Tubeless tribulations

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
mnichols
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Tubeless woes

Postby mnichols » 22 Dec 2018, 8:05pm

Firstly let me say, I'm a fan of tubeless. There are disadvantages but for me the positives outweigh the negatives

I have tubeless on one of my gravel bikes that gets used and abused and I've never had a puncture in probably 5000 miles including some terrible roads in Northern India

Today was another matter. I got a few punctures in September riding from Italy to Spain. Pst, white spurt, never even stopped riding. Just put some more air in. I done a few more rides on that bike but haven't bothered fixing the punctures - they self sealed.

Today i decided to add some more sealant due to the amount lost from punctures and apparently it dries up anyway.

First problem, the tubeless valves that came with my Mavic wheels didn't have a removable core, so i had to pry the tyre away from the rims and it was well and truly stuck. Bent a couple of good quality levers getting enough tyre off to add more sealant.

The main problem was not being able to resit the tyre. I have a specialised pump that stores the air and then releases it quickly. Despite many attempts that didn't work. And taking the core out to get the air in more quickly

I tried five co2 cannisters. They didn't work.

I went to the local garage (two). They didn't work - they pump air too slowly

I bought a £50 compressor from Argos, that didn't work.

I tried swapping the valves out - that didn't work (45 mile round trip on my other bike)

I took the tyre off and patched the tyre - that didn't work

I tried pumping my track pump furiously - that didn't work

The problem was the tyre seemed too stiff to pop. It wanted to be concave and stuck in the well of the wheel. It was either too cold or matted with sealant

So i put a new (same make and model) tyre on and it immediately felt more supple. Used the specialised tubeless pump, and pop, pop, pop it was on first time

The old tyre still has loads of wear and probably has done less than a thousand miles, but i don't think i can save it. At £40 a tyre I'm reluctant to throw it but i ran out of ideas.

Airsporter1st
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Re: Tubeless woes

Postby Airsporter1st » 22 Dec 2018, 8:19pm

Did you try the old trick of using a Spanish windlass around the middle circumference of the tyre?
Last edited by Graham on 22 Dec 2018, 8:55pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Brucey
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Re: Tubeless woes

Postby Brucey » 22 Dec 2018, 8:29pm

in this situation the bead of the tyre has to be able to slide in the well of the rim. Often removing the tyre completely, removing any dried sealant, and refitting the tyre with something (eg soapy water) as a lubricant will work better.

Rubber quite often continues to cure outside the mould, over time. So it is quite possible that your tyre stiffened up a bit just because it was no longer new. It is also possible that any dried sealant on the inside of the tyre made it a bit stiffer too.

i didn't even know they made tubeless valve stems that don't have removable cores; seems a bit daft to me....

cheers
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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Tubeless woes

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 22 Dec 2018, 9:10pm

Hi,
You definitely need a lube of some sorts especially with a used tubeless tyre, even new the beads are a tight fit so new also.
Sealant is mandatory on cycles through the fact of road side repairs will prove nigh impossible.
I don't know but imagine also that the beads are rigid, are they steel.
Biggest problem with beads on tubeless is that unless they are less than perfectly round and flat (not kinked) almost impossible to seal to pop.
Also the use of the tyre means the beads sit naturally closer together than new and do not press on to the rim to seal.
You thought of fitting a tube?

Getting off you need a bead breaker and less chance of kinked bead.

On wide rim stiff tyres like motor vehicles the knack is to drop the wheel repeatedly on to the tyre turning as you go so the bead is forced onto the wheel rim for a better seal and sometimes a tourniquet helps but its not always easy or certain.

Good luck.
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mnichols
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Joined: 22 Apr 2013, 4:29pm

Re: Tubeless woes

Postby mnichols » 22 Dec 2018, 9:48pm

I didn't try soapy water, but should have

I should have cleaned the tube thoroughly - leason learned

Can you explain the use of a tourniquet / spanish thingamajig

On the road i would put a tube in, i still carry two and a puncture repair kit - old habits die hard

Bit worried about the comment about old tyre beads sitting closer together and being impossible to pop - that makes them disposable....and that's expensive

The bead may have become kinked in the removal due to the force required to unseat them - see previous comment

I wouldn't go for slime, but a tube with a removable core and add sealant

I wonder if a better solution is to have the sealant in the inner tube? The weight would be negligible. This would also get around the sticky mess problem

Marcus Aurelius
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Re: Tubeless woes

Postby Marcus Aurelius » 22 Dec 2018, 9:54pm

mnichols wrote:
I wonder if a better solution is to have the sealant in the inner tube? The weight would be negligible. This would also get around the sticky mess problem



Spot on there.

Airsporter1st
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Re: Tubeless woes

Postby Airsporter1st » 22 Dec 2018, 10:00pm

mnichols wrote:Can you explain the use of a tourniquet / spanish thingamajig


You tie a strong cord around the circumference of the tyre, in the centre, insert a stick/rod under the cord and then turn it to twist the cord and thereby shorten it to exert pressure around the circumference. The idea is to try and force the tyre beads against the rim so that they will seal.

See this link (2m 49s on for the windlass) for an idea of how its done. https://youtu.be/UVVhlVkUwGc
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mnichols
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Re: Tubeless woes

Postby mnichols » 22 Dec 2018, 10:00pm

Marcus Aurelius wrote:
mnichols wrote:
I wonder if a better solution is to have the sealant in the inner tube? The weight would be negligible. This would also get around the sticky mess problem



Spot on there.


So, can you just add any tubeless sealant to any inner tube with a removable core?

If so, can anyone recommend a cheap, light tube with a removable core (700c 25mm)

mnichols
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Joined: 22 Apr 2013, 4:29pm

Re: Tubeless woes

Postby mnichols » 22 Dec 2018, 10:01pm

Airsporter1st wrote:You tie a strong cord around the circumference of the tyre, in the centre, insert a stick/rod under the cord and then turn it to twist the cord and thereby shorten it to exert pressure around the circumference. The idea is to try and force the tyre beads against the rim so that they will seal.


Thanks
Last edited by Graham on 23 Dec 2018, 9:54am, edited 1 time in total.
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Airsporter1st
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Re: Tubeless woes

Postby Airsporter1st » 22 Dec 2018, 10:10pm

No probs - I've just added a link to the post above to a youtube vid, which shows it in action.

Brucey
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Re: Tubeless woes

Postby Brucey » 22 Dec 2018, 10:17pm

mnichols wrote:Can you just add any tubeless sealant to any inner tube with a removable core?

If so, can anyone recommend a cheap, light tube with a removable core (700c 25mm)


both conti and schwalbe tubes usually come with removable cores. IME the sealant seems to work best if the tube isn't too stretched when inflated, so if (say) you are running 28mm tyres and you have a choice between a tube that will do 23-28 or 28-35 then it is probably best if you choose the latter.

BTW the tightening method for the tourniquet described above is often known as a 'Spanish windlass'.

cheers
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Marcus Aurelius
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Re: Tubeless woes

Postby Marcus Aurelius » 22 Dec 2018, 10:23pm

mnichols wrote:Can you just add any tubeless sealant to any inner tube with a removable core?

If so, can anyone recommend a cheap, light tube with a removable core (700c 25mm)


Yep, you can even add the sealant to a tube that’s suffered a ( small ) puncture, it’s better than messing around with patches and vulcanising rubber solution. I carry a bottle of slime and a spoke key with me. I’ve got people home who have had a few small punctures on a ride, and run out of tubes in the past.

https://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/sto ... reId=10001

mnichols
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Re: Tubeless woes

Postby mnichols » 22 Dec 2018, 11:35pm

Thanks guys.

Some great tips on this post

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LinusR
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Re: Tubeless woes

Postby LinusR » 23 Dec 2018, 10:13am

mnichols wrote: First problem, the tubeless valves that came with my Mavic wheels didn't have a removable core, so i had to pry the tyre away from the rims and it was well and truly stuck. Bent a couple of good quality levers getting enough tyre off to add more sealant.


I find it odd that your Mavic valves did not have removeable cores. :?: I bought a pair of Mavic valves to suit my Mavic UST rims and they came with a little tool to unscrew the cores. Taking the cores out is vital for all but the easiest combinations of tyres and rims to inflate the tyre and to top up the sealant. I know from experience that once seated tubeless tyres can be very difficult to remove from some rims - like my Mavic UST 29er rims.

You don't say in your post what rims and tyres you are using - size, width, make, etc? It would be useful to know what combinations prove difficult.

For tubeless to work trouble-free you have to use tubeless rims, tubeless tyres, valves with removeable cores, the correct rim tape, sealant, and as the other advice in this thread states - any dried sealant on the bead of the tyres and rim needs to be removed, and the valves need to be installed perfectly. The mating surfaces need to be perfectly clean and lubed with soapy water. If you cannot inflate the tyres and pop them onto the rim with your Specialized tubeless track pump then there is something seriously wrong with the set up which needs to be addressed.

Greystoke
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Re: Tubeless woes

Postby Greystoke » 23 Dec 2018, 3:03pm

Squirt lighter fluid in then light it....that's got tight rally tyres on a few of our rims :D
Goes bang loudly tho