Vegan Dave has had some time on this setup, so we asked him to put together a little review for us. Click through to read it.
Pumped up to ~95psi as recommended for my weight. On my Ridley Noah and Argon18 Krypton (winter bike), the wheel is a PowerTapSL hub, recently built to a Stan’s Alpha340 ZTR 32h rim. Stan’s Tire Sealant and Rim Strip (2 layers as instructed) used.
Initial impression was that the tire felt a bit harsh, compared to the Continental GP4000S ‘Black Chili’ compound tires I’m accustomed to (and still have on the front until my tubeless front wheel is ready). It might also be because I’ve not been on the road bike for nearly a month, and nearly all my riding has been on my big, fat ‘cross tires at 35-60psi.
But, after rolling along for 10 minutes, that feeling went away, and everything began to feel ‘normal’ again. First ride was my 1hr ‘Power Hour’ loop (up Foul Bay/Gordon Head, back along the water). No real challenging terrain, relatively smooth roads, etc..
Generally, for me, good gear isn’t noticed. I can just ride, be ‘one with the bike’, and not have to think about it. This occurred pretty quickly; the tire worked well, and didn’t feel significantly different.
I hit a few fast corners, and it felt good on the cool, dry asphalt. Climbing it felt solid, and had no problems with traction or anything. Visually, it certainly appears wider than the Conti, which has a bit more of a sexy profile. Note that the Stan’s rim is also wider, which may play a part in that, and apparently contributes to a smoother ride and more grippy cornering.
In subsequent rides, hitting a lot of rain and even some snow, the tire hooks up well, the only sliding occurring on a ‘King of the Overpass’ sprint when i crossed a painted line, but it grabbed nicely once over it. Seems like a good all-rounder.
Also had an interesting near-accident as i was approaching the Switch Bridge on the Goose from out of town. I came around the corner, saw riders ahead but they were going straight, and i was accelerating to pass, and suddenly they started turning left (without signaling.) I had to jam on the breaks, and i managed to come to a stop nearly immediately – and i could really feel the tire gripping (while another rider was sliding out) going from powering up over 30kph to zero in a second. Not too shabby!
Went very smoothly. Be sure to use two layers of rim tape as instructed. From there, it’s as promised. I just popped the tire on, and with a floor pump, it inflated instantly. Once it finished ‘popping’, ie setting, i let the air out, and injected 2oz of sealant. Pumped it back up, and all was good.
It’s been holding air very well. There was one day I found it flat, but a quick pump solved that, and it remains firm. Retains air very well, losing ~10psi over a week.
Keen to get data from cyclocross practice and racing (and to have a lighter ride/race wheel for the summer), i had another Wireless PowerTap laced up, this time to a 24h Alpha340 rim. Instead of my regular CX tire of choice, the Michelin Mudd2’s, i opted for something different: the Specialized Captain Pro’s. (I had been trying them out with tubes, and REALLY liking them for the local terrain. That opinion continues – a great all-round tire for local riding and racing. They wear a bit quick, but that’s my only complaint after a season of riding.)
The tire isn’t a tubeless one, but you can use just about any tire on a Stan’s rim if it’s at lower pressure (so no road tires. They blow off the rim around 80psi.)
Riding was similar to the MTB, felt great, and with the fear of flats was gone i’d just focus on riding. Had zero burps or any other issues. Normally would ride tires ~30-35psi, i decided to try a harder pressure, and rode around 55psi, and have actually been surprised with the ride quality and comfort. Expecting to be bashed around, it seems just about right for my riding style. This would also likely contribute to a lack of burping, so can’t promise these results under 30psi. None of the courses i rode this year required lower pressure, although i was hoping for it.
Zero flats on the tubeless, although ironically, shortly after installing this, i got a flat in the front on a Wednesday Nighter after running over an unseen thumb tack, where i still had a tube.
Perks to Tubeless
Some of the noted benefits from Tubeless tires are better rolling resistance – since there is no tube, there’s that much less friction (the tube is constantly changing shape as the tire molds to the contours of the road), which should translate into a faster, more comfortable ride. I’m certainly familiar with it on my mountain bike, which has been using Tubeless technology for a number of years now. I can definitely feel the difference between a tube and tubeless when riding the MTB – the tubeless of course being much more favorable. Also, with the road tubeless tires, they apparently won’t come off the rim in the case of a flat, and you can roll out to a stop in relative comfort.
The other benefit, and this will be nice on the upcoming cold and wet days is the presence of the Stan’s Tire Sealant. Again, with mountain bike tires, it’s saved many rider’s from potential flats. Besides being impossible to pinch-flat, the sealant seals up small punctures. On the trail, this is commonly caused by thorns. One example, as I was rolling through some brush, I heard a THWAP THWAP THWAP THWAP from the front wheel. I stopped, and there was a 15cm thorny branch embedded in my tire! I pulled it out, the tire hissed for a second, and then was sealed. I continued riding home, and likely loss less than a single PSI.
I’m sure I can expect similar behavior from the road wheel now. Nails, staples, wire and other common road debris should no longer be a bother, especially on a cold, wet winter ride! Hurray for Tubeless tires on the road!
- “Vegan” Dave Shishkoff
Dave, who practically lives at Oak Bay Bikes, is president of the OrganicAthlete club and an outspoken gear snob always eager to try out the latest and greatest bike parts. Not willing to be stuck in any groove and a fan of diversity, Dave rides and races on the velodrome, road, cross-country and cyclocross. His vegan cycling blog can be found at http://cycling.davenoisy.com