Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lesson Learned

Today's lesson: Trying to do 'home brew' tubeless tires on your mountain bike is not worth the time, trouble, and labor. HOWEVER, it was a great learning experience and many of the things could (oddly enough) be applied to other things. How did I learn this lesson? Well, I read an article about tubeless tires, there are manufacturers out there with wheels and tires designed to work this way, there are also companies that sell conversion kits. And then there's the ways that people were doing it before all these products came around.
So I did some wonderful internet research on doing it yourself, and most of what I found used one of the new products. I didn't want to go this route because of shipping time and not wanting to have a goop inside my tires that while it may prevent flats and seal the bead, it only lasts about 2-5 months. So I decided to glue the bead. (Skipping a bunch of the details...) The glued bead held well, but air pressure would drop about 10 pnds per hour. Dunked it all in the sink and saw that air was seeping out of the sidewalls - not the bead, through the sidewalls. You see, these tires have pretty thin sidewalls to keep their weight down and allow them to flex, a lot. So I gave in, went out and got the cheap Bell Sports liquid tire sealant (kind of like Fix-A-Flat for cars, just without the aerosol). This stuff was a thick, white, gooey, jelly junk that looked like, well, I think you get the picture.
The instructions called for 4 oz. per tire (and that it was NOT for tubeless tires). I filled them up with the goop, and aired them up to about 60 psi. All the videos I saw explained to shake the tire around to get the sealant spread out, and this made sense. So after I spun the tire for a little, I picked it up and shaking, rotate, shake some more, rotate again, shake some more, and a couple more times until -- BAM!! The bead blew off the rim (did I shake too hard?) and there was a white steak of goo across my chest and various other places throughout my room (NOT fun to clean up - yes on the ceiling too). Right then and there I made the decision, "Screw this." and began clean up and putting the tube back in.
(Cutting out more details because I don't feel like explaining them.)
So in the end of it all, I'm out maybe about 15 bucks, have half a tube of glue to add to the collection of random adhesives (which really do come in handy) and a tube of glue to return to the store. Overall, I guess it was fun. And I now have a valve stem core remover.

So moving onto another subject, or more like getting back to one that I never really finished up, the Tour de Okinawa was a blast and I'm going to write a dedicated blog entry about it along with pictures (that I need to get off my wife). When I'll be able to get around to this? Who knows, but I'll try.

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