I’m more of a weekend-warrior mountain biker but, recently, I decided to try road cycling to complement the mountain biking. So last week I purchased a fairly decent road bike. After the first few rides on the heavily potholed roads around here I was sorely missing the comforts that a full suspension mountain bike provides!
I have a two-pronged approach to increasing comfort on the road bike:
- Phase 1: go tubeless using lower tire pressures (with puncture resistance benefits too).
- Phase 2: purchase a new seatpost to take the buzz out of riding on rough roads.
Phase 1 was completed today!
The road bike came with Shimano Ultegra wheels; these can be run in a fully tubeless configuration if needed. There’s no need for any rim tape as the rim bed is solid with no spoke holes; kinda like the Mavic UST rims for mountain bikes.
To configure the wheels to run tubeless, I used the following:
- Schwalbe One tubeless tyres (700x25C) for front and rear (bought new).
- Stan’s NoTubes Universal 44mm Tubeless Road Valve Stem pair (bought new).
- Stan’s NoTubes sealant (I already had some for using on my mountain bikes).
- Schwalbe “Easy Fit” tyre mounting fluid (bought new).
- Stan’s NoTubes valve core remover (I already had this for the mountain bikes).
- Stan’s NoTubes sealant injector (I already had this for the mountain bikes).
- Lezyne floor pump.
Now, I’ve seen videos, and read of people in forums, who have had the most difficult time in trying to mount a tubeless tyre to an Ultegra wheel; way too tight! Shimano warn not to use tyre levers on the Ultegra wheels, probably because the rim may get damaged or warped, but these people were getting desperate and some had resorted to tyre levers.
With that in mind, I soldered on pretty confident that I could overcome any difficulties. Starting on the front wheel, I installed Stan’s NoTubes valve stem. Following that, I applied Easy Fit liquid to the tyre beads and the rim. Starting opposite the valve, I installed the tyre onto the rim making sure that the tyre bead was sitting in the centre of the well. Getting the last bit of tyre onto the wheel was a little bit difficult but it took me only around 20-30 seconds to do it, and certainly not using any of the extreme efforts that I’d seen on YouTube, and definitely not using any tyre levers! The Easy Fit liquid certainly helped, but you could probably use soapy water as an alternative (it’s what I do for my mountain bike tubeless configuration).
And then one more application of “Easy Fit” to the tyre bead and also to the inside of the rims to allow for easy inflation. Using my floor pump I had the tyre pop into the rim walls in seconds, and I took the tyre pressure to 100 psi. The rear tyre went on just as easily.
Making sure that both tyres had popped correctly, I deflated both tyres, removed the valve cores, and added 30 ml of Stan’s sealant into each tyre using the injector tool. Re-inserting the valve cores I re-inflated the tyres, this time to 80 psi. I’ll experiment over the next few days to determine the optimal pressures for me (speed vs comfort).
Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
Note that Schwalbe recommend the use of their own Schwalbe “Doc Blue”sealant in the first instance but they do also unreservedly recommend Stan’s sealant (both are made by Stan’s NoTubes!).
This tubeless malarkey on road tyres/wheels was not hard to do, especially if you use a proper tubeless wheel. The application of preparation and technique, both finely honed from my mountain biking tubeless experiences, allowed me to feel confident that I could overcome any challenges and not panic; brute force is not the way to go.
Once the 25mm Schwalbe One tyres are worn out, I might try the 28mm version. If I can run it at the same pressures as the current 25mm then I should have lower rolling resistance giving me a larger comfort/speed envelope.
These are the specs for Scwalbe One tyre that I’ve installed:
Size: ETRTO 25-622 (Franz.Bez. 700x25C)
Weight: 340 g (12 oz)
Pressure: 5.00 – 8.00 Bar (70 – 115 psi)
Maximum load: 70 kg
Article number: 11700024
Tube: 15, 20