Ok so i got my tubeless set up to work and thought i’d post a few tips/review.
Initially on my first failed attempt I followed the video posted before, with a few little exceptions. I was worried that the drilled sections of the rim would be too large for the tape alone to seal so i left my current rim strip on there and taped over the top. This proved to be a mistake.
So here is what I did to make it work. You’ll need a tube of stans sealant (or other similar product), a functioning schrader valve with a 1cm ring of inner tube left around it, 1 roll of Norton ‘Bear’ tape. I got the 50mm version and it works perfectly for a 47mm rim (KH/nimbus) without having to strip it down. Some PLASTIC tyre levers, an air compressor and a tub of soapy water.
In the video the guy only goes around his rim once. For a narrow MTB rim with only spoke holes that might suffice but for a one with large drilled out sections i didn’t think it would cut it. So after cleaning the rim of dirt and grease i went around it twice using the tape at its full width (the extra few mms on the tape are important and should go a little up the rim wall and cover some manufacturing holes that you will see near the edge of the rim).
I got my thumbs in there to really press down the tape and make sure the seal was tight. After that i cut a length of the tape that was slightly wider than the drill outs and went around the rim again to reinforce the tape coverage of the drill outs.
Put in your sealant and make sure you are careful when replacing the tyre bead to the rim that it sits properly and that you don’t damage your nice tape seal with metal tyre levers! Hit it with the compressor until the bead sits in the rim and the tyre starts to take air. Once you have a moderate amount of pressure in there apply your soapy water in order to find any small leaks. On both my attempts i didn’t have any leaks where the bead sat in the rim. All the leaks i came across were through or around the drill outs. Simply leaving these leaks to seal on their own devices doesn’t work because gravity forces the goo to stay in the casing of the tyre.
In order to get the liquid to slosh over the affected areas and seal them i did the following. Find the leak, hold the wheel with that leak at the bottom. Then swing the wheel up and hold it inverted for about 30 seconds. Centripetal force will carry the liquid up and then slosh it over the affected area. Each time i did this the leak got noticeably weaker until it stopped all together.
Huurah! for about $15 you’ve cut a bunch of rotational weight from your ride. But what is the point you ask? Ok, here is a review
Ok, when running a DH tube in my Muni I never had a puncture. Never. Zip. In 4 years of constant abuse, international travel, races and rock gardens it was one thing i didn’t have to think about. That was the beauty of running a tube, but the pay off was a noticeable amount of extra rotational weight (note: you only notice it once you go tubeless)- and for that reason i don’t think tubeless is for everyone.
However, I run a 24" schlumpf muni on 125mm cranks and mainly ride XC and DH with rides regularly spanning 30-70km. In high gear, on a incline at 25km/h after 2 hours of riding already you start to notice things like weight, the load on your legs etc. Going tubeless is an instant improvement for this type of riding. The wheel feels more responsive in all types of climbing. For DH the feel is a little different but i can’t describe it in words. After a week or two of adjusting to it i think that the difference in DH situations will dissolve to nothing. But in going tubeless you do now have another thing to worry about. If you get a serious puncture you will have to stop, and chuck a replacement tube in there. If you hit stuff that is off camber at high speed there is a chance your tyre will burp and you’ll loose pressure, have to get off and pump up your tyre.
There are also questions about the longevity of the tape/liquid solution. I would be happy to deal with re-doing a tyre maybe 2 or 3 times a year but if its every month i’ll probably go back to tubes.
I have a 110km XC race this weekend so i’ll have a better idea of how i like it after that.