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An important point that I think is missed here, or at least I didn't see it:
Tubeless RIMS are a different design than tube-type.
Tubeless rims normally have a small "safety" ridge - it's small (2-3mm or so high) it's easily missed if you're not looking. It's just inside where the tire bead sits. It's positioned and designed to help hold the tire on the rim more securely - and is also why they're so hard to break the bead on. Without this ridge, if you have a flat on a tube type rim, the tire is more likely to flop around and break the bead - which with a tube is no biggie, it'll just pop back on, but with tubeless means instant and total deflation.
As a result, I NEVER recommend converting a tube-type rim to tubeless.
Also it's quite easy to damage a tubeless tire so much it won't hold air, but can still be ridden ok with a tube installed inside, so you still need to carry tubes.
Tubeless rims normally have a small "safety" ridge - it's small (2-3mm or so high) it's easily missed if you're not looking.
Bikes equipped from the factory with tubed tyres have that ridge too on the rear wheel. My 86' Tagasako-shod Tenere did and so does my current Italian-rimmed Tenere - and Triumphs too as Patrick points out. It makes hand changing and mounting a rear chore.
Without this ridge, if you have a flat on a tube type rim, the tire is more likely to flop around and break the bead - which with a tube is no biggie, it'll just pop back on, but with tubeless means instant and total deflation.
It'll pop back on once you repair it of course but surely - depending on the cause - deflation can be instant and total whatever the tyre? And I hear that TL goes down slower and more controllably than tubed.
The knack is in remounting a TL tyre without a tube but check my link below, with a strap, a pump and maybe some soap it can be done even on a lip-rim. An electric pump is all the better but a bloke on 'youtube' no less did it with a stirrup pump at 22 psi!
Also, it seems not all rims are the same, even among tube type rims... some bikes (mine included) .... will hold the bead very well using the stock tube type wheel.
This is true. Some rims get on much better with certain tyres.
Anyway, thanks for the ideas and interest to my initial query everyone.
November 27 - 4000 miles later - read my conclusions on the link below:
There are some wheels on the market called "Alpina" that are designed for Supermoto racing. They are spoked, t/less and mainly 17 inch front and rear but cost about £1200:00 sterling a pair. I'm not sure who the uk importer is but I'm sure a quick search on google and you'd find them.
It would be worth a phone call to Central Wheel Components in Coleshill as I've found them to be very helpfull in the past : 01675 462264
As for adapting a normal set of spoked wheels, for safety reasons I wouldn't go there. Maybe ok riding around town but for any type of overland trip??? I'm sure if it had been done sucessfully there would be a product/kit available for everyone.
How about lacing a set of Bmw rims onto a custom made hub?
just a thought
Looks like the NueTech Tubliss is readily available in 18", a few guys over on Advrider are running it. Not sure about the 21".
Would be cool not to get any more pinch flats, as well as leaving those heavy spare tubes at home.
I've also been watching Nuetech developments; like others, hoping to go tubeless for the weight loss of heavy duty tubes and the ease of repair.
I got this reply from Jeff Douglas at the company last week:
"Thanks for your e-mail & interest.
At this time our TUbliss inserts are NOT D.O.T. approved, so we cannot recommend in any way for On-Road use. We will be looking into on-road certification early next year & hope to know more at that time."
I'll be checking back then to see; although if a 21" shows up I might try them off-road in the meantime. (I have 2 sets of wheels.)
Non-DOT certified doesn't mean they won't work on the street, in fact some of the guys are reporting that they are doing just that with no problems. This is more of a certification (read $$$) issue.
I'm sure they'll work on roads up to a point but I'm planning a long trip away from my garage. I need to be sure that long-term use at highway speeds is reliable. If any of the ADvrider guys are doing extended travel on highways etc. I'd be really interested to hear of their experiences. Please post any useful links you have. Thanks, Lukas.
Meanwhile, I'm happy to wait and hopefully try them closer to home, on/off road with knobbies.
I can absolutely understand, that would be critical for me as well. We'll have to wait a bit more for some long term reliability reports to come in. But just thinking about it, I don't see how road use would be a problem. Unlike mousse, which heats up - and subsequently disintegrates - at high speeds due to rubbing on the tire wall, Tubliss actually creates less heat than a normal tube. There is nothing to rub after all.
Even if you have a sudden blow out somehow, the Tubliss should hold the sidewall in place similar to the special bead on real tubeless rims.
The review by the MX magazine even mentioned that they were able to finish a race with an empty tire (not sure how that happened in the first place, though).
Some good points AliBaba. In case of a big cut on the tire or dented rim I would be smart to carry at least one spare tube with you, I agree on that.
However I think the chance of denting a rim goes down a lot, since the sidewalls are always held in place.
Most road bicycle pumps would have no problems with 110psi, I have had my Topeak Morph that high for example (I believe it's rated for 160psi). Weighs less than 200 grams, too.
Since you don't have to make any permanent changes, I don't see a disadvantage to starting a trip with the Tubliss system - provided it holds up to high speed street use. The chances of having a normal flat go down or you can repair it easily with a tubeless kit. Should you have more serious damage to tire or rim you can still swap in the spare tube.
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