Thursday, September 8, 2016
I got to ponder this on a recent ride when I got a flat while bombing down a rocky trail. That "psssssssss" sound is distinctive and always unwelcome. I'm running a tubeless set up with Stan's and I got to witness the sealant spewing out all over the trail and my bike in sticky mockery.
Ah, that might have been a great trailside fix if it weren't for the fact that the tiny nut on the valve stem, which was tight enough to make a good seal, was also tight enough to prevent me from taking the valve off with my hands. There's not a bike-specific multi-tool out there (that I'm aware of) that has any pliers so I was screwed, and miles from my truck. Fortunately, my buddy Saul rode back, got my truck, and came back to pick me up.
Should have been a simple fix at home, right?
Getting that initial seal when inflating a tire can be the hardest part of the tubeless experience, but I had just bought a Topeka JoeBlow Booster which allows you to charge the pump with a liter of air that can then be released in a single burst. Sounds great when you read the marketing copy, but in practice all it seemed to do was push the sealant out around the bead. I pumped and charged and pumped and charged and pumped and charged and never got a seal.
Back to the ridiculous amount of effort to get the tire off (and the new one on). Replace the valve stem, and get out the booster pump. That tire actually had a hole in the sidewall, more sealant spewed all over the garage, and I finally gave up.
I've never had all this drama with tubes. If I had been running tubes, I would have swapped out the tube during that ride and continued with only a few minutes of down time. And, there's about two hours of workshop time that could have been spent riding or watching cat videos, or my latest addiction, Ozzy Man Reviews.
Anyway, I'll probably go back to giving tubeless a try again, but I need some time away from the sealants and pumps.
This was all making my blood pressure go up...