Category Archives: MTB kit

Ghetto tubeless…

Some hints for setting up your wheels tubeless

I tweeted a more compact version of these instructions the other day after fitting some new tyres using the ghetto tubeless method. Thought I’d put it in order, add a bit more info, & post it up here for reference

I prefer this method to the kits that come with a rimstrip; some widths of rim don’t fit the rimstrips too well. Also, this method costs about half the price or less of the packaged kits

So, if you fancy going tubeless for less rolling resistance, no pinch flats, more grip & the ability to run lower pressures, here’s some easy to follow instructions:

  1. Check the net for good/bad tyre/rim combos, but I’ve found Maxxis on EN321’s to work well, also Continentals. Kenda’s don’t like it so much. Some tyre/rim combos are just too loose fitting & some tyres have extremely porous side-walls. Maxxis seem to be built really nicely
  2. Fit a rim tape, as it will protect the rim strip you will make from damage by the spoke holes (I use a couple of layers of insulation tape, remember to cut a hole for the valve)
  3. Next, fit a 24″ (or smaller) Schrader tube onto the rim, with no tyre on yet. Blow it up a little bit just to make it easy to centre it on the rim. It needs to be one with a removable core (most are)
  4. Now cut the tube with sharp scissors down the centre so it opens up & turns into a (very wide at the moment) rim strip
  5. Clean off the chalky stuff with a damp cloth, then wipe dry. Fit the tyre using washing up liquid on the bead to make life easy
  6. Remove the valve core using one of the little tools, (cheap to buy). This is so that inflation in the next step can be done as fast as possible, and you’ll need the core out to get the sealant in
  7. inflate to 60psi as fast as possible to seat the bead. If it’s not working, make sure the beads are outside the valve hole. You’ll likely need a track pump. Some people use a CO2 cartridge or take it to a garage & use the airline, although some airlines these days seem to be slower than a track pump
  8. You might need to mess about a bit to get the tyre beads seated well so it inflates…
  9. Carefully remove the pump, if you can let the air out slowish that’s better. Don’t put the wheel down as it might move the tyre
  10. Now put some latex sealant through the valve hole into the tyre, using a plastic bottle with a narrow nozzle, or a small funnel. Valve needs to be at the bottom, obviously…
  11. Use about 150-200ml, or whatever the brand of sealant recommends. Refit the valve core & inflate to 60psi again. Sealant might leak a bit but as long as it’s not pouring out just hold wheel flat & swish the sealant around until the leaks stop. Turn over to do both sides. If it’s leaking really bad then something’s moved and you’ll need to make sure the tyre’s re-seated again
  12. When it’s sorted, carefully trim off the excess rim strip. I used a sharp knife with the flat of the blade against the tyre so I couldn’t cut the sidewall. Just be careful & follow the usual rules with sharp blades. If you’re an uncoordinated type, probably get some else to do this! A blunt blade is asking for trouble as the rubber will be awkward to cut
  13. To be on the safe side leave it at 60psi for a good few hours (24hrs if you can spare it) before adjusting to riding pressure. You should be able to use lower pressure than before, as pinch flats will be no more! How much lower depends on your set-up. Some tyres/rims will be a tighter fit & the tyres less likely to roll of the rim at low pressure
  14. Ride!

Brands of sealant include Joe’s No Flats, NoTubes, Effetto Cafe Latex & Bontrager

howies merino base layer – NBL natural base layer

howies NBL base layer

howies description: “Superfine Merino that can be worn on its own or as part of a layering system when it’s cold. Wicks naturally, resists build-up of odours, regulates temperature and is itch-free so it feels real nice next to your skin. 100% Zque accredited Merino wool”.

Brands generally want you to believe their products will somehow enhance your quality of life. Apparently if you drink the right kind of Cola you’ll have more friends and become rich & cool… MTB marketing isn’t usually at that level of fantasy, but it’s often difficult to know which brands have a quality product and which rely more on a huge marketing department. If you’ve got a product that does the job it’s all a bit more straightforward, for company & customer.

The howies stuff I’ve owned does usually seem to match the marketing. I hesitate to use the phrase “does what it says on the tin”, it’s a bit cheesy, but there genuinely isn’t that much to add that howies haven’t said above. Except that I’ve owned a long sleeved & a couple of short sleeved versions for nearly 3½ years now, and they’re still going strong. When new, I was concerned that they were so comfortable that I’d grab one to wear off the bike far too often! Well, I’m still doing that now, so I reckon they’ve proved themselves for quality.

[edit] I was complaining the other day (July 2014) that my 2 NBLs were wearing out & why doesn’t stuff last very long these days. Then I found this post & realised they were 8 years old…

On the bike, I wear a long or short sleeved howies merino base layer as the only top layer on warm summer days, and you can get away with just the base layer & one of the warmer jackets like an Endura Stealth in the winter on all but the coldest days. When it’s cooler but dry in the autumn I usually wear a howies mid layer on top

It’s often claimed that natural materials out-perform synthetics. In my opinion this is often true; it certainly is with merino. For many, the cost will seem a bit high, but I reckon they work out at good value seeing they last so well. The fact that they refuse to smell used is a plus if you’re away for a week or weekend as you don’t need a base layer for every day. Another advantage is that merino stays almost as warm when wet, so if you sweat a lot or just get caught without a waterproof the ride doesn’t turn miserable. It also soaks up a huge amount of moisture before it even starts to feel damp. Make sure you follow the washing instructions as it will more than likely shrink in the tumble drier. They dry quick enough not to be tempted, so no excuses there.

Paramo Velez Adventure Light Smock – pt2

Paramo Velez Adventure Light Smock – longer term review

OK, a short re-visit to the Paramo. In short, great. As I mentioned before, I’d have the arms slightly longer, but there’s not much in it & with the wrist tabs done up everything’s comfortable & stays put<./p>

The big question; ‘has it stayed waterproof?’ – yes. And Paramo are one of the very few that always reproof properly when they need it. Good on & off the bike & seems much more resistant to dirt than most fabrics. Got splattered with Dalby mud the other day, the sort you’d think might not even come out in the washing machine, and it just didn’t soak in.

If you really don’t get on with smock designs, unfortunately they don’t have much else that works for biking. [edit] Now they do… I wasn’t 100% convinced that it would be as good all round as the eVent it replaced, I went for it because I wanted long life (from the Paramo, it doesn’t make you live longer..!) Now I’ve used it for a few months it all makes good sense.

Another plus for the ’10 version is the choice of a few more colours.

Paramo Velez Adventure Light Smock – pt1

Paramo Velez Adventure Light Smock – First Impressions

Paramo Velez Adventure LightThe Velez Adventure Light is a new waterproof from Paramo, IMO it’s their 1st one that’s not too hot for biking (in the UK at least!).

[edit] – since this was originally written, Paramo have released other waterproofs that are very suited to mountain biking

So far it’s all good. I find it’s best worn with just a base layer; with all the vents closed it’s warm, open the vents and it cools down enough not to have to remove it except in warm weather, when you’d not be using this kind of garment anyway

For me, the best thing with Paramo waterproofs is that the waterproofing doesn’t wear out. It doesn’t use a membrane – the layering system does the main waterproofing, and you just reproof it with Nikwax every so often. Because there’s no membrane, you can reproof it indefinitely, so they work out quite reasonable value. Also, they’re among the most breathable outdoor waterproofs available

Downsides? Sleeve length whilst OK could be a bit longer for me, and it replaced an Endura eVent jacket that I lost at Dalby (don’t ask…)