Having a tire go flat on a bike is not a pleasant experience. The resulting situation can range from a minor inconvenience to a major catastrophe. A majority of the time it is just an annoyance that interrupts the momentum of a good ride or a possible chance of placing well in a race, but this problem can be virtually eliminated for less than $70.
As most avid cyclists know, the chance of getting a flat can been greatly reduced through the use of a tubeless tire system. Doing the conversion can involve the purchase of new rims, tires, tape, valves, and sealant. All of these components easily costing a few hundred dollars even before the labor cost is factored in for those who are not a home mechanic. When compared to the overall value of a bike, these new rims and tires might not be worth the investment. An option that some people might overlook is where the modern tubeless revolution started – the Stan’s NoTubes Tubeless System conversion kit.
For those who do not know, Stan’s NoTubes of Big Flats, New York, is in the business of keeping cyclists from getting flats. Back in 2001, Stan Koziatek developed his tubeless conversion system and over the years, the entire system has seen a number of advancements. Specific tubeless rims and tires that are lighter weight than conventional ones have been introduced to the market; improved tire and rim beads for holding the tire onto the rim; and less porous tires that makes the sealing of the entire system much easier are just a few of the improvements. But the original conversion system still exists for those who do not want to make the rim and tire investment.
The Stan’s NoTubes Tubeless System conversion kit has itself seen many improvements since its inception. As more riders use the system, more information is logged into their extensive database. This is especially important with regards to the rims on the bike that are undergoing the conversion. Currently, Stan’s has eight different kits covering 26-inch mountain rims, 29er rims, wider rims typically seen on downhill bikes, and cyclocross rims for both cross and road use. If your rim is not listed, just measure it and match it up to the correct kit. As for the tires, most modern ones should work even if they are not ‘tubeless’. The exception are road tires since they usually call for much higher air pressure and conventional tires can stretch too much for the system to safely work. They can actually blow-off of the rim. Stan’s does offer tubeless specific road tires made by Hutchinson that are designed to handle the higher pressure if that conversion is desired.
The conversion kits made by Stan’s range in price from $63.95 to $68.95. Each kit includes sealant, rim tape, and rubber rim strips – enough to convert two wheels. The kits are made in America, with the rubber rim strips and sealant actually being made right in the Stan’s facility using U.S. made rubber. Having personally completed a number of different conversions in my garage, I can attest to the ease of some conversions and the struggle with others; but Stan’s has done a superb job in creating many different instructional videos to help the home mechanic.
The Stan’s NoTubes Tubeless System has been touted many times over as one of the great, modern innovative products for cyclists. Last year was the first time that I ran a tubeless setup and I can not stress enough the benefits of this system. With lower tire pressure being an option for more traction, pinch flats being virtually eliminated, and goatheads no longer being a concern, it is truly a liberating feeling to just focus on the big picture – the love of cycling. Thanks Stan!