Showing posts with label UST. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UST. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

State Of Tubelessness: 2011

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)

State Of Tubelessness: 2011: Recently my co-writer at 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.

Others will say a true "UST" rim with capability to be laced to any hub is the deal we should be looking for. Hmmm....I don't know. Not all tires that are "tubeless ready" play well on UST rims. (My co-writer knows this all too well!). That might be a great rim, but tire manufacturers would necessarily all have to be on board with a UST spec tire, and that isn't about to happen any day soon either.

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.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

UST, Tubeless, Tubeless Ready......Help!

<===Geax is said to be getting their tubeless ready version of the Saguaro tested for UST approval. Look for it to be available soon.

Used to be that when you said "UST" that you were talking about a 26"er tire that you could mount on a UST rim and air up with no sealant. That's it, just like a car tire. Now things are a bit more complicated thanks to the advent of tubeless systems for 29"ers.

At the time of this writing their are no tires that are designed to hold air without sealant or a tube available in 29"er sizes. (Although I have gotten a Bontrager Tubeless Ready Dry X to do just this for a 24 hour period) Why is that? It is because of how a UST tire designed to work without sealant is made.

<===Bontrager Dry X Tubeless Ready Tires sans the AR casing reinforcement weigh below 600 grams a piece. Way below 600 grams!

A tubeless tire designed to work without sealant needs an extra layer of butyl rubber over the inner casing to prevent leakdown after inflation. This adds a lot of weight to a tire. In a 29"er size, a tubeless tire with this extra layer would weigh in at a mark not acceptable to most riders plus it would cost more. This is probably the best reason why you will see the majority, if not all, the 29"er tubeless tires being marketed as "tubeless ready" tires needing sealant to make them work.

Hutchinson was just recently awarded UST status for their tubeless ready concept Python 29"er tire, a tire needing sealant to work. How can it be UST, you ask? Well, many folks may not realize this, but UST has a lot more to do with the standards of rim hook/tire bead interfaces than it does with whether or not you would need sealant to make the tire hold air. Basically it is a standard that indicates the tire with UST approval and a rim with UST approval are safe to use sans tube. How the tire holds air can be accomplished in two ways: with a butyl rubber layer or sealant. Thus you will start seeing Hutchinson Python 29"er tubeless ready tires being marketed as UST.

<==Continental supposedly will release the Mountain King and Mud Queen tires in 29"er sizes in both standard and tubeless ready versions. Hmm......we wonders why, yesss my precious, we wonders!

It would seem to me then that any 29"er tire released from this point on should be tubeless ready. Why not? Get the bead interface to work as a tubeless tire would and use a standard casing. If sealant is used with the proper rim, then you could have a tubeless tire too. Tubed or not tubed, both in one tire. In fact, Geax is pursuing this very thing and calling it "TnT". (Tube no Tube) Brilliant!

I'd go so far as to say that the industry should drop wire beaded tires all together, with the possible exception of OEM tires. Why not? Get all the features anybody could generally want in one format and be done with it. Tires are going to become much more expensive due to high oil prices, so one tire that could go both ways will be seen as a smart buy by consumers too. It won't have to weigh anymore than current tires either. A win/win situation if I ever saw one.

So, look for your tubeless ready tires in 29"er sizes soon. Some will say "UST" and some won't. If you get confused, don't worry, you can always use a tube!