Wednesday, 8 April 2015

A Tale of Two Tubes- ongoing tubeless option trials...

It has been a mild winter and the Hawthorn and Blackthorn hedgerows here in East Lothian seem to have thrived on that and i have had an unreal amount of thorn punctures that a few different tubeless sealants have failed to seal up.  This has not been on my Commuter bike- A Surly Cross-Check fitted with Puncture Protection Schwalbe tyres- but my MTB`s and Fatbikes, You may have read about it Here in January,
And then Here again in March,

29+. 4" and 5" Fatbike DIY tubeless systems that work;
There is loads of stuff to read about making non tubeless specific tyres and tubes into a tubeless set up on the inter web,  and for some people some set ups work a treat and some do not, as do just using tubes work for some folks,  not one set up is perfect for everyone everywhere riding all terrains at all pressures,
For instance i don`t know anyone with a Ghetto tubeless set up on a stock Surly Moonlander rim and tyre that rides where i do on the coast on rocks at low tide, they will no doubt be folks out there who run their bikes tubeless and no worries, they will not get pinch flats but would the tyre stay on the rim at 4 psi and not `burp` and lose pressure?,  i hope to find out myself soon!...



TAKE 1;
29er Ghetto tubeless;
Before that i tried to do a proper tubeless set up on my Pugsley 29er wheels- a pair of 50mm wide Surly Rabbit Hole rims and Maxxis Minion 2.5" tyres,  these tyres come Tubeless ready so in theory should air up ok,



Having read some Forum threads i thought it should be easy, i cleaned the rim, fitted a new Surly rim tape...


Then having bought the proper Gorilla Tape  i wrapped the rim twice to seal it...


I was a bit wide so i trimmed the sides...


Then fitted the Presta valves, these came with these wheels that were wrapped with tape having been tubeless by the previous owner also using 2.5 MTB tyres... i had to remove that tape to offset the rear and lace a wider front hub for the Pugsley...



They aired up fine using the compressor....



Then i added some sealant, along with some Glitter to add more particles to make the sealant last longer...




I aired them up and they seemed fine, i even did the whole rolling thing with them as i watched in videos...
Then after a few minutes the juice started to weep out through the rim tape...


`Sod it` i thought and  stripped and rinsed the juice out of everything,
Cheesed off i just waisted some free Squirt Sealant to test and review, along with £5 on Gorilla tape that did not work...

I then drilled the rims out to my preferred Scraeder valve size and fitted some 29er tubes...

My fault for the fail, and another go-this time with Schrader tubeless valves;
Take 2;
Turns out i never ran the wheels with tubes installed first to seal the Gorilla tape my mate Mike said,
So i did that for a week and order a pair of Schrader tubeless valves to fit the now drilled valve hole...








Again these aired up fine...


So i removed the valve cores and juiced them...

Re inflated again they were fine for 15 minutes then again sealant seeped through the rim tape and they both deflated slowly- as did my will to keep trying this...


Fast forward and a few more thorn puncture fails...
And cycling friend Allen from Dunbar said `Go Ghetto split tube tubeless`, and he showed me his MTBs he has done that method and had no trouble with thorns here,  and he then explained what to do,


Take 3;
Today i cycled to work on the Surly KramPug with a big bag of stuff in the courier bag...



A glorious morning...



During break times i whipped the Surly Knard 3" Rabbit Hole wheels off and removed the tyres and tubes...


Two cheap 26" tubes would be donars for the 29" cause...



Inflated they were stretched over...


Then cut down the centre seal line...



Then washed with soapy water, as was the tyre...


Slowly i fitted the tyre making sure the tube was exposed at the sides...



Then inflated it with the compressor...



And bingo!, inflated and no leaks!, but before i juiced it i did the rear too as i wanted to ride them as soon as both were inflated with sealant to make sure the sealant sealed them properly...




Then i added some sealant- 250ml of OKO sealant per tyre, an Agricultural product that contains Linseed,  i added some glitter to this too as would not do any harm...



Re inflated i rode about for a bit, and they seemed fine...



Except the rear which had this cut and would refuse to seal up, despite removing the wheel and laying it on its side...


Meanwhile i trimmed the front wheels exposed tube...


And then removed the rear to wash out before refitting the tube again...


Then i spied the front rim strip which being nearly 3 years old had hardened and distorted exposing the split tube underneath...


Not wanting to risk using this like that i then removed the split tube and washed and re tubed it too...

Split tube conclusion;
This set up works despite my findings!, and i have to thank Allen for his instructions,

But;  I reckon for regular MTB tyres this is a no brainer, and for Fatbike tyres they maybe need to be the heavier but stronger 60tpi sidewalls, as unlike when tubed a small sidewall cut like i had failed to seal.
The rim tape fail was my fault and in theory i should have replaced them with new tapes and then wrapped them with Duct tape or Gorilla tape to prevent them moving...


Home from work to prove the split tube-tubeless set up works with good tyres!...



Back home i grabbed the other Rabbit Hole wheels and another 26" tube and returned to work with the wheels in the car to use the compressor again- my own compressor at home is broke...


These rims do have new tape and also wrapped with Gorilla tape remember at the start of the post?,
While they leaked trying a proper tubeless set up, they should be fine with split tubes,,,




And they are!, i then juiced them up and then trimmed the excess tubes at the sides...



Ready!;
And we have a pair of Ghetto split tubed tubeless 29er Rabbit Holes wheels sitting holding pressure fine after 24 hours!,
While not true 29+ being 2.5" tyres and not 3" tyres these are my wheels for regular trails on the Pugsley around here what with all the Hawthorn and Blackthorn hedgerows,
So bring on the `War of the Thorns`now on our Byways and field boundaries and lets see em flat these semi fat wheels!...



More soon...

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