Recently I had a minor panic attack when, on the morning of an out-of-town gravel event, I had what felt like a fatal equipment failure. My CAADX was sporting my usual tubeless setup but the little part that screws on to the stem and holds the stem tight was missing and when I tried to attach the hose to the stem, the stem pushed in and broke the seal. All the air whooshed out and my tubeless day seemed doomed. I searched through my gear and miraculously found another screw on a spare tube, put it on, pumped it back up with a regular pump and it held nicely. I first tried to use my Bontrager charger pump but the cheap plastic connection between the main body and the hose snapped off, so I was down to these 4 options – either get lucky and use a regular pump to pop it on, use a Co2 cartridge to do the same, bail on tubeless and put a tube in or change out my wheels. Luckily the regular pump worked.
*Now I have to spend another $25 to order a new hose from Trek to attach to the charger pump, that’s pretty lame after spending $120 and only using it < 10 times. This little process highlighted a couple of important things: I need to be even more prepared. I had an extra wheel set up, but that's expensive. Running with tubes is okay, but I now know that the little stem holder is crucial to keeping the seal and have an extra valve stem core remover, so I'm adding a few to my extra parts kit. You just need to be prepared to put tubes in, always. Sure, it seems barbaric, but that's what it is. Through the course of this, my buddy was not getting terribly convinced of the merits of tubeless, but this week he asked me again about it since his mechanic found a sweet deal on some tubeless rims. I decided that I needed to do a post on this, so here we are. This is for tubeless rims and tubeless tires that are already mounted specifically. Putting new tubeless tires on is much easier since you don't have to clean up the old sealant, which is a huge pain. 1. This is going to probably be messy so put something down to catch extra sealant when you take off the tire. I pour excess into a container, then use an old towel to wipe out as much as you can from inside the tire. Turn the tire inside out and let it dry in the sun as much as you can so you can try to peel it out. I just tried this and it was pretty hopeless, I got tired of it after a couple of hours and got as much off of the rim edges as I could. At least get the rim as spotless as you can. 2. Remove and clean the stem, then put it back on, and attach the screw! the inside of the rims already are sealed so this is the only fail point. 3. Put the tire back on to the point where you have a small opening, pour in 2-4 ounces of sealant, slowly spin the wheel around without spilling it all over, then put the tire all the way on. Make sure to match up the labels on the rim and tire because we're not savages after all. 4. Spin, spin and spin some more, you want sealant in every pore and you only want to pump it up once. If you have an air compressor oir charger pump, them blast away. If you hear loud pops, you're golden. Now spin more and in every angle and direction, and put the wheel down on the ground and push down on it rotate is a little, push more and really give it the business. If it's going to fail, you want it to happen now, not out on the road. 5. Now go ride on it, you should be totally good to go. 6. You can always add more sealant by deflating the tire trying not to break thew seal, remove the valve core with a valve core tool, attach the little clear hose that comes with small bottles of sealant, put 1-2 more ounces in, put the core back in, pump it back up and boom, done.
Annual Tubeless Tire Maintenance