So I broke down and mounted my road bike tubeless yesterday.
Actually I had two sets to do. Mine and a customers. I guess the jury is out on this. First I was pumped to give it a try, then I got cold feet and decided not to bother. Then I figured since I had the tires I might as well.
I did my customers first and those went surprisingly well. One ounce of sealant and up they went. Holding all air right off the bat. Nice. Then I did mine and the first one went just as well. But the second one (the last one) was the one to give me fits. First off I gotta say I was surprised how loose the tires were in the rims. Looser than the tubed Conti’s I took off.
In the past road tubeless tires were crazy tight on the rim. Almost impossible to do. Let alone throw a tube in on the road somewhere. But for tubeless these tire were crazy loose. On and off by hand only no problem. So I was leary right away. In the end I could just not get the last one to go without tricks. I had to throw a tube in to seat one side of the bead, pull out the tube and add sealant which I usually do thru the stem once its seated but I think I needed the extra help the sealant gave when I tried to seat the bead. Eventually I got the tire up but I had to add another ounce of sealant to stop the leaking.
By that time both the wheel and I were covered in sealant. Now I remembered why I didnt want to do this. Im not sure why that last tire gave me grief. I checked right when I got in today and its still all aired up so its not leaking any air anymore.
Ive been running tubeless tires ongoing since 2001. First MTB and then of course fatbike. Both those situations have benefits of able to run lower pressure and less weight. Im not sure those issues translate over to the road side of things. Sure, you can run lower pressure without a pinch but how low are you really going to run a road tire? I’ve been running 90psi in my 28’s. Should I now go down to 80? Can a big guy like me run that low and not hurt my rolling resistance? I dont know but I guess Im going to find out.
But I will say this. And this is just me. If I dont notice a night and day difference on the road its not worth it to ditch the tube. I understand that this scenario could potentially seal a leak. And most times road bike leaks are very small so maybe there’s that. But I average maybe 2 flats a summer. Not that much of an inconvenience. At least not for me.
So Im tubeless and heading out for a ride today at 2pm. Tomorrow too. It looks like it might hit 60 tomorrow. The comeback continues.