I was soaring down “Will’s Traverse” at Beacon Hill, my big wheels ignoring rubble and my plush suspension eating up small jumps. The wind was cool but the sun was warming and my smile indicated it was a perfect ride. In an instant my buzz faded and my stomach sank as I heard the “pppssssssttt” that every cyclist on dirt or tarmac dreads as the life-giving air escapes the carcass of their dying tires.
I halted knowing that my ride was delayed if not over. As I slowed, the escaping pressure became more evident without the noise of breathing and rolling rubber over dirt. I was watching carefully for evidence of the destruction as I slowed, as the tire rotated to the crest of the revolution I witnessed the fantastic sight of Stans fluid pulsing into the air like blood from a severed artery.
I stopped after one more revolution and witnessed the modern miracle of tubeless tires: coagulation. Or the latex equivalent there-of. It was a miracle; my ride was saved as if by divine intervention! In an effort to give thanks to the role of technology in my life my legs redoubled their effort and I cranked away from the incident with thankful haste.
As a “Clydesdale category rider” I’ve had a nasty history of mangled rims, broken spokes and an unending legacy of thorny flats and snakebites. These ride crushing pauses concluded two years ago when I watched a youtube video, splashed some Stans into my Schwalbe Nobby Nics and pumped like mad to seat the bead. Within an hour I had a revelation about tires and their role in my cycling life. Years later after witnessing several self healed gashes, stab wounds and slices on various tires, I am a firm believer in tubeless technology. If you are a cyclist who pedals on two wheels…
You deserve to go tubeless. Beyond shedding ~half a pound in weight (rotating weight mind you!) riders will enjoy better ground contact from lower tire pressure, faster track times because of the lower pressure, a self healing system that has yet to fail me and an overall smoother and easier ride. I don’t think there is any reason to use tubes at this point if you use two wheels under human power!
Please consider that my testing has all been in the lower PSI/bar of the MTB world but I guarantee you my next cross or road wheel set will be a tubeless compatible system and will have a tubeless ready tire like the Hutchinson Sector 700x28c or the Schwalbe One 700x25c mounted with a bit of Stans in it. I’ve also yet to test the technology on a unicycle but I would happily risk a few spills and blunted shins to prove the point.
I encourage any reader interested in reliability and or performance to drop into the shop and see what options are available for your two wheel wonder.