Focus Mares, part 3

And we finally get to the tubeless tire part of this project.  Having zero experience with tubeless tires, I read and watched some youtube videos.  Somehow it looks a lot easier than my reality turned out to be.  I’m not really surprised, there are abundant stories about adventures with tubeless tires.

I picked up the Muc-Off tubeless tire kit.  It includes sealant, rim tape, and valve stems and cores.  It’s a good value and the pink sealant is, well, PINK.

I decided to mount the Maxxis 40mm file-tread tires.  They actually mounted pretty easily, but they wobbled left and right.  The rims are true, so the problem was with the tires or the beads weren’t seated properly all the way around.  I tried spraying soapy water on the tire bead and rim, then reseating the beads.  It helped a little but not enough.  Finally I gave up on them after multiple attempts and took them off.  So much for Plan A.

Plan B was to mount the GravelKing SK+ tires I bought to ride at Unbound Gravel.  They went onto the rims easily enough, and I did the soapy water thing again.  The beads would not seat at all.  I need a plan C, or more experience, or possibly both.

Given that experience is what you get when you do things wrong, I came up with Plan C.  That was to remove the tubeless valve stem, and put an inner tube in and inflate it.  Of course, the beads seated right away and the tire is rolling straight and true as it should.  I decided to leave the tire mounted with the tube, under pressure, for a day or so to help convince the beads that this is their new home.

A day or so turned into 2 days.  A winter storm is imminent, so making sure everything is ready including stocking up the pantry and refrigerator/freezer took priority.  That’s done, so I’m fresh out of excuses and delays.

I took the tube out and of course, both beads came loose.  I put the tubeless valve stem back in, sprayed the beads with soapy water, and the compressor seated the beads instantly.  Put the valve core in and pumped it to 80 psi.  I let it sit under pressure for a while, then let the air out and used a syringe to put approximately 70ml of the pink Muc-Off sealant in.  Then cleaned the soapy water off the spokes and rim, and the rear wheel is ready for brake disk and cassette. Finally, success.  Now that I know what works (for me, anyway) the front tire should be a bit less of a mystery.

The front tire was about as easy as it could have been.  The beads seated instantly with soapy water and the compressor, so I didn’t need to use the inner tube.  Same process as with the rear wheel, and the front wheel is ready to go.

I definitely need to pick up an air tank that I can fill either at home or at a gas station.  Makes re/seating beads very quick and easy.

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