After having tried numerous tricks to get my 2Bliss Ready Specialized tubeless wheels and tyres to seal I decided to clean them up and start again.
Before continuing I did a little shopping, as it turned out the guys over at Chain Reaction Cycles had everything I needed and at a very good price:
- Stan’s No Tubes Rim Tape 9.14m x 33mm
- 250ml Effetto Mariposa Caffelatex sealant
- Effetto Mariposa Tubeless Valve (x2)
There is actually a full kit available from Effetto, I have used their tape and valves previously with success, however as I already had the valves I purchased just the Stan’s tape (mainly because everyone raves about it and I wanted to try it for myself) and Effetto sealant. My Plus rims are 27.5″ with an internal rim width of 29mm (according to the 2Bliss rim ‘band’ that came with them).
Using a washing up bowl filled with warm soapy water (actually washing up liquid) I cleaned away all of the old sealant, using a normal scouring pad to scrub off any dried sealant from the rims inside and out – I wanted this thing to be spotless like it was a new wheel, with nothing to get in the way of a good seal.
I also needed to remove the old sealant from the inside of the tyre, who knows how that would interact with new sealant (I purchased a different brand to replace it, I wanted to eliminate the old sealant as a potential cause of the previous failed attempts).
I removed any traces of dried sealant around the tyre bead, the best way to do this is with some good old fashioned dry friction – a wet sponge won’t be nearly as effective as a dry scourer, but it will get hot so use caution!
I made sure I left the wheels and tyres to dry thoroughly, a few hours to be certain (this hot dry weather is good for drying things at least!)
That’s the hard and messy part over! Had I not already attempted to seal the wheels using the 2Bliss rim tape system (which I do not rate at all now) then I’d be at this stage from the beginning. Armed with my new Stan’s rim tape I started to apply it and get these wheels sealed.
There are many videos on YouTube demonstrating the best ways of applying rim tape, I loosely followed these and the advice I’d been given from a bike shop to ‘pull the tape tight and hard as if drawing an arrow in a bow’, I did this in sections of approximately two feet or so, smoothing down the tape between applications so that it sat in the grooves and corners of the inner rim. One key piece of advice from one of the YouTube videos helped things along, and that was to use a dry microfibre cloth as trying to push the tape into the grooves with bare hands would probably result in very hot fingers from the friction.
Starting about six inches to the left of the valve hole, the end of the tape was cut off using a sharp knife and the tape smoothly pushed down flush with the inner rim and the corners pushed in with my thumbnail. Once I’d gone all the way around I continued to about six inches past the valve hole, then cut the tape using my sharp knife to leave a smart finished article that would hopefully be air and sealant proof.
When it came to inserting the valve stem I cut a slot almost as wide as the valve hole then let the valve stem open it up as much as it needed to as I pushed it through, the rubber block lined up with the direction of the wheel. I applied the washer and nut finger-tight so that it pulled the valve stem and rubber block flush with the tape and tight up against it, but not so tight that it distorted the rubber block in any way. It does not need to be more than finger right.
This wheel is pretty much finished at this stage, all that’s left to do is fit the tyre (leaving a small opening to pour the sealant in), inflate to the tubeless install pressure as marked on the tyre sidewall, tilt and shake it about a bit then fit the wheel back on the bike and go for a ride.
I used about 80ml of sealant in these tyres to ensure sufficient to cover the entire internal surface with plenty left over for any leaks. I inflated the tyres quickly using my track pump to 25 PSI, I didn’t see any sealant nor could I hear any air escaping, success!
I actually decided not to ride the bike straight away, instead electing caution to see if it would lose pressure overnight – it lost a little on my rear tyre (Specialized Ground Control) so I pumped both tyres up to 30 PSI and went for a 15 mile ride on a route that covered tarmac, bumpy dirt tracks and potholed forest roads, a good combination to get the sealant jumping around inside the tyre, and not too far from home should anything go wrong.
As it turned out there were a few tiny areas on the tyre sidewalls where sealant escaped but these did seal eventually (with the current hot weather the sealant is thinner than ideal), it’s been a few days since that ride and the tyres haven’t lost any noticeable amount of pressure so I’m going to call this a success. I will lower the pressures to ride levels (about 15-20 PSI for these 3″ Plus tyres) and ride the bike on trails where I would normally go, when conditions turn slippery I will try lowering the pressure perhaps as low as 10 PSI for a larger contact patch.
It occurred to me later that I might want to ride with a Purgatory up front (no change needed) and also a Purgatory on the rear for extra traction in muddy conditions compared to the Ground Control which I fitted; it should be a simple matter of transferring as much of the sealant as possible from the Ground Control to the second Purgatory once on the rim and just topping it up if necessary, then cleaning the remaining sealant off the Ground Control ready for the next summer season; certainly a cheaper option than having another whole wheel! That is unless I could find an unused / new one going cheap somewhere, hmm! A handy method I devised for extracting sealant from the tyre without getting too messy is a large syringe with a piece of flexible tubing, enabling me to suck up the sealant without actually putting my hands inside the tyre, as I would have to if using a scoop of some kind (which also might grab any dried blobs of sealant that I would not want in the new tyre).
Looking forward to riding tubeless on this Plus bike!