Monday, August 4, 2008

Me and Stan, We Don't Need No Stinking Tubes!

Well, I plunged into the deep end of tubeless-ness tonite. As you may know, I bought a used set of wheels; Hope Pro II hubs laced to Stan's Flow rims. I fit them to the Lenz (with tubes in the Maxxis Ignitor/Crossmark combo) and went and rode a 22 mile loop with 3500' of climbing and a good descent to see how they felt. I was running around 25#s psi. I think I began at 30#s, but dropped a bit over the ride to experiment.

I did not really notice any difference climbing, but I did notice increased stiffness in the back of the bike, especially when dropping into parallel ruts and entering fast corners. The bike felt like it did less of a hula dance and tracked well. I imagine some of that is from the stiffer rim and some from the increased support of the tire sidewall from the wider rim. I also noticed it felt harsher as far as choppy bumps and chaff, even though the tire pressure was the same as I always run. Interesting!

So now that I have a base line to know how the wheels feel, I had a pile of parts in front me, a movie to watch, and work to do.

I had the valve stems from Stans made for the Flow rims, a QT of sealant and a couple of tire irons and a pump. Oh yeah....a bucket of soapy water and a brush. I watched the movie on the Stans site and it was very helpful, even allowing for the fact I already had rims with the yellow rim strip in them.

Easy as 1, 2, 3.

Pulled out the tubes and soaped up the rims and checked the tires for air worthiness...check!...beads set, aired right up with a hand pump and then leaked down of course.

So, I pulled part of one bead off, dumped 2 scoops of goop per the instructions, and soaped the sidewalls and pumped it up. POP...POP...POP went the sidewalls.

I did the Stan's dance of sidewall joy (it helps to have the appropriate foot off the ground depending on which side of the wheel you are working on), and put it on the bucket watching for bubbles, etc.

The foaming and bubbles went away very quickly and any signs of leaks were not to be found.

So far, so good. I went on a ride on my SS Monkey, came home and they are holding air just fine. Will I have the supple goodness and lack of flats that running tubeless holds out to tempt us? Will I have nightmares like some have had getting the dang things to hold air and stay on the rim? We shall see.

A couple of things: I did not drill out the inner wall of the rim like the instructions suggest. Maybe that is for non Stan's rims, but the valve stem itself was smaller than 3/8" so it looked like the made-for-the-Flow-rim stem was good to go sans drilling.

At first I could not see why you would bother to try and air up the rim/tire combo without the goop. Now, I see that it makes sense to find out if you have any glaring issues with fit and such before you add two scoops of sticky, grey goo to make your travails worse. Once you know it all fits and the beads seat and air up, goop it and move on.

No comments: