Torridon – a good place for a tubeless experiment?

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  • Torridon – a good place for a tubeless experiment?
  • poly
    Member

    Sorry this is really a bit of a “what tyres for…” thread.

    I am off to torridon in a couple of weeks time, with my trusty but rather podgy Specialised Hardrock (upgraded forks and brakes). Its currently running Continental Traffics (http://www.wiggle.co.uk/continental-traffic-ii-urban-mountain-bike-tyre/) which were a hasty last minute purchase before a trip last year to reduce rolling resistance from the standard issue Specialised Resolution 2.1’s (http://www.wiggle.co.uk/specialized-resolution-pro-folding-tyre/) it was born with!

    The continentals are running with Slime filled tubes which haven’t had a puncture* in nearly 18 months – which whilst not absolutely essential does mean I (as the least fit) get a rest whilst my mates fix their punctures without me having to work like mad myself.

    However the continentals are heavy (840 g a piece) which means that with the weight penalty of slime tubes I’m probably lugging nearly a kilo of rotating mass more than I absolutely need to. As the least fit rider in our trio, and having the heaviest bike this probably isn’t that smart – although I am slightly sceptical it will make that much difference.

    So I am wondering if it is worth trying tubeless? The rims (Specialised Alex/HRD apparently!) are presumably not tubless compatible so it needs a conversion kit, and some stans etc… Can I expect similar reliability to slime filled tubes?

    Torridon seems to be pretty “solid” so “mud shedding” is not a priority but I’ll be bouncing over some pretty rocky stuff – so whats the thinking there?

    Would you go tubeless for the first time on a trip like this? (I’ll carry a spare tube each day – and of course take a enough tubes that I can switch back to tubed at the end of the day). If you were buying new tyres and switching to tubeless at the same time would you buy UST tyres?

    Budget is not unlimited – but if something will make a tangible difference over 3 days of riding I’ll spend some £.

    * one of them did go soft over the course of an hour but I just topped it back up and kept going.

    balfa
    Member

    Tubeless won’t be much lighter unless you use normal tyres tubeless which is a bit of a risk in Torridon. Tubeless tyres are about 800gm + 70gm for rim strips then another 70gm of sealant. You could loose a good chunk of weight just by changing tyres anyway. Do you really puncture that much with normal tubes? It doesn’t sound like you do. I think tubeless is a right faff and not really necessary unless you puncture lots.

    IMO, it’s more important your timing is good when hopping Torridon’s drainage gulleys. A bigger volume tyre will help if you get it a wee bit wrong. Tubeless can be quite spectacular if you happen to get the timing really bad.
    Knobbly tyres are good for the loose bits. 2.35 Nevegals or 2.2 Telonix work well for me.

    poly
    Member

    thanks guys. I hadn’t realised proper tubeless tyres were more expensive.

    I did have a phase of getting a lot of punctures but they were mostly thorns and so that shouldn’t be an issue in Torridon. Pinch flats are more of a worry – but I probably run quite high pressures so may be less of an issue – and the suggestion of bigger volume might help too.

    beb
    Member

    I would not recommend running tubeless for the first time in torridon – if you do have issues out there its so remote, plus your mates won’t appreciate being eaten alive by the midges!!

    By all means give tubeless a go when you get back, I’ve use it for a couple of years without issues, but there is a bit of a learning curve with them. Also, with convertion of non tubeless rims there is a greater risk of losing air through burping. Plus its not true that tubeless eliminates pinch flats, it does reduce the risk but it is possible to pinch flat the tyre sidewalls. The best way to reduce the risk is run bigger tyres as you say, at a higher pressure too.

    Vader
    Member

    as a torridon ‘cough’ local the main puncture problem is getting the drainage grips weong and pinch flatting like ticklinjock says. Up to now i have been on 2.1 nevegals which I find great on the terrain although i am quite light at 10.5 st. 2.35’s would give you a bit more insurance if you get the technique wrong! Right now I am on 2.25 maxxis advantage, the extra volume helps a fair bit. Extra pressure is a good idea till you get the technique for crossing the drainage grips sorted.

    As others have said i wouldn’t try out a new set up for the first time there. Decent volume tyres and a couple of spare tubes should suffice.

    Oh and a midge hood in your pack is a wise move

    +1 for the above comments. If you are doing the bigger loops in Torridon it’s no place to experiment. Either a long walk out if you can’t fix it and/or getting eatend alive by midges while you try to.

    Get the biggest volume tyres your frame will take. Running smaller tyres at high pressure is fine for avoiding pinch flats, but you’ll struggle on the technical rocky sections

    IMO Minion DHF/R 2.35’s are perfect for Torridon

    Edit – as well as the midge net, get a catering pack of Skin So Soft

    poly
    Member

    Thanks. You’ve confirmed what I suspected that this wasn’t a good place to be experimenting. It is almost garunteed that I will get the technique wrong on some of the drainage bars – and my 13 stone will certainly have more impact that Vader’s puny weight!

    Avon are already delivering a tanker of Skin So Soft! Are the midges particularly bad already? I had hoped that the forest fire and weird weather would have suppressed them! Midge hood hadn’t been considered till now (I spend quite a bit of time on the west coast – and usually find cycling is one of the least midge troubled activities – because you can keep moving) but I like the idea of pulling it out whilst waiting for my mates to fix their punctures!

    any problems with tubeless out there would certainly help you decide if it was for you or not 😉

    Vader
    Member

    yeah the midges are about already, not too bad but its been pretty cold and windy recently so not desperate. A hood would make a repair or unplanned stop bearable if the they’re bothersome though.

    i dont normally bother with the skin so soft unless i’m going to be standing around doing something like climbing. Seems to work best when you put a lot on, almost basting yourself.

    i dont know what other folk do but i deal with the drainage bars by gently wheeling or manualling the front wheel then once its landed, i gently apply the front brake and move my weight forward out of the saddle. The back wheel doesnt come up, just kind of unweights and floats across the gap i think. Mind you if the bar is particulary big or sharp edged then i might not bother.

    midges, brrrrrrr, nasty little fe$%ers that swarm like you would not believe, its the reason I wont go to the west coast between June and August !

    check here midgeforecast, mind you wind over 4 mph keeps the buggers down.

    Premier Icon stevomcd
    Subscriber

    Was up around Glencoe / Fort Bill over the last few days. According to the locals, a fine, sunny April followed by a wet May has produced a bumper crop of midges this year… enjoy! 😈

    poly
    Member

    Thanks Guys – just to say the Minions worked really well – Friends had upgraded too – Mountain Kings and High Rollers but the Minions were definitely the winner (although they weren’t struggling with theirs).

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