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Reply To: Tires and flats.

“Bicycle Bill”, March 14, 2012 at 1:38 pm

iceman: That is an irony of the road bike world.People who don’t know how to change a tire are EXACTLY the first folks that should be using the best method of not having flats – and that is using tubeless clinchers with a sealant. You cannot deny it.Any nail, piece of wire, whatever, that can penetrate a tire will deflate the tube.That is not true with tubeless clinchers as the sealants seal the hole left by the nail, etc. or seal around the nail, etc. if it remains sticking in the tire.You only have to change the tire if there is a gash more than about a 1/4 inch across that the sealant won’t fix – and even then, that won’t stop me as I keep a tube in my bag which I can run in my tubeless clincher setup.

So if some muffin head is stupid enough to ride RAGBRAI without knowing how to change a flat, their best chance of not having to worry about it is to use tubeless clinchers with sealants.And if a mechanic chooses to penalize them for doing so, so what!! They made their choice to ride 500 miles without knowing rule #1 for bike maintenance and they ought to pay for their own stupidity.

I can’t believe so many road bikers continue to drink the Kool Aid served up by the tire manufacturers.It serves the financial interests of the tire manufacturers to continue to dominate market with the old tube and tire setup rather than compete in the tubeless market.And this is years after our mountain biker friends forced the issue on their side where all the tire manufacturers bowed to the inevitable and started designing and manufacturing tubeless mtn bike tires.

I didn’t want to get involved in this, because I know just about diddly-squat about tubeless tires for bikes. However, it seems to me that this means that the rim and spoke unit needs to be absolutely airtight, as well as the tire itself. Now I’m not at all sure what would be needed to make a rim airtight, but I imagine that it would be both expensive and heavy when compared to a moderately-priced alloy road rim.

Secondly, there are a lot of people who can not, or will not, buy their bikes and parts anywhere but WallyWorld. They wouldn’t be caught dead inside a legitimate bike shop, and certainly would not pay the price for a bike-shop bike when they can get a 21-speed MTB with the rear-wheel suspension and the pogo stick fork at someplace like Farm and Barn for under $150 bucks. In fact, it’s for people like these that Slime and other stop-a-leak products were created for in the first place! So when a tubeless tire needs replacement (they may be more resistant to flats, but they will eventually wear out) they are not the sort of thing that one can find just everywhere, so availability and cost are also going to be issues.

Now most of us here know full well that you get what you pay for, but I think it’s safe to say that we are generally in the minority of riders overall. Barring some sort of measure that makes the old technology no longer viable (like the federal guvmint’s ban on incandescent light bulbs), any new technology will have to be measurably better than the existing standard, or available at approximately the same price point, before the general public will accept them.


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