Tubeless tires

I had a crash on bike last week ( had a seizure) bikes frame is cracked…I have a new bike on order but it won’t be here until about first of April I am getting a
Domane AL 4 Disc thinking of running tubeless tires on it how many run tubeless tires? Is it worth it?

9 Replies

Mike Howe, August 11, 2020 at 10:14 pm

I have a Trek Domane SL6. The past 6 weeks Ive had probably 8 to 10 flats. I live in AZ and everything is dried out so lots of little thorns out there causing small puncture hole flats. I decided to try tubeless tires 2 weeks and so far I love it. The piece of mind of not having to worry about changing a tube on the side of the road for a small puncture in 110 degree heat was well worth going tubless for me.

Only downside I can think of is when I fly out to Ragbrai is Ill have to deflate my tires to take my bike on the plane. Ill probably use tubes then for ragbrai (my tires can do tubless or tubes) and then go back to tubless once Im back home. Seems tubeless is becoming more and more popular. I highly recomend it.

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mootsman, August 12, 2020 at 3:27 am

I also have had a good experience with tubeless (haven’t used “tubeless ready”, there is a difference). I;ve gone 14,000 miles without a flat. Once in a while I see a damp spot on the tire where a puncture got sealed. Those can start expanding and eventually leak so I replace the tire when that happens.

Mounting the tires can be tricky.
1) use tire levers designed for tubeless tires with a very thin side the lifts the tire over the rim. Some say don’t use tire levers at all but that proved to be an impossible feat of strength. I also hang the tire up for 24 hours after unfolding it to get the folds out before mounting as they can become air leaks.
2) brush the rim with soapy water before mounting the tire to help it cede when pumping.
3) Remove the valve stem core before pumping up the tire the first time to get it to cede. The core slows air rushing into the tire enough it won’t always cede reliably. Always have it off the ground to do this with whatever means you have to suspend it.
4) Use a pump with a pressure chamber. Pump up the chamber to the max before pulling the lever to let the air rush into the tire to cede it. Usually (not always) you’ll hear loud popping sounds as it cedes on the rim.
5) after letting the air out again use an injector to put in the tire sealant.
6) then replace the valve core and again pump up the chamber on the pump before pulling the lever to release the air into the tire.
7) on each side of the wheel, by holding the wheel flat, rock the wheel in a circular fashion to get all of the tire bead coated with some sealant. It may take a ride or 2 before you don’t have to pump a little more air in but once that happens, your set.

This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by mootsman.

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mootsman, August 12, 2020 at 3:30 am

Only downside I can think of is when I fly out to Ragbrai is Ill have to deflate my tires to take my bike on the plane. Ill probably use tubes then for ragbrai (my tires can do tubless or tubes) and then go back to tubless once Im back home. Seems tubeless is becoming more and more popular. I highly recomend it.

Wouldn’t just reducing the PSI in the tire to say 20 pounds allow you to fly the bike without an issue?

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mootsman, August 12, 2020 at 3:36 am

Forgot to mention when pumping up a tubeless to push both beads into the rim center. If any of the bead is on the rim when pumping it up it usually leaks the air as fast as the the pump releases it into the tire.

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mootsman, August 12, 2020 at 3:45 am

Forgot to mention when pumping up a tubeless to push both beads into the rim center. If any of the bead is on the rim when pumping it up it usually leaks the air as fast as the the pump releases it into the tire.

Do this ONLY when pumping up a tire which has not already ceded from initially pumping it up. Do not break the bead off of the rim after it has been set.

This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by mootsman.

This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by mootsman.

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Jboz, August 12, 2020 at 8:03 am

I have tubeless on my Lynskey gravel bike, and so far no flats. I run wider tires (35mm) and adjust the pressure based on the terrain. I have run gravel routes as low as 30 psi (although typically around 40 psi), something I would never try with tubes. I made the switch in August 2019 after experiencing a few flats during RAGBRAI, but obviously haven’t done RAGBRAI yet tubeless. 2021, fingers crossed. But on longer rides, the peace of mind is very much appreciated.

Only downside I can think of is I am pretty much locked in on those tires until I am ready for some new ones. Unless you get really good with the process and have lots of time, you kind of lose the ability to easily switch out tires for different types of rides. So make sure you have your LBS instal good, versatile “jack-of-all-trades” tires for you. The tubeless tradeoff is worth it though IMO. I ordered an extra set of wheels to give me some versatility, but haven’t gotten them yet.

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Mike Howe, August 12, 2020 at 12:03 pm

I thought about doing that. But since I havent had to fly with the bike yet I havent really checked into it. Was going to check in about 11 months. But that makes sense to deflate them to a low psi and just inflate them once I get to camp/ragbrai.

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mootsman, August 13, 2020 at 7:50 am

My last 4 RAGBRAIs I have run tubeless without a flat. Actually no flats on any ride for 5 years. But the previous 3 RAGBRAIs I didn’t get one either with tubed tires. A flat on tubeless is a minor hassle to put in a tube after draining the sealant and removing the stem. Tubeless flats are so very rare. Especially if you watch for a spot of sealant on the outside of the tire after your done riding and replace the tire then. Or on RAGBRAI put in a tube.

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KenH, August 19, 2020 at 9:49 am

I got a new Trek 920 in 2018 after I got home from RAGBRAI. It came with tubeless compatible rims and I put tubeless tires on it in the spring of 2019. So I did last year’s RAGBRAI tubeless and had no issues. Of course I did the previous 7 RAGBRAI’s on tubed tires and had two flats, the only two flats I have had on the road since I started riding on the road again in 2010. The folding bike I ride to commute to work has had more trouble than that since there is a lot of glass on the margins of the city streets that I ride. Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires have proved to be immune to that for the last two years however.

The tires I am using are considered tubeless ready. The recommended amount of sealant will seal them up quite well so I do not pay much attention to tubeless versus tubeless ready. I believe I have read on the Stan’s site that you can run any tire tubeless as long as you keep the pressure to 45 psi. I don’t know if that is just for MTB sized tires or if road tires can be run higher. You certainly would not want to run 23mm road tires that low! I would not head out on a ride without sealant. Bike tires are so thin that even if the tire carcass is airtight without sealant punctures remain too much a possibility to ignore.

If you don’t have a pump or air compressor that will seat a tubeless tire when you put them on the rims you can try a CO2 inflator. That has worked for me. Some caution against using CO2 because it can be incompatible with the sealant or something. It has worked for me and once you have the tires pumped up to pressure and seated fully you can let most of it out and refill with ordinary air, which also contains CO2, just not as much!

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