Friday, June 29, 2007

Why tubeless tires suck

I'm posting a rant. You may disagree with me (It's allowed) it's unlikely you'll change my mind. This is starting to get as firmly set in my mind as specialized water bottles are the only way to go, widek bells are the only bells and Thule side arm and T2 racks are the only ones worth having. I still love my cable disk brakes. and oh yeah, race face sucks.

Tubeless tires suck (in my opinion) for the following reasons.
  1. They leak air. You either put goop in there which reduces your weight savings or you pump them up all the time. This might be due to my first set being Panaracer Fire XC Pro UST which really suck, you could see the goop coming out all over the tire it was like a sieve. Kenda have been better, but the goop got between the layers and made a tire tumor that killed the tire (they replaced it, but lectured me not to use goop in tires, even though my Hutchinson New Python's came with goop!).

  2. Flats on trails, you end up not wanting to fix flats on trails and trying to hobble home on really low tires. If you use goop, putting in a tube on the trail is really messy and when you come to take that tube out when you get home it's ruined and goopy. Even if you don't use goop it's still going to be a pain taking out that valve stem and trying desperately not to lose it since you won't have a spare. It's always going to take longer than just swapping out a tube.

  3. Setting the tire. I have an air compressor and I've still had to give up on a Kenda UST tire being tubeless since I still can't get it to sit right on my tires. They have raised writing on the side that lets air escape too much for them to clip onto the rim as they come out of the inner ridge. It's always crap shoot as to whether it's going to be easy, or an hour trying to put a new tire on.

  4. Pinch flats. I got a pinch flat in my Hutchinson New Python UST from the railway tracks by Rincon, the tire is pretty much toast now. $50 wasted and I only rode about 60 miles on them. I'm not even sure I can use them with a tube (but I'm likely to try).

  5. Cost. tubeless tires cost at the very least $25 usually $35 to $50. I can get a lot of really nice tubed tires for $20 (plus $3/tube of course!).

  6. Valve stem bending. If the valve in my UST rim gets bent by a pump I need to get a new one, which is going to be a pain since no one stocks them.

  7. I don't run low pressure anyway. I run 40psi in my tires, tubed or tubeless, it's a nice round number that's easy to hit on the pump dial and I'm used to how my bike rides at that pressure. Any less pressure and I would seriously worry about damaging my rims, making them useless for all tubeless tires.

  8. Tire choice. There's so much more choice in tubed tires than tubeless. for the race at Laguna Seca I was looking for a semi-slick <= 2.0" tire and it took ages to find the Python UST. there are a gazillion tubed tires I could run.

  9. Talcum powder. I like to put talcum powder in between my inner tube and tire, I miss the smell when I'm changing a tire on the trail.

  10. Building tubeless wheels is kinda weird. I have Mavic 819 disc tubeless, I think, you screw a nipple holder into the rim, it's clever, lots of revolving weight and lots of nooks and crannies to get dirt in I'll never clean out.

That's all I can think of, I'm sure you can easily come up with 10 explanations of why all my reasons are wrong.

Here's a nice rebuttal from JohnG.

I think one's experience with UST tires largely depends on three factors:
  1. The rockiness of the terrain you ride
  2. The tires you use
  3. Your weight
While I like Panaracers for other applications, their UST models *suck*. They burp constantly. Other makers offer models with beefier beads or casing, but these are monsters to mount and seat properly. As an alternative, I suggest Continental Vertical Pro 2.3 USTs. They have been solid for me the last year or so. Dave Cohen also uses them.

USTs make the most sense if you are riding sharp rocks on a regular basis. In the Bay Area, such trails don't exist (with a few exceptions). But up here in the Sierra, we have trails that are nothing but rocks. For a 200+ lbs guy like me, tubed tires are a pain because I pinch flat so frequently on the technical trails I love to ride. After riding USTs for 3-4 years now, I won't be going back to tubed tires again.

You might also be interested in what James has to say over at Lactic Acid Threshold.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

2007 24hoa Results

The results are in barely 36 hours after the race finished, awesome.

We came 9th out of 27 teams in our category with 20 laps (we went out for one more lap but came in just 2 minutes after the 25 hour cutoff time). I was super stoked that we went out for that final lap, even though as it turned out it wouldn't have affected our results at all.

It was the best race yet, we were competing heavily with the Google Earthlings and also Team MBOSC which made it more exciting (and stressful).

Hopefully we can post a wordy blog post with pictures and all but for now youll just have to deal with our new laptimes layout. This works great in a spreadsheet (like





























9 out of 27

Number of Laps:

Race Time:

Friday, June 08, 2007

24 hours of Adrenaline here we come!

We're off to the 24 Hours of Adrenaline at Laguna Seca this year. Team VeloNerd will be representing in our shirts and ties and propeller helmets as usual! We're going to be camping with our friends from the Google Earthlings and also a team from Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz along with an all female team of friends who everyone I ride with knows as The Menstrual Cyclists but their offical team name is Tits of Steel. I seem to have geeked out (what else would you expect) and we'll have net access the whole time we're there so expect a few updates over on the VeloNerds Team Blog, that's where we'll also post our results once we know them. If you pop by come on over and we'll give you a sticker. The Earthlings have a keg too....

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Two Loops

A rider at work commented how every time they thought about riding Soquel Demonstration Forest and doing two loops they thought of the Raisin Bran box with two scoops written on the front. They managed to persuade someone to knock up this image and then allowed me to post it here. We hit SDF on Thursday and it rocked really hard. Since it was before we had to go to work we only did one loop (sawpit) but it sure was great to be hitting jumps on legal trails. On our way out we bumped into a specialized van heading up the fireroad, presumably shuttling some lucky buggers.

Now whenever I see a Raisin Bran box I think of riding SDF.

Crashy Crash

Here's Erik after a spectacular crash. There we were minding our own business traveling down a trail that had a few jumps on it and suddenly BOTH dropouts on his Fox fork snap off and he slams in to the ground. A 3rd Degree ac separation of his shoulder and a pretty long hike out followed.

Erik was really brave the whole time and didn't cry. He suspects his fork mount bike rack was what weakened the fork. He'd had trouble with the bikes coming loose and so had been making sure it was extra tight and wiggling it once it was in to make sure it was firm. Both dropouts sheared off at the same point and the wheel came out so viciously that it bent the disk at 90° in the caliper.

Looks like Erik's making a quick recovery and expects to be back on the bike soon.