Friday, March 30, 2012

Tubeless In Moab

So a few weeks ago, I went to the Moab Skinny Tire Festival to get some fabulous road riding in. As always, I inspected my tires before leaving, and I did notice a few significant nicks and cuts in them. Nevertheless, they were still holding air, so I decided to keep using them.

I pumped the tires up the night before and left my bike in my hotel room. About an hour later, I heard a loud hissing sound and saw a pool of white liquid below my rear tire. My tire had spontaneously deflated!  This is not the first time this had ever happened, but it was amazing to be sitting next to a motionless bicycle that forms a leak.

Fortunately, I had brought with me an brand new pair of Hutchinson Fusion 3 Tubeless tires. The challenge was finding a compressor to install them with at 7am - before my ride to Dead Horse Point that starts at 8!  My first instinct was to find a gas station with a compressor, and take care of it there.

Nevertheless, I was thrilled to find Uranium Bicycles open at that hour on the way to my ride. Marshall Hannum, the owner of the shop was renting road bikes and supporting the riders at that event. Better yet, he was gracious enough to allow me to use his shop's compressor to quickly swap out my tires. Even with someone as experienced with tubeless tires as myself, I was still surprised to complete the swap, on two wheels, in about 15 minutes! That gave me plenty of time to get to know Marshall. From what I can tell Uranium appears to be the road bike shop in a town of mountain bike fanatics. He is very familiar with both road tubeless and road disc brake technology, two of my pet passions. Finally, he has a fantastic stable of road bikes for rent, which is a real rarity in most places.

So first, always check your tires before a big ride and change them if they have lots of damage. Secondly, the next time your travel plans take you to Moab, say hi to Marshall at Uranium Bicycles. You will be glad you did!


  1. just curious, what kind of mileage did you have on the tire that deflated?

  2. Good post and advice. I was wondering if the deflation was caused by a cut or nick or some other reason. And why do you think the sealant didn't work?

    Thanks !

  3. I get about 2-3000 miles out of a pair of Fusion 3 tires.

    As for the deflation, it was the result of a nick. My only thought is that the failure occurred and was plugged at low pressure, but weakened when I increased pressure and didn't ride. Otherwise it was quite a mystery.

  4. Thanks for great info Jason. I have been riding Fusions now for two years and am pretty disappointed with the you have also noted. However, now my Fusion 2 rear has very large cracks right along the rim, low down on the casing, all on one side of the tire only. I only weigh 160 lbs, and ride the tires at 100-110 psi. Mounted on Stans rims. I recently lost most of the air in a road race but couldn't find any puncture. The tires seem to hold air fine now but I'm concerned that the cracks could be catastrophic. Any experience with this yourself ?

  5. Had mine Fusion 3 splitting in the middle too. I think it might be harmless, but had the tires replaced anyway by the internetshop where I purchased them. The new Fusions went directly back on my Mavic CXP 33 rims with no sealant and I pumped them straight up with my SKS reenkompressor floorpump! Impressive!