Jim, I decided to go with the Bontrager TLR sealant. It uses about half the amount than Hutchinson (only ~2 oz. for a 29er tire), lasts a full season without topping up, and costs about a third as much ($5 over 2 seasons, vs. $15). Seems to be good stuff - no ammonia, no latex boogers in the tire to clean out. Should be nearly maintenance free once installed - just take the valve core out at the beginning of the season, squirt in 2 oz. and go ride.
I will report back once I have my first ride in with this setup. I am most curious to see if all the tubeless hype has substance behind it, and how the Bontrager goop performs.
For the Bontrager sealant I didn't find much written online. Mostly in roadie forums and articles, interestingly. Their road TLR system seems to be getting quite some praise. If their road tires are as good as their MTB ones, then there certainly is something worth writing about. The XR-4 is seen as one of the best all-mtn / enduro tires made now... Full stop. Equal to and/or better than the best from Conti, Schwalbe, Maxxis, etc..... Quite the turn-around for them.
Some time ago you had posted a link here to a very good article on Slowtwitch which gave an overview of different sealants including this one, and they also wrote a separate dedicated review of the Bonty road system. All good feedback, from everything I've seen.
The MTB world seems fixated on Stans, which is fine, and I'm sure it's good stuff. But, like you, I'm a set it and forget it kind of guy. The less fuss and bother, the better. Hutchinson, Bontrager and Geax/Vittoria sealants appeal for just that reason.
I'll keep you apprised of long term results. Thanks for your advice and tips!
OK, I'm impressed. Seriously. I was a major tubeless sceptic until today, and if B-W were still here I'd be eating crow as I recall questioning his evangelism on this topic.
I had read that the combination of Bontrager rims and rim strips together with their tires sealed so well that they did not need sealant to hold air. So I thought, "What the heck!" Let's try it. Recall that my Bontrager XR3 29er (front mounted) felt squirmy and had unpredictable straight line steering behaviour when run with a tube, even at 30 psi. It was downright scary at times. The tire would veer off track so badly, especially when unweighted such as cresting a steep short climb, that I actually hit trees four times in the last two rides. That just never happens to me normally. Not wanting to drop another $70 on yet another new tire, the tubeless experiment was worth doing to see if it would change the character of the XR3 as a front tire. I'm glad I did, as it behaved like totally different tire. Gone was the erractic steering; it now tracked true and went exactly where it was pointed. Steering became predictable and intuitive. Grip was excellent; absorption of impacts like roots and rocks felt positively cushy and supple; rolling resistance felt good; and I really noticed the 200 g missing by the absence of the big Conti tube.
Furthermore, it exhibited none of the oversteer that the Slant Six did as a front tire. It's all good! (I will keep the S-6 on the rear as it has excellent traction and grip on roots and rocks - works great as a rear tire).
The XR3 went onto the rim without a hitch. A tight fit, it needed a tire jack to get it on. But once on, it snapped into the bead groove with a few loud reports, needing just a floor pump and some soapy water spray. Easy peasy. It seated fully at 50 psi, so I left it at that, without sealant, for an hour while I made an espresso and got my wife's bike ready for an evening ride. Pre-ride pressure test: still 50 psi. Hmmm...very interesting. Drove to the trailhead, dropped the pressure to 30 psi, and went for a 90 minute ride over all manner of terrain - hardpack, roots, rock gardens, gravel, sand, pine straw. The tire was awesome, and handled brilliantly. I was expecting something to go wrong, but all went well. Post-ride pressure check: 30 psi. Not the tiniest drop in pressure, and all without an ounce of sealant. Amazing!
So the tire is a keeper, and I am VERY pleased about that, as I was about to write it off for rear-only use and buy a Saguaro for the front. I will inject some sealant in there tomorrow just as a preventative against punctures. But realistically, given how well this thing seems be holding air, that appears hardly necessary as there are no sharp rocks and very few thorns around here. But for $3 of sealant, it's cheap insurance.
Jim, consider me a convert, literally and figuratively. Rather late adopter, it's true, and I wonder why I didn't do this years ago.
Post by JimRatliff on Jul 14, 2014 21:09:18 GMT -7
I guess we must both be from Missouri (US joke, it calls itself the "show me state" for those that don't believe until they see it or do it for themselves). I too now agree with what Bushwacka was saying about tubeless. FWIW, all of my tubeless tires I can mount by hand, no tools required? UST rims have a deep center channel and keeping the mounted part of the tire in the channel after mounting frees up the space to get the rest of the tire on the rim. I didn't really believe when I saw You-Tube videos of others sliding the tires on so easily, but it turned out to be true.
Very glad it sealed so well while still dry. Excellent.
We are going on our third summer tubeless on Mtb and second with my road bike with no flats. Lynn's road bike has an older pair of Zipp 404 race wheels, so no hope of tubeless for her, but Conti 4000s tires are great rolling and excellent flat protection.
Last Edit: Jul 14, 2014 21:11:19 GMT -7 by JimRatliff
Checked the tire again this morning -- still holding air perfectly. This is like having UST but without the weight. Remarkable! BTW, the XR3 in a 29 x 2.3 weighs just 700g, which is pretty reasonable for a medium-tread 29er tire in that width; typical UST tires in 2.3" size are closer to 900g. If this one continues to hold air like a UST, then I'm sold! And if Bontrager road tires and rims work as well together as their mtb system, then they would be highly recommended. Anyone here with a Trek road bike or Trek/Fisher mtn bike with Bontrager TLR rims should seriously look at this. I was expecting sealant leaking through sidewalls and bead, mounting issues requiring a compressor, rapid air loss, burping on trail, etc... That none of this happened, and the tire is holding air like a UST, is quite a pleasant surprise. I may not bother to add sealant at all, but just carry a Pit Stop or Fast Air canister in my saddle bag in case of a small leak, and a spare tube if something more dramatic occurs.
For Lynn's Zipp wheels, is there no generic conversion kit that will work? OTOH, if they're riding well, and she is having no handling issues, then why bother?
To be honest, had it not been for the XR3 tire being so ill-mannered with a tube, I would probably not have bothered either. Although, this begs the question: had I converted the Slant Six, how would it have behaved? I guess I may never know.
As for the other bikes in our stable, only one has tubeless-ready rims -- the Norco Faze 1, with Stan's ZTR Olympic. These will be easy to convert, and once the tires need swapping out, I will definitely do so. This will likely be in autumn, as they have Kenda Small Block Eight on now (formerly yours, I believe , which will probably be unsuited for damp weather riding. We have little experience with these, so we'll see how they handle when the rainy season comes. As for the other two bikes, I will leave them as-is for now. The tires are great, with versatile treads that work well here in all seasons (Slant Six; Saguaro; Ikon), and lots of life left in them. The gals are having zero handling issues nor any flats. So I foresee no need to touch them for at least a year or more.
Try the Pit Stop or Fast Air before depending on it. I tried two Fast Air canisters and one Pit Stop and wound up with more of the foam mix on me and the rim than was inside the rim. I gave up on the pressurized canisters. However, I believe that the Pit Stop was the better of the two.
Road bike tubeless tires have a Kevlar bead so that they won't stretch at the 100psi pressure and blow off the rim. That total lack of stretch makes them a no go with older rims (even if you wanted to put a tube in them). There really aren't tubeless conversions for road bikes. My guess is that even the Bontrager road TLR has a rim and bead design that engages pretty solidly, and the tires are probably still the Kevlar bead. None of this necessary at Mtb pressures, obviously.
Glad it is working so well for you. If you remember, BW often teased Epic who rode all of his tubeless tires dry (including one road bike ride at 40 lbs of pressure).
BTW, what is the conversion from psi to metric?
Last Edit: Jul 15, 2014 9:05:53 GMT -7 by JimRatliff
No idea . Actually it is Bar, but no one in Canada uses that unit. It's all psi here. The funny thing is, that Canada is in reality only half-metric. Imperial/US units are still used in daily life for many things -- human dimensions (I refer to myself as being 6'2" and 220 lbs, not 188 cm and 100 kg); grocery items (lbs vs. kg); fuel economy (mpg vs. L/100 km); and several more.... So the complete and total conversion that was intended back in the 60's never really happened. Kind of a schizophrenic existence, I suppose.
Thanks for the head's up on the Pit Stop. Something else to not bother with. So it looks like a squirt of sealant now as a preventative tonic would be the way to go. And carry a spare tube in the saddle pouch.
I don't recall BW prodding at Epic in that way, but it would have been funny. Believe me, I am tempted to run the tire dry. I have had a total of one flat from a thorn in 25 years of mtn. biking. No torn sidewalls or other punctures. Basically, a single flat caused by a foreign object injuring the tire and tube. The rest were caused by shifted rim tape, a burr on the rim, and a valve that separated from the tube (and a cheap Chinese tube at that; I use Conti now, exclusively) -- all of which were internal problems which basically are irrelevant in a tubeless setup. I think I'm talking myself into leaving the sealant out.
Post by JimRatliff on Jul 15, 2014 11:58:31 GMT -7
I agree that it sounds like extra fuss. If you don't lose air or get flats, then just ride them. We don't even carry tubes or tools anymore. If we get that rare flat and we can't make it home, then we'll just deal with it. I broke a chain last month. I did about 5 miles of walking and coasting down hills while Lynn rode back and got the car. Road bike, but coasting at 2 mph is still better than walking.
The sad part is that my shifting had been deteriorating for 2 weeks but I couldn't find the problem (until it finally broke).
Makes sense Jim. I think I will leave the tire dry and just see how it goes. The XR3, despite being their lightest "Team Issue" model, actually has pretty strong sidewalls. I highly doubt that anything will happen to poke a hole in this tire. We have run tires with much thinner sidewalls for many years, and have never had a problem with them either -- Small Block 8, Ignitor, Karma. Not a single flat or puncture.
Bummer about your chain. Hope you didn't hurt yourself. That can be nasty. BTW, there's a quick way to measure chain wear that requires no tools, just an accurate ruler. Worth doing once a year or so, depending on how much you ride. Did you also replace your cassette at the same time as the chain? If the chain was worn to the point of breaking, then your cassette is likely shot too. If you're still having rough shifting with the new chain, then that's likely the cause. FWIW, I replace our chains well before the recommended wear point, as this extends the life of the cassette.
livingproof: Philly is an ice rink this morning, freezing rain over very cold streets. Weather is putting a dent into my ski season.
Jan 5, 2014 9:39:28 GMT -7
svend: LP - we had a three-day ice storm here just before Christmas, so I know well what you're dealing with. Not fun. Hope there's no damage in Philly. Take care.
Jan 5, 2014 20:23:02 GMT -7
livingproof: Philly weather warm fog last night, 8 inches of new snow = history! 8 degrees F tomorrow morning. Should be some great local boilerplate!
Jan 6, 2014 7:42:34 GMT -7
meput: - 22° F the other morning. +54° today. Forcast 0° tonight. Temperature rollercoaster at my home. The 'loaf got RAIN with the warm up. Looking forward to skiing on shaved ice
Jan 6, 2014 16:28:43 GMT -7
svend: Same story here...25 cm snow last night, some more freezing rain, and now there's 80 km/hr winds and -25 C temps. Wind chill is pushing -40 C. Supposed to continue all day tomorrow too. Whacky weather.
Jan 6, 2014 20:52:30 GMT -7
ToddW: -20° F on the drive up to VT on Friday. Freezing rain and heavy fog Sunday night made for an 8 hour return trip. Record low at home this morning. 40s and rain by Friday. What's up with the weather?
Jan 7, 2014 18:04:52 GMT -7
svend: Polar vortex is back. -26 C this morning. Will need a block heater in the car if this keeps up. Poor thing barely cranked this morning.
Jan 22, 2014 7:30:05 GMT -7
JimRatliff: Polar Vortex??? Is that the new Head all-mountain carving ski I've been hearing so much about?
Jan 22, 2014 9:04:03 GMT -7
JimRatliff: That's pretty chilly. 7F (-13C) in Central Park. Glad you didn't send the real cold air down.
Jan 22, 2014 9:04:58 GMT -7
JimRatliff: OK, but I still think "Polar Vortex" and "Polar Express" could be the start of a great family of ski names.
Jan 22, 2014 10:45:22 GMT -7
svend: I like it! Blizzard should take those on. Fits with their name. Easier to say than "Viva Ultrasonic Full Suspension IQ", or some such ridiculousness. Who can remember all that?
Jan 22, 2014 20:29:13 GMT -7
livingproof: Another round of Philly area snow....we're ground zero this season. Please start sending any future storms north.
Mar 2, 2014 8:15:55 GMT -7
svend: Neverending winter here in Ontario. More snow last night. Cold temps coming this week. Word on the street is that some local ski hills may be open until May. Remarkable and unprecedented.
Mar 22, 2014 9:03:22 GMT -7
superbman: we were supposed to make it to next weekend, but they put out that we're closing tomorrow. Bummer.
Mar 28, 2014 9:06:50 GMT -7
JimRatliff: I think most local places here are closing as well. Yesterday was last at Elk.
Mar 30, 2014 4:17:15 GMT -7
livingproof: My Blue Mtn home is planning to open next weekend (closed midweek). Spring temps are finally here, not sure if I'll make a final trip.
Mar 30, 2014 6:00:04 GMT -7
ToddW: Surefire way to scare away family skiers, from the Killington conditions page: "Expect huge bumps on Superstar for the Killington Triathlon."
May 2, 2014 13:22:58 GMT -7
JimRatliff: I just wanted to wish all a Happy Holidays. Amazing how quickly Christmas follows Thanksgiving.
Dec 13, 2014 14:53:23 GMT -7
superbman: I was looking at the reviews on real skiers for the Kastle FX 85 and FX 85HP…both interested me greatly, how similar are these to the FX 84 (if you have skied both..or is the 85 the 84??)
Sept 13, 2015 14:52:00 GMT -7