Monday, 4 July 2011

The highs and lows of Stans No Tubes

After years of punctures I got over the fear of being covered in latex milk (sounds nice actually) and converted to tubeless. Here is a picture of the bottle for your perusal.

The kit costs £49 and includes a nozzle some strange yellow tape to replace your rim tape, two big rubber bands with valves (refered to as rubber bands in this article) and enough tire / tyre? sealant for about 4 tyres with a bit left. 

The instructions in the box are good but assuming you didn't read this from a print out your tech savvy friend gave you, the Stan's website has a really good detailed instructional video that is even better.

The first wheels I did were the GF's she had a fresh set of Stan's Crest rims on Hope Pro 3's bought just before the price hike. 

First step is taking out the existing rim tape and installing the weird yellow rim tape. You can keep the existing rim tape in if want and put the rubber band in over the top if it will fit. No chance with the Crests they are very low profile. Even with the yellow rim tape installed which is extremely thin, the rubber band was difficult to seat in the narrow and shallow rim.

Once in your ready to go with the tyre - you need to use lots of soapy water to seat new tyres on the rubber band, the tyre has to slide over the rubber to get a good seated seal. After bruised fingers and lots of effing and blinding, I got the tyre on - that was the dry run, now the same again with the sealant. 

I thought the sealant would go everywhere, it really doesn't it, just sits in the bottom of the tyre and its quite well behaved there. I had a bit of difficulty getting the tyre (a brand new Schwalbe Nobby Nic) on with without hooking out a bit of rubber band when scooping the tyre over the final bit with a plastic tyre lever.

Once in  I used my track pump - A Joe Blow, to seat the tyre, you might have to fanny around with the tyre around the valve to get the air going in but once I was past that the tyre seated and sealed up to the rim quite quickly. 

From looking on forums this seems to be the bit most people have an issue with, I think the Joe Blow is quite a high volume pump (it's shit for road tyres) so it works well for low pressure high volume tyres and is ideal for getting that initial air in to get the tyre seated on the rim. Now go! go! go! get the tyre up to about 40 psi. The tyre oozes a fine foam where the sealant comes through, this is normal. You then rattle the sealant round as per the instructional video (you will look odd doing this) until its all sealed up.

To be honest it was an emotional journey, the bead on the tyres was so tight and so difficult to get on I left it about a fortnight till I did the conversion on my own bike.

Here are the wheels all done - fascinating, I felt it was a lot of text without a photo.

Now to my wheels: Mavic Crossmax ST's are awesome - I love them. They are light, stiff and they look rad with oversized ali spokes and  they have cool hubs that don't make an annoying noise like a football rattle. They are also UST so no fretting around with the yellow tape that comes with the No Tubes kit. The rims have a deep groove in the middle and as I had been riding the tyres for a while they had probably loosened up a bit either way a combination of the two plus no rubber band required, it was a 15 minute job, no need for a Twix between wheels and a cry on completion. It was much easier. 

Despite the difficulties I had with tubeless on the Crests and the ease of the UST Mavics it has been a worthwhile exercise in both cases, no flats, lighter wheels, better grip and a better ride quality too. You can run lower pressures without bricking it that your going to flat then eaten by midges while you fumble around getting hot and bothered with tyre levers and an awful (but lightweight) mini pump - priceless.

The kit comes with two little stickers. I stuck one on the GFs bike. It looks well factory!

Final thought - an unglamorous but very worthwhile upgrade - recommended. 

No comments:

Post a Comment