Mountain Gear

Tech Report: Just Say Stan's

Stan Koziatek's garage invention has earned one of the best compliments possible: "Stan's" is now the generic term for tire sealant, in the same way the brand name "Xerox" means "copy" and "Kleenex" means "facial tissue." He's at it again for 2010.

When you buy a NoTubes product, you know the idea came directly from the man — Stan Koziatek — himself. Photo by Zack Vestal
When you buy a NoTubes product, you know the idea came directly from the man — Stan Koziatek — himself. CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS IN THE SLIDESHOW BELOW Photo by Zack Vestal

Mountain biking’s favorite mad scientist and inventor is at it again — and the outcome looks promising.

I caught up briefly with Stan Koziatek of Stan’s NoTubes at the Eurobike trade show back in early September. He filled me in on a couple of new rims on the way for 2010.

NoTubes rims-patented profile

Koziatek is probably one of the most creative, inventive and persistent figures in the mountain bike industry today. Almost single-handedly he created the tubeless tire sealant category. And the name brand sealant that he invented in his garage has, of course, earned one of the best compliments possible: “Stan’s” is now the generic term for tire sealant, in the same way the brand name “Xerox” means “copy” and “Kleenex” means “facial tissue.”

Along with perfecting latex-based tire sealant, he’s also pushed hard to earn adoption of his patented rim profile. Before anyone else in the industry thought to even consider the concept, Koziatek was making rims with short sidewalls and minimal bead hook, specifically for tubeless tire setups. The short sidewall and minimal bead hook allows the tire to roll and conform to terrain, plus the tire bead nests more securely in the smaller space between the bead hook and the tire bed.

Add to these characteristics less rim material, which means less weight, and improved resistance to denting, and the NoTubes rim profile starts to make a lot of sense. Koziatek counts Sabine Spitz, Lance Armstrong, Dave Wiens, Mary McConneloug, Todd Wells and Geoff Kabush among hundreds of racers who have used Stan’s NoTubes rims at one time or another.

New for 2010: Wider, but lighter

For 2010, things only get better. Stan’s NoTubes has created four new rims: the ZTR Podium MMX, ZTR Alpine, ZTR Crest and a yet-unnamed 700c road tubeless project.

The Podium MMX (which refers to the year 2010) is the successor to the popular ZTR Race 7000. The new rim’s profile is nearly identical to the Race 7000, but the inside width grows to 21mm while the weight drops to 284 grams. NoTubes uses a different alloy and improved drilling geometry for better fatigue resistance. The new Podium MMX will be available only in a 26-inch version, with 32 holes.

Similar to the popular ZTR Olympic rim, the new ZTR Alpine loses a bit of weight, coming in at just 330 grams. Like the Podium MMX, ZTR Alpine gains interior width compared to its predecessor, measuring 20mm inside rather than 18mm. Koziatek says that the added width and short rim sidewalls will stabilize tires as well as most 28mm rims. The ZTR Alpine will be available in 26-inch only in either 28- or 32-hole drilling.

The ZTR Crest compares to the current ZTR 355, but weighs almost 18 grams less, at 340 grams. It’s wider than the current 355 by 2mm, growing to 21mm for better tire stabilization. ZTR Crest will be available in 26-inch with either 24, 28, or 32 holes, and as a 29-inch rim in 32 hole drilling.

Finally, Koziatek is working on a 700c road and cyclocross rim. He’s got a profile in mind that’s wider than most traditional clinchers, measuring 20mm outside to outside (17mm interior) and stands 22.6mm deep. The projected weight is 350 grams, and it will have the NoTubes patented rim profile with a short interior sidewall. But unlike the previously mentioned mountain bike rims, it will have a machined exterior sidewall for caliper or cantilever brakes. As always, tire stability and ride quality are Stan’s goals. Drilling options are yet to be finalized.

ZTR Podium rims are expected to begin shipping in October, ZTR Alpine and Crest rims by the end of the year, and the road rim should be available by January 2010. Pricing has not been finalized.

Stay tuned: I’ve been riding a ZTR Race 29er AC wheelset with Stan’s Raven 2.2 tires since spring. It’s been fantastic. Look for a full review in the next few weeks.

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