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Jack Loudon

Regular
Location
Seattle, WA
Real Name
Jack Loudon
So I have a geared road bike arriving and I also have a tire inflator on the way if and when I go tubeless. I'm thinking going Gatorskins on the road bike, but I'm debating going full tubeless on my single speed gravel. I consider my ss bike more of my commuter urban ride and I only bought this upcoming geared bike to hit the long tarmac loops and to ride with one of my buddies who usually puts in 20 miles a day.

I didn't realize how annoying these spiky thorn balls would be living in my neighborhood until I started cycling more! Even if I well, try to avoid the trees, those little thorns are hard as needles and everywhere!
Well, tubeless is certainly being pushed by the major tire makers (even for skinny road tires), and the tubeless tires, rims, and sealant are all getting better, so maybe tubes are on their way out. Myself, I'll stick with tubes until sealant-free tubeless tires are developed.
 

tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Real Name
Tony
Tubeless is great when it works well, and a real pain when you can't get tires to seat properly. I've been on both sides of the situation. Here's my rim tape for a couple of stubborn wheels I'm going to try converting (again) in the next couple of days.

DSCF3677.JPG
 

tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Real Name
Tony
Sometimes tubeless tires can be made to work on a non-tubeless rim. Not this time. I took it to the LBS about a month ago, and the owner tried all his tricks and couldn't get it to work. Today I cleaned the tire and wheel thoroughly, pulled the tube, and tried again. Nope. Not even with Gorilla Tape. Nor with lots of warm, soapy water. Not even with a compressor. Sigh. YouTube isn't always right. I guess I'll have to settle for just one of my bikes being tubeless.

front tire.jpeg
 

Jonathan F/2

Top Veteran
Location
Los Angeles, USA
Sometimes tubeless tires can be made to work on a non-tubeless rim. Not this time. I took it to the LBS about a month ago, and the owner tried all his tricks and couldn't get it to work. Today I cleaned the tire and wheel thoroughly, pulled the tube, and tried again. Nope. Not even with Gorilla Tape. Nor with lots of warm, soapy water. Not even with a compressor. Sigh. YouTube isn't always right. I guess I'll have to settle for just one of my bikes being tubeless.

View attachment 245252
I read that riders in Arizona also have major thorn issues. What's your thoughts on sealant for inner tubes?

Also this is another crazy idea I was thinking about for my single speed. My bike comes with horizontal dropouts, and my current gearing is with a 40/16t chainring/freewheel. For most flat and minor elevation riding, I'm fine with that gearing. For long hill climbs, I was looking into setting up a dual 40/32t chainring. I can adjust the chain to 32/16t and fix tension using the horizontal dropouts (slide my rear wheel slightly back). I have over 3cm of space for adjustment. My rear frame doesn't have QR skewers, but they sell quick release adapters for hubs that don't use skewers so I can make the adjustment quickly. I figure instead of having a bash guard, I can use that space for an additional chainring.

I just wanted to throw this idea out there and see what you guys think?
 

KillRamsey

Hall of Famer
Location
Hood River, OR
Real Name
Kyle
"Thorns" ...Just wanted to second the Schwalbe Marathon recommendation. I've used them on a LOT of bikes, for a lot of miles, all over the US (our folding brompton bikes have them too) and it's incredible what they can withstand. Have also had sealant inside a tube before, not sure if it ever did any good, because I also had Marathons (the MTB version, which is an interesting tire for another day) on that bike. I don't see tubeless being your answer there. Big cities, in my experience, = flats. There's always glass and metal around. Boston was no different when I lived and commuted there for ~9 years. Tons of flats until Marathons, then zero.

"Dual front chain rings" I'd be a little surprised if the same chain length worked for big rings within your dropout length, but I haven't done the math. If so, then cool! And if you liked it, I wonder if (and here I get out of my mechanical depth) you could use a front derailleur and a chain tensioner to be able to switch on the fly?
 

Jonathan F/2

Top Veteran
Location
Los Angeles, USA
"Thorns" ...Just wanted to second the Schwalbe Marathon recommendation. I've used them on a LOT of bikes, for a lot of miles, all over the US (our folding brompton bikes have them too) and it's incredible what they can withstand. Have also had sealant inside a tube before, not sure if it ever did any good, because I also had Marathons (the MTB version, which is an interesting tire for another day) on that bike. I don't see tubeless being your answer there. Big cities, in my experience, = flats. There's always glass and metal around. Boston was no different when I lived and commuted there for ~9 years. Tons of flats until Marathons, then zero.

"Dual front chain rings" I'd be a little surprised if the same chain length worked for big rings within your dropout length, but I haven't done the math. If so, then cool! And if you liked it, I wonder if (and here I get out of my mechanical depth) you could use a front derailleur and a chain tensioner to be able to switch on the fly?

I'll look into those tires. The other tires I was thinking of were the Gravelking SS semi slicks or SK tires due to the off road potential. What do you think of those?

If I ran a front derailleur that might be a cool idea, but then I'd have to add more components with a new chain, tensioner, etc. The only reason I was thinking about this dual chainring idea was because I want to tackle a long ss hill climb (ride up LA's Griffith Observatory). I know I won't be able to do it at 40/16t! It would also let me keep my current single speed arrangement and I wouldn't add any addition weight or components other than removing the bash guard with a chainring in it's place. I'm running disc brakes, and from the looks of it there shouldn't be any issues since the dropouts have a slight negative drop to compensate for any changes.

So I'm thinking I'd probably have to switch my current 110mm 40t chainring to a 130mm 40t chainring (replacing the bash guard) and also getting a 110mm 32t chainring. I'm just wondering if 3cm of spacing is enough for the horizontal dropout to accommodate the current bike chain length?

I could also just make my life easier and do the hill climb with my upcoming geared road bike that's arriving next week, but I like challenges!
 

Jack Loudon

Regular
Location
Seattle, WA
Real Name
Jack Loudon
I'll look into those tires. The other tires I was thinking of were the Gravelking SS semi slicks or SK tires due to the off road potential. What do you think of those?

If I ran a front derailleur that might be a cool idea, but then I'd have to add more components with a new chain, tensioner, etc. The only reason I was thinking about this dual chainring idea was because I want to tackle a long ss hill climb (ride up LA's Griffith Observatory). I know I won't be able to do it at 40/16t! It would also let me keep my current single speed arrangement and I wouldn't add any addition weight or components other than removing the bash guard with a chainring in it's place. I'm running disc brakes, and from the looks of it there shouldn't be any issues since the dropouts have a slight negative drop to compensate for any changes.

So I'm thinking I'd probably have to switch my current 110mm 40t chainring to a 130mm 40t chainring (replacing the bash guard) and also getting a 110mm 32t chainring. I'm just wondering if 3cm of spacing is enough for the horizontal dropout to accommodate the current bike chain length?

I could also just make my life easier and do the hill climb with my upcoming geared road bike that's arriving next week, but I like challenges!
There are online spreadsheets that show you what front/rear gear combinations work with a given chainstay length . Here's one: https://eehouse.org/fixin/formfmu.php

I ran a 38/15 singlespeed setup for a few years but finally decided it's too hilly here and I'm too old :)
 

Jonathan F/2

Top Veteran
Location
Los Angeles, USA
So I've decided before I bite the bullet on new tires or going tubeless, I'm going to try some flat prevention tire liners on my single speed. I've been picking up inner tubes at $2 a piece for my bike, so they're still a bit more economical. The tires I currently have are still good, I'm running WTB Riddlers and I have no complaints about ride quality, I just want to prevent more flats!

For my upcoming road bike, I'm definitely considering new tires, but I'll wait to see how the stock tires will handle before upgrading those!
 
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tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Real Name
Tony
View attachment 245420

This is the scene the moment I step out the door with my bike! I have to carry it to a clear patch of pavement before I even put it down! It's a tire minefield for bikes! All it takes is a small thorny sliver to cause a flat and my whole neighborhood is litered with these balls! :eek:
American Sweetgum. Beautiful tree in the Autumn, but a scourge every Spring when seemingly millions of those seed pods have to be raked from the yard before mowing, else they turn into deadly projectiles. One hasn't lived until they've had one of those things fire out from under the mower and ricochet off a bare shin. Bleh.
 

Jonathan F/2

Top Veteran
Location
Los Angeles, USA
Okay I caved in an ordered new puncture resistant tires. I was debating between the Schwalbe Marathon Plus, Panaracer RibMo and Vittoria Randonneu tires. The Schwalbe tires had the best all-around performance; the Panaracer tires are well regarded; lastly the Vittoria tires apparently have the worst rolling resistance, are the heaviest, but have a double shield layer. I ended up going with the Vittoria set, because I found a good deal for 700 x 38C tires and also ordered a pair of 700 x 28C tires for my other road bike. I have an Ebay return warranty if they absolutely suck, but I was able to get each pair for about $50 a set!
 
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KillRamsey

Hall of Famer
Location
Hood River, OR
Real Name
Kyle
$50 a set is really cheap. I hope they work well. I'll also be interested to see how long they last tread-wise. You actually -ride- that bike, which means you actually wear out tread. The Marathons are wonderful in that regard as well. I figured out I was paying about 50% more for tires, but buying them half as often...
 

Jonathan F/2

Top Veteran
Location
Los Angeles, USA
$50 a set is really cheap. I hope they work well. I'll also be interested to see how long they last tread-wise. You actually -ride- that bike, which means you actually wear out tread. The Marathons are wonderful in that regard as well. I figured out I was paying about 50% more for tires, but buying them half as often...

I was about to pull the trigger on Schwalbe Marathon Mondial tires, but there are two versions, the DD (durability) and race guard (performance). The Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires were made exclusively for maximum durability. I actually liked the Panaracer RibMos, but they are only slightly cheaper than the Marathon Plus.

I believe I was buying some old, new stock of the Vittoria Randonneu version I. The version II were made to be tubeless compatible and I believe they also made an e-bike variant. Though from what I read the design layering of the tire did not actually change.

On a side note, I tried adding flat liners to my current tires. Wow, my rear wheel feels a bit heavier and it doesn't spin as smoothly on the freewheel. Though I still need to give it a try on the road to see if the weight will actually affect ride performance. Plus when the new tires arrive I'll see how they'll require the tire liners or if the tires have ample protection as-is.
 
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tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Real Name
Tony
It looks like I may have to give up on my tubeless setup on my 2nd bike. The front holds air fine and only needs to be topped off occasionally, but the back has gotten to the point that it goes flat overnight. Strange thing is that the tubeless setup worked fine when I first installed the tires last summer, but as the months rolled on, the air loss got worse and worse, even after I added more sealant. The wheels and tires are both tubeless ready. I need to get off my lazy bum and inspect that tire carefully; I may have somehow picked up a small cut in the sidewall somewhere.
 

Jonathan F/2

Top Veteran
Location
Los Angeles, USA
It looks like I may have to give up on my tubeless setup on my 2nd bike. The front holds air fine and only needs to be topped off occasionally, but the back has gotten to the point that it goes flat overnight. Strange thing is that the tubeless setup worked fine when I first installed the tires last summer, but as the months rolled on, the air loss got worse and worse, even after I added more sealant. The wheels and tires are both tubeless ready. I need to get off my lazy bum and inspect that tire carefully; I may have somehow picked up a small cut in the sidewall somewhere.
When I was inspecting my tires the other day, I found several 2-3mm thorns embedded in my tire. This is even after carefully avoiding the sweet gum thorns dropped all over my neighborhood. The tire liners I added feel like they add more rigidity (plus weight). I never had any issues like this running inner tubes on my old 26" MTB! Is modern tech really better? :roflmao:
 

Jack Loudon

Regular
Location
Seattle, WA
Real Name
Jack Loudon
It looks like I may have to give up on my tubeless setup on my 2nd bike. The front holds air fine and only needs to be topped off occasionally, but the back has gotten to the point that it goes flat overnight. Strange thing is that the tubeless setup worked fine when I first installed the tires last summer, but as the months rolled on, the air loss got worse and worse, even after I added more sealant. The wheels and tires are both tubeless ready. I need to get off my lazy bum and inspect that tire carefully; I may have somehow picked up a small cut in the sidewall somewhere.
Some tire sidewalls aren't very impervious and are known to leak air and weep sealant. I've tilted the tires horizontally and sloshed the sealant up on the sidewalls which seems to help, but still notice small dots of sealant collecting on the sidewalls, and have to top off the tubeless tires far more often than tubed. Newer tubeless tires have thicker sidewalls which probably help with this problem, but also make the tire heavier and less supple, thus offsetting a couple of the claimed benefits of tubeless. For instance, the Conti GP 5000 tire (size 700-32) weighs 290 gm for the tubed variety and 375 gm for tubeless. Even so, tubeless tire assemblies (tire+stem+sealant) are almost always lighter than a tire+tube for a given level of flat resistance, but there is no getting around the extra maintenance and mess.
 

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