The world of mountain biking is split down the middle….do you stick with inner tubes, or do you go tubeless? (see below for an illustration).
There’s all sorts of advantages claimed for tubeless setups…less rolling resistance, less punctures, lighter, you pick up more chicks etc etc….not sure how many of them have any basis in science, but that’s never stopped anyone!
It’s a tough choice – too tough for me, so I’ve decided to go tube-ish! Half and half..the best of both worlds..neither one nor t’other. Whatever. Don’t worry, I haven’t gone mad and tried to put half a tube in each wheel…..no..my revolutionary (hahaha!) approach involves having a tube in one wheel and no tube in the other!! Genius!
My new Trek came fully ready to convert to a tubeless setup, tubeless ready DT Swiss wheels, Bontrager tubeless tyres, and the little valve-y things that replace the tubes valves. None of the “ghetto” tubeless* for me! As I was fixing my puncture from Saturday, I thought “maybe I should give this tubeless thing a go”.
So, after a bit of consultation with my advisor on all things bicycle related (Mark), I confirmed I had the means to do it, so I decided to give it a go that very evening! I knew I didn’t have the latex gunk/slime to put in the tyres (which would seal future punctures), but I decided to have a “dry run” anyway, and see how easy it was to get the tyres to seal just using the soap and water method (25% detergent, 75% water, liberally spread on bead and rim). I’ve read that some folk need a compressor to get a seal, and I decided that before getting all latexed up, I should find out if it would work with just my track pump.
Well, the rear tyre went on like a dream. Sealed first time, a few bubbles which stopped once the pressure got high enough, and it’s stayed perfectly sealed overnight. The front one was a slightly different story….first time, I could hear air pouring out, so I re-applied the soap and water and tried again….still no good. As I had a close look I realised my problem…that puncture I was fixing on Sunday which got me thinking about tubeless in the first place had made a hole in the tyre as well as the tube…amazing eh?! Yeah, amazing that I hadn’t figured that out before I started!
Anyway, I’ve got the gunk ordered (Stan’s notubes), so should be able to seal the front one before the weekend and then will be fully tubeless….so will have a ride and report back (I’ve got a funny feeling I won’t be able to tell any difference!).
* “ghetto tubeless” ..I iz down wid da kidz. For what is, I suspect, an almost entirely middle-class sport, this is such stupid name for a Heath Robinson conversion of normal tyres and rims to tubeless!!