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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys! First post on this forum so I hope it will help!

Last year, I got a trek fuel ex8 and since then, I ride about 4 times a week (during summer) and haven't been impressed with the stock bontrager jones XR in terms of handling on wet rocks or roots and also got a pinch flat (yeah only one so far...) and basically I am looking to upgrade to tubeless beefier and more robust tires... I mainly ride on rocks and roots, a little bit of mud....

Any recommendations? I was thinking about the continental mountain king 26x2.4 but some reviews were pretty depressing...

What do you think??

Thanks!
 

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Are you running....

the stock wheels? If so, head to your Trek dealer and have them order up the Botrager Rim Stips and Valves. The Rhythm wheels that came stock on your bike are "Tubeless Ready" and are easily converted to tubeless with the strips and vavles. I've found the Bontrager TLR system to be one of the best for running a standard tire tubeless. You'll need to use sealant with a standard tire to seal up the tire carcass. But then most people will run a sealant even in a full UST set up.

As for tires, that's up to you. For rocky terrain you'll deffinately need a tire with a durable sidewall. And for wet rocks you'll need a fairly soft rubber compound for traction. My preference would be for the Schwalbe Fat Albert in 2.25". Two versions that do well when converted to tubeless are the Evo Snakeskin and the Evo Double Defense. Both have reenforced sidewalls and do very well at resisting abrasion. They also seem convert well with the Bontrager TLR system. Just a couple of words of caution, the FA is a big fat tire, the 2.25 is a true 2.25 tire, and the 2.4 is a ture 2.4. Big, high volume, etc. I know the EX will take some pretty good size tires, but the 2.4 may be pushing it. It'll likely fit okay. But I'd find someone that is or has used the 2.4 FA on the Ex before pulling the trigger. Schwalbe tires ain't cheap. Also, as with any first time conversion of a regular tire to tubeless, ride easy for the first few rides until you are certain that your set up is going to work and you have your tire pressures sorted out. Not all rim and tire combinations will play well together, so take it easy the first few rides. :thumbsup: I've used FA's on Duster TLRs with great results, but that doesn't mean your Rhythms will like em.

Good Dirt
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
hey Squash!

Yeah I still have the stock wheels (both rims & tires) and I want to upgrade the tires so I can have tubeless and have better traction over rocks and roots. The kind of trails I ride are pretty similar to the pics I attached to this post.

You are right with durable sidewalls and also I believe a bigger tire might help, but the fat alberts are pretty fat and I doubt they will fit on a fuel ex8... Trails and rock are usually pretty humid but not totally soaked. I intent to ride once in a while while it is raining or after a good thunder storm.

According to some other posts on this website, the fat alberts might be too big for a ex8 and might rub...

I wonder if I go for the FA 2.25 would I have any problems? Nevegals are also very popular.... Again, look at the pics & links and tell me what you think!

This is one of the trails I ride:
 

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A few of us were posting in the Trek forum on the same subject. The Bonny XR2s and XR4s both worked well from our opinions. I'm running the 2.2 XR4s, you won't get much bigger than that on the back without clearance issues.
 

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Yeah you'd deffinately...

have issues with the 2.4 Fat Albert. The 2.25 would likely fit though. And the FA is built for that kind of terrain, they're a pretty darned good all around tire, and even do pretty well when things get muddy, but spendy. The Nevegal Sticky would work as well, but the do roll slower than the FA and won't clear mud quite as well. The Nevegal DTC is another option, but they don't hook up as well on wet rocks and roots. Either way I think you'd be fine. I like and use the Nevegal as well, but much prefer the faster rolling FA. Just a better tire IMHO. And the 2.25s should work on your EX. If you do go with the FA keep in mind that they are front and rear specific, so there is a specific tread pattern for the front and one for the rear. And do pay attention to the rotational direction printed on the tire when you mount them.

Your call. The Nevi would work and so would the Fat Albert 2.25. Both are good high volume tires that would likely do well in the terrain that you ride. And as JCullen noted, the XR4 might work for you as well. I haven't spent a lot of time on them so can't really comment on their performance. But from the little time I had on them, they seemed pretty solid.

By the way, where is that? Kinda reminds me of Michigan. Just curious. :thumbsup:

Good Dirt
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Squash, sorry for late reply....

I'll get the 2.25 FA's and install them. Do you think I can keep my stock bonty rhytm wheels and get the uST FA's? Will I need to get some sealant and what else I need?

I live in ontario, canada. The trails in the pics are around Ottawa.
 

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onmtbiker said:
Squash, sorry for late reply....

I'll get the 2.25 FA's and install them. Do you think I can keep my stock bonty rhytm wheels and get the uST FA's? Will I need to get some sealant and what else I need?

I live in ontario, canada. The trails in the pics are around Ottawa.
Yes you can keep your stock wheels. The Bontrager Rythm wheels are Tubeless Ready (TLR). You'll need a pair of the correct Bontrager rim strips, and a pair of valves. That should be it. With the UST FAs you shouldn't have to use sealant if you don't want to. Installing the rim strip and tubeless valves make the rims air tight and the UST tires are already to hold air without sealant. However, many folks that run UST tubeless do run sealant as well. Especially in the midwest and desert south west where thorns are a big problem. Goat head thorns, cactus needles, etc. can make short work of even dual ply DH tires. Your call on sealant, but it is good insurance. And I would advise that you carry at leas one tube just in case. Like I said, your call on the sealant, it just depends on the type of puncture hazards you've got up there.

Good Dirt
 

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Squash,

FA 2.25 snakeskin with stan's goo ok for this kinda riding? (ht w/ 100 front can't take 2.4) Can sidewalls handle low pressure if I'm riding a rainy day? Weight is 140 lbs.

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Guys, just to let you know I "pulled the trigger" on 2 FA's @ 2.25" with new rim stripes and Stans no tube sealant, will post back the results and impressions when I get the stuff and assemble everything. In the meantime, any good tutorials to recommend on how to assemble tubeless setups?

I also have a hard time to find some valves...
 

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RHR38 said:
Squash,

FA 2.25 snakeskin with stan's goo ok for this kinda riding? (ht w/ 100 front can't take 2.4) Can sidewalls handle low pressure if I'm riding a rainy day? Weight is 140 lbs.
Eh, depends on how low you go. Keep in mind that no regular tire can be run as low as a good UST tire. Also keep in mind that a regular tire without a tube is much more supple than the same tire run with a tube. And you have to consider rim protection as well. Go to low and you start dinging rims. You have to run your pressures suitable for the roughest terrain you encounter on a ride. So low for that trail may not be as low as you could run on another. Plus the lower you go the more the tire bulges at the point of contact so the more vulnerable it is.

Would the Snake Skin FA's handle that trail tubeless? Yes. For me at 230lbs geared, I'd run them no lower than 30psi, and I'd probably start out at 32 or so. For you at 140, I couldn't say, I haven't weighed that little since I was about 11 years old! Just as a side note, I don't change my tire pressure for a rainy or wet day. In my experience it just doesn't make enough of a difference. And going lower than, what I like to call "the sweet spot", can make a tire unstable, i.e. allow the sidewalls to flex to much. The sweet spot is the pressure that is the best compromise between traction, tire stability, and rim protection, and every tire is different.. It depends on tire construction, rider weight, riding style, rider ability, rim width/design, and terrain. I've found that with the FA 2.2 I can run about 5 psi less than I would with the tire tubed, so that's about 30psi, but that's ME. I'd say you could likely get away with less than that. But how much less is impossible to say.

Sorry for the book here. But using a standard tire tubeless is a crap shoot when it comes to your saftety. They are not designed to be run tubeless, nor at as low a pressure as a UST tire. So great caution must be used when setting them up, and in determining what pressures to use. The number one cause of tire blow offs, burps, and rim damage is running stupid low pressures. So start high, and then slowly and incrementally go lower, and pay attention to what the bike is telling you. When you get too low you'll feel the rear start to feel like it's floating or dancing around over the tire, that's too low.

Like I said, sorry for the book, but be very carefull and cautious if you go with a regular tire tubeless until you're absolutely sure that your set up is going to work for you and you have it sorted out. The FA Skins will certainly work tubeless for that type of trail, provided your wheels and the FAs like to play well together tubeless. Just be careful till your sure. :thumbsup: I don't want to scare you off here, I run regular tires tubeless all the time. But I am very cautious when setting up a tire that I've never run that way before, even if everybody I know says they're great, because you just never know.

Good Dirt
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Squash, were you replying to me or RHR38?? It doesnt matter it was a good "chunk" of info for me as well!

as for the valves, I went around in the LBS and they all told me that they would have to order them or to go to a Trek dealer and they would most likely carry the valves that fits my bonty rhythm wheels....

I dont really get it,... are valves not supposed to be "simple and stock" parts?

So far I will have:
2 Bontrager Rhythm wheels (TLR)
Schwalbe 26" x 22mm rim strips
Schwalbe Fat Albert UST 2.25" tires
Stans No tube sealant
Tubeless valves (missing in action lol)
 

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>Squash

Thanks man..good points. I've had UST's w/o and normal tyres with stan's sealant, I hear ya with all that sidewall flex aso. Never used FA thou and as soon as I get them it's right away that sweet spot searching. But I have high hopes that it's suitable because air volume is pretty high I guess (for light buddy) to get good float and wet grip if possible to go low psi enough and still have that float. Did I say float? Floaty-Toat :rolleyes:

Book was good :thumbsup:
 

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onmtbiker said:
Squash, were you replying to me or RHR38?? It doesnt matter it was a good "chunk" of info for me as well!

as for the valves, I went around in the LBS and they all told me that they would have to order them or to go to a Trek dealer and they would most likely carry the valves that fits my bonty rhythm wheels....

I dont really get it,... are valves not supposed to be "simple and stock" parts?

So far I will have:
2 Bontrager Rhythm wheels (TLR)
Schwalbe 26" x 22mm rim strips
Schwalbe Fat Albert UST 2.25" tires
Stans No tube sealant
Tubeless valves (missing in action lol)
No necessarily, totaly depends on how popular running the Bonty stuff tubeless is in your area. I work for a Trek dealer as a mechanic, and we don't stock the rim strips or the valves. We have to order them. Tubeless just isn't that popular around here. All the guys at the shop run tubeless, but very few of our customers. But that's okay, we LOVE selling tubes all the time. It's simply a matter of supply and demand. An independant bike shop simply can't afford to stock stuff that don'te sell. You can also order them online from the Bontrager website here, http://store.trekbikes.com/jump.jsp...ath=1,2,461,497&iProductID=1815&bShopOnline=1 . You'll pay full retail for them, but it's a good option if you can't find any at the shop.

Good Dirt
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hey squash,

I got the valves yesterday from the LBS wwhere I bought the bike. They were out of rim strips and ordered a pair for me, its coming from NC and should be here anytiome next week.

The tires and the sealant are coming from a different LBS that had better delivery times... should be coming early next week. I ordered the Schwalbe 26" x 22mm rim strips from that shop because I was not sure which way to go, but the guy at the other LBS where I ordered the Bontrager rim strips said that the Schwalbe strips I ordred were too narrow and would not fit very well... For $10, I figured why not get the Schwalbe anyways and get the Bonty strips as well and see what happens... not big money at the end of the day!

SO finally I should get all I need by lets say august 18-19 and will install the tires! Cant wait. In the meantime, I got myself a kenda nevegal (tubed) so I can ride while I wait for the stuff to come in. I dont think I mentioned on this thread that this whole story was triggered by my back tire that blew up last weekend...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm seriously confused here.... yesterday I went for a nice 3 hour ride and again, got a pinch flat... thats the 3rd in 5 weeks. A little bit much you guys think? I normally run 38-40PSI on the back and I weight around 175 with gear.

Cant wait for tubeless...
 

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onmtbiker said:
I'm seriously confused here.... yesterday I went for a nice 3 hour ride and again, got a pinch flat... thats the 3rd in 5 weeks. A little bit much you guys think? I normally run 38-40PSI on the back and I weight around 175 with gear.

Cant wait for tubeless...
It can still happen and I feel you pain. Just depends on the terrain and the way you ride it, tire and tube combination, etc.

But If you are pinching a Nevigal, you didn't say what size, at 38 to 40 psi, I'd highly recommend you start your tubeless setup out at least at 35psi to begin with. You can still pinch flat a tubeless setup if the pressure is to low. And it aint pretty when you have to fix it on the trail.

Oh and don't even try the Schwalbe rim strip, they are to narrow. The Bontrager rim strip is designed to reach from bead to bead and actually serves to tighten the space between the spoke bed and the bead hook of the rim. This brings the rim up to UST spec and is the reason that the system holds onto the tire bead so well. Other rim strips can work with the Bonty TLR rims, but they are usually problematic. So hold your horses and wait for the right stuff to show up. It's a pain I know, but doing it right the first time will yeild much better results. :thumbsup:

Good Dirt
 

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onmtbiker said:
I'm seriously confused here.... yesterday I went for a nice 3 hour ride and again, got a pinch flat... thats the 3rd in 5 weeks. A little bit much you guys think? I normally run 38-40PSI on the back and I weight around 175 with gear.

Cant wait for tubeless...
Hey Omni,

I'm in the GTA and ride similar rooty trails as you have shown as well as those with much more rock. I weight about 170 lbs with gear and run the Bontrager Duster rims with TLR strips and have most Schwalbe tires (2.25 and 2.4). I'd strongly recommend that you use the Bontrager strips.

When installing make sure you get the beads in the center channel and use plenty of soapy water around the beads when airing up to allow the beads to seat easily. I haven't had the best luck with the Schwalbe UST tires and the TLR strips having had numerous tires blow off the rims. I've had much better luck running the regular non-tubeless versions tubeless with sealant.

When using the UST models I never had to use sealant.

The FA's psi sweet spot is lower then you would think. I believe that your wheel set has Duster rims which are about 28mm wide and will allow you to use a lower psi. At my weight, I found that 20 -22 psi (with the 2.25 tire) provides the best all round performance. Since you weigh a bit more you may find that 22- 24 psi works a bit better for you. Go a low as you can without the tires becoming squirmy. When it's wet definitely drop the pressure. I have never had any problems with burping with this set up at this psi.

i1dry?
 

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I got my FA's few days ago (2,25 evolution snakeskin). Installed them with Stan's liquid. Well I first did them with inner tube and took tubes away so I got another bead hooked. Then it was very quick to fill them with floor pump and they sealed just well.

Man.. I still don't understand how low you may go with air pressure :eek: 14,5 - 17,5 looks quite good at this moment..depends how dry or not.

:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I just got a call from the LBS and they received my tires and the sealant... I still have to wait for the bonty rim strips to come in.... cant wait!

I ordered the same tires (FA Evo snakeskin 2.25 & stans sealant) and cant wait to see how it goes !
 

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Yesterday testing easy to semi hard rooty and slightly rocky dry surface with some short very steep dry sand banks climbing 12-15 PSI looking good :D In 12 PSI rear wheel sidewalls flexed a bit on fast tarmac turns. Limits found :thumbsup: For ht and pilot like this it's 12-18 PSI :)
 
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