Friday, February 08, 2008

Not A Good Day

Warning: a bit of an anti-tubeless rant here.

I finally got my Stan's rim/ExiWolf combo to make it through a night holding air pressure so I thought I should finally be able to ride the Badger to work yesterday. I pumped up the tires to around 38psi or so, (being carefull not to exceed Stan's recommended limit of 40psi) and went out the door.

Maybe it was the weather, (Temperatures around 20 degrees Farhrenheit) or maybe I'm cursed when it comes to Stan's rims and tubeless, (I've done both Bontrager's and Mavic's systems without nearly as much hassle), but this Thursday morning resulted in a very negative situation.

I got about a mile and a half into the commute and had to stop. The rear tire had lost so much pressure I could no longer ride it. I had a frame pump, but it decided to crap out on me, so I couldn't even air it back up to nurse it into work. Result? Walking back home, (It was closer than work) in up to six inches of snow, pushing my bike along the way. Oh yeah...........I was mad! Cursing mad.

When I got home I immediately went for my floor pump that is equipped with a guage to see how far down it had leaked. 20psi right on the nose. Okay, this brings up a couple of things regarding tubeless that I don't understand.

One of the big "benefits" of riding tubeless is said to be that you can run lower pressure. Hmm........really? I don't think so, unless it is a "true" UST tire, meaning heavier than heck because the sidewalls are beefier to hold air pressure. To wit: My tubeless set up, which ended up at 20psi after I lost a bit of air trying to pump it up with a bad frame pump, and after a 45 minute walk home was unrideable before all of that. I mean that the sidewalls looked wrinkled with every pedal stroke like a Top Fuel dragsters rear slicks at the starting line kind of wrinkled. That means I had more than 20psi when I stopped riding. That's low air pressure? Huh?

I grabbed my Diamondback test rig and rode off to work without checking the tires. A bit later, I noticed that I was getting great traction and the handling was fine. The rear tire was squatting down all the tread onto the road surface, but the sidewalls looked normal. No drama.

Checked the air pressures at work once I got there. 17psi rear/19psi front. Tubed tires on standard WTB rims.

Tubeless: 0 Standard tubes/tires: 1

I'll be keeping score in the future, so stay tuned.

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