Tubeless Stress- At least that’s what I call the mental condition I get stuck in every time I setup a new tire. This began years ago, with my first tire conversion, 2004 maybe. These were not any version of “tubeless ready” and the rims had no hints at any special design features to allow this change. I didn’t trust it to stay inflated, constantly giving the tires a squeeze. One of those first tires popped a bead, on a landing, and no matter how hard I tried, it would not seal again.
With every tire replacement, or other set of wheels, I’d get stressed out going through the initial setup. Will it seal? Will it hold pressure? Will the bead roll in a fast turn? Stress! I still get it, even though tires and wheels have changed a bit since. Success is definitely more common now. But, sometimes, it just doesn’t work. Of all the fails over the years, the sealant has never been an issue, until now.
Years ago, Pedro’s quit selling their dry lube. I found a great replacement in Finish Line’s dry lube. Well, Finish Line created a tire sealant, and being a dedicated fan, I had to try it. On a visit home in mid 2018, I stocked up on some bits and pieces, including two bottles of FL sealant, http://www.finishlineusa.com/products/tubeless-tire-sealant, and two new Hutch Sector 28’s. I had planned not to mount these for another month or so, but was really anxious to use what would become my new favorite sealant! I decided to mount these new tires on my secondary road tubeless wheelset.
Since I was impatient, as always with new things, my old tires became the guinea pig. These tires were a year old, Hutch Sector 28’s, that were having difficulty holding air. I had added four patches to one and added more Stan’s sealant. They’d hold air for a while, and then noticeable loss over bight. This was getting old, and I had the solution!
I read the label on the new sealant. Nothing odd in the instructions. I drained the old sealant and added the new. I was relaxing already, knowing these tires would be cured. Well, that high didn’t last through the first day, had to add about 50 psi in the morning, to get to my normal of 80. Lost air while sitting in the office, had to pump before riding home. After a few days, they were doing better, and then got worse again. Hmm, this new sealant just didn’t cure my tire illness.
Now it was time to just get the new tires and start from scratch. The bead setup great, usual pops. Great! Next day, a little air was lost. No “milk beads” anywhere, except a little around the bead, but no clue it was fresh. I pumped. Rode. Next day, same thing. No air loss for about a week. Then back to loss, randomly. A month later, I put them on my main road wheelset, Easton EA90s. These have no spoke holes, eliminating tape issues. Guaranteed setup, usually.
Leaks. Sealed for a few days. Leaks. Good for a few days. Lather, rinse, repeat. Lose pressure during a ride, always good for confidence, started cutting rides short. New tires, new sealant, added more sealant, foolproof rims. I give up.
Before I moved, I was mixing sealant, varying the recipe constantly, but they all worked. I started with the world famous “Wadester” recipe, from down the road in Las Cruces. I only changed the mixtures because I was finding a new version every time I searched on line. Haven’t tried to find the needed ingredients here, in South Korea, I just order a new bottle of Old Reliable occasionally.
I removed the Sectors, inspected and scrubbed them and the rims, mounted with a dose of Old Reliable. I was thinking the tires may have an issue, fingers crossed! But all is well, tires sealed, works as expected. Only have to add air as normal, (at least what I’ve learned is normal). So, my two bottles of FL sealant is now only one third of one bottle, and will remain that way, sitting on a shelf, lonely, forgotten. I used almost a full bottle in the first set of tires, and over half a bottle in the new set, and it just didn’t work as expected. I don’t know why the tires were drying out either, as the FL sealant was supposed to last longer. (“Never Dries Out”)
I’ve thought Stan’s had changed the formula over the years, maybe, maybe not. But I do know that calling it Old Reliable is a safe title. Maybe I did something wrong in my experience with the FL sealant, but I have added, mixed, combined, more sealant products and my recipes than I can remember, and never had this issue. If the Finish Line product changes, I may try it again, but for now, I have a Finish Line paperweight on far end of the bench.