Viewing 21 posts - 1 through 21 (of 21 total)
  • Tubeless for Dummies
  • franksinatra
    Full Member

    I’m about to take delivery of a new gravel bike and, for the first time in my biking life, tubeless tyres.

    I literally know nothing about how they work

    What do I do if I get a puncture when I’m out and about? Do I still need to carry a spare tube? Do I need any new tools? How do I avoid looking like Badger?

    I’ve been riding bikes for 30 years but I feel like a newbie. Please school me!

    igm
    Full Member

    Dynaplug, a decent hand pump and maybe a CO2 cartridge is standard.

    I also carry a valve core remover and a 2oz bottle of Stans – but that’s because I never remember to check / top up my sealant.

    Spare inner good if you get rock slash punctures, but useless if you ride near hawthorn as the tyre will be full of sealed in thorns.

    Take mini pliers to remove the valve stem if you take an inner tube – the sealant gums up the locking ring.

    docrobster
    Free Member

    Literally cannot remember the last time I had to deal with a puncture with a tubeless tyre (mtb)
    I carry a kit- stans dart thing I got someone to get me for my birthday a year or two ago- but never needed to use it.
    When I’ve had to in the past- on old bikes with narrower rims and less good tyres that would sometimes tear near the bead, they are fixed by stuffing a couple of the worms in covered in glue and reinflating trail side. Quicker than replacing a tube.
    Over time the liquid dries up and they may go down between rides. The usual solution is add more fluid. Eventually years later the ball of solidified latex in the tyre becomes a noticeable problem so you whip the tyre off and start again.
    Get a floor pump with a chamber to help seat the bead.

    Actually I’m lying I had to sort a tubeless problem at the weekend. My son at uni has my old 26 hardtail and he snapped a spoke. Managed to push the nipple with protruding end of spoke (wheel built by me maybe over tightened!) through the tubeless tape and therefore deflate the tyre. I’d call that user error though. I got the wheel off him and whilst replacing the spoke whipped the tyre off, retaped the rim and set it up again in 10 minutes.

    Whereas I went for a ride with inner tubes last week and pinch flatted the front (rigid bike, bit too rocky) within 20 minutes. That bike is tubeless now too.

    Whether you get the same benefits on skinny tyred bikes I’m not so sure.

    Superficial
    Free Member

    Has someone already set them up tubeless for you? If so that’s 90% of the pain.

    What do I do if I get a puncture when I’m out and about? Do I still need to carry a spare tube? Do I need any new tools? How do I avoid looking like Badger?

    I still carry a spare tube and tyre levers. On the gravel bike I’ll just bung in a new tube.
    Your choice of pump vs CO2. CO2 can potentially be more useful if you’ve temporarily un-sealed the tyre and need a quick blast of air to reseat it (E.g. if you’ve rolled the tyre off the rim and it’s fallen back into place but no longer sealed – but this is more of an MTB problem than a gravel problem so I wouldn’t worry about it).
    IME punctures happen when I’ve left maintenance too long and the sealant has dried up (approx every 6 months?).
    You won’t look like a badger if the tyres are all sealed nicely.

    Garry_Lager
    Full Member

    It’s quicker and easier to mend a tubeless flat than to put a tube in.
    Most people would still take a tube, though, for worst case scenario where the tyre unseats or you get a massive sidewall rip.

    I’ve never needed more than a track pump inflating MTB tubeless in 20 year – man and boy. CX and road not quite so plain sailing, ime – had the occasional tricky set-up that needed a compressor (you can get some track pumps with an additional air tank). But see how you go.

    franksinatra
    Full Member

    IME punctures happen when I’ve left maintenance too long and the sealant has dried up (approx every 6 months?).

    What maintenance do I need to do, replace the sealant? How do I do that?

    t’s quicker and easier to mend a tubeless flat than to put a tube in.

    How do I do that?

    dc1988
    Full Member

    Tubeless plugs will seal a hole. I carry a spare tube but have yet to need to use it in years (I have a tubolito as it’s much lighter and smaller)

    You can get various plug kits that fit in the end of your bars and neat storage solutions for c02 cartridges

    Klunk
    Free Member

    usually just stick a bit of twig in, then patch it from the inside when I get round to it. (front tyres been running with twigs it for about 3 weeks now 🙂 )

    montgomery
    Full Member

    I’m in the same boat as the OP but, with a new set of hookless rims, feel I should finally use the bottle of Stan’s sealant I bought five years ago. YouTube is the first place to look:


    Followed by a trawl through the tools sections of online retailers. Seems easy enough, just not looking forward to the initial faff.

    mattsccm
    Free Member

    Don’t forget that first time round you want the tyres to seal and inflate with no sealant. They may not stay but that proves that they are close enough to bung the sealant in. If they are way off sealing but have fluid i it is a real mess. If in doubt , another layer of tape. Enough of that and virtually any tyre/rim combinatio will seal.
    Use Tesa tape off ebay not stuff sold specifically for the job.

    cheekyget
    Free Member

    I’ve only ever used Stans sealant, and stans darts for the bigger holes although ( touch wood) I’ve never had to use them

    kerley
    Free Member

    What do I do if I get a puncture when I’m out and about? Do I still need to carry a spare tube? Do I need any new tools? How do I avoid looking like Badger?

    I just carry a mini pump as the only issues I have ever had in 10 years are the loss of air before the tyre gets to seal so just needs to be inflated back up again. CO2s seem a bit wasteful and can also be hit and miss (sometimes user error) but once that air is out you are not getting it back!

    fatbrad
    Free Member

    Hahaha Badger!!! That’s a blast from the past even before the Picolax thread.

    I had nightmares about setting tubeless up. But I ended up getting an airshot and they’ve stayed up so far. One the bead is seated properly you should be fine.

    Still carry a tube, pump and Co2 inflator though

    smallspinsized
    Free Member

    Don’t forget that first time round you want the tyres to seal and inflate with no sealant. They may not stay but that proves that they are close enough to bung the sealant in. 

    This. The first time I tried tubeless I put sealant in at the start and it was messy. Now I inflate to about 50psi to seat the tyre (it might make a loud pop as the bead seats in place) then let the air out before putting sealant in through the valve.

    crosshair
    Free Member

    After half a year of gravel bike tubeless- I recommend skipping to the inevitable which means covering yourself and everything you own with sealant now, then letting it bake in the sun. Then just fit the tubes you have to carry with you anyway in the tyres and ride with a pack of scabs in your pocket for punctures.

    In all seriousness, I’ve just changed tyres and there were a few thorns that had self-sealed to be fair but I’m not convinced it’s the game changer it’s meant to be.
    I’m not impressed with dynaplugs either. The metal end caps on the plugs I’d put in that morning all came off on Saturday giving me a new puncture 30 miles in!

    Superficial
    Free Member

    What maintenance do I need to do, replace the sealant? How do I do that?

    This bit’s easy – you just put some more sealant in. Around 30-40ml for a gravel tyre, I’d say. You can do this with a syringe through the valve hole (remove the valve core first) or you can pop a section of the tyre off and trickle it in.

    The tricky bit is knowing when to do it. I haven’t worked out the formula that dictates how long sealant lasts. It’s a function of amount of riding x average temperature x tyres porosity x sealant volume etc. It seems really variable – sometimes it lasts more than a year but other times I’ve had it last only 2 months.

    With the wheel off, you can often feel the sealant sloshing around the tyre, when it stops doing that you’ll need to top up. Or pop a corner of the tyre off to have a look (if the tyres are well-behaved and will re-seal easily). Or just bung a bit more in every 3-4 months (this is what I do. Note to self: you’re overdue).

    IME it’s much better to overdo it than underdo and risk being left without sealant.

    Around here, it’s for pinch-puncture protection from all the rocks. We don’t really get many thorns. I’m sold on tubeless on gravel bikes but it’s possibly not for everyone.

    rOcKeTdOg
    Full Member

    Take a tube just in case, take something to plug a hole just in case but the reality is a well set up tubeless tyre will give minimal issues. I currently have 3 thorns on the back tyre that I noticed when cleaning. Not sure how long they’ve been in but I’ve not lost any pressure for the last 3 weeks since I noticed them so no need to touch it.

    One tip when setting up is go for a ride around the block, this is much better to spread the sealant where it needs to go than just adding it and leaving over night

    As for sealant renewal, let the wheel sit with valve at the lowest point. Remove core, dip someone thin in through the valve. If it comes out dry, top up the sealant

    ransos
    Free Member

    Remove core, dip someone thin in through the valve.

    Might be a tight squeeze, all the same. I use an allen key!

    As for spares – tube, pump, tubeless repair kit. I’ve used a tube once (forgot to top up the sealant) and the repair kit once (hole too big to seal with sealant). That’s it, in about six years.

    Superficial
    Free Member

    As for sealant renewal, let the wheel sit with valve at the lowest point. Remove core, dip someone thin in through the valve. If it comes out dry, top up the sealant

    That’s a good idea, cheers.

    I need a method that works with inserts, though. Maybe a thin zip tie might go ‘around the corner’ as it were?

    smallspinsized
    Free Member

    I just shake the bike up and down and listen for splashing. Pretty easy to hear from each wheel.

    alanf
    Free Member

    I guess it depends how gnarly the gravel is round your way. Last Friday coming down off Mount Famine I managed to get a a flat on my 27.5+ 2.8 rear (probably due to low pressure) but that resulted in a ding on the rim that would not re-seal as it was bent. The only solution was to wang a tube in, so I would say in extreme cases carrying a tube can save you a long walk back (to Edale in this case). I, and the bike were covered in baked on sealant at the end, but I reckon that is better than the (potential) walk back from Hayfield YMMV. Interesting about the Dynaplug comment and the ends falling off. Is this a wider issue and is there anything better of equivalent to the Dynaplug system?

Viewing 21 posts - 1 through 21 (of 21 total)

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