Sunday, 26 June 2016

​10 Top Tips for Tubeless Tyres

Tubeless tyres offer a huge number of advantages over their tubed counterparts; including greater grip, puncture resistance, and a lower rolling resistance. To find out more about the benefits of tubeless, have a read of my post 'Going Tubeless on Road Tyres'.

However, tubeless tyres can be a right pain; most notably to fit, but also when they don't seal out on the road or trails. After fitting more tubeless tyres than I care to count, and having plenty of dramas of my own, I thought I would share some Top Tips for Tubeless: for mounting, repairing and maintaining the tubeless system.

1. Mounting - Use two wraps of tubeless rim tape

Most tubeless conversion kits recommend one compete wrap of the sealing tape (such as Stan's Yellow Tape); I'd recommend doing two wraps. You'll use twice as much tape, and add a tiny amount of weight; but the added friction on the tyre bead, and the better coverage of the rim bed, makes it far easier to inflate the tyre. It also makes it less likely that the rim tape will lift up over time, which causes sealant and air to leak into the spoke holes.

2. Mounting - Use something to lubricate the tyre bead 

Because tubeless tyres are designed to be tight fitting, it can be tricky to get them to evenly seat around the rim. Using something like a little washing-up liquid on a sponge, and wiping it around the tyre bead before mounting, will allow the bead to slip into place more easily.

3. Mounting - Inflate first with an inner tube, to get one of the tyre beads engaged with the rim 

If you're struggling to get the tyre bead to 'pop' onto the rim, try inflating the tyre first with an inner tube; so that it pops into place (you can pump it up hard). You can then deflate the tyre, and remove the inner tube; but leave one of the tyre beads engaged with the rim - meaning you've only got one side to 'pop' into place when you inflate it tubeless.

4. Mounting - Hang it up when you're inflating, to aid bead seating

If you rest the wheel on the floor when you're trying to inflate it, the the bottom of the tyre bead is pushed into the rim cavity (reducing the seal), and the top of the tyre bead is pushed away from the wheel (also reducing the seal). To avoid this, hang the tyre up with a strap when you're inflating it.

It's also worth positioning the valve at either 5 or 7 o'clock; which has the effect of pushing the tyre closer to the rim near the valve, but means also you're not pumping air directly into the pool of sealant at the bottom of the tyre (that makes a mess!). This technique aids easier inflation, and also means the bead is more likely to seat evenly on the rim.

5. Mounting - Shake it like a Polaroid picture

After successfully seating your tyre, make sure the sealant covers all areas within the tyre cavity, by giving it a proper good shake! Spin it, shake it, bounce it - splash that sealant about!

6. Repair - Use a 'worm' when the tyre gets cut

Tubeless sealant should seal around pointy objects that piece your tyre, but it can struggle with cuts and gashes. Use a "worm" and needle to plug bigger holes, then let the sealant do its magic around it.
'The Worm' - a simply sticky strip, which you plug a hole with using the needle, to make it small enough for the tubeless sealant to work its magic

7. Repair - Big cuts and gashes need a tube to get you home, don't forget one (or two!)

Sometimes tubeless just can't handle the damage to a tyre, or the sealant runs out. In this case, make sure you have a spare tube to put in the tyre (remember to remove any offending objects in the tyre first!). In fact, I often carry two tubes, and a spare set of instant patches; because if you puncture far from home, particularly on an off-road ride, then it's quite possible that the tube you put in the damaged tyre will get punctured itself!

8. Maintenance - Check your sealant levels regularly

Latex sealant dries up over time. This is especially true in tyres which have suffered (and sealed) punctures in the past; or those that aren't tubeless specific, so may have porous sidewalls. Check your tubeless tyre sealant regularly, to make sure it is topped-up and ready to seal!

9. Maintenance - Keep your air fresh, if you use CO2

Carbon Dioxide has the effect of shortening the curing time of latex sealant, significantly; which means that if you use a CO2 canister, you'll end up with dried-up sealant in your tyre before very long at all. To overcome this, if you do use CO2, let the majority of it out at the end of the ride; then re-inflate the tyre with a floor pump, so the air is "fresh".

10. Persevere, it's worth it

Finally, I'd like to re-iterate that tubeless is worth it. I have converted to tubeless tyres on all of my bikes now: MTB, road and CX. It significantly reduces punctures, and improves handling and performance, in my opinion.

It is worth persevering, even though it can be tricky at times. I hope these tips make it a bit easier!
Tubeless can offer the opportunity to ride anywhere and everywhere, it's worth persevering

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Review: Waterfield Designs Club Cycling Pouch

My review of the Eleven Vélo Ride Pouch was the start of a great relationship; the smart leather ride wallet is now securely part of my 'Every Ride Carry', and it comes in my jersey pocket on almost every outing. It is a great way to keep all your small ride essentials and valuables together; safe and protected.

The Ride Pouch was a joint project; between Australian cycle clothing brand Eleven Vélo, and San Francisco based bag makers, WaterField Designs. It seems I wasn't the only rider to become a fan of the product either, as WaterField Designs have produced a huge number to date; all made by hand in their San Fran workshop.

With so many riders using their product, WaterField Designs started getting some great feedback from out on the road; then, as great brands do, they took on-board those constructive criticisms, and have developed their new Club Cycling Pouch.

The Club Cycling Pouch isn't a replacement for the original Ride Pouch; rather it is designed to fulfil a more simple need, and reach a new area of the market. It is a stripped back product, which comes in at a lower price point as a result.

The Ride Pouch has a clear plastic window; so that you can use your phone, while it is safely housed within. It also features internal pockets, to help organise your smaller accessories. The Club Cycling Pouch does away with these two attributes; instead you get one quality YKK zipper, which opens up to a spacious pouch, which has just a padded sleeve for your mobile, but no further pocketing. In trying to make the Club Pouch a more affordable option, these seem like two obvious areas to save on; as although the clear plastic window and internal pockets were useful on the Ride Pouch, they certainly weren't essential; especially as I almost always used to take my phone out of the case to use it, anyway.

The other significant difference between the two pouches, is that the Club Cycling Pouch is made of Ballistic Nylon, rather than leather. This is a significant cost saving; but to be honest, it is also probably also a more suitable material, especially if you are riding in frequently damp conditions; as the leather on the Ride Pouch could get a bit saturated (and a bit smelly).

The overall result of the redesign, and the creation of the new Club Cycling Pouch, is therefore something that is simplified; yet, still a product that functions perfectly for its intended use. The Waterfield Designs Cycling Club Pouch provides a robust and smart grab-bag for your ride essentials; accommodating everything from tubes, levers and CO2; through to your phone, cash and cards. It is made to last a lifetime; and it should reduce faff and frustration throughout that life.

A great place to house your kit; safe in the knowledge that is is protected, and it's not going to fly out of your pocket on the next descent. A worthwhile and affordable addition to your 'Every Ride Carry'.

View the range of bags and pouches from WaterField Designs at (Link)

A soft padded pocket inside the Waterfield Designs Club Cycling Pouch, helps protect your phone

Quality materials, and a robust zip. A great design for this cycling accessories pouch from Waterfield Designs

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Bike Profile: Kona Private Jake

My Kona Private Jake is a seriously versatile bike, and probably the most used of 'My Rides'. From commuting to racing; from weekend-blasts to two week tours; the Private is a do-it-all rig.

I haven't changed a huge amount in terms of the specification of the bike, but there have been some subtle tweaks and alterations. Here's how it is currently set up...

Bike Specifications:

  • Frame: Kona Race Light 7005 Aluminium Butted - Medium/Large
  • Fork: Kona Carbon
  • Headset: Full Speed Ahead
  • Stem: Kona Road Deluxe
  • Handlebar: Kona Road
  • Front brake: TRP Sypre disc brakes 160mm rotor
  • Rear brake: TRP Sypre disc brakes 140mm rotor
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM Rival Clutch Mech 11spd
  • Shift levers: SRAM Rival 1X
  • Cassette: SRAM Rival 11-32 11spd
  • Chain: KMC 11spd
  • Crankset: SRAM Rival 
  • Bottom bracket: SRAM Rival
  • Pedals: Shimano M520 pedals
  • Wheelset: Novatec 30 Disc Wheelset 
  • Front tyre: WTB Cross Boss Tubeless
  • Rear tyre: WTB Cross Boss Tubeless
  • Saddle: WTB SL8
  • Seatpost: Kona Thumb w/ Offset
  • Bottle cages: Lifeline Performance Carbon
  • Saddlebag: Arkel Seatpack
  • Other accessories: Lezyne Power GPS, Tate Labs Rain Fly Mudguard

The Kona Private Jake uses SRAM's Rival Road groupset - a 1x11 system

Smart internal cable routing is designed to allow you to comfortably shoulder the bike

The matt black paint finish is super stealth

Bolt-thru axles front and rear

I find the hoods on the Rival group-set very comfortable, both on and off-road

Lezyne accessories match in well with the theme

I've fitted a Tate Labs Rain Fly Mudguard to my bike, for road spray protection


Critical Measurements:

  • A. Effective top tube: 560mm
  • B. Stem length: 80mm
  • C. Saddle tip to bar:
  • D. Saddle tip to brake hood:
  • E. Saddle to floor:
  • F: Bar to floor:
  • G: Saddle height:
  • H: Saddle setback:
  • I: Saddle length: 255mm
  • J: Saddle offset:
  • K: Crank length: 172.5mm