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Tubeless Tires on Road bike. Yuck!

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Tubeless Tires on Road bike. Yuck!

Old 06-07-21, 09:43 AM
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GBK233
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Tubeless Tires on Road bike. Yuck!

Just bought a new(to me) 2020 Giant Defy Advanced 2. It’s my first foray into the world of tubeless tires. Yesterday my order of Muc-off sealant arrived so I figured I’d add some sealant (through the valve stem) before my ride. Well….that’s when everything went awry. I unintentionally broke the bead(on both tires)….and spent a crapload of time and effort getting the beads to seat.

Ended up going to the shop I work at and using the compressor. Took me an hour to get the damn beads to seat. I’d get them to seat and then couldn’t get the stem in without too much air leaking out…and one side of the bead breaking free again.

in hindsight….I probably should have pulled tires off the rim and thoroughly cleaned the beads of old sealant. I ordered an “air shot” booster last night….hopefully it will help me in the future. I don’t know if my technique sucked(I watched a bunch of YouTube vids)….or it was the OEM Fonda tires that were the culprit….but so far, tubeless tires have me a bit spooked. I’m def carrying a spare tube with me on rides, cause fixing a flat in the side of the road is obv impossible without a tube.

On a positive note….I rode my fastest time yet for 10 miles. 30.19 minutes @ 19.80mph. Considering that I first started riding a few months ago and only did 3 mile rides @ 16mph…I’m very happy with my progress.
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Old 06-07-21, 10:05 AM
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It's not "obviously impossible" to fix a flat on the side of the road without a tube, and in fact, using a plug may be easier...it depends on the nature of the damage, whether the tire is actually flat, or whether there is any sealant.

But yeah, tubeless introduces a whole new host of variables, and it's hard to know which you're going to have in play at any given time. Some combos set up easily, some don't; some issues are easy to fix, some aren't; sometimes you need a lot of tools, sometimes you don't.

It's unwise to enter into tubeless thinking it's easier, because it ain't. I think that with the lastest innertube tech, such as Aerothan and Tubolito, the case for tubeless has become less compelling. Schwalbe's Aerothan, for example, provides lower weight, improved rolling resistance, and higher puncture resistance than conventional butyl tubes. leaving tubeless' only trump card the self-healing thing.

I've got two old American Classic Argent tubeless wheelsets which work a charm with Schwalbe One and Hutchinson Galactik tubeless tires; super easy to get on/of, and they seal up great with AC valves, and Stan's 21mm tape. I've had good luck with Bontrager sealant and am on Panaracer SealSmart this season...so far with good luck.

I have another wheelset, Spinergy GX wrapped in Herse Bon Jon Extralights, which is proving to be a nightmare to set up. I have a pair of Aerothan tubes on hand that I'm about to throw in there if my next round of sealing effort doesn't work. Granted, I didn't have the right size tape this last go-round, so I kinda hacked it by doing two, offset wraps, but needing to keep a bunch of different rim tape on hand for all my various tubeless wheelsets-- five, currently-- is part of the frustration.
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Old 06-07-21, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
It's not "obviously impossible" to fix a flat on the side of the road without a tube, and in fact, using a plug may be easier...it depends on the nature of the damage, whether the tire is actually flat, or whether there is any sealant.

But yeah, tubeless introduces a whole new host of variables, and it's hard to know which you're going to have in play at any given time. Some combos set up easily, some don't; some issues are easy to fix, some aren't; sometimes you need a lot of tools, sometimes you don't.

It's unwise to enter into tubeless thinking it's easier, because it ain't. I think that with the lastest innertube tech, such as Aerothan and Tubolito, the case for tubeless has become less compelling. Schwalbe's Aerothan, for example, provides lower weight, improved rolling resistance, and higher puncture resistance than conventional butyl tubes. leaving tubeless' only trump card the self-healing thing.

I've got two old American Classic Argent tubeless wheelsets which work a charm with Schwalbe One and Hutchinson Galactik tubeless tires; super easy to get on/of, and they seal up great with AC valves, and Stan's 21mm tape. I've had good luck with Bontrager sealant and am on Panaracer SealSmart this season...so far with good luck.

I have another wheelset, Spinergy GX wrapped in Herse Bon Jon Extralights, which is proving to be a nightmare to set up. I have a pair of Aerothan tubes on hand that I'm about to throw in there if my next round of sealing effort doesn't work. Granted, I didn't have the right size tape this last go-round, so I kinda hacked it by doing two, offset wraps, but needing to keep a bunch of different rim tape on hand for all my various tubeless wheelsets-- five, currently-- is part of the frustration.
I def didn’t CHOOSE tubeless…it just so happened to come with the bike. Safe to assume that a tubeless tire can only be seated with CO2 during a roadside flat? When I put sealant in at the house….I slowly/easily rolled the bike across the room to spread the sealant(per a video I saw)…and even that easy rolling broke the beads. I don’t want would assume that the beads would def break during a flat while riding….and I can’t imagine trying to plug etc a tubeless and reinflate without CO2(which I don’t have).

if when I upgrade the tires…I’ll def be considering a tubed tire over the tubeless. Am I correct in thinking that I can simply add tubes the Fonda tires and no longer run them tubeless?
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Old 06-07-21, 10:22 AM
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How did you do the first time you got on a bicycle? You didn't give up on that when you fell or ran into something did you?
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Old 06-07-21, 10:23 AM
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You say yuck because YOU had a bad experience, but that's not the reality. You are biased my friend

TL is better than tubes, and will become (if not already is) the new standard.

If that can help, Giant products (tires and sealant) are one of the worst I've seen when it comes to tubeless. Tires are horribly hard to seat on the rims and the sealant is worth sh*t. Got rid of these pretty quickly.
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Old 06-07-21, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by eduskator View Post
You say yuck because YOU had a bad experience, but that's not the reality. TL is better than tubes, and will (if not already) become the new standard.
agreed….hence the reason I mentioned that maybe it was bad technique on my part. Hopefully, the Air Shot I ordered will solve any future issues. I’m just going to have to keeping reading on the subject…to get better at it.

I’m no racer, so if I choose to run the tires with tubes…it won’t be the end of the world.
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Old 06-07-21, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by GBK233 View Post
agreed….hence the reason I mentioned that maybe it was bad technique on my part. Hopefully, the Air Shot I ordered will solve any future issues. I’m just going to have to keeping reading on the subject…to get better at it.

I’m no racer, so if I choose to run the tires with tubes…it won’t be the end of the world.
As I said, Giant products are crap. Try other TL tires, you'll see! I can mount my Schwalbe Pro Ones on my OEM SLR rims even without an air compressor.
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Old 06-07-21, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by GBK233 View Post
I def didn’t CHOOSE tubeless…it just so happened to come with the bike. Safe to assume that a tubeless tire can only be seated with CO2 during a roadside flat? When I put sealant in at the house….I slowly/easily rolled the bike across the room to spread the sealant(per a video I saw)…and even that easy rolling broke the beads. I don’t want would assume that the beads would def break during a flat while riding….and I can’t imagine trying to plug etc a tubeless and reinflate without CO2(which I don’t have).

if when I upgrade the tires…I’ll def be considering a tubed tire over the tubeless. Am I correct in thinking that I can simply add tubes the Fonda tires and no longer run them tubeless?
Yeah, you can put tubes in the Fondas.

As for needing CO2 to reseat beads on the road, that again depends on the tire/wheel combo. I'd venture to guess that it's fairly unusual for the beads to come loose because of a puncture on the road; it'd take a pretty serious cut to allow the kind of sudden air loss which would suck the beads loose. I think it's probably more typical that the rider gets a small puncture, hears hissing, and the sealant repairs the hole before total air pressure loss, so all that needs done is topping up the pressure.

A plug could be installed-- and it is preferable to do so-- before total deflation, so again, beads should not need reseated, but to reiterate, the main factor is the tire/rim pairing.

Once you figure out the suite of tricks needed for tubeless-- such as spinning the tire rather than rolling it across the floor, for example -- it really is just about methodically narrowing the possible problems. It's still not easy, but you know what you're doing even if you resent having to do it!
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Old 06-07-21, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by GBK233 View Post
I def didn’t CHOOSE tubeless…it just so happened to come with the bike.
You can still run tubes in a tubeless tire/rim scenario. So, you had a choice to go one way or the other.

Safe to assume that a tubeless tire can only be seated with CO2 during a roadside flat? When I put sealant in at the house….I slowly/easily rolled the bike across the room to spread the sealant(per a video I saw)…and even that easy rolling broke the beads. I don’t want would assume that the beads would def break during a flat while riding….and I can’t imagine trying to plug etc a tubeless and reinflate without CO2(which I don’t have).
If the bead needs to be reseated, you're not going to do it with a frame pump. But carrying CO2 seems like a no-brainer in either case. I'll take CO2 while out on the road 100% of the time. Cartridges are small and easy to store. 2-3 easily fit into my small saddle bag with a CO2 inflator head, a tube, levers, stick-on patches (for emergency use only), and a multi-tool.

if when I upgrade the tires…I’ll def be considering a tubed tire over the tubeless. Am I correct in thinking that I can simply add tubes the Fonda tires and no longer run them tubeless?
That's certainly an option. A lightweight tire and tube combo could potentially even save a small amount of weight (thanks to a lighter weight bead on the tire) over tubeless. The tradeoff being potentially more flats (depending on what sort of roads/terrain/conditions you ride in) and/or comfort (depending on what pressures you run them at).
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Old 06-07-21, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by eduskator View Post
As I said, Giant products are crap. Try other TL tires, you'll see! I can mount my Schwalbe Pro Ones on my OEM SLR rims even without an air compressor.

Ironically, I’m the store manager of an automotive shop that specializes in tires. Was joking with my guys today….that I could’ve competed a “4 pop”(4 new tires mounted and balanced) on a Chevy 2500 in less time than it took me to seat 2 tubeless bike tires. LOL. (For the record: I could actually finish that truck in under 30 mins).

we have a few model tires that are a pain in the arse to get seated/mounted. Firestone Weathegrips are one of them. So, ya…I was def wondering if the Fondas are making my job harder.

im open to any tire recommendations….with a combination of good puncture resistance and/or low rolling resistance.

ive ridden 800 miles in the last few months on my Conti Grand Prix 4-seasons and have only had one puncture(tire got a tear, but oddly the tube didn’t get punctured)
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Old 06-07-21, 10:46 AM
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Three yrs using Mavic USTs w/Mavic tires. Inflate easily with a standard floor pump and zero flats. I'm a convert.
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Old 06-07-21, 10:49 AM
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Tubeless tires that unseat at low/no pressure are a pain in the ass, but they're (thankfully) rare. On my wheels, one of my favorite tires will unseat, so I don't buy them anymore - there are enough great tubeless options out there that it's just not worth the hassle.

As for you, do you experience enough punctures to make tubeless worthwhile? If not, don't bother and just go back to tubes.
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Old 06-07-21, 10:54 AM
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If you are dead set on giving up tubeless tires, then I use Conti GP 5000's. Though they scored lower for puncture resistance on BRR than other tires I've used, they've been puncture free on my bikes.

Most of your OP came off more as a rant than a request for help. At least to me. But realize there are many people that have no issues with tubeless tires, fixing them on the side of the road or seating the beads. You just need to accept the fact they aren't tubed tires and you need to learn new things and develop some new skills.

I can't change auto tires, so why do you think auto tire experience qualifies you for bike tires?
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Old 06-07-21, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by GBK233 View Post
agreed….hence the reason I mentioned that maybe it was bad technique on my part. Hopefully, the Air Shot I ordered will solve any future issues. I’m just going to have to keeping reading on the subject…to get better at it.

I’m no racer, so if I choose to run the tires with tubes…it won’t be the end of the world.
I may or may not be bad technique, or is may be the infuriating variability of TL. That, imo, is the main issue with TL. Sometimes its fine, sometimes its an anger management test. The forums are littered with stories like yours and its just too easy just writing it all off as "bad technique". Its not. - Surely it shouldnt take hours to seat and seal the tyre, and surely it shouldn't unseat as soon as it looses pressure (wtf?!). That's a recipe for a road side disaster, if you didnt have the foresight to bring a tube and adequate tools to get the tyre off and on again.
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Old 06-07-21, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Tubeless tires that unseat at low/no pressure are a pain in the ass, but they're (thankfully) rare.
I'd say they're worse than rare. They're dangerous. Also, I'm 90% sure it has much more to do with the rim design than the tire.

My Vittoria Corsas snap on TIGHT to my LB rims but straight up DO NOT stay on my Boyd altamonts. I refuse to use TL on insecure bead seats. That's a death trap.

I run my pressures really low. As low as 40ish psi in a 25mm tire. If the bead unseats or burps in a corner and the tire comes off or loses air, I am screwed.
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Old 06-07-21, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by smashndash View Post
I'd say they're worse than rare. They're dangerous. Also, I'm 90% sure it has much more to do with the rim design than the tire.

My Vittoria Corsas snap on TIGHT to my LB rims but straight up DO NOT stay on my Boyd altamonts. I refuse to use TL on insecure bead seats. That's a death trap.

I run my pressures really low. As low as 40ish psi in a 25mm tire. If the bead unseats or burps in a corner and the tire comes off or loses air, I am screwed.
I suspect this is true. Some rims appear to not even have a "bead lock hump". Looking at you DT ..
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Old 06-07-21, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by smashndash View Post
Also, I'm 90% sure it has much more to do with the rim design than the tire.
It's a combination of rim and tire - from the combo that I mentioned, I've used the tires on other rims and they've been fine, and I've used other tires on the rims and they've been fine. Together, though, not fine.
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Old 06-07-21, 11:20 AM
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My michelin 28mm tubeless tires went on easily and seated easily. I inflated mine to around 90 psi and let them set awhile before deflating and adding orange seal endurance. I rarely have a puncture, but riding mountain descents, I have a much higher probability of getting pinch flats. A tubeless tire might not eliminate them 100%, but I hit a rock big enough to bend my rim a little and didn't flat or damage the tire.

After a few months of use, I took one tire off the rim and reinstalled like I might if using a tube for a flat repair. I had no problem with it at all. With a tube, you don't have to worry about the beads not seating. Carry some nitrile gloves to keep the sealant off your hands.
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Old 06-07-21, 11:31 AM
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I wouldn't go back to tubes.
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Old 06-07-21, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by GBK233 View Post
.I slowly/easily rolled the bike across the room to spread the sealant(per a video I saw)…and even that easy rolling broke the beads.
You did have pressure in the tire when you rolled the tires around, right? I'm not always a tubeless fan, but most of mine seat with just a regular floor pump (talking gravel and MTB here though, not road). Once the beads are seated, I deflate, remove the valve core, add sealant through the stem, reinstall the valve core, reinflate and then spin the wheels in my hand. Deflating should definitely NOT unseat the bead, it should require some force to unseat the bead if you want to remove the tire. I'd say you have either a bad tire/wheel combo or a defective rim if the tires just slides off the bead.
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Old 06-07-21, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by eduskator View Post

If that can help, Giant products (tires and sealant) are one of the worst I've seen when it comes to tubeless. Tires are horribly hard to seat on the rims and the sealant is worth sh*t. Got rid of these pretty quickly.
The Giant Gavia tubeless tyres that came on my Defy were absolutely fine. No issues at all. So if they are one of the worst tubeless setups, then all is good! I've just replaced the original Giant tyres with Pirelli Velos, which were a bit of a pain to seat first time (required a boost track pump), but are otherwise fine. I've been running tubeless mtb tyres for 15+ years without any issues, so for me tubeless road tyres were a natural choice. The main reason I prefer tubeless is for extra puncture protection. I still carry a spare tube as a last resort, but never had to fit one yet.
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Old 06-07-21, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Caliper View Post
You did have pressure in the tire when you rolled the tires around, right? I'm not always a tubeless fan, but most of mine seat with just a regular floor pump (talking gravel and MTB here though, not road). Once the beads are seated, I deflate, remove the valve core, add sealant through the stem, reinstall the valve core, reinflate and then spin the wheels in my hand. Deflating should definitely NOT unseat the bead, it should require some force to unseat the bead if you want to remove the tire. I'd say you have either a bad tire/wheel combo or a defective rim if the tires just slides off the bead.
Nope…no pressure in the tire when I rolled it. Never occurred to me that a bead could come free with that little force put on them. I ever so careful rolled the bike 6 feet. I broke the bead on the rear tire by simply touching the sidewall when I was injecting the sealant into the stem.

In some of the videos I watched….there was a loud POP when the beads seated….and in other videos the beads seating sounded like crinkling paper. Don’t know if that had to do with the tires themselves or the design of the rims.

Mine def sounded like crinkling paper when they seated, but if pressure went down too far before I got the presta valve in….the bead would pop off. In theory….a tire bead should NOT dislodge just because of low pressure(tire was hanging on a bike stand).
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Old 06-07-21, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by GBK233 View Post
Nope…no pressure in the tire when I rolled it. Never occurred to me that a bead could come free with that little force put on them. I ever so careful rolled the bike 6 feet. I broke the bead on the rear tire by simply touching the sidewall when I was injecting the sealant into the stem.

In some of the videos I watched….there was a loud POP when the beads seated….and in other videos the beads seating sounded like crinkling paper. Don’t know if that had to do with the tires themselves or the design of the rims.

Mine def sounded like crinkling paper when they seated, but if pressure went down too far before I got the presta valve in….the bead would pop off. In theory….a tire bead should NOT dislodge just because of low pressure(tire was hanging on a bike stand).
Was the witness line visible all the way around the tire?
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Old 06-07-21, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by GBK233 View Post
I’d get them to seat and then couldn’t get the stem in without too much air leaking out…and one side of the bead breaking free again.
Something doesn't sound right with your process. Here's what I have done successfully with both road and MTB tubeless tires...

1. Mount tire. Inflate tire (with valve core still in the stem) to seat the beads. Some have crackled or popped. Others, not at all.
2. Deflate tire and remove valve core.
3. Add sealant through the stem, and replace the valve core.
4. Inflate tire.
5. Roll and shake tire to coat the inside of the tire with sealant.
6. Ride happy.

One time, a road tire fought me a little on the seating part, mostly because I was using a regular roadie floor pump. A hit of CO2 popped it into place.

Last edited by Eric F; 06-07-21 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 06-07-21, 02:02 PM
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Andy Somnifac 
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Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
Something doesn't sound right with your process. Here's what I have done successfully with both road and MTB tubeless tires... (snip)
Same. Sometimes I can get the bead to seat with just a regular floor pump, but I've since bought a floor pump that has a chamber you can charge for tubeless seating. Makes it dead simple.
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