Tubeless Fat


– 3 right now for temp. Colder tomorrow. Looks like the next shot to ride and or ski will be Saturday morn. And the weather service says its going to be like in the 20’s then. Until then its just wait. Maybe pull out the spin bike? Maybe would be the key word there….

Last night’s ride was fun. Single digits but I was dressed properly. The local park is run in pretty good and all was rideable. This was the first time I was back there since the snow two weeks ago and the first year that there is enough of the fat tires to “run” in the trails. In the past if I wanted to ride in a trail I had to do it myself. Times sure are changing. The only issue with trails not groomed but just rode in is that they are very narrow overall. Maybe a foot wide of solid base. Get off to one side and you sink a ton and usually have to deal with a slow motion fall. I tipped over three times and made some pretty good bike angels in the snow.

I also had a recurring issue with my tubeless setup for the second time. As once before this winter I ran my pressure a bit on the lower side. Im thinking a bit less than 5. Now, keep in mind Im a pretty big guy at 260 pounds but at that pressure I had a pretty good footprint but the tire kept burping all it air out. After a few burps which I was not aware of I broke the bead completely and was flat.

Tubeless Jackalope

I cant run the tire at super low pressure. Without enough air to hold the “structure” of the tire I keep breaking the bead. I would think this scenario is different based on rider weight. And is never a issue with the front tire, just the back (drive) wheel. I wonder if I bumping up the sealant amount would help? I run 4 ounces which I think is on the low side?

That said I really like the Jackalope wheel. I just need to make sure I don’t go too low with the pressure. Last nite I shot in one 25 gram Co2 to get me to the parking lot, then it pumped right back up, sealing the bead with just a floor pump. I’ll keep the pressure right around 8psi, which is like 5psi for a rider 100 pounds lighter than I. But I have to be careful letting air out in the woods. Like I said, I was most likely under 5psi both times the tire popped off the bead.

So I was asked why even tubeless then, why screw around with it? Why am I tubeless when I tell others not to mess with it?

First off its because of Treks wheel is so easy to do it with. Messing with a cut out rim is a pain in the ass. Gorilla tape or something of the equivalent. Maybe two kinds of tape. Tons of sealant, A pretty good air supply to get it to bead and then hope it doesn’t bleed down. Home made tubeless can work but is a pain.

Treks Jackalope rim is designed from the ground up to be tubeless. Like I did last nite, can be beaded up with a floor pump. Especially this one. But any would bead this tire. Being very easy to do is one reason why. Maybe the biggest reason.

Flat protection? Besides me running the tire too low I have had no flats this fall\winter. Remember Ive been on this bike exclusive since the middle of September. Its been my MTB too. And did a good job at that but I’ll talk about that later…

We have had rides on the beach here where we have to head up into the tall grass quite a bit as the water is so high this winter(and summer too). It seems the grass on the sand dunes is quite stiff. Ive pulled out grass stalks that I believe went thru the tire without flatting. Ive been on rides where a tubed bike had two flats in this grass. To what degree I dont know but I gotta think the sealant helps a little in that regard. Maybe more so in the summer.

And well…. weight also. Depending on how much sealant you use pulling out that tube save a bit of weight. Now Im not the kind of guy who needs to save 50 grams off the frame or handlebar. But I do recognize the fact that losing grams off the rim or rim area is huge. Affecting the rotating weight of a wheel triples the effect of the weight loss compared to say a seatpost\handle bar combo. At my age and weight I need all the help keeping up with the youngsters and I do go out of my way to save wheel weight, especially rim weight. In all the bikes I ride. Ive raced many a aluminum frame MTB but had carbon wheels. Spending the money where it helps the most.

Last winter I ran 47mil Northpaws rims with 3.8 Knards on the fatbike. Which was a carbon 9zero7.  Very small footprint but very fast. I was not tubless for reasons I just stated but ran the Bontrager 2.8in tube. Way lighter than a standard fatbike tube. I still sell more of those to fatbikes than the standard 3.8 tubes. Some here in town have put them on 80 mil rims with 4.8 tires. Thats quite a stretch (literally) but they are doing and getting away with it.

So as long as its easy and saves weight I will run tubeless on a fat bike. There are many rims now boasting easy tubeless and some are carbon which is most likely my next move if I want to spend more money. But even a bike store owner has limits. No doubt a shiny carbon rim would be lighter and faster but Im not sure I need that for the cost.

That said just maybe I’ll have a carbon set by the Birkie in a little over two weeks?? But also looking at Stans Hugo rim too. 50mm and easy tubeless. And quite a bit cheaper than carbon. Like a thousand dollars cheaper and pretty light.

Next fall the choices will be many. Choose wisely.


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