Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Adventures in Tubeless Town

Following Sunday's near flat, I decided to change out the Specialized Rockster that I had on my back tire for the Panaracer Smoke that I'd been using before. The Rockster is good on roots and rocks, but just sucks on loose over hard. I got sick of not being able to power up steepness like you can with a Smoke. My legs haven't got the kind of extra juice where I can afford to give 1/3 of my RPMs away to slippage on steep crap.

The Smoke bead diameter is huge. It took two extra wraps of Gorilla Tape to get a good seal, and even then it wasn't toight like a toiger. I played a little alchemy with Stan's and Slime, which may or may not work out well but we'll see.

Down to the gas station - having a gas station nearby with free air is key - to fill 'er up and see how it goes. Lots of hissing and little inflation, followed by lots of tire slapping and partial inflation, and then WHOMP!! Full. The bead seal leaked like a bastige initially, so I just kept topping up the air.

If you think the sound of the bead seating is unnerving, wait until you blow the tire clean off the rim with too much air. Whoops. A lady jogging on the Cap Crescent Trail actually crapped her pants when this happened. She actually screamed out, stopped, and then exclaimed "oh my God, I just crapped my pants." Sorry, lady. Sorry, pants.

I started over and kept it together. Since my scientific method wasn't very scientific, I can't parse out the variables very well, but this bead sealed exceptionally well, exceptionally quickly. I am liable to thinking that Slime is very adept at sealing beads. The tire has been at around 45 psi since initial inflation, and has lost zero air. The Specialized lost a bit of air overnight the first night, and burped a bit when I took the pressure down later. We'll see.

There's a hung jury out there on the interwebs over whether a Smoke is a good tire to run tubeless. Some say the sidewall ain't so strong, others have had better experience. In my case, it don't cost nothing to try it, and I'll be sure to pack plenty of get out of jail cards until it proves itself one way or the other.

Looks like we are geared up to head out to the Tour of Tucker County next. Even though I'd like to race the aged and infirm division, I'm going to saddle it up for the full hatred of the 1/2/3. Expect poster-sized droppage.


Jim said...

One of the family bikes guys was telling me that there's a new WTB out that has the square bead (Yay! UST Compatible!) without the typical tarmac-thick UST sidewall. So it weighs a few hundred grams less than the typical UST tire, and with soft sidewalls probably hooks up nice... worth looking into.

BTW, you made somebody crap their pants using air and a poorly seated tire bead? AWE---- Sum. Blew a little espresso out my nose at that one.

Chuck Wagon said...

Mmmmm. Squishy.

Please refrain from posting any further pictures of your new bike as it will cause me to do irresponsible and lustful things at bike shops. Indeed, it will inspire "mednes," which is today's verifier word.

TerribleTerry said...

Nice investigative work on how to help those with chronic constipation doctor chuckwagon.

Sigberto said...

YEAH!! Go get the big boys at Tucker County!