It's pretty obvious to everybody that I have trouble letting go. Most people think I am just an irrational retro grouch who simply won't accept innovation. Well I am here to tell you that I installed a threadless headset once. So there, I know what this modern stuff is about. I just like to see that the things I do are somewhat practical. After all, I use my bikes to go somewhere different than my car and I'm not afraid to ride alone without some bizarre social network attached. Let's face it, most of the improvements in cycling revolve around competition. If it ain't your interest there is no reason to buy all the carbon fiber underwear, electronic brifters and personal heart rate powermeters to compare your metabolism with your Facebook buddies. I just ride my bike and wonder if index shifting is another fad.
Occasionally the commercial world brings something that hits home--no flats. I mean shit! It has to make you think. As little as I do, I wrenched my head around the idea of tubeless tires. Enough people are talking about them and changing over that there might be something like a derailer at the bottom of this.
Videos like this from a confirmed, sadistic tire beater excited me even more.
If I could only abuse my tires in such manner without disturbing the quiet reverie of my afternoon communions with clouds, blackbirds and roadkill, I would like it. I need new tires for the Hillborne so I bought what I needed to make the conversion.
My first attempt failed rather predictably. According to internet legend, just about any tire and rim can be converted, but a powerful air compressor is usually necessary to force the tire to seat on the rim without a tube. I tried a CO2 cylinder but there just wasn't enough mojo there to make the tire behave. I searched for alternatives with the most reliable documentation I could find--
There I found a few examples of DIY compressors which would fill the gap. I'm not brave enough nor poor enough to take the risk of building one by myself so I bought a Specialized Air Blast from a friendly e-tailer.
Taking the old tape off and putting on the new rim tape is a simple exercise. The valve is just molded into a giant rubber band. It's like a cut out part of a tube, but fits tighter.
I suppose that a tire with a more rigid bead and sidewall would be more likely to convert, my studded snow tires are candidates. Unfortunately, I like the Pasela tire with supple sidewalls and reasonable price tag, I just want flats to go away. Looking through the Schwalbe, Panasonic and Continental websites, I found no reference to tubeless mounting on any tire I would like to use. There are a few 23mm road tires, lots of MTB racing tires and one "gravel racing" tire which might be usable on a future build I have in mind. Once again the industry is patronizing racing, creating products to benefit the high priced impractical market and leaving us with a product that amounts to snake oil for any practical application. Right now I'll take the more passive approach and inject some sealant into the tubes and hope for the best.