This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)
After half a year of tubeless cycling, I want to summarize my first experiences. It’s the little things that cause problems.
Just try it
I had ticked off to cycle tubeless with the road bike. Just little advantages and far too complicated. During the RaodBIKE-Camp in April I started to change my mind. The puncture protection is outstanding. An important point in my countless flat tires. We were assured that the technology was now mass suitable. If something new is feasible, then it is always interesting for me. So I ordered a pair of Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tires in April. In addition the Tubeless Kit of Schwalbe with rim tape, sealant, valves and mounting fluid. And the Giant Tubeless Refill and Check Kit to fill in the sealant.
The first mounting
My technique for mounting the tubeless tires was to mount first the tire without sealant. Then release the air again and fill in the sealant via the valve.
The tires were stiffer than the tubular tires and therefore difficult to get on the rim. For that I could inflate both (!) tires with my usual pump. No compressed air was needed. I disassembled the valve, filled in the milk, pumped up the tire again. Every time without compressed air. Incredible! I was excited. I had never expected that it would be so easy.
The first breakdown
Relatively soon I had a small cut in the rear tire. The sealing milk closed the hole. Everything worked as expected. But the rear wheel lost always more air than the front wheel. So I decided to mount a new tire. It has been so easy.
Not so easy anymore
But this time, nothing was easy. Even the compressed air at the gas station was not enough to push the tire on the rim. As a last resort, I went to the bike shop on the corner and asked for help. Even in the workshop it was not easy to pump up the tire. Finally it was done. But the milk was still missing. When the air was released at home, the tire jumped back to its original position. Actually, the first inflation was useless. I had to go back to the bicycle workshop with my rear wheel. Embarrassing.
Another auxiliary tool
Since I wanted to get along alone again next time, I bought the “Power Booster” from Schwalbe. This should make enough high-pressure volume to inflate the tubeless tires.
The next breakdown
A few weeks later I had another hole in the rear tire. In the pouring rain, the sealing milk did not close the hole properly. After all, I came home without fixing it on the road. However, I had to stop four to five times on the way and re-pump air. Somehow I thought it was the rain that the milk did not really seal the tire. There has to be better milk on the market.
The first new practical knowledge
However, the internet research on the suitability of Schwalbe sealant revealed that in the excitement of the “complicated tire assembly” I had probably forgotten to shake the milk. This also explains why the first hole did not really close.
I did not want to mount the rambling tire again. I still had a spare tire. So I decided to change the tire again. The new tire behaved as spirited as the old one. I also bought them together. I pumped up the power booster tens of times. I was sweating. The tire kept the air for a while. But on the opposite side of the valve I could not get it on the rim. The tire was just too stiff and too rigid. I wondered if I should go straight to the bike shop or try my luck first at the gas station again. Frustration.
Then I had an idea: the tire is too rigid. If I get it a bit more flexible, then it should actually get into the rim. Warming up might work. Tires have to withstand temperature differences.
And it worked! With a conventional hot air gun, I warmed the tire just a little and the assembly worked on the first try. It even went so smoothly that I’m convinced you get every stubborn tire mounted just by gently warming it up and pumping it with air from the power booster.
My tips for tubeless beginners
As a summary of my experiences I have two tips for tubeless newcomers, which cannot be found in any manual:
- Shake sealant
- Warming up tires helps to assemble stubborn tires
And definitely ride tubeless on your roadbike! At least try it. The puncture protection alone convinced me. Despite the problems I had.