Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Okay, I Give Up! I'll Just Go Tubeless...

Some new things appeal to me, and I become an early adapter. Fat bikes come to mind, for instance.

Other things do not necessarily appeal to me, yet I use them anyway. Suspension forks come to mind, in this instance. Back in the day, when I was still riding competitively, it put me at a disadvantage to run a rigid fork. So, I used suspension forks, and full-suspension bikes, in order to level the playing field. Now, however, I am not competing, and you may notice a distinct lack of boingers on my mountain bikes.

Some new things, I have absolutely no desire to adopt, yet I am forced into it by circumstances. Tubeless tires fall squarely into this category. The Wilderness Trail Bikes tires and tubes that I want to use on my bikepacking rig are nearly impossible to deal with, with tubes in them. As a matter of fact, all of the tires and rims available in that size are tubeless. So, I broke down, bought the rim tape and valves, and spent three hours, yesterday, setting the bike up tubeless.

What a pain in the ass.

The tires are an extremely tight fit on the rims, even with the WTB rim tape. That's a necessity, when running tubeless, I know. But these things are ridiculously hard to mount. They are such a tight fit that I was able to just hook up my floor pump and air them up, in order to seat the beads. No CO2 cartridge or compressor required.

I did some experimenting, and I found that I can get a 700x35 tube inside the tire, in an emergency (assuming I can get the bead of the tire off of the rim, first). I am hoping and praying that I will have the  "no flats in two years" experience that tubeless users brag about. To that end, I put 4 ounces of sealant in each tire. (I started with 2 oz in each end, but decided to double up, due to the extra volume of the 2.8" tires.)

Keeping my fingers crossed.

I know that many, many people swear by tubeless tires, but I have never seen any advantage to them, for me. I don't experience any of the problems that the tubeless setup is supposed to solve. So, the added difficulty of mounting, unmounting, replacing sealant as it dries up, etc., don't really bring me any returns.

Maybe I'll change my mind, after a while, and wonder how I ever did without tubeless. I hope so, because the industry seems to be slowly but surely taking away my ability to choose whether or not I want to go that route.

Unrelated Band News:

Yesterday, I went to look at a bass amp which I had found listed on Craigslist. It belonged to a Korean Presbyterian Church (they have a "worship band"), and it was quite a bit less expensive than it should have been. The only thing I could find wrong with it is that one of the two instrument input jacks is broken. For a $300.00 discount over the normal resale value of this amp, I was okay with that.

It's an Ampeg BA115, 100 watt amp with a 15" speaker and a piezo tweeter. It's even an American-made model (which is a big thing to me).

The 30 watt Acoustic amp (12" speaker) that we had was okay, if the amp was miked, but it doesn't project enough over the guitar and drums in a situation where only the vocals are miked (like The Pit Stop or The Phoenix). Plus, the 12" speaker just doesn't have that big bassy growl that the 15" speaker delivers.

As a band, we have been putting our show proceeds into a pot to put toward this purchase. Next, I think, we should get the drummer a new high-hat. I'm pretty flush with guitars and equipment, myself...



At 2:54 PM , Blogger Shawn said...

Oh tubeless how I love and hate thee. First I'll say that I don't have any problems mounting and unmounting my tires with just my hands. I do need to use a compressor to get the initial bead seal though. The advantage that I see with tubeless is less rotational weight, ability to run lower pressure, and better traction. Flats? Well, I do think tubeless will stop you from getting flats from things like goat heads and cacti. Unfortunately for me tubeless has caused new problems. Our rocky terrain loves to slice sidewalls and it doesn't always seal so I'm stuck throwing in a tube. I've also found that while I can run lower pressure and not worry about traditional pinch flats, I still get pinch flats except now they punch to holes in my tire instead of the tube! Of course those don't seal either so you have to put in a tube.

If I didn't know any better I'd think that tubeless is a conspiracy from the tire industry to get us to buy more tires with all of the tires I've destroyed. I suppose many of them are still perfectly usable with a tube in them but who runs tubes these days?

At 3:14 PM , Blogger Steve A said...

If you aren't racing, tubes or not (either tubeless or tubular) is a matter of choice. My cyclocrosss bike was set up with tubeless, but it didn't work. Now, it's got tubes. Personally, I'd either go with tubes or tubular (sew-ups). Tubeless seems to me like the worst of both worlds at the moment...

At 3:20 PM , Blogger Jon said...

I've never seen tires as hard to mount as these WTB's. But, at least a normal pump will seat the beads. I guess it's a trade-off, but I think I would prefer a more difficult seating process and easier installation, if I had a choice.


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