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Old 04-02-2012, 01:46 PM   #1
Backmarker OP
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Snowflakes & tubes?

I media (plastic) blasted my snowflake wheels, following up with a 2 part epoxy primer then basecoat and clear. I have read ( did a search) that its possible to run these wheels tubeless. So if i file smooth the valve stem opening hole and insert a stem can i run them tubeless??? Looking for someone who has experience in doing this. What are the pitfalls in doing so??
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Old 04-02-2012, 06:48 PM   #2
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I too would like to see what everyone has to say. I have Lester wheels on my /6 and wondered the same thing. I came real close to doing it, but was afraid I'd go out in the morning and find 2 flat tires.
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Old 04-02-2012, 07:25 PM   #3
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It's a subject that gets people a pissing. It's illegal you know! I know of a number of people that have run tubeless with snowflakes and Lesters. The wheels don't have tubeless "safety beads" but I still think you are much safer running tubeless versus tubes. I know a guy that converted his Yamaha mags for the same reason. They don't have safety beads either if I remember right. Of the handful of guys that I know that has done it I don't know anyone that has had porosity leaks or bead sealing problems with them. My dad insisted on converting my LS mags to tubeless for safety reasons when we PDI'ed my LS together but they actually do have safety beads. That was really a no brainer in hindsight.
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:29 PM   #4
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What does a wheel (safety bead) look like? What is its purpose?
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:08 PM   #5
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Safety. Google it for some pictures.
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supershaft View Post
It's a subject that gets people a pissing.

but I still think you are much safer running tubeless versus tubes.
Yes, this will bring out the comments...

But safer running tubeless? Are you saying that because air can escape quickly out the valve stem? If that's the case, just put an o-ring on the valve stem and that'll slow down any leak to a tubeless type leak. Or just safer b/c tubes run hotter?

Quote:
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What does a wheel (safety bead) look like? What is its purpose?
The bead helps keep the tire on the rim b/c the tube isn't pushing the tire bead against the rim. That's why tube type tires are more difficult to remove (break the bead).
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Old 04-03-2012, 06:25 AM   #7
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Thanks guys. I plan to run tubes and o-ring the stems. Seems if i can seal the stem with an o-ring and carry a can of fix-a-flat it may limp me to a shop for a tube replacement.
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Old 04-03-2012, 06:51 AM   #8
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I've run tubeless in my snowflakes. Not a problem, but I also never had a blow-out or sudden deflation. I don't understand how running tubeless is safer, other than tubes can generate heat and cause problems - especially at higher speeds. They also add unsprung weight.

And they held air just fine - never lost pressure that I recall.

As for the missing safety bead, if it aint there, it aint there. It won't make a damn bit of difference whether it's run tubeless or not once the air's all gone.

The moral of the story is to check air pressure and never run low - that's when you get into trouble.
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:11 AM   #9
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Where did the O-ring around a tube's valve stem idea come from? That's not going to slow down air coming around it in the event of a flat.

How is tubeless safer? Get a some screws and a drill and drill a screw into a tubeless tire. Chances are that not much is going to happen. How many times have you driven your car or bike around for a long time with a nail or screw in a tubeless tire? You MIGHT even have to stop and add air every couple of days. Now drill a screw into a tube type tire. It will be 100% flat in seconds. Now think about the consequences of that if you are going 90mph the next time you pick up a screw.

An O-ring around the tube's valve stem is barely going to change that story if at all. Try getting a old K bike tubeless valve stem with a O-ring seal to seal like that and you will understand my point. It's not going to happen and that stem is MADE to seal with a O-ring. That's one of the best pipe dreams I have heard in a while!

Sometimes it does surprise me that tube type tires haven't been litigated off of new street bikes.

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Old 04-03-2012, 12:22 PM   #10
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So can anyone name 1 good thing about a tube?
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Old 04-03-2012, 01:47 PM   #11
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Snowflake wheels hold air just fine without a tube.

I ran mine with this inner tube in it for two weeks with no loss of air. The valve stem managed to seal it just from tension of the knurled nut holding the tube against the hole.

I had hit a rock, which didn't cause any easily noticeable damage to the tire, but which somehow caused the tube to develop a tear, which eventually ran clear around the tube. I don't know how it got the second tear, other than it was probably flapping around in there pretty badly.

Eventually the tire got so far out of balance that I decided I'd better have a look inside, and this is what I found.
The slightly jagged place on the section to the right is where the rock hit it. I was able to find a very slight bruise on the tire that corresponds with that tear. The impact of the rock wasn't very severe. I didn't think it was bad enough to stop for.

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Old 04-03-2012, 01:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Backmarker View Post
So can anyone name 1 good thing about a tube?
I can think of two.

1. You have to go to extreme lengths to allow you to eliminate tubes on standard wire spoke rims. (and you still have a rim shape that isn't guaranteed to hold the bead safely in extreme cornering conditions)

2. You can effect an easy and permanent repair in event of a simple puncture just by carrying a spare tube. (you only have to break the tire loose on one side of the rim)

I don't know why so many motorcyclists are scared of tube tires. Yes, they go flat faster than tubeless tires, but I've had more than my share of flats with both types, and have yet to crash due to a flat with either tubeless or tubed.
I ride a lot of miles every year on tube tires without any problems.
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Old 04-03-2012, 02:56 PM   #13
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Safety rims

While I agree the snowflakes bead area do not meet the requirements of tubeless tires they do hold on to the tire tenaciously after the air has gone - I've had a tube flat on a snowflake and rode a few miles airless before I was able to safely stop. The tire bead did not budge and still required serious pressure to break.

I know from mounting a few that breaking and seating the bead is no easy chore with certain tire brands (Avon in particular). Compared to Japan rims I've worked with BMW rims seem to have greater interferance in the tire to rim diameter.

If you can get a good seal on the bead and valve I see no reason not to go tubeless, except it is ILLEGAL and I would never tell you to break the law.
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Old 04-03-2012, 04:18 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by caponerd View Post
I can think of two.

1. You have to go to extreme lengths to allow you to eliminate tubes on standard wire spoke rims. (and you still have a rim shape that isn't guaranteed to hold the bead safely in extreme cornering conditions)

2. You can effect an easy and permanent repair in event of a simple puncture just by carrying a spare tube. (you only have to break the tire loose on one side of the rim)

I don't know why so many motorcyclists are scared of tube tires. Yes, they go flat faster than tubeless tires, but I've had more than my share of flats with both types, and have yet to crash due to a flat with either tubeless or tubed.
I ride a lot of miles every year on tube tires without any problems.
I have been repairing my tubeless flats with vulcanizing tire plugs for decades. WAY easier than pulling a tube on the side of the road or anywhere else! I think they are better than patches. I know they are way easier to install.

Tube types go flat a LOT faster than tubeless. Even when a tubeless looses air. They very often don't at all. Nothing like finding out you have a flat after a hard days ride than after you get home and notice a nail in your tire. That's not only safe, it's very convenient! Tire changes are cheaper for not having to buy a new tube and a lot easier for not having to mess with one. It's win/win as far as I am concerned.

I forgot to tell my personal tale. I have had way more flats with tubeless because I have way more miles with tubeless. I have had two flats damn near kill me. Both were tube type rear flats at 90mph plus. The air escaped almost instantly. The tire collapsed down on the rim and the fishtailing began! I have ridden tubeless tires with a nail or screw in them at over 100mph countless times because I didn't yet know my tire had a nail or screw in it. Who knows, I might have picked the nails/screws at high speed but I will never know because many tubeless flats aren't flats at all. That is what I call safer!

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Old 04-03-2012, 11:42 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supershaft View Post
Where did the O-ring around a tube's valve stem idea come from? That's not going to slow down air coming around it in the event of a flat.

How is tubeless safer? Get a some screws and a drill and drill a screw into a tubeless tire. Chances are that not much is going to happen. How many times have you driven your car or bike around for a long time with a nail or screw in a tubeless tire? You MIGHT even have to stop and add air every couple of days. Now drill a screw into a tube type tire. It will be 100% flat in seconds. Now think about the consequences of that if you are going 90mph the next time you pick up a screw.

An O-ring around the tube's valve stem is barely going to change that story if at all. Try getting a old K bike tubeless valve stem with a O-ring seal to seal like that and you will understand my point. It's not going to happen and that stem is MADE to seal with a O-ring. That's one of the best pipe dreams I have heard in a while!

Sometimes it does surprise me that tube type tires haven't been litigated off of new street bikes.
Shaft, running a tubed or tubeless tire on a cast wheel with a valve stem that's sealed against the rim is 100% different from doing the same on a spoked wheel. Of course, with a spoked wheel the air pressure disappears the second the tube is punctured. This is NOT my experience with a tube tire on a snowflake wheel with the stem sealed against the rim. Air will leak out much more slowly and allow a safe stop.

As for an o-ring, I've used valve stems with an o-ring on tubeless tires for years that have held air (they weren't just used on K bikes). I've also used valve stems cut out from inner-tubes and pinched them tight with the nut and run tubeless too.

Sealing the valve stem on a cast wheel (even if you're running tubes) is a simple precaution that can provide a considerable safety margin by keeping the air in the tire even after the tube is punctured.
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