August 15, 2016
I switched to tubeless. I've been wanting to give tubeless a try for a while now and the recent string of flats pushed me over the edge. I'll do a full review in a few months, but for now I'll give my first impressions. The setup is Ultegra 6800 wheels with Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance tubeless tires. I'm using Orange Seal for sealant and Stan's No Tubes valve stems for their removable valve cores. I'm not sure why Shimano doesn't provide valve stems with removable valve cores to begin with.
One of the main arguments against going tubeless is that it's a pain to set up. That was not my experience at all. Obviously different rim and tire combinations will give different results, but things went relatively smoothly for me. The big difference with tubeless is that you have to get the bead of the tire seated on the rim. It's not as simple as unwrapping the new tire, putting it on the rim, and airing it up. There are different tricks you can find out there, but in my case all I had to do was put in a tube and let it sit overnight. After I took the tube out, one side was still seated on the rim and the other side was expanded enough to get seated without a whole lot of trouble. All I needed was some soapy water and a floor pump. The night before I thought there was no way I was going to be able to do it without an air compressor. One night made a big difference.
After the tire was seated I deflated it, removed the valve core, and injected some sealant. Pretty easy. The whole setup process takes a little bit longer than just popping in a tube, but hopefully that pays off in the future by saving time from fixing flats out on the road.
As luck would have it, I actually punctured the rear tire on my very first ride. I probably wouldn't have noticed if not for the orange goo everywhere. I was riding east on 50 headed towards Six Mile Canyon when I felt something spraying on my legs. It almost felt like I rode through a puddle. A lot of orange goo came out, but I didn't notice much of a drop in PSI in the tire. The hole sealed up perfectly and I've probably ridden 80-100 miles since then without any issues. I'll inject a little more sealant this week just to be safe.
|Orange goo from the first sealed puncture|