Velocity Blunt Tubeless Conversion

Q: How can I convert my Velocity Blunt 29er wheels to tubeless?

A: Velocity Blunt 29er  rims are an underrated rim, with a nice width at 28 mm, providing a nice “ballooning” tire for a plush ride.  However, many people have had some trouble converting these rims to tubeless.  Luckily, there is an easy solution that is pretty bombproof.

When first attempting to convert this wheelset to tubeless, I contacted Stan’s to find out what rim strip I should purchase to convert to tubeless as I had always used Stan’s before with previous wheels.  I also had a Stan’s 29er rim strip laying around, and realized it wouldn’t work without some “help.”  The response I got from Stan’s was to use their Freeride Rim Strip.  However, upon further research, I decided to go another direction and use the Bontrager strips instead.  Not only are the Bontrager valves better than the Stan’s, but the strips “snap” into place like they were made for the Velocity rims.  I was truly impressed.  Here is what you do:

1) Purchase the Bontrager 29er rim strips from Trek (don’t forget to add the valve stems) for $9.99 a strip and $4.99 a valve.

2) Attach the rim strip and valve to the rim.  When you “snap” these strips into place, they fit very snug, so be sure to line up the valve stem/hole before you snap them into place.

3) Next, get your tubeless solution ready to go rather it is a home brew, Stan’s, or Slime.  I personally use a 70% Stan’s, 30% Slime mixture.

4) If you have never done a tubeless conversion before, you should watch this video.  Even if you have, it is a nice refresher.  Repetition is the mother of skill.

5) Following is some tips that I have learned from doing numerous tubeless conversions and the tricks I used for this particular conversion.

  • If possible, ride for a week on your tires with tubes to help stretch/form/shape the tires.
  • Take very light sand paper or Scotch-Brite, and gently remove the shine that is around the bead of the tire that most new tires have.  This tip alone has made my life much easier on some tire/rim combinations.

  • Remove the valve core when filling up the tire with air in this preferred order: air compressor, CO2, or hand pump.  I have used all three and all can be used, it just depends on your tire/rim combination and each individual tire and rim as no two are 100% identical.
  • For stubborn to mount tires, use/buy a tire jack.  The [amazon-product region=”us” text=”Kool Stop Bead Jack” type=”text”]B001AYML7K[/amazon-product] is the best $12 you will ever spend if you mount a lot of stubborn tires.  You can also use a hair dryer or throw the whole tire in the dryer to just make it a little more pliable and thus will prevent you from going Braveheart on your rim/tire.

I mounted a WTB WeirWolf on the front and it went on and sealed up very easily.  It was one of the easiest tubeless conversions I have ever done.  It holds air perfectly and loses maybe 2 psi a week.

The rear tire was a different story.  I mounted a Geax Saguaro TNT . . . . .well, I tried to mount one . . . . for three hours, specifically.  It was a typical case of small tire/big rim.  I broke three tire levers and finally had to take it to the LBS, where it took three burly dudes, and some metal downhill tire levers the size of my arm to jimmy the tire on.  Luckily there was no damage and it sealed right up and has held air as well as the front tire now.  I attribute it to the fantastic Bontrager strips that feel like they were made for the Velocity Blunt rims.  I really couldn’t be more happy with them.

Better Mountain Bike Rider Part III – Troubleshooting

In part III of this three-part series, we will discuss some common pitfalls rider have and how to overcome them.  Following is five common issues, and what to do about them.

1)   Problem: You feel like you are going to die on a climb.

Solution: Tweak your form.  Lighten your grip on the bars. Open your upper body, for better breathing.  Spin in smooth circles, utilizing the top of the stroke (throwing forward) if wearing clipless, and avoid the jerky train chugging type of movements. Smooth!  Get in better shape.  5 lbs off of your belly is better than that 20 gm on your chainring.

2)   Problem: Your rear tire skids too easily.

Solution: Shift your weight back to the rear tire.  Use less rear brake.  Get a more aggressive tire.

3)   Problem: Your suspension feels great over the first bump, but gets unforgiving over subsequent bumps.

Solution: Decrease the rebound dampening of your shock.

4)   Problem: You get hung-up on certain obstacles on an otherwise flowing trail.

Solution: Keep looking forward as you ride.  Getting caught on an obstacle is typically a result of focusing on it, and thus getting nervous and twitchy.  Look ahead and keep your eyes flowing along the path and let your instincts carry you through.

5)   Problem: You feel like your fillings might come out over rough trails and you are getting stuck (maybe even having to unclip).

Solution: Go faster to prevent stop and loosen your grip and relax your upper body.  Also, lift off the seat a little bit and absorb the impact with your legs.

Better Mountain Bike Rider Part II – Railing Corners

Q: How can I become a better mountain bike rider and carve up the turns?

A: To rail any corner, there are essentially four steps involved in the turn.  They are:

1)   Set-up the turn: Picking the best line is crucial to any turn and begins well before the turn.  Look at the lines that already exist, and quickly assess if you will take the same or another line.  While still proceeding to turn, judge your speed and do any necessary braking prior to the turn so you can carve the turn and exit at maximum speed.  Think brake hard and late so as not to waste any momentum.

2)   Enter the turn: You’re not still on the brakes, are you?  At the very least, let go of the front brakes.  No fear.  Next, focus on leaning the bike into the turn as opposed to steering the bike into the turn.  Steered tires slide, leaned tires rail.  Don’t be the guy in the forums talking about how crappy your front tire is because you over steered and didn’t lean.  You love your front tire.  Be sure to flow with your eyes, throughout the turn, instead of fixating on every little obstacle.

3)   Make the turn: Body posture time.  You have now set the bike on its course through your desired line.  At this stage, it is up to you to help the bike “do its thing.”  Keep your arms and legs loose.  Point your head and torso in the direction you want to go.  Lower your center of gravity by dropping your head and/or butt down and distribute your weight appropriately.  What do I mean by “appropriately”?  If your front is sliding out, lean more forward to give it weight (let the tires do their job).  If your rear tire slides, shift back to give it more weight.  If the rear tire goes, lean forward to keep the front tire tracking.  Pushing down on the bike is another great tip.  Downhill skiers push down on moguls, for traction, and the same principle can be applied to bikes.

4)   Exit the turn: Exiting the turn is all dependent on how well you did the previous three steps.  Fine tune steps 1-3 and soon you will be shooting out like a rocket, ready to nail it into the straights.