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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Going Tubeless

It was fun, fun, fun till her daddy took the T-Bird away. So goes the line in one of the Beach Boys' more popular songs. It was like that for me when King convinced me to have my new wheelset converted to tubeless by Dandan of All Terra.

It all started during a trip to Cartimar a few weeks ago for a fork tune-up. The eight year-old Marzocchi Z.2 BAM suspension fork didn't feel right anymore so I brought it to Velo City's Hermie for some good lovin' - an oil change and overhaul.

I was thinking of building a new wheelset and I was eyeing the Chris King disc hubs that they have there in the shop, but it was too expensive for me at that time. P25,000 on a pair of hubs isn't exactly easy to shell out.

From there, I decided to upgrade to disc brakes and bought the tried and true Avid BB7 mechanicals from Ross, one of the friendlier bike shops in Cartimar. I also got a good deal with the Mavic Cross Ride wheelset so I threw that in as well.

In short, I went home with more than just a freshly tuned fork.

Now I told King about the "latest acquisition" and he told me to have my new wheelset converted to tubeless. I thought I might as well do it and see what these tubeless evangelists are yapping about. So I brought my new wheelset to Edmund's shop and had Dandan convert it to tubeless with his homemade conversion kit and Stan's sealant.

I was using IRC Mythos tires with kevlar beads so we're not sure how those will hold out since they're not recommended in the Stan's website. I was about to find out.

The following Saturday, we took it for a spin in the Roxas Trail in Maarat. I was with King, Jed, and Boy and his posse. The ride was great. They were grippy that it seemed like I'm riding them under-inflated. Being used to tubes, I had to stop and see if my tire has air.

Going uphill on an uneven trail, the front tire's bead suddenly was unseated and blew off. There you go. So that's the reason why it wasn't recommended by the Stan's people. I tried cleaning the big mess on my front tire with leaves (there was still a lot of sealant left) and installed the emergency innertube that I bought.

So will I be going back to tubeless after this experience? My answer is yes, but definitely not with the IRC's. Since I love these tires so much, I'll wait till the knobs are all gone before I get the Kendas and go back to tubeless.

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