Tuesday, February 10, 2009

to No-Tube or not to No-Tube, that is the question?

Some people think that Stan's No-Tube liquid style goo is great while others curse it heavily. For today's experiment, I'll try to figure out who is correct.

For those of you not familiar with this product, it is this miracle product, a secret, liquid formula, you can pour into a regular mountain bike tire and, if you have special rims or a special rubber rim strip, you can seal up your tire without a tube. I think it's some sort of latex-like substance that kinda congeals into a tube-like glue after you inflate your tire. The supposed advantages are that it's lighter than a normal tube and since you don't have a tube, you won't pinch-flat. Sounds kinda cool, right?

Sounds kinda like tubular tires, right? Right.

Much like tubulars, when it's working well, it's great. However, when there's a problem, it's a messy, potentially dangerous, mess. Also, potentially expensive. Take Sunday for example: a rock cut a tiny hole in the sidewall of a relatively new rear tire. Stan's will fill and self-seal pinhole leaks, but bigger cuts render a tire un-No-Tubeable. Sure, if you're carrying a spare tube, you can dump out the excess goo, pull off the rubber rimstrip, and install your new tube. Then, you still have to go home, remove the tube, and try to mess around with that weird liquid crap again. I think some people claim that you can simply re-inflate a punctured No-Tube setup (possibly with CO2, possibly not) but I just can't see how the sealant could repair a hole that large.

It's also been pointed out that this may be a problem with 29er wheels, since they supposedly have thinner sidewalls than many recommended wheels. I'd believe this. However, knowing this doesn't solve my problem. I'm not saying this product is bad or that I've even been using it correctly. But, well baby, it just wasn't meant to be.

Long story short, I'm going back to the old standby of no No-Tubes (aka tubes). But I'd love to hear what our readers think. Please add your comments.


jd said...

I've had problems with my rear tire getting cuts and not getting sealed up. It almost drove me back to tubes but I've got one that works for now. Another cut this spring and I'll either have to find a tire with thick sides or go back to tubes. The last time I added a bunch of eraser bits to the mix so hopefully that'll plug up holes better.

Anonymous said...

Of course there are cuts that stans cannot seal. But half of those, esp. sidewall cuts, are trouble with tubes as well. I did have trouble running non-tubeless tires tubeless. But now that tubeless tires are much lighter I prefer those for their ability to run low pressure without pinchflatting(which may help your wrists as much as your new fork). My favorite tire remains the specialized fast track.

Anonymous said...

previous comment was mine - bikinghawk - but I was unable to access my google account for some reason.

hollywood said...

master professor...perhaps this problem mostly does pertain to 29er thin walled tires? i've been running tubeless 26" with stans for several years now and have only had 1 flat and no sliced sidewalls. I've run 2 sets of Specializd S-Works Fastrack LKs and a pair of Specialized Roll-X 2Bliss.

Solution.....lace up a set of 12" wheels and run solid rubber tires.

co2cycle said...

I was actually running a Specialized Fast Track, which did seem to have a sturdy sidewall. I must have just hit a rock the wrong way. Maybe it was just bad luck on my part.

Follow-up question:
anyone have a good method for repairing tires? I've used a tube patch with decent results, but are there other options?

B Swad said...

I have also been running tubeless tires for a few years now...I have had a couple of sidewall slashes on brand new tires and I concur it is frustrating. That being said, the lighter weight and lower tire pressure are a big draw for me.

However, the biggest advantage that I have noticed is that tubless tires keep the rubber side down better. Everytime I have to throw a tube in, my bike seems to bounce around more.

Maybe its in my head but tubes = increased spring factor = no good for shredding up the dirt!

Keep the faith professor...tubes are antiquated and merely a trend, similar to disc brakes! Keep it real, run tubeless tires and v-brakes.