as a percussionist of no repute whatosever, i am generally overly protective of my sense of timing, yet there is no doubt that i am frequently late to the party. with the possible exception of shimano's di2, which i reviewed within two months of its original release, i seem rarely to have been as close to the forefront of bicycle technology as you'd expect from a world famous member of the cycling media. items such as disc brakes, press-fit bottom bracket bearings and thru-axles have all appeared in these black and yellow pixels so much later than everywhere else.
this seems also to be true of tubeless tyres, a pair of which arrived at the croft only a matter of days ago.
i have approached these with great trepidation, based purely on previous experience of failed mountain bike examples belonging to visiting cyclists. in more than a single instance, i have been asked to re-inflate one or two of the tubeless breed, covering hands in a green gloop in the process. on every occasion i have had to resort to an inner tube in order to have them on their way with the minimum of delay. i thus had little faith in my ability to fit a set of my own from page one.
the process was, however, greatly aided by the simultaneous arrival of a pair of tubeless-ready, 1450g ascent wheels from the expert hands of wheelsmith's derek mclay based in larbert, near stirling. i figure that there may be others who inhabit the same traling edge of bicycle technology as do i, thus i will attempt to be as descriptive as possible concerning the act of shoeing your very own bicycle in this manner. i am led to believe that it is possible to purchase rim tape that allows conversion of any wheels to the tubeless state, but those to whom i have spoken seem less than convinced of the efficacy of this particular method.
however, the wheelsmith rims featured an appropriate profile and tape to ease the fitting procedure.
schwalbe's pro-one tyres arrived with individual valves ready to be pressed through the valve hole from the inside, along with a lockring to keep them in place. according to the small instruction leaflet in the box, fitting the tyres to the rim required a tube of schwalbe easy-fit, something that wasn't present in the box. not wishing to fail at the first hurdle, i found a youtube video explaining all and in which the presenter referred to the missing substance as 'expensive soapy water'.
so i used washing-up liquid.
i've no idea whether it pays to be circumspect when inflating tubeless tyres, but i pushed them up to 60psi and left them for a day or two just to make sure before deflating, removing the valve core with the supplied tool and emptying fifty percent of the white gloop intended to assist with any leakages into each tyre. i doubt that this is meant to be a particularly messy procedure, but in my case it most certainly was, requiring both tyres and rims to be wiped clean before taking the pressure back to sixty and onto ninety later that same day.
this is not intended to be the review, the whole review and nothing but the review; more an introduction to tubeless tyres for the faint-hearted. suffice it to say, i have completed the first ride on the schwalbes and wheelsmith's excellent hoops without undue complications. it will take a few more future revolutions before i know whether to be a convinced tubeless aficionado or not, but it's looking promising at the moment, having freewheeled past most of the velo club peloton whenever the road descended. this is a situation i am attributing to a reduced rolling resistance which, i am supposing, ought to be one of the more prescient features of leaving home without inner tubes about one's personage.
well, at least, not inside the tyres.
reviews of both tyres and wheels will appear in the fullness of time.
monday 27 march 2017..........................................................................................................................................................................................................