Tuesday, March 6

Beard Science

Firstly, I already mentioned that Sunday's road ride hurt my knee. That was an understatement. It killed my knee. I ride fixed and single speed all the time, the things that are supposed to be "hard on your knees," and I go out for 60 easy miles on a road bike and manage to destroy my knee.


The other day I was talking to Thad. We had the usual conversation.

"Rich, you're so awesome, and kind, and benevolent."

"Yes, Thad... you're welcome."

Anyways, interspersed amongst the praise, adulation and random discussions about titanium, occasionally Thad would spout some wisdom. He told me of a fellow rider who would plug the holes in his tubeless tires with knotted rubber bands, similar to what they do with car tires.

Keep in mind, Thad was talking about field repairs, not in the shop under sterile conditions situations.

This got me to thinking. Back in my UST days (26" wheels), I bought a kit that was supposed to work just as he described.

I never got it to work, even under sterile conditions. For some reason, I still have this relic on a shelf in my room. Anyways, I ended up just using tube patches on the inside of the tire whenever I got around to fixing my ratty, old tires.

Since my conversation with Thad, I was recently in contact with the people at Genuine Innovations, and I saw this on the site which I had never seen before.

Now I'm thinking, "I've been down this road before, but it does look different."

Michael at GI assured me, "Our tubeless repair kit is awesome. Rope plugs and tool... works amazing."

I see no reason to not trust this guy.

I told him to send it over, and I'd give it a whirl. So when it arrived, I let it sit on the bench for awhile. A few days later, I was on the phone with Eric "PMBAR Honcho" Wever, and I told him about it. I explained to him that I wanted to test it before I trusted it in the field, but I was too lazy. He insisted in the name of science that I give it a go.

So here we go.

Just so we're on the same page, I mounted up a worn out CST tire that had been set up tubeless at one time in its existence. I aired it up bone-dry with no additional Stan's fluid.

I then grabbed a dental pick tool...

and shoved it in until it was well in place. I wiggled it around for good measure.

I made a nice hole.

I then loaded the screwdriver looking thing which measures @ 2.5" long and fits nicely in a Tülbag. I neglected to take a photo of this process, as threading the rubber rope stuff into the tool was a bit of a pain in the ass. I then stuck the lumpy gummy worm into the hole.

The fluid you see coming out on the side was from the previous tire. I assure you I didn't waste any Stan's on this experiment.

Once I was done, I dribbled some dish soap on the fix to see if any bubbles would show up.


I let it sit overnight, and the tire was still holding air like a champ 24 hours later (it's now at 36+ hours and still fine).

So what did I take home from this (figuratively, since I was already home when I did it)?

I'm thinking about the three flats I had at last year's Trans-Sylvania Epic. I could see where the holes were since Stan's was shooting out, but the holes were just a bit too big for the fluid to do it's job. One flat I finished on (ruining an Ikon in the process), another one I fixed and bounced down all the timed downhill sections on a basketball-like front tire, and the last one cost me second place overall in the single speed class. If I could do it all over, I would have the tool preloaded with a sticky rope in my Tülbag. I would have popped it in, and grabbed my pre-nozzled CO2...

which will be handily mounted to my seatpost with an X-Mount (the original reason I called Genuine Innovations). A quick blast of air, and I woulda been rocking. I'm guessing somewhere under a minute to get back up and rolling.

This would be soooooo much better than sticking a tube in the tire, since the only thing worse than riding a rigid single speed with a tube all jacked up with too much air is not riding at all.

Preloading the tool is gonna be key. Threading the needle in the heat of competition would be ludicrous. I'll preload it, stick it in a small zip-lock bag, and keep it tucked in my Tülbag.

For the folks just out for a long ride, this option should keep them from having to finish the day on a tube... assuming they carried this kit in their hydration packs. I'd still carry a tube for major emergencies, but this should work in most situations.

$6 for the tool and five pieces of rubber mini bacon.

There is no reason to not have this in your pack if you are running tubeless.


Unless you have an aversion to sight of bacon.


dougyfresh said...

I had a comment all written out but then blogger can't post them via the mobile version (default when reading via a phone) with the iPhone.

so. I had to switch off the mobile version to comment but lost what I wrote and can't remember because I'm frustrated by how shitty the iPhone is without flash.

fuck that. guess you won't see my comment.

carry on

WV: linall havedick

rockridr said...

MMMMMM, bacon, might be a great emergency snack as well?

dicky said...

Doug, you couldn't remember "pussy?"

kbark said...

For preloading, try squishing one end of the bacon flat and then pushing/pulling it through with pliers. I've been using those things on auto tires for years.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Shart. I knew the future 10 yrs ago. I've repaired auto tires with a kit like this from AutoZone.

dicky said...

Kshart, that's actually how I managed to get it in there and also when I realized that preloading would be key for racing porpoises.

Rigidnsingle said...

It's amazing how many shops have no clue what I'm talking about when I ask for this....

aaron said...

I tried using these 2 years ago. It was in the summer and the trails were much drier. I had two attempts. One was during a 24 hour race. On one lap I flatted with a hole in the middle. It was actually more of a slow leak where you could see the stans slowly coming out. I plugged the hole, but within 3 miles the orange cord came back out, and I ran the next 2 miles until I swapped wheels.

Another attempt was done on a more casual paced ride with my uncle. I plugged the whole, and tried to cut the excess cord with a multi-tool, leaving only a little bit hanging out. The cord worked it's way out again.

eastwood said...

soooo... you just let the bacon dangle there?

dicky said...

I left my bacon dangling further than suggested. I shoulda went for deeper bacon insertion. I do know that I drove around in my Samurai for a long time with two pieces of dangling bacon.

Aaron, I wonder if the hole was too big. I saw where the instructions said that sometimes two may be required.

I wish I woulda poked a hole in a less worn-out tire. I wanna try it out on the trail, but that tire is wasted.

Shane S. said...

What we really need is something to repair a good ole side wall tear.

Anonymous said...

I tried this kit in a race. Shortly after the repair, the pressure popped the rope right back out. Put a tube in and got on with my business.

pv said...

NEVER LET YER BACON DANGLE. Might get caught in yer spokes.

You comin' out for the Cup races or what? I'm out, ate it lap 3 (and 2 and 1) last week, plus I'm outta shape. I'm ditching the ridgid and going back to a boinger fork. Too damn steep, fast here w/ rocks tied to Mazatlan. So i aitn as cool as you anymore...Meh.