Monday, April 11, 2016

Et tu Vaya? Tubeless!

Last year you may recall I tried to set my Vaya up tubeless. I had the tools - the Stan's 29er conversion kit specified for the DT Swiss rims, and the Prestaflator.  But I didn't have tubeless tires.  I tried without success to set up the Clement X'Plor MSO's and Ryder Freedom (or is it Freedom Ryder? I can't keep it straight) tires.  In January, I tried setting up the Clements again and came close by pressing down on the tire behind the valve stem, but the Clements fit too loosely on the rims to get them close to sealing.

Then suddenly there are 40c Tubeless Ready tires available - Panaracer GravelKing, Maxxis ReFuse, Kenda FlintRidge and maybe a couple others.  There are more in the 35-45 range: Schwalbe is coming out with the Marathon Almotion 38c someday, and Clement has the 36c MSO on the way.

So after debating, I settled on the FlintRidge.  It has more knobs than I need for mostly street riding, but it looked like it would last longer than the ReFuse and roll smoother than the GravelKing.  Yup, going by looks alone.  I thought it was less expensive, but at $46 from Universal Cycles, it's in between the GravelKing ($42.49) and ReFuse ($51.20)

Setup was fairly easy. I kept the stock rim tape on the rim and can't remember if I had Stan's yellow tape on under that from last year.  I don't think so.  The tires were tight to fit on the rims - sorta like putting on studded tires.  Had to use some muscle.  I didn't read the Stan's kit directions again and forgot about the soap and water, but I got them on without too much difficulty.

The information tag that came with the FlintRidge said not to use a compressor, but a hand pump didn't work.  I tried the compressor without sealant in the tires first, and by golly it was going to work!  The front tire held pretty good without sealant, but the back was leaking steadily.  Put the sealant in, and same story, but the back tire held overnight above 20psi.  Pumped it up some more above 50psi (I read afterwards that Stans says don't go above 40 for mtb tires and 55 for cyclocross tires) and could hear air escaping in one spot.  Let them sit some more.  Thought about putting in more sealant, but haven't yet.

I test rode the bike down to REI yesterday and was pleasantly surprised the tires held air and didn't flop off the rims.  This went too easy.  But I'm not ready to go bombing down Alberta Street on my way to work at 30mph with 2 lanes of traffic next to me.  Maybe in a week or two.

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