Sunday, April 10, 2011

It shouldn't outta' happen.

Imagine you are at the counter of your auto tire store purchasing new rubber for the family wagon.  The counter guy shows you a few tires to choose from and then asks you what wheel type you have on you car.  Not size...not it a TLR rim or a Stans?  Mavic UST?  Then based on that, he mentions that you may not have perfect luck with tires A or B, but should be 'OK' with tire C even though it is not suggested.  After all, he and his buddies have run that tire on your wheel type and it has been OK so far.  If it does not work out, you may, he warns, roll the tire off the rim when entering a steep driveway ramp or have issues with keeping air in it.

Right.  No one in their right mind would accept that.  Not on a car, not on a motorcycle...not on anything.  Except a bike.  Specifically a mountain bike.  But that is the crazy situation that we find ourselves in today.  There are several approaches at what makes for a tubeless rim.  UST, Stan's BST, Bonty's TLR, and others that either license one of those or have their own idea of what works.  Then the tires are a big bag of snakes as well.  Some are 'tubeless ready', some are 'tubeless rated', some are not suggested as tubeless (but are ok to use...wink...wink...we are just keeping the lawyers happy), etc. 


Today I was riding down a rutted, steep trail and enjoying the fun of that, playing by going in and out of the rut, weight back over the saddle, front brake on...when the rut closed out on me and I had to transition left across the face of the trail.  That loaded the front wheel a bit at an angle and *POP* went the weasel as the front tire blew off the rim.  Seriously?  30 psi, barely past a jogging speed and a very moderate loading of the sidewall was enough to endanger my health.  I was blessed to keep it together and ride the rim to the side of the trail, could have been otherwise.

It was a tubeless rated rim and a non-tubeless (but blessed as "OK" by the manufacturer in a personal conversation) tire.  It mounted up well enough and gave no indication of trouble till it just failed.

That should not be able to happen. 

There needs to be a standard or system or rating or SOMETHING that ensures parts play together well or do not play together at all.  And we should have the expectation that it just works and unless we do something really dumb like run silly low pressures, etc, it should not come off the rim unless we are so far along on the course to disaster, that a crash is just inevitable. 

This dance of whether the tire will seal or not, ghetto tubeless, tubeless rated vs tubeless ready (what does that mean anyway?)...this just needs to end.  And no, I am not convinced that UST is the answer either or at least so far the potential of it it has not been realized.

SO now I am back to wondering if the things I am supposedly OK to do are safe to do.  And, there is a lot at stake here.

I don't accept that from my car tires and I should not accept it from my bike tires either.


Fonk said...

Amen! Man, that's scary - glad you're OK.

I think I'll stick w/ my "old school" clinchers and tubes...

Jeremy said...

Good to hear that you're ok. Had that happen to me, bonty wheel/rim strip and maxxis tire. I didn't fare as well as you did.

+1 on getting a standard/system