Velocity Blunt Tubeless Success

This past weekend I successfully mounted my tires tubeless to my Velocity Blunt Rims. I had been planning on doing this since I got the rims but They were running fine with the tubes so it wasn’t a priority. However, the dry trails have had me wanting more grip that running lower tire pressure can provide. I had everything I needed and since the bike needed a good cleaning and I had some free time on my hands and was a bit too tired to ride I figured I’d start the process.

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I followed most of the instructions that I found on the mountainbikefaq.com website. They specifically have a post dedicated to converting this rim to tubeless. The items I needed to perform the conversion were a set of Bontrager Rim Strips (symetrical) and valves, some Stan’s Sealant and some Slime Sealant (for the 70% stan’s and 30% slime homebrew mixture) and of course an air compressor. After watching the Stans Instructional Video posted on mountainbikefaq.com a few times I was ready to go.

I had been running tubes with the tires I was going to re-mount tubeless for about 6 months so they were pretty worn in but still have plenty of life/tread in them. I have a Maxxis Ardent 2.4 for the front and a WTB Wolverine Race 2.2 for the rear. After installing the rim strips I mounted the tires. I wish I would have had some metal levers because I’m pretty sure I almost broke my park plastic levers. I had a hell of a time getting them on but was able to. After mounting them I wanted to see if they would in fact inflate without any sealant just to make sure the bead would set on the rim. This is where I ran into trouble because for some reason my compressor will not work with presta valve adapters. I’m gonna have to look into getting a new head for my compressor to work with the presta adapter but since I was planning on riding the following day I needed to get these tires filled up. I had a few CO2 cartridges and I thought I could go that route but they didn’t quite provide enough air and the tire quickly deflated before I could fill it in time. So I figured I’d push my luck and I threw in the sealant and stood the tires up in my car and drove down to the gas station to try out their pump. At the gas station I had good luck. I was able to fill the tires no problem. I probably looked pretty goofy shaking the sealant through the rim in the parking lot but I managed to do just fine.

After my sucess at the gas station i went home and proceeded to wipe the rim/tire with soapy water to look for bubbles which would indicate small leaks. With the tire holding most of the air I was able to make minor adjustments with a floor pump and work out any slow leak spots. After keeping an eye on the tires and working out the slow leaks for about 15 minutes they were all sealed up. I mounted them back on the bike and was ready to go. In the morning I checked them and they didn’t lose a pound of pressure! It looked like they were gonna be good so I threw the bike on my roof rack and headed out to Palos for the morning.

Once I got to the trail I dropped the pressure down to just under 20 lbs and was ready to go. After a 25+ mile ride the tires held their air. The trails at palos are pretty smooth and hardpack so I probably would have been ok with a higher pressure but My local trail (saw Wee Kee) is pretty loose and rocky and lower pressures over there have paid off greatly. It’ll be interesting to see how this setup holds up in the months to come but I was relatively surprised by how easy these tires were to seal.

Dekalb Gravel Metric, Hot Hell Ride

Last weekend North Central Cyclery in DeKalb held the Gravel Metric, a 62+ mile ride on mostly gravel and dirt roads. Over 200 riders showed up to compete in the non-competitive ride. It was more of a competition against the 110 degree heat and headwinds.

Dekalb gravel metric 2012 start.

There were probably around 10-15 singlespeed riders and I only saw 2 other fixed gear riders besides myself. I was hoping to finish in around 4 to 5 hours but it ended up being over 6 hours. Even without the hear I don’t think I could have done it in 4 hours on a fixed gear. I chose to run about a 73 GI gearing and something in the mid 60s probably would have been a much better choice.

I was riding with another fixed gear rider I met on the course and he went down pretty hard in the loose gravel. Quite a few people ate it on the creek crossing and several people crashed in the first few miles of the course due to difficulty with the gravel. This was not your typical crushed-limestone type gravel that you see on most bike paths. It was more like the loose chunky stuff people used to put down in their gardens in the 80s. The dirt roads were dry and hardpacked but had deep narrow ruts.

I once read an article in Dirt Rag that described 2 types of rides. There are rides that are fun when you are riding, and there are rides that are horrible when you’re riding them but fun the days preceding the ride. This was the latter type of ride. I was hurting bad from heat exhaustion the day of the ride however, after resting, eating, cooling down, and returning to sanity I’m able to look back on this ride and appreciate it with a smile. Looking forward to next years ride and knowing that with cooler temps, knobbier tires, and a lower gear choice I should be able to beat my 6+ hour time no problem.

More details on the ride can be found here