Clement Tubeless – A Bump On The Road

Stan's NoTube Cyclocross Tubeless Conversion Kit

Considering that using a tubeless setup is getting more popular every racing season, I would have thought it would be pretty straightforward to get my wheels converted over to my preferred set of tires.

I’m using my local bike shop (Earl’s) to do the work because:

  1. They do a lot of tubeless conversions on mountain bikes
  2. I like to keep as much money local as I can

That being said, they’re making it a little more challenging than I anticipated.

First off, they got in contact with Clement to get their input on going tubeless with their rubber. They don’t support it (which I knew), but reading an article over on CX Magazine led me to believe it could be done.

I also found this review which gave me a little pause, but I’m moving forward regardless. That review said the sealant came through pores in the sidewall, dripping onto his floor. I’m thinking he didn’t get to the point of trying to inflate the tires. I’ve seen Stan’s seal up pretty well once you’re able to get the tire seated and inflated.

Which, again, is the reason I’m going with my LBS to do this job. They have the experience and an air compressor to help get things done.

So what’s the challenge?

Somehow the Clement people convince the LBS people to get tubulars rather than clinchers.

A couple of problems with that.

First of all, the point of going tubeless (for me) is that I don’t have wheels for tubulars. Going tubeless with clinchers is the next best thing (and seemingly getting better all the time).

Second, what was the thinking of trying to get tubulars to work “tubeless” on clincher wheels?

I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one. I think the LBS gal was just confused.

At any rate, they’re going to get the clincher versions of the wheels (which I asked for originally), but it turns out their supplier doesn’t have any in stock. So they’re going to try getting some straight from Clement.

Never mind that I can find several places online myself where I can get these tires.

Ah well. There’s still plenty of time yet for me to get used to the new setup before racing starts in September. At least I hope there is by the time this all gets sorted.

Going Tubeless with Clement LAS or PDX?

Shimano RS10 Wheelset. Good for tubeless conversion?

I’ve probably put way too much brain time into thinking about what tires to run for 2013-2014. I haven’t made the jump to tubulars yet, but I’ve already gone tubeless on my road bike. The next step is to go tubeless on the CX bike, but what conversion will work best with my stock Shimano RS10 wheels?

I like the idea of running with Clement, partly because of their history with cyclocross and partly because I’ve heard good things about how they perform. I have two points of trepidation though:

  1. How well with they convert to tubeless on my existing rims
  2. Should I get one set for the entire season, or get two sets for different conditions?

With the conversion, I’m going to let my favorite local bike shop (Earl’s) handle the conversion and mounting.

Clement PDX - Tubeless?
Clement PDX – Great for when conditions get sloppy

The bigger question then is what to run with. If I were going to go with just one set, it would obviously have to be the Clement PDX. They’re designed for the wet, muddy conditions we should expect to see in the Pacific Northwest. However, the reality of the past couple years is that it has been pretty darn dry here the last couple of seasons until about late October or November.

The last two years the season opening race at Big Finn Hill Park has been a dry, dusty, race on grass and pavement. This is where the Clement LAS shines. It has a file tread designed to fly over grass and pavement, with extra knobs on the side for traction while cornering.

While it would be a little bit of a hassle to switch between the two sets of tires between races, depending on the course and weather conditions, it would be a little bit of an edge in competition. And based on my results from the last two years I can use all the edge I can get!

Another niggle in the back of my mind is worrying about the dreaded “burp”. This when the tire bead gets unseated just enough to let air out. This generally happens as a combination of not having a good seal between the tire bead and the rim, and not running a high enough tire pressure.

Since with cyclocross we generally try to run a low a pressure as possible for both improved traction and lower rolling resistance, it becomes a delicate balance. One way to guard against having the tire burp is to be sure and build up the bed of the rim you’re converting with extra rim strip. This helps make sure the tire bead sits tight against the rim.

Clement LAS tubeless
The file tread on the LAS looks fast. Hopefully that translates to reality.

Another point of failure leading to tire burp can be the tire sidewall not being quite stiff enough and folding under during big hits or hard cornering, pushing the tire bead into the center of the rim channel, causing air to escape.

Putting all this is combination with me not exactly being a “light” rider (I’ll be somewhere between 185lbs and 195lbs come race day in September), it’s definitely using up a fair number of brain cycles.

So, what to do?

I’m going to have my local bike shop order both the PDX and the LAS, run the LAS tires until the courses start getting wet, then switch over to the PDX.

I’ll report back with how it goes!

Pints, Cowbells and Cyclocross

There’s a spirit to cyclocross that goes beyond just racing a bike.

Heck, just hanging around a race is fun!

The title “Pints and Cowbells” gets at that spirit. A CX race is a place to enjoy yourself with your favorite recovery drink (hence, the Pint) and heckle the racing field with your cowbell.

Sound a little odd?

It is, a bit. But it’s so different from other bike racing and if you get lucky enough to be at a race in person, you’ll likely get hooked.

This site pokes around the cyclocross scene and you’ll get a new perspective on riding a bike in the winter.

Home

If the sun is out and the birds are singing, but you have cold wet mud on the mind, you belong here.

Dive headlong into your cyclocross obsession among friends. We don’t judge here.

Sometimes you’ll find gear reviews. Other times you will see some insights on training. Yet other times you will see rants on just how hard that damn race was.

It’s all about doing what we enjoy and looking forward to that next leg burning test among those of us crazed for cyclocross.