The tubeless transition: Some months after

About five months after committing to tubeless tire tech and making the conversion, I decided to top up the sealant in the American Classic Timekeeper tires. It was also a good time to address the little annoyances I had with the entire tubeless setup thus far, and evaluate the technology as a whole.

As far as tire pressures go, I started with the ETRTO’s 73 psi maximum prescribed for tubeless wheels without rim hooks, even though my H Plus Son The Hydra rims come with them. I simply figured it would be a good start point. With more rides under my belt, I’ve brought my tire pressures down to the 60-65 psi level, which introduces more ride comfort without any other vices. I might still experiment with lower pressures, but this is good for me.

In the interim, I grabbed a pair of longer 45 mm tubeless valves from WTB, and swapped out the old Stan’s 35 mm units. Removing the old valves and getting them unseated from their holes was a slight chore, but it also meant that they were as airtight as could be.

With the tire bead popped off the wheels to swap valves, I took a cursory glance at the inside of the tires. They were lined with sticky, dried-up Orange Seal Endurance sealant. I didn’t do any cleanup of old sealant; I peeled off only a little from the tire just to see how sticky it was. There was none of the problems Shane Miller had with the tire beads sticking to themselves due to the sealant. I injected another 40 mL of Orange Seal Endurance per tire, charged up my Bontrager TLR Flash Charger 2.0 pump to 160 psi, then let rip.

The added 10 mm of Presta valve length meant the pump had much better purchase on it for inflation, lessening the chances of its valve chuck spontaneously blowing itself off the valve. The front tire seated and successfully held air the first time. The rear, I had to seat twice after a slow leak, but otherwise went just as well.

All this is to say – I’m now a firm believer in tubeless tires for road bicycles. A lot of it is investing in the right tools and supplies, and part of it is also how well your tires and wheels play with each other. I have not yet suffered a puncture on this setup (touch wood), and the sealant maintenance aspect is a bit of a downer, but I suppose that’s also going to encourage me to ride outdoors more often.

One thought on “The tubeless transition: Some months after

  1. I tried tubeless on my road bike a couple of years ago and found it a right old faff. Since then I’ve sworn by clinchers, but some issues I’ve had with tubes on a recent audax have made me want to try them again. Perhaps with a bit of patience they will pay off. Thanks for your article, good to see your process in adopting them!


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