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Technical Q&A with Lennard Zinn – Latex v. Tubes

Dear Lennard,You mention you use the No Tubes set up with your Ksyriums and Hutchinson’s Road Tubeless tires. I would like to do the same, but am concerned about Hutchinson’s warning against doing so. Something about ammonia breaking down the inside body of the tire. Any thoughts here?Matt

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By Lennard Zinn

Stan's road kit. Does it go against the tire manufacturer's warning?

Stan’s road kit. Does it go against the tire manufacturer’s warning?

Photo:

Dear Lennard,
You mention you use the No Tubes set up with your Ksyriums and Hutchinson’s Road Tubeless tires. I would like to do the same, but am concerned about Hutchinson’s warning against doing so. Something about ammonia breaking down the inside body of the tire. Any thoughts here?
Matt

Answer from the president of NoTubes.com:

My sealant has very little if any ammonia in it.

If you read the Installation Instructions on the hang tag of the Fusion tubeless tire. Hutchinson recommends using their Fast Air Latex sealant.

In the tubeless road tires we use 2oz of my sealant. In most cases it lasts over four months almost one full season 2000 + miles.

My sealant will not damage any tire.
Stan Koziatek
Founder, NoTubes.com


Slow loss of pressure
Dear Lennard,
I would be curious to hear a lot more about tubeless, both for road and mountain bikes. I gather the hot setup right now for road is the Hutchinson tire with a standard (sealed or tubeless) rim and Stan’s latex, while most people on MBs seem to run standard tires and Stan’s on tubeless rims, as the real tubeless tires are quite heavy.

One concern I have is the latex. I’ve heard with the MB that the tires just slowly start to lose more and more pressure between rides, as a gentle reminder to add more Stan’s. Is that also true with the road bike setup a well? I have visions of the road bike tires suddenly failing in the middle of a big ride. Not a pretty picture.
Another concern is changing tires. I’ve heard it can be a real bugger to change a tire on a tubeless rim.
For MBs, is this just true of a real tubeless tire, or is this also true of non-tubeless tires used with a tubeless rim and Stan’s. I noticed the Stan’s kit to convert a regular rim to tubeless builds up the tape to the point where the tire seals both not just to the rim wall, but to the base of the rim. I’m sure this makes a good seal, but it seems like it would be a real bugger to change a tire.

With the carbon bead on the Hutchinson road tire, I would also worry about the difficulty of getting the tire on and off. Intuitively it seems like it might be quite a challenge. Is that true, or is it less of a challenge than it sounds.
Steve

Dear Steve,
The Hutchinson tubeless road tires are also relatively heavy, but they are the only way to go; I’ve tried it with standard clinchers and they blow right off the rim. Very scary. The inner tubes hold the bead in place, and without them, you are asking for trouble. The super-tight, non-stretchable carbon beads on the Hutchinson tubeless tires are a must.

I love the ride of them, and I’ll be using them on a 345km ride in the mountains above Boulder today (Tuesday the 19th) for my annual Gran Fondo Zinn ride. Even though they add about 80 grams per wheel, I feel that the nicer rolling and cornering grip is an advantage overall. Certainly the lack of concern about punctures and pinch flats is nice.

The ride tomorrow (today as far as when this is posted) includes Trail Ridge Road, Berthoud Pass, and Central City’s Oh My God Road (on dirt) as the big climbs with corresponding fast descents after them. I’ve been very pleased with the cornering of these on non-tubeless (Mavic Ksyrium ES) wheels, and I particularly like riding on dirt on them.

I personally love riding UST tubeless MTB tires with Stan’s in them. If I were racing, I suppose I would be tempted to use standard tires with Stan’s, and I do have some wheels set up that way. But they are a pain. The UST tires with sealant are very low maintenance, never burp air, and they provide great grip, comfort, and low rolling resistance on rocky terrain. I’m willing to pay the weight penalty for absolutely zero concern about flats and for better traction.

As for losing pressure, the Hutchinson road tubeless with Stan’s or with Hutchinson latex solution don’t lose any. I haven’t pumped in days, and I know when I get up at 4am for my big ride, they won’t need any. With non-UST MTB tires, however, it is an issue, and if you don’t keep up with it, they will go completely flat and your Stan’s solution will harden inside.

I don’t have any trouble changing tubeless tires. It’s all in the technique. Too long to go into here, but it’s in my books. There’s a competition often at the Interbike Outdoor Demo for the fastest guy mounting tubeless tires with a hand pump, and it doesn’t take long for people who are good at it. That said, I have not tried the Hutchinson tubeless road tires on a rim with spoke holes and the Stan’s tape. As that might fill the rim valley, it could make it way harder. That’s the key – letting the opposite bead fall into the rim valley and starting and ending by the valve stem, so it is not a hindrance to the bead dropping in. Lennard


More on wheels for Tour de Suisse hillclimb time trial
Dear Lennard,
I just read the article you wrote about the Tour de Suisse uphill TT. I enjoyed it and found the weight issue about “as it would be sold” weight to be yet another arbitrary UCI ruling. As if their rules were not confusing enough already.

You made a small mention about aerodynamics and I thought I would add some comments in that regard. As is normal for us to do for Team Columbia we were asked to evaluate what the best wheels for the day would be.

As you may or may not know, we have a relatively complicated computer program that we use to evaluate what wheels work best for any particular parcours. We use many variables including individual wheel drag data, rider watt output, wheel weight, rider/bike weight, rider total aero drag numbers, and most importantly the GPS data for the TT course in question. The program was originally developed in the Armstrong years and gets a tweak every year to factor in more variables. It has proven to be exceptionally accurate as long as the average wattage of the rider is accurate. In any case, for the TDS the numbers that we got for various aero wheels vs. a climbing wheel were such that it did not matter which wheels were used, the end time was going to be the same.

The extra weight of aero’ wheels was offset by the aerodynamics that each wheel offered. The TDS TT was a bit unusual because the climb was just not that steep overall. Climbs that are steeper of course start to favor the climbing wheels. For Kirchen we were able to predict his time to within 30 seconds.
Dino Edin
Hed Cycling Products


Technical writer Lennard Zinn is a frame builder (www.zinncycles.com), a former U.S. national team rider and author of numerous books on bikes and bike maintenance including the pair of successful maintenance guides “Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance” – now available also on DVD, and “Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance,” as well as “Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes” and “Zinn’s Cycling Primer: Maintenance Tips and Skill Building for Cyclists.”

Zinn’s regular column is devoted to addressing readers’ technical questions about bikes, their care and feeding and how we as riders can use them as comfortably and efficiently as possible. Readers can send brief technical questions directly to Zinn.

Zinn’s column appears here each Tuesday.