I've written on the tubeless thing several times before, so I figured I better start dating the titles so folks can find this stuff if they want to later! (Always striving to improve here at G-Ted Productions)
Twenty Nine Inches wrote this article on his recent tubeless experiences. Basically, what the gist of the article is about, is how there are different standards at work in tubeless tires that, at times, do not work very well when mixed together.
This is a big problem when manufacturers do not delineate the rules for playing with their products and others that are available. It basically puts the onus on the riders, and at times, that can lead to rather scary consequences.
Everybody has their favorite players in the game too. Some will say their deal is a homemade system. Those can be okay, but also can be a pain to install, and maybe not very repeatable, or very re-usable, or both. Some go all in for Stan's. Some are all about "UST". I've had success with all of these, but again, it is easy to have failures with all of those as well. Get a "bad" combination of tire, rim, and whatever system you are using, and blammo! Sealant everywhere, and hopefully you weren't riding when it happened! Or, in some cases, like a TNT Geax tire on a Stan's rim, you can barely get the tire on or off without damage to rim, tire, or your hands!
Added into this are the "not really certified" for tubeless use tires, rims, and their combinations, and you can see where things can get sideways real quick.
My feeling is that the marketplace is going to a hybrid system of Stan's and UST specs. I am seeing more things like this cropping up. Stan's-like tape, latex sealant based on Stan's, and a UST bead spec tire on a traditional hook bead rim, without the licensing of the "UST Label". It works okay, but in my opinion, it smacks of the "easy way out" for manufacturers, and isn't really the best solution, although it works more often than not. It's "open source" stuff, and doesn't cost more money due to licensing, etc.
What is too bad is that the best systems are under license, and available only through a few brands. Stan's actual "BST" rims can be had through Stan's, of course, or Sun-Ringle'. The rims flat out work like a champ, but the resource could be improved upon by other manufacturers if it was open source technology. The other system that is dead reliable, easy to use, and makes a ton of sense is Bontrager's TLR rim strip and tires. I have converted a few non-Bontrager rims with TLR rim strips and it works great in similar to Bontrager rims. But think about what it would be like if all you had to do was pop in a plastic rim strip into a rim to go tubeless. It makes any rim, in effect, a UST kind of rim, but reversible to a standard rim, so you could build a wheel, replace spokes, or swap the plastic rim strip to another rim at will. Again though, it isn't a spec that is available to anyone without paying for it to Bontrager. Too bad.
So, in the meantime, choose you system and tires wisely, and you'll have repeatable, good results. Be careless, and you may end up regretting your choices. Yes, it would be cool to have a chart detailing all the possibilities out for every tire/rim combination, but it would also be nice if the industry would do the right thing, and make that obvious from their end. I think it is their responsibility to at least make that clear to us as riders.
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