Monday, September 11, 2006

Go Tubeless, Or Not?

Here's a topic that I have been having an internal debate on, so I thought I'd make it public. Should I go tubeless, or not? Here's the pertinent details, the pros and cons.

First, it should be pointed out that there are no "UST" systems out there for 29"ers. There are a few things I could do.

Stan's "The Crow" and Stan's rim: This set up is getting rave reviews so far for a racer set up. The Crow is a minimally knobbed tire, so it's uses are limited somewhat. Also, the system is proprietary, and no other tire is "really" supposed to work on it, although I think some folks have done it. Stan's sealant must be used, and I'm not a fan of "goop" in the tires.

Bontrager "Tubeless Ready" System: A new Tubeless Ready 29"er tire line and rim system from Bontrager promises the ability to run regular tires and tubes if I want. I still would have to run some "Super Juice" goop in the tires. I'm not sure the system is available yet either, but it's supposed to be out soon.

Various "Homebrew" Systems: This is the scariest of all. Non-tubeless rims and tires modified with various chemical and taped combinations to result in tubeless tire systems of dubious quality and reliability. Definitely not for me!

So, the debate comes down to this, in my mind. The Bontrager Tubeless Ready system seems most interesting. It has an excellent rim that has gotten rave reviews from some highly respected wheel builders. It has tread patterns that are really good around my trails. It can be converted to a tubed setup with any 29"er tire seamlessly. No proprietary bead design. The sealant, this "Super Juice", is a thinner viscosity fluid that isn't supposed to "goop up", so if I blow a tire, I won't get slimed, as it were. (Slime- remember that stuff? eeewwww!)

According to Bontragers info, the Tubeless Ready system saves about 60 grams over a standard tire/tube set up. Sounds good...................

But am I ready?

Tire and tube or tire and "juice"? I'm still debating it.................

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