tubeless tire impressions

I converted to tubeless tires a couple of weeks ago and now have several rides on the new setup and can offer some impressions.

The first ride was rather disappointing from a performance standpoint….not only was my loop time not any quicker than with tubes, but it actually took a few minutes longer.  I rode the Oak Mtn loop counterclockwise though, which likely accounted for the time difference considering that has always been my slower route.  But still, I just didn’t “feel it” with the tubeless setup.  After thinking about it, I realized I probably was riding them with too much air pressure…still carrying some fear about being too low.

The next ride was an out-and-back at Oak Mtn and this time I was riding with my rear tire way too low….as in probably 18 psi or so because I totally forgot to air it up and then once on the trail I was too lazy to turn around to do so.  As luck would have it, my tire was so low that I got a flat after romping through a rock garden.  But at least I got to witness first hand how awesome Stan’s sealant is as I watched it seal the hole right in front of my eyes.  I still had to put a little more air into the tire several more times over the next 6 or 7 miles, but by the time the ride was over it seemed to do a decent job of sealing the tire.  My overall impression of tubeless was still not great, but at least I was seeing some benefits and knew that with the right pressure it might actually be something nice.

Fast forward to tonight’s ride….put around 28 psi in the front and 30 in the rear and it rocked the trails.  I could corner better, grip on the downhills better, and definitely was using my brakes a lot less than usual.  I didn’t do my normal 17-mile loop, so I can’t say whether it was much faster or not, but it certainly felt much better than with tubes.  I was able to attack the Lake Trail, Rattlesnake Ridge, and Mr.Toad’s as I did two mini loops.  This ride definitely had me second guessing my recent obsession with buying a full suspension bike.

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