Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

So here we are. Another full year on the brink to have as we wish. I hope to make this year incredible!

I left last year behind in the middle of a project. I made the attempt to go tubeless on my studded tires. It was a stretch to think I could pull it off. Well, I am still working out the details. I will describe my experience.

Last year I bought a set of Velocity Deep V (yellow) rims. I set the Alfine up for the winter commuter and I used one of those rims to do so. I never got around to lacing a front wheel so I was riding with a wheel I got from my friend Jim. I believe it is a Mavic. All along I didn't like how difficult it was to mount a tire on the Velocity.

I started with the Mavic wheel. To prep for the conversion I cleaned the rims with brake clean and applied the Stan's yellow tape. I then put the rubber rim strip on and mounted up the tire. I tried to inflate it without sealant to see if I can get it to hold some air. It wasn't happening. I called Tech @ Stan's and they said try wrapping the wheel with Velox tape under the rimstrip to get it closer to the tire. I took a brush with some soapy water and wet the bead. I was able to inflate it with a floor pump so I knew that I could add sealant. This wheel went well. I did manage to get it sealed up pretty quickly. There is not much air getting through the thick rubber of a studded Nokian tire. After it was sealed up, I tried to increase the air pressure to 65 psi (my riding pressure) and I noticed a leak of sorts at or around the valve stem. I'm not sure what caused it but my only solution was to add more sealant and try the process over. We'll see how it turns out.

letting the sealant do its job

I am looking forward to see how these tires perform tubeless. I'm hoping for some good thoughts on it.

holding air, waiting for a performance test

Next I did the same set up process with the Deep V. This proved very difficult. The tire was already hard to get on the rim before but it went to a whole new level when I put the rubber rim strip on the rim.

rimstrip installed

It was pretty hard to get the first bead on the rim but the second bead was murder to get on. I proceeded to test if the tire would hold air. No luck! I went down to the Old Spokes Home to use their compressor. The hopes was to shoot a quick amount of air in to seal the bead. It worked but I wasn't looking forward to removing a section of the tire to get the sealant in. Luckily OSH has a injection syringe to add sealant through the valve stem. I got 2oz in with no issue. The second 2oz didn't want to go in and shot all over the place. I assumed I had enough in there and moved forward. In the end it seemed I had two issues on my hands. The first was that three of the 106 studs were leaking pressure and sealant. How was this possible? The studs don't even go through the tire to the inside. The second issue was the likelihood of not enough sealant in the tire. For whatever reason there was leaking from the studs, the sealant should have been effective to stop it. Not the case. Since that discovery, I have added more sealant but now I await a trip to the LBS to use the compressor to get this wheel sealed up again. If it fails to seal up, I will put a tube in it and get back on the road!


I have a tentative schedule set for 2012. It is aggressive but I think with a clear plan and a solid effort to build my fitness, I will be able to accomplish it all or most. Here it is.
  • one training century in each of the months of January through March
  • Gravel Grinder Spring Dirt Road Ride - April 21
  • SSapalooza* (single speed mtb race) - April 28
  • 200km Brevet - May 12
  • 300km Brevet - June 9
  • Dynamic Duathlon (team w/ my wife) - June 24
  • 400km Brevet - June 30
  • SSUSA2012* (single speed USA) - July 28
  •  DarkHorse 40 (mtb race) - August 5
  • 24 Hours of Great Glen (mtb race) - August 11-12
  • Vermont 50 (mtb race) - September 30
The events that are marked with an asterisk are so because two things will have to happen for me to do them. One, I will have to have a single speed set up for the races. Two, I have to be at a fitness level that I have never achieved to even want to attempt them. Nonetheless it is a goal of mine to make it happen.


bmike said...

Whoa impressive to do list there Wil! Good luck in 012. Remember to block out some time for an overnight or two...

Sucks about the tubeless. I haven't tried again. Rolling on tubes and studs on the Fargo. Will save the tubeless kit for spring... But the big question will be what tires to set up. Likely the WTBs, but that will limit my full on MTB use of the Fargo.

Happy New Year,

Pondero said...

First of all, having the year planned out that way is very (as bmike said) impressive. My lack of planning probably is my downfall. I think I'll try to follow your example.

Regarding tubeless, forgive my ignorance, but is the objective primarily to save rotational weight? Or is there something else that warrants all the fiddling?

Mark said...

I think you just convinced me not to go tubeless. :)

SSapalooza?? How do I miss these things? How did you find out about that one? That looks like a pretty full schedule. Should be a fun summer.

sminch said...

Hey guys. Thanks for chiming in. The tubeless conversion for the studs is more or less an experiment. Chris, the hope is to be able to lower the pressure for certain terrain without fear of pinch flatting.

The schedule has been made public to force some accountability on myself.

Anonymous said...


I'm glad that front wheel is still serving you well. Great list of goals as well...think about the Cross VT tour in June. Hilly but it set me up for the rest of the summer, fitness-wise.


Groundshine said...

Inspiring to do list Wil! I hope to see you out there... although my list is a bit different. Have you considered D2R2?