’ve been running tubeless on my road/gravel bike (two wheelsets) for 5-1/2 years now. Durability on the road tires is at least as good as the Conti 4000/5000s on my tubed road bike. I carry a spare tube, and DynaPlugs (Stan’s Darts look like another good option, I haven’t used them myself). Over the years I’ve probably used a dozen plugs, but only once have I had to dismount the tire and use the spare tube to get home. I’m planning to ride a short tour next summer from SLO to LA on my tubeless rig.
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Old 09-24-23, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
My S&S bike uses 26 inch wheels, tires stay on the rims. I have to deflate the tires to make everything fit, a 57mm tire takes too much volume if inflated, and some security staff will conclude that air in a tire is compressed gas that is illegal on planes.
Air in a tyre is compressed gas.
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Old 09-25-23, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
I have only had one puncture on a tour.
OK, this seems pretty unbelievable. I've had more than that before breakfast on rare occasions.
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Old 09-25-23, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by robow
OK, this seems pretty unbelievable. I've had more than that before breakfast on rare occasions.
It is true, only one. A big staple like sometimes used on wood boxes.

But I have not toured where thorns are common.

I have also on a tour had a valve stem separate from the rubber, thus a tube failure, that was a defect and not a puncture.
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