Friday, 16 December 2011

When is Tubeless not Tubeless?

Well when you are still using a tube but have the puncture protection of your tubeless cousin.

Not quite ready to go tubeless; too messy, or too expensive for you. But you need some puncture resistance, especially from those fine sharp spear grass ends. Well the simple solution is to take a leaf from the tubeless book, or in this case, the sealant they use.

Adding tubeless sealant to your tubes gives great protection for about 95% of flats (a really bad snake bite will still get you). It is a cheap option (60 ml of sealant is ~$8/10) and with tubes you can change tyres without the mess or challenges of getting a good seal again (no compressor needed).

All Presta valves feature a core that can be removed. Most are fiddly monsters that require great care as they will drop inside the tube, but a few tubes have a removable core the same as the best tubeless kits.

Continental Tubes feature a removable valve core
Pop the core out of the valve (or drop it carefully inside if non-removable, remember to keep it to one side and not lose it!). Squirt ~40/50 ml of sealant (Stan's is readily available in 60ml bottles at most cycle shops) into the tube. Ensure the tube is slack and the liquid is free to run into the tube. Pop the core back in (or do some serious fiddling to work the core back out and attach the small bead). You can now pop a little air in to assist mounting into the tyre/rim as normal.

Tubeless sealant also works in Tubes!

To finish filling,  ensure the valve is between 4 and 7 o'clock so the liquid remains at the base of the tube, and fill to your desired pressure. You are now protected against the majority of small punctures. The only messy bit is you must remember is to allow any sealant to drain from the valve (between 4 and 7 o'clock position) before adding or letting air out. Otherwise you can swap tyres with ease, and no compressor is needed, and no mess to wash up.

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