A tubeless convert,………..the jury is still out.

A first serious outing with my new tubeless set up was the Kennet Valley 200km Audax from Grazeley nr Reading.

Not the trouble-free ride I was hoping for but even a couple of punctures was not going to spoil a good day on the bike.

A lot of debris on the wet roads and plenty of potholes, the first sign of trouble was at about 45km, passing a farm entrance and an instant flat rear tyre. A  small split in the tyre that looked like it had been pierced by a sharp flint and even if I could repair it on the road re-inflating  the tyre without a large volume air pump was not going to work.  At least with these tubeless tyres you can resort to an inner tube so I removed the tubeless valve and fluid, checked the inside of the tyre carcase for any foreign objects and fitted a tube. We were back in business and rolling again.

The rest of the run to the lunch stop at Bratton was incident free but at West Lavington on the return the front tyre began to lose pressure, I pulled over and found a tell-tale of white liquid was oozing through the tread, I topped up with air and carried on, the tyre was holding but I had to put in more air at the last control stop, it seemed that any more than about 60psi would result in a further stream of fluid from the hole but it got me home.

Tape used to highlight the point of puncture

The point of puncture, inside of the tyre marked and cleaned.

Patch applied with standard tyre rubber cement.

Soapy water to the tyre bead to help it seal.

Back at home I took off the tyres, cleaned the inside of the tyre carcase and applied a standard patch to the damaged area, both tyres were then refitted to the rims with the beads coated with a soapy solution to help seal them. Once I was satisfied with the seal I added 30ml of Stans tubeless fluid. They have stayed inflated with no loss of pressure over 12 hours so let’s try again.

Certainly not the trouble-free conversion I had hoped for, no problems with the installation process but are they any more robust than clinchers and tubes, the jury is still out.


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