|Punctures and some possible solutions
Now updated (yellow text) if you want to read
about the BEST anti-puncture system on the market forget all the history of
no-tubes and go straight here
I've tried several Anti-punture methods,
on different bikes with various tyres.
There are tubeless tyres, and there's running any tyre
you want without the use of an inner tube.
What? I hear some of you say.
Well most of you will have heard of slime, the green goo
that goes inside inner tubes, this works on the same principle of sealing any
holes. But if you can seal the rim up, why bother with an inner tube after all,
works fine for cars after all.
Basically the 'stan's system' consists of first sealing a normal rim
up, earlier versions used tape and a bolt on valve stem. The new USA version
uses a custom rubber rim seal, which is much easier to install.
The tyre; any tyre, is then mounted on
one bead and a small amount of sealant is added before pulling on the other
rim, tyre mounting is easier without an inner tube to get in the way. The tyre
is then pumped up, requiring a rush of air initially from a compressor or gas
canister to provide the initial seating force, and then magically (if a bit
messy) the sealant seals all the holes to inflate the tyre. Basically it's
latex, which reacts in air, as it is reduced to a fine area, i.e. as it is
forced through a hole.
I've tried it on
several tyres; some seal almost instantly, notably most normal kevlar beaded
tyres. Steel beaded ones depend on the state of the bead and how it's been
stored, but they can all be made to seal with patience.
Here are some sealing examples.
1. 3 yr. old Specialized
master front, Kevlar bead, used with tubes over this period, so had seen some
thorn punctures in its time. Used with taped rims and sealed almost instantly,
evident where old punctures have been as you watch them seal. Lost air
overnight and had to be re-done but then no problems. "
2. Brand new Mythos XC pair
used with new rim strips sealed very quickly even though using tyres straight
from being tied up in packaging. Evidence that the sidewalls are porous as you
see small damp patches appear, this pair have now been on for 2 months and run
as low as 30 PSI without problems, the suppleness of the ride is
This system requires patience to get to
work initially, and would probably really suit you if the same tyres stay on
the bike for long periods. Latex is commercially available in bulk, so there is
no real reason not to change tyres often if you want too, a home air compressor
makes it a whole lot more convenient though.
If you get a puncture on the trail, from an intruding
object that stays put, mostly thorns in my area, the chances are you won't know
about it untill you look around the tyre. Checking every so often, you can pull
out the thorn, air will escape as normal, the tyre is then rotated so the hole
is near the bottom and the remaining liquid in the tyre quickly seals the hole
If the object
does not remain in the tyre and the hole is thorn sized, it will again seal
with some loss of air without you knowing.
Larger holes will probably cause you to hear the hiss. Dismount and
rotate the tyre again so the hole is at the bottom to ensure rapid sealing
before the pressure drops too low. If the pressure drops low enough, the tyre
will fall off the rim, out in the field a gas canister will re-inflate, or just
put a tube in as normal.
The use of UST (tubeless rims) and tubeless tyres with some of the
latex inside has to be the ultimate method of puncture proofing, with no need
to fix the tyres, unless a big rip/tear occurs. I've had a tyre with a 4mm cut
in it seal with only a 10 psi drop in pressure. On pulling at the now sealed
area it was possible to cause small leaks to re-appear, but after doing this a
few times it was ridden on, and remained on. Even completing a rocky descent
from 900 metres in the lakes in this state.
WHAT MORE CAN I SAY.
" Puncture resistance whilst some liquid
remains in the tyre
Reduction in rolling weight, approx. 100 grams per tyre, reduces steering
gyroscopic forces, tyres feel more plush!
" No more pinch punctures, I've run 30
psi at times for great grip with great effect.
" It freaks people out
" Messy and needs patience and a compressed air source
to set up initially
Expensive due to only available as an import from the states. Beware, for the
latest kit including all packaging and UK import duty, which the P.office then
charge you to collect, you are looking at £50.
" Some tyres will refuse to mount.
" When flying, a source
of compressed air will be needed at your destination, after letting tyres down
for the flight.
interested then try here Stans for the suppliers and details, even a video of the
IN THE UK from
CYCLESURGERY selling for @ £55 for 2
Or there's a new better European version
available from JRA Tell Jon numplumz sent you. See
the update below here
I've used a
kevlar protection strip between tyre and tube in the past with some success,
but they are heavy, and are not totally puncture proof, some thorns just get
variation on this available at present is a sponge foam hoop that goes in the
same place from KAIRFREE. The theory is that 99% of punctures occur from
foreign objects that just penetrate the tyre by a couple of mm.
Think of all the times your tyre goes
down and you stop to change it as it gets soft, they will be the times that
this device will have saved you. And how many tubes do you have with really
slow punctures that even a bowl of water wont find, again caused by a 'just
liner when you receive it is a donut of foam, size specific for tyre width and
diameter; it looks almost half the size of a blown up tyre. After the first
inflation its compressed inside the tyre, and the one occasion I have seen mine
since, shows they compress to about 3 mm thick and remain so, short term.
Yes that's right, these
have been fitted to my hardtail for 3 months now, with a pair of very worn
tyres and I've only had one puncture. That was a beauty of a thorn an inch long
that went in from a side tread angle.
ridden a lot in an area where friends have complained of a getting a puncture
every ride , and had no problems. At times on investigation at home, many small
thorns have been pulled out of the tyre, with no punctures; they just can't get
effect is a harsher ride, although it does appear that the foam is some
protection from pinch flats having done a few unplanned tests recently. Another
is a slight feeling of the tyre rolling in fast corners, but this could be the
effect of the liner not deforming over irregularities as well as a tube alone.
UPDATE: the ride quality for mountainbike tyres is a big
disadvantage in this method, meaning I can't recommend their use for serious
I also have
had some (different size required per tyre) on my road bike now for 3 months
and have suffered no punctures, even having been off-road with them as a test,
and regularly riding a cycle lane that you could guarantee a puncture on every
This seems the
perfect answer to all those flint and glass type punctures common in a commute
ride where you live in the gutter. Numplumz rider Gregg uses them on his daily
commute and has yet to suffer one puncture, sounds like cash well spent to
UPDATE: Our two road bikes both using
these for 6 months have not suffered one puncture, the tyres are looking very
worn with a lot of cuts, some obviously would have been punctures. Due to the
higher tyre pressures used for the road, you can't tell that you are using
liners. BUY SOME FOR THE WINTER - WELL RECOMMENDED. They have also proved to
work very well in Cyclo-cross tyres for winter riding.
Eclipse Tubeless system
Our Pals at
JustRidingalong are also fans of Stan's Idea, but they too were stung with
the import duty to pay, and have taken it a step further. They now import a
European version of it called the Eclipse Tubeless system you can buy direct
Full photo strip of how easy it is to install on Jon's
site here Installation guide
I'm now using the Eclipse system
myself and I have to say, BUY IT. After fitting
the rim stip its possible to inflate the tyre immediately with no sealing fluid
in it at all. (In the site installation guide it should say try this first, it
can warn you of any problems and save you finding out the messy way.) After
fitting this in front of the disbelieving local bike shop mechanics, I then had
the confidence to stab a brand new tyre, twice, with a screwdriver. Instant
hole blocking and no loss of air, impressed the hell out of us.
|Oct 2002 I have now lost
count of the number of thorns that I have pulled out of tyres to show people
just how good this system is. Its getting to the stage where you get annoyed
when other people get punctures on rides, my inner tube fixing days are over,
Yahoo, its finally converted me to 100% no-tubes.
I've just ordered another 2 kits, this stuff is the best
performance aid you could ever buy, a supple ride and no more puncture
|Dec 18 2002
So hows it
going with the "no-tubes" you ask. Well the Eclipse kit I fitted above was to
my Hellbound. An old pair of Mitchelin Wildgrippers were used so I could show
how it worked by the stabbing of the tyres. They have been on now for 3 months,
as an experiment I only used 1/2 the sealant recommended in the rear tyre. It
has just started to lose air regularly, it still never went flat, just soft
after a 3 hour ride. Their seemed to be several permanent wet patchs where
previous holes had been. I could have just added the rest of the sealant
through the handy valve, but as the tyre tread was no useless I decided to
The inside of the tyre was a
mess, no mistake, the sealant had dried up with time and covered the inside,
there were at least 8 thorns still stuck in the tyre and some small flints
round inside. The rim and rim tape cleaned up very easily and mounted another
tyre as quickly as the first and added the saved 1/2 bottle of sealant. So 6
months out of one kit looks on the cards. The front tyre has a whle bottle of
sealant fitted so we will se how that lasts.
As for swapping tyres, thats easy too. On the Preston and the
San Andreas I've swapped for various tyres depending on the terrain. Dismount
one tyre bead, then with a desert spoon scoop out the sealant and bottle it.
The fluid remains as clean and the same milky consistency as when it was first
put in. Some old steel beaded tyres have proved a bitch to mount, but they
always seal in the end.
The real noticable
difference in the garage has been the inner tube mountain, its gone, and my
mountain used to be huge at this time of year. No more sitting in front of the
TV sanding and gluing patchs on tubes.
the record, I ride from 150 to 200 miles every week, I commute on a
mountainbike, and at least 50 of those miles are off road whatever the weather.
Probably explains my chain,and shock bushes mountains too!
|Sept 01 2003
OK over a
year of use and how's it going I hear you ask, here's an update on tyres used
Wildgrippers 2.1 wire black
||Bombproof for general
hacking use, but are theonly ones to roll off on roots in use.
Wildgrippers Lite S 2.1 kevlar green
||I bought 4 of these
and now only have 1 left. Easy mount great comfort but the sidewalls spilt too
easy. Luckily with Eclipse tyres stay on the rim even when flat.NOT recommended
|IRC Mythos XC 2.1/1.9
||Seal after initial
pourus sidewalls seal, then superb no trouble and feel so supple on low
fighters 2.1 kevlar
||Superb after trouble
sealing when old. Trouble is you don't want to leave them on that long , one
ride then off. Ideal for spare wheel set up for fast races. My favourite
semi-slicks and can be gotten cheap.
master kevlar front 2.1
||Really supple, at low
pressures great grip but can blow off in sideways landings. Suits the SanAn
|WTB Velocoraptor 2.1
||Good on SanAn for
play days but deformed beads of badly stored tyres make fitting a bastard.
Superb once fitted.
Crossroads 2.1 steel
||Easy to seal and
could go for ever. Very fast and comfortable, surprising offroad ability.
Thetford top tyre for enduro's
|Panracer Fire XC 1.8
||Seal instantly from
new, and never leak. Fast and grippy even though thin. The pressures been down
real low where more grip was needed, felt the rim several times with no
problems. The tyre of choice at the moment. They wear quite fast so could be a
bonus when they get thin.