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Ghetto tubeless conversion DIY: tips and tricks

Discussion in 'Downhill & Freeride' started by bullcrew, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. bullcrew New Member

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    Ghetto Tubeless Conversion DIY: Tips & Tricks

    NOTE: Im downloading the pictures now to place in here for visuals...

    First lets start with the premise of what we are doing, we are getting rid of the use of tubes and converting a standard Rim to a tubeless set up to hold air and seal with the tire.
    We will be slicing a tube on the outside center around it and splitting it open to stretch over the rim, then the tire is mounted and some sealant is used to assist us in sealing it up and taking care of any cuts, punctures or impailments from sticks rocks etc...

    Ive been running tubeless in many configurations for the last 5 years from UST set ups to strips and ghetto, I have also used many UST and NON UST tires, DH casings and single ply's as well as different sealants over that time. I have experience on them in 5 degrees to 105, from bombing mtn. snow runs and Ice to hot dry desert and rocky stuff. Id consider myself extremely proficient in tubeless conversions and experience.


    Different types and terms for tubeless are:
    - UST which is a industry standard for tubeless configurations on tires and tubes.
    - Rim strips or conversions are rim strips premade with the addition of a sealant
    - Ghetto is a tube cut down to size and sealant added as well

    I have found Ghetto to be the most reliable under a wide variety of circumstances from rolling and burping in a G-out to rocks and low pressure set ups, next would be a stans rim strip and last is a full UST set. (this is for DH use not XC)
    I have not had good luck with UST specific tires, and being that I want to run sealant and a NON ust tire I use whatever rim I want based on weight. A light weight tube cut down is lighter than a UST rim, or rim strip and I would run stans it either for pucture protection so the weight of sealant is a wash......


    First off the rim: (based on 26") DH/FR wider rims
    Whatever rim you have should be just fine, doesnt matter if it has a deep gully in the center or not. Rim width is not too crucial I have done this on 721's, 729's, syncros 32's, 6.1's, outlaws, I9s, and more and all with great success...A low profile side is not recomended not that I have encountered this but a thin bead channel that doesnt grab a solid hold I wouldnt recomend.

    Tires:
    Just about any tire works decent it does not have to be a UST tire. I dont recomend UST tires, the butyl and rubber comoposite herniateds and blows out stretching the carcass... Ive killed off several by several different manufacturers......
    I have used Maxxis, Schwalbes, Continental, Specialized all with great success.
    Kendas DO not play well with stans at all and they are the only tire I have personally used that had this issue... So I do not recomend Kendas for this with Stans sealant...

    As far as ply I have run Single ply and DH casings with great success, I do not recomend using a off brand or cheap tire, they have a tendancy to have beads that are bigger and will pop off. Stick to the major players and you should be OK...

    Tubes: (20" schrader valve)
    We will be using a 20" tube for this, it is not neccesary to use a DH tube or thick tube. The tube is not there for puncture or snakebites, its to cover the rim and seal to the tire bead.
    I have used alot of different tubes for this and narrowed it down to a solid and LIGHT weight tube that I only use now.

    Schwalbe tubes are what I recomend and not because of priorities but because I have used alot of others and these have been fullproof. A threaded schrader keeps the tube from slipping at all as well as locks it in place with a solid look as well.... By having a ring that threads down it locks that area by sealing the rubber moulding around it to the hole casuing a tight fit.

    Tubes recomended are:
    For AM/FR/DH rims: Schwalbe AV 7C extra light 20" threaded schrader its 95grams before cut and 53 grams after cut (+/- a few G's based on cut)
    For XC and enduro thin profile rims: Schwalbe SV 6A Extra light threaded presta its 65 grams before cut and 42 grams after cut. (+/- a few based on cut) Also this is the recomended for a thin profile rim because it has a thin rectangular filler mould that fits inside the beads without sticking up and covering the bead by the presta not allowing the tire to lock in and seal... It has a thin mould profile.



    Heres the tube for thin XC rims


    This is the XC tube notice the rectangle shape bulge around the presta valve, its skinny enough it doesnt interfere on a thin profile rim... For XC stuff make sure its like this is...

    Note: You can use just about any 20" tube, I prefer these. I have used ALOT of others and its just cleaner and easier with these, the mould profile by the schrader is smaller and fits withing rim profile not obstructing the bead from sealing with the tire. The others were a hit or miss.

    Sealant:
    I have used a couple different sealants now and Im back to Stans, it always works. I have heard a couple of tricks like adding a 1/4 of the sealant with cafe latex and it will foam getting better coverage. I dont know this to be true but I do know cafe latex does foam a bit and does not seal as well as stans so Im sure it would add a bit of foaming action if mixed with stans sealant.

    I know that there is tutorials on Ghetto latex mixes for sealant and I played around with one and it was just easier and less messy to grab a stans bottle. Stans has done a SOLID job on their sealant and I trust it.

    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011
    #1
  2. bullcrew New Member

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    INSTRUCTIONS:

    #1- take and pinch the tube so the valve is down exposing the furthest seam and slice it, proceed to slice around the outside edge of it all the way around so the tube is split open.

    Snip it to start off with


    Cut down the line around the tube to split it open


    Cut open it should look like this


    #2- Use a rim tape or black tape to make a couple of passes aroung the rims center to seal up the holes to keep the tube from wanting to herniate through a spoke hole or chaffe and cut the strip... The yellow STANS tape works great its durable and light as well as tough....Make sure to pucture a hole for the valve to fit through...



    #3- Put the valve through the hole and stretch the tire over the rim, making sure its pretty centered on the rim.
    (When its on put your finger under the strip between the tube and rim and slide it around the rim edge to equal the stretch pressure. It will have a tendency to be tighter where it started. Pull the sides of the strip up a little so the tube slides in and takes on more of a square profile)
    Make sure to take a mildly wet rag and wipe off the talk powder on the tube so its clean, doesnt have to be perfect just decent.




    #4- Mount one side of the tire on, pour sealant into the bottom (1 - 2 scoops) and then proceed to put the other bead on the rim. When doing so if you use a tire lever put it UNDER the strip hanging over the rim and lever the tire up and over the bead. Once the tire is mounted you can push the tire in a bit and grab the tube, lightly pulling it a little at a time moving forward each time so it is sticking from under the tire and out over the rim again. By doing it this way it prevents you from puncturing the tube with the lever.

    Heres a pic to show the ever under both strip and tire to mount it


    And mounted ready to fill, the strip will protrude out both sides you can grab it and wigle it either way to make it even if it shifted a little when putting tire on


    #5- Use sealant (use tip/cap on bottle) to pour between the bead and the tire on the strip so it gets it coated, this does 2 things. First it wets the area to allow the tire to slide into place easier as well as the sealant ACTS like a glue and glues the tire to the bead so you can run lower pressure or single ply tires with little to no burping issues. THIS HAS PROVEN to be the most reliable tip for set up I have for reliability.............

    Push bead slightly over and run a bit down it all the way around both sides, now on this particular strip it has been used 3 different times so its cut down already and NOT hanging out and over... It is high on the sides and will glue nicely.


    #6- Air it up, I have found most tires air up relatively easy. Some have issues and those tires theres a couple tricks to this. 1 is to build the center low spot of the rim up so it forces the bead to slide to the sides, the other is you can push down the center of the tread with your thumbs and grab the outside of the tire with your fingers on both side pulling the side out. It will not seat the bead but will usually get it there so less air escapes giving the pump a chance to get the seal started...
    Usually air up to 35 - 40 PSI and the bead makes loud popping noises at it pushes to seal with the bead of the rim....

    #7- Once its aired up spin the tire a few seconds giving the sealant a chance to cover the inside and fill in the hissing areas, hold the tire out horizontally from you and flick it up and down like its waiving a little. Rotate the tire and proceed to do this till you have rotated the tire completley around. You will see little hissing bubbles and you can flick the wheel back and forth with the hissing side lower so it splashes the sealant to seal the leaks.

    NOW once its on and aired up look at the outside of the tire bead and rim to make sure its completely even, sometimes the bead will pop a few times and leave a certain spot not pushed out completely... You can air it up a little more try not to go over 40 PSI I have had tires blow and it sounds like a shotgun leaving you deaf as well as needing new underwear....

    One trick is to put the tire at an angle on the ground and step on the tire where its not seated and pry away from yourself using your foot as an anchor point to hold the tire back and assist it to pulling out...

    #8- Mount the tire back on the bike and take a razor, start of at the valve area and make sure you can spin the tire freely as you go. So on a stand or upside down for this part is recomended.
    Slice the rubber sticking out away from the rim and then take the razor and gently apply it to the bead of the rim under the strip barely touching the tire, grab one slit and pull away from the tire. As you do this and the razor sitting there the wheel will spin the razor will cut off the excess hanging and your hand will get further from the tire thats holding the piece of strip thats being cut off...
    Take your time on this, I can literally slice it off in no time but I have done it several times as well, I have yet to slice a tire either with the razor blade. Its proven to be a pretty secure way of trimming the excess tube off....

    Make a slit


    Pull trim away with one hand while LIGHTLY letting the new razor blade trim it off



    This is what a final product will look like with the excess cut off:


    And here it is ready for rockin....


    As I think of more tips or tricks I will update this but for now this should be a pretty solid start, the rest is trial and error as far as PSI and what the magic spot is pressure wise for you and your style...

    Thanks guys!!




    Heres a video Sarutis buddy did on it (thanks)
    http://cycling.menzib.com/1944/
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
    #2
  3. saruti Member

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    great step by step man
    there are still riders who dont know it is so easy :-)

    I use 18" tubes.
    it is a bit lighter, and sit tighter.
    if you dont need to go riding right after you finish this procedure, I recommend cutting the edges of the tube after a day or two, just in case you need to air it up again,
    and dont go riding with low tire presure when the tubless is new. ittakes some time for the tire to glue to the sides of the tube, and then you can run any air presure. it will hold.

    great step by step man
    #3
  4. bullcrew New Member

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    Thanks!

    Im adding some more pics tomorrow to finish it off. I ride right after and if you pull the tube to make it more square profiled before fillig it up it will be fine to cut right after and I have reused my ghetto strips on 3 different set ups. When cut down they still sit high on hte wall of the bead and grab a little bit pull it up so its even and reinflate new tire...
    24s are too loose and 18s pulled too tight for me to get a nice square profile on the tube to reuse it after being cut.. Not saying it doesnt work I just had alot of luck using 20" tubes they arent too tight and not too loose...

    I just finished doing my I9s, hadley/mavic, deemaxs and loco wheelsets all tubeless with schwalbes 2011 stuff and did it 4 days ago. STILL no leaks and the tires are still solid from initial airing up. Granted Schwalbes 2011 offerings are pretty kick @$$ (review coming soon) and friendly to UST...



    Cracked a 721 on a practice run right before my race run, I aired down to 5PSI and with the stans glueing trick I was able to pull my tire over with the strip still glued to the tire. I got a crescent wrench in there pulled the rim back out as much as possible and let the tire and strip come back into place. It held air the whole time even being pulled over and exposing the whole side and center of the rim...

    Still running the cracked 721, hell even raced on it again....:thumb:
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011
    #4
  5. Sonic Reducer New Member

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    very nice writeup. i may have to get around to actually trying this for myself. though i have been told by several people that it isnt worth the hassle.

    can tires that have already been taken on/off a few times and the bead is a little funky be used successfully?

    is it unwise to use a regular schraeder valve tube without a locknut? i have several new 20" tubes but they are various cheap brands.

    anybody gone ghetto tubeless on a bmx with 16" tubes and like 80-100psi?

    would it be worth adding a ghetto strip to an 823 when using a regular maxxis dh casing tire or unnecesary?

    have you tried homebrew mixtures such as latex caulk, water, and sawdust? i have these things already.


    RE #6, what i have done with other tubeless type tires(car, motorcycle etc) that do not want to seat is go around the outer circumferance with a strap with a slight amount of tension and they will have uniform pressure on the bead and seat right away. you dont want to get the strap too tight or it will be a bitch/dangerous to release(mainly large tires).
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011
    #5
  6. SCARY Not long enough

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    I need more of these green square things^^
    Man,the guy who invented this is a friggen genius!All I can say is ..wow!
    #6
  7. zdubyadubya Active Member

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    Hey Mods or Sandwich; Can we put this in the FAQs?
    #7
  8. buildyourown Active Member

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    Got a source on those fancy tubes?
    Meh google gives me nothing.
    #8
  9. Tomasis New Member

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    bullcrew, thanks for the great guide. will test convert 721 for my dual bike and dmr tires.

    You mentioned single ply. I run single ply in front and dual ply at rear. Have you tested single ply in rear and how it holds up in DH? weaker sidewall huh?

    i like idea of more flexy rear with single ply than front.
    #9
  10. weedkilla Member

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    Dont know about Bullcrew but my success with single ply has been hit and miss - heavier singleply like Schwalbe Freeride casing have been fantastic and have even held up to dh racing (front and rear). Lighter xc single ply has been hit and miss, notably Maxxis aspen exception casing and really light schwalbe like rocket ron evo casing, they just tend to fold off the rim too easily, leading to a couple of nasty crashes when its the front wheel (on an xc bike - but it gets ridden like its stolen anyway!).
    Sometimes I can reuse the tube, somtimes not. Its a bit hit and miss too, cutting it too large and leaving a few mm of overhang helps if you want to reuse. I do this in race season as we race in winter and we seem to have great weather on Sat practice and it rains all sat night and sunday race day.......

    I have gotten my lbs to order tubes for me from schwalbe but you can get them online at -
    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=24639

    Just to add something else - thanks Bullcrew, once I started gluing my tyres on with stans my ghetto success rate went through the roof. Turned it from a good thing when it worked to something I can comfortably race dh on.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011
    #10
  11. no skid marks Active Member

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    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011
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  12. buildyourown Active Member

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    I have doubts that will work well. The author even mentions that he has never tried it.
    With true ghetto, you get an extra 3-4mm of seal per side, plus a tighter bead. I don't see and advantage to spending the great deal of time it would take to make a rim strip. If you want to go that route, buy a stans strip.
    #12
  13. bullcrew New Member

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    Once you trim out the strip it doesnt show at all and when you swap tires it sucks back in rolling just a smidge up the bead which is whats wanted...

    -Yes cheap 20" tubes will work
    -I use a Ghetto tube set up on my Deemaxs that are UST because the glued side of the tire to strip is SOLID...
    -I have succesfully run single plys on rear (schwalbe) I still have 2.5 MM freeride GGs ghettoed on my hadleys and raced them 3 times as well as they have been on a ton of other rides.


    I cracked my 721 rim on a practice run and the rear was single ply it held fine...I aired down pulled it to the side and pulled the dent back out and the tire was still stuck and held air while I worked on the rim. I raced with it cracked and dented I aired up to 30 PSI to give the bead a little more strength around the wheel and no issues at all.....
    #13
  14. no skid marks Active Member

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    I've been running it on my trail bike for a couple of years now, was running it on DH bike when I was using 721s.
    Works fine, the tyre touches it inside the rim.
    Just tidier and easier to set up I find.
    Most of my tires have real slow leaks, may be due to this set up, might be due to my conservative use of sealant. Might be due to the sealant drying up here in hot Oz. Probably the later.
    #14
  15. bullcrew New Member

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    Im swapping tires on the hadleys in the next day or so, so I will add a couple of pics from leveraging the tire under the liner and pulling the tube out from under when it pulls. Which is simple and not much of a pain... I will also post a pic or 2 of what not to do and why.. A pic of stepping on the tire and prying away to pop a stubborn bead, Also a pic of cutting away the excess around the tire and blade angle/grip...
    #15
  16. saruti Member

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    i use regular schraeder valve tube without a locknut, is works great.
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  17. bullcrew New Member

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    Regular tubes work fine for sure, the only reason or reasons I opt is several years ago I had a issue and it was leaking around the valve so I went threaded so the valve mould squishes in place and seals from there on out and never had the issue again even with the same culprit which was I pressed a gash in the tube between the lever and rim... I also will not pay attention to my pressure from time to time and between a locked in valve and the LST (limited slip technology, a coating) on the bead of schwalbe tires I dont need to worry about the tire spinning on the rim... Never had it happen yet...

    But thats just me and regular tires are fine, I dont want someone to think they need threaded tubes... You dont I just prefer them for these reasons.


    Which brings me to another point, some rims have holes on the side of the internal channel towards the bead, when doing a tape run, cover half the rim on one pass then the other side on the other pass. It will make the rim sealed even if you puncture the tube with a lever it will seal and the tape will make sure it cant leak out... I have found stans between the tube and the tape with the regular rim strips not ghetto set up... This and a few little items are the reason for the ghetto set up over other ways...
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2011
    #17
  18. Jester New Member

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    I would highly recommend using a roofing blade to cut the excess tube away from the rim. It is so much easier and faster than just using a regular blade.

    #18
  19. fred.r Dwangus Bogans

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    Nice writeup Travis. MTB sites need more of these... it'll help keep noob question congestion off the forums.
    You go to a car forum and basically everything you could ask is covered in the FAQ, hopefully we'll get there someday.
    #19
  20. bullcrew New Member

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    Thanks fred I appreciate it and yeah after being on the gsxr forums and land rover forums I agree.....lol
    #20
  21. SCARY Not long enough

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    I need more of these green square things^^
    Yeah, sweet write up.Sure wish somebody knew who came up with the whole idea so we could throw a "You're amazing and awesome "party for him,since people have been using this for so long.Maybe we could name our offspring after him,since he did so much for the mtn bike world for free.
    Sure wish I knew him.He's probably a super awesome,nice guy to hang out with.
    #21
  22. bullcrew New Member

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    Lol not really.... don't care who created it there was more than likely some old tinkerer that had already done it some years before that...all that matters is it works and with tutorials more people can try it...
    #22
  23. insanitylevel9 triple nubby

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    wow man incredible write up, i used that method to convert my fr hard tail to tubeless and i gotta say im never going back its much much better.
    #23
  24. SCARY Not long enough

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    I need more of these green square things^^
    Maybe calling him "old"would be slightly offensive to him.
    And all he would want in his pathetic life is a little acknowledgment......or a "You da man" feel to a block party, in his honor.
    #24
  25. mullet_dew New Member

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    Thanks for taking the time to write this up, I might actually do it now that I know its so easy.
    #25
  26. khoolhandz New Member

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    I used to do this about 8 years ago. I used slime tire sealant before. The hardest part was getting the beads to seal. Once working in my patio I was trying to get the bead to seal so I was using my floor pump and pumping fast and hard without looking at the pressure, then BOOM, a loud bang and slime all over my shirt.

    2 minutes later a couple of cops showed up with hands on their holster asking me if I heard a gunshot...I told them it wasn't a gun shot, it was my tire popping off. They laughed when they realized I was covered in Slime.
    #26
  27. bullcrew New Member

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    Lmao..... its amazing how loud it is......screw the popping a plastic bag to scare a house full of people.... pump that bad boy WAY WAY up and sitback and videotape.....lol
    #27
  28. insanitylevel9 triple nubby

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    I did something like that at work and every one there freaked out
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  29. Slater New Member

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    For anyone who can't get this method to work, I found another one that works great:



    Good writeup though!
    #29
  30. S.K.C. New Member

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    Yikes - DON'T use the ones above - those are the infamous 2004 EX823's that folded like a cotton T-shirt.... If these are still out there - stay away from them and get the newer (2005 - present) square cross section 823's.

    Bullcrew - so Stans is not caustic to the current rubber formula Schwalbe is using for 2011. Historically speaking I've read and seen pics of guys running Stans in non-UST Maxxis DH tires such as 3C DHF's where the tire "sweats" oils out of the rubber due to the ammonia in the Stans.

    Have you tried Schwalbe's Doc Blue tire sealant, and if so, how does it differ from Stans? I've tried to find detailed info regarding the composition of Doc Blue on Schwalbe's site but to no avail.

    What is the over/under of success/failure using Stans with the current Maxxis offerings such as 3C DHF's and HR's? How often does the Stans eat away at the 3C rubber?

    EDIT: Also - a possible addendum to your Ghetto Tubeless DIY would be to have the user check the inside of the 20" tube they are using. Some manufacturers coat the interior of their tubes with a powdery substance called "soapstone". This is primarily used in the rubber industry as a mold-releasing agent, but also reduces the chance of the tube catching on itself when compressed inside a tire. If a tube has this on the inside, I would instruct the user to thouroughly wash off the soapstone to provide a better surface for the tire bead and sealant to adhere to.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2011
    #30
  31. Ian Collins Active Member

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    i broke one of those in HALF in a turn once....
    #31
  32. bullcrew New Member

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    No its completely fine and the schwalbe tires dont sweat it out and leave a puddle of black... NOT one issue at all with them as a matter of fact the construction is amazing on them including sidewalls. They dont pop and hiss on the sidewalls like other tires...

    Doc blue isnt a complete sealant for tubeless conversion rather for small punctures and trail riding stuff. The tubeless conversion is way better with the stans hands down.

    Yeah Ill emphasize that I said give it a good wipe down, I always wipe them down anywase to get rid of any mold release agent.. But yes Ill put that in there in more descriptive terms for sure...:thumb:
    #32
  33. Eastern States Cup New Member

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    Thanks for the write up , Bullcrew.
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  34. jonKranked Press Button, Receive Stupid

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    George, I'm gonna be setting up my AM wheels this method (bmx tube + stans). I'll let you know how it goes. Might wind up doing it on the xprezo.
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  35. Slater New Member

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    Haha yeah the old 823's were not so great. It was just the first pic I found. I'm trying to stir the pot and you guys tear the details of my post apart. What is this place coming to?
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  36. bullcrew New Member

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    Went and hammered rocks last night on a trail out east county sd did 1 run in the light and one night run with lights... there's 3-4 rock sections that rival alot of rock patches as far as jagged solid sharp outcroppings.... went through there like a freight train and no burping at all. Did manage to beat the deal out of both rims on the sides front and back smashed the pedal prettygood and the crank got a gash in it.... btw night dh rides rule.......
    #36
  37. S.K.C. New Member

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    Yes! - As others have said - well done sir! Excellent write up!

    It's got my vote for "sticky" status hands down.

    After many years of being a wuss on the fence, I think I'm finally going to go for it with some Schwalbes, beat the crap out of them and see what happens. I'll give the Maxxis a go too but with the non-ammonia based "Cafe-Latex" or maybe Kidwoo and Acadian's recipie for "porntex". :D

    Bullcrew one other important question: Could the Tubular Cement be used as an additional means to secure the ghetto rim strip (sliced open 20" BMX tube) to the tire bead? Is it caustic to DH tire compounds and specific only to tubulars, or is it universal and can be applied to any tire?

    http://www.schwalbe.com/gbl/en/produkte/zubehoer/montage/?ID_Gesamt=447&ID_Land=38&ID_Sprache=2&ID_Seite=150&tn_mainPoint=Produkte&tn_subPoint=Zubehoer
    #37
  38. bullcrew New Member

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    The only reason I could think of that there would be a issue with the cement would be the stans not playing nice with it aside of that I cant see any reason not too try.
    No real reason too as the stans on bead and strip works great but if you try it keep us posted. Havent had any issues this way and the stans is already in hand during conversion, but I would be intrested to hear about it...:thumb:

    Ill take a pic when I dismount the tire from the hadleys and keep it aired up when I pull it off to the side as well as a shot of it glued to the strip...
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  39. S.K.C. New Member

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    Thanks for your time and effort 'crew!

    Much appreciated! If I have a UST tire I can risk potentially sacrificing in the name of scientific advancement, I'll buy some of the Tubular Cement and try it on a ghetto setup. :)

    The thing I keep hoping for is that Mavic will produce a UST version of the 721. If you think about it, the 823's are simply an aftermarket version of the DeeMax. The new DeeMax Ultimates have the same inner width as a 721 and are made of a similar metal which is softer than the orig. DeeMax/823... so if the evolutionary process continues in this fashion: DeeMax, then 823's... DeeMax Ultimates then... 821/721 UST???

    Fingers crossed.

    :D
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2011
    #39
  40. SCARY Not long enough

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    I need more of these green square things^^
    Huh.....and "crew"gets all the props.

    I see how it is....
    #40