So, now that most of you have a had a complete season on tubeless tire setup's. What's the verdict?
What was your setup?
Are you a kamikaze or smooth and slick like Pomade type rider?
Your ideal tire pressure and course/weather conditions?
Tire pressure you had the most problem with and conditions?
Are you planning on using tubeless again next year?
If you are going to use tubeless again-- are you going to make any changes to your setup?
...Or Just add whatever tid-bits or two cent you have sitting on the tip of your tongue ready to burst out in heavenly praise or raging and ranting anger.
Okay I didn't use tubeless tires this year so I probably don't count shouldn't be saying anything but from doing a bunch of races and seeing and hearing friends and competitors riding tubeless my impression from afar was this:
Salsa Cross bike
Rol Volant wheels
Hutchinson Bulldog tires
rider weight- 180
style- aggressive and loosewith a long standing BMX background
racing state- CO cross series- usually dry with one to two races a year in the rain
I now officially swear by this set up. I had problems this season with flatting or pinch flatting during the races (and even training rides)with traditional tubed set ups(every race to be exact). I would usually run around 48-52 psi or so in a tubed set up so I wouldn't pinch flat. Now I run about 42psi and love it!
i have not had a burping problem and will be running these things like no ones business next year. I have converted my B bike to tubeless as well. For once i can finish a race on the bike I started with... and for a mid pack cat 4 guy, thats a wonderful thing.
take this with a grain of salt if you disagree... but I personally have been very impressed.
Have been running them all seaosn training and racing... here is my two cents.
Setup: Mavic Ksyrium SL's with Stan's strip kit, sealant, and Hutchinson Bulldog CX's Weight: 160-165 durring road season--around 170 cross. Riding style: Rather aggressive rider. bike handling isn't my forte as I am a road racer. If it's bumpy I tend to just power through stuff rather than avoid it. I don't like using my brakes so generally I am pushing it pretty hard through your average cross corners. Location ridden NC, SC, Georgia,Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Virginia and Kansas(nationals and UCI races). In dry and wet weather in all locations. Tire pressure:Generally would run these right around 30 lbs. If it were dry I would run at most 34 and if it were VERY bumpy I would run low 30's. The fact that the tires roll fairly large and have pretty solid side knobs, I didn't encounter problems. Lowest I ever ran was around 28 front and rear. Much below that unless it was muddy was too low. In mud I could run mid to upper 20's future plansWill run the same setup in training and toy with some different tire attempts on another set of wheels. I would like to see if I can get some challenge opens to work with it, or michelin muds/possibly something along the lines of filetread...
I ran these at elite races this season with no problems. Although my tire selection worked for pretty much any condition I would steer away from them in deep grass. They feel sluggish. On hard pack they work well enough. They really excell in mudd and typical park grass. My only problem with burping cam from VERY low pressures and blowing over some roots that would have pinch flatted any typical clincher and possibly punctured a tubular. I really do trust them. *** one thing of note is to NOT remove the strip and attempt to replace it. Once it is stretched for a period of time it doesn't hold nearly as well at low pressure.***
I really do recommend this set up to anyone in the weight range I am in or lower. higher, I can't say because I haven't ridden the wheels at that weight and wouldn't want to offer less than accurate info. Again, I am an elite racer and did use these at several UCI races... I wouldn't take chances on them if I didn't trust them. Considering my experiences with clinchers this year ended abruptly, I pretty much trust them and will be on them as well as my race day tubulars next year without a hint of hesitation.
I setup my main bike with Tubeless (Stan's CX kit, Velomax Vista wheels, & Kenda Kommando) a few weeks ago. I run about 30# front & back. (I am ~165#).
Nationals... prerode course on Friday midday...they were a dream. (greasy mud from tape to tape).
Race.. Masters 30/34. Course dried up by Saturday morning. On ripple section, burped air on rear on lap 1. Rode rest of lap with a low rear tire...took a change and then got my main bike back 1/2 lap later. No problems after that.
Today---(first cx ride post nats). Rode local practice race and lost air going down stairs.
I will have to figure this out... I am headed out for a long ride now.
A lot of great information being posted, but I know there's a lot more of you who want to contribute out of kindness to your fellow racer.
Also, remember that spirit of kindness this time of year. The long cross season of riding past a team mate with a flat tubeless setup, or a brother or sister who rolled their tubeless setup only to find comfort drinking all your beer while you raced, and a comrade that has not found the sweet spot in his/her working mans tubeless set up and lost that podium spot to the uber, smooth and supple tubular.
Note: That podium spot you or friend lost... beer was the prize!
setup - Hand built wheelset with Kinlin XR-300 rims, Stan's yellow rim tape, stem, sealant, and Hutch Piranha.
weight - 150lbs
ride style - pretty smooth rider but not afraid to power through the rough sections if I can advance that way
Pressures - as low as 25 as high as 35. Usually about 30psi
Caveat, I have never raced on this setup. Did all my training with the wheels (including some rocky singletrack) and liked the setup but not as much as my tubular (grifo) set so these sat waiting patiently in the pits. Almost used them today because I thought the tread pattern would be better for the course but switched back to the tubs at the last minute - mainly for reliable lower pressures.
Have not had a problem with this setup even though I have bottomed out more than once. I wouldn't hesitate to use it in a race if I did not have the tubular option. They do make a great training/backup set, especially with all the goatheads around here (pulled out 30 goatheads from the front tire after one poor choice and still had enough air to ride home.)
My setup - stans ztr rims with Kenda Kommando tires. Also used Michelin Mud2.
I weight 190 lbs.
I have not burped air in training or racing in two years. My tubular wheelset remains hanging in the garage collecting dust.
There is no written reference for getting tubeless to work reliably with regular road rims. Sometimes you need multiple layers of tape, and some rims work better than others. If you're not willing to experiment (I was not), the ZTR rims are the way to go. Zero problems.
Aside from rim choice, tires also matter. Some work, some don't. I'm assembling a list of tires I've tried and will post a link on this later.
Mid season I settled on Dura-ace tubeless wheelset with Bulldogs...No more pinch flats, Goat Head flats, or blow outs! I really like this setup and highly recommend it. I generally run about 38psi (I'm 165) but am working on going lower.
Erik's an expert on this for sure. He can also write poems I heard.
Anyway, as you guys know from the mag, we've tried a bunch too. It started four years ago now with a homemade setup, and has expanded greatly this season with successes or failures.
I'll assume most of you want to go to tubeless as an alternative to tubulars so you can run low pressure. (The other reason is for puncture protection from thorns.) If so, using a stans strip or stans rim is the way to go. The Shimano DA wheelset needs modifications (i.e. strips) to go as low - it's simply just not the optimal system for low pressure and designed for high pressure. You might have read that in some print mag recently. :-)
I weigh 155-165 pounds. It's been going up, sadly.
I've personally raced and trained on:
Stans 29er (not race) rims with the raven tire and panaracer cross blaster. I went into the low 20s and did not burp them. I tried intentionally to several times but started to get tired of slamming into things and worried about the rims.
I also used a askium wheel and stans strip with a michelin mud, and that was equally as air tight. This has my front wheel half the time because I like the tread.
I tried the DA wheels and Hutchinson tires and burped in the low 30s. I added a strip and raced it burped it around 30. The Redline team has been adding rim strips and sealant to their setup and have had good success.
I tried the hutchinson tires briefly on another mavic-rimmed (old reflex clincher) wheel with a strip, and they worked fine as well. But the mavic rim is so narrow I think the burp danger is higher. I did not train or race on this setup. You don't need to go with the hutchinson tire to run tubeless, although it's a decent option.
I've also set up Kenda small block 8 tires with success. It's held fine but the sidewall got punctured by some sticks and didn't seal.
It may sound obvious, but don't use a skinwall tire. I know people who've tried to seal a challenge grifo and it was a disaster. Green Michelins don't work well either.
My short list of good tires for conversion, mostly by brand - (can't wait to see Erik's)
Heard it works:
Schwalbe Racing Ralph
Sketchy for conversion:
I absolutely would recommend tubeless as an attractive, affordable option to tubulars for many people. However, I can't say that it's always a simpler setup. Many times they set up fine with a floor pump and were totally sealed and ready to go in under an hour. But there were some messy days and complications for sure. They biggest headache sadly was when I wanted to reinstall a tire that was used before in a tubeless setup.
Isn't one of the attractions (as BikeSnobNYC said in Issue 4) of clinchers the ability to swap out tires for different conditions? The latex-covered interior of the tire got really sticky, and prevented an easy installation the next time as it kept sticking to itself and not seating right. It was a multi-hour battle. Tire levers and all kinds of soapy water and lots of sweat and swearing were involved. In some ways I think tubular gluing is easier because it's predictable and consistent at least. But I'm still a fan.
I'm planning buying a new set of wheels this year, would you recommend a Stan's wheel as a good option? I'm not sure how the weight compares with other wheel options but I'm concerned about burping since I tend to hover in the 185 lb. range, and Stan's wheels sound like the best sealing. They also seem to be on the higher end of prices without being all that light, though I could be off my rocker on that point.