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Transition TR250 – First Impressions

Moving to Santa Cruz does weird things to a person. Take a guy who is a solid mountain biker, who likes to jump normal sized jumps, who loves to log long rides, rack up miles and generally get out in the woods to have a good time and move him to Santa Cruz and he’ll decide that he NEEDS a “big air” bike.

Enter the Transition TR250, a “mini” DH sled, jump bike, park bike and generally a misfit in the bike world. While the terrain out here doesn’t technically “need” a 7″ full coil rig to enjoy the trails, why wouldn’t you have one? Today was the first day out on the Purple People Eater and here is what I thought of her.

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The Trail: 

The testing ground for Mrs Cleo(That’s the TR’s name because reasons!) was Emma McCreary Trail. This is a pretty buff trail overall, it’s about 2.5 miles to climb but can go out a LOT longer if you know your way around the woods. The reasons for choosing this trail are pretty simple, but for getting a impression on a bike this trail does offer a bit of everything. 

1. Berms: EMT offers very good bermed corners for really seeing how a bike hooks up in braking ruts and loose sandy bermed corners. 

2. Jumps: Now EMT doesn’t have big air jumps, but it does have ALOT of smaller jumps littered throughout the full trail. You have ample chances to turn single jumps into doubles, use off camber jumps to get the bike sideways and overall gives a good feel of the flow of a bike. 

3. Speed: EMT is a fast track once headed down, it rewards flow, keeping momentum and offers fantastic sight lines to see riders coming up the trail. This makes it easy to keep out of peoples way and not run someone over. 

4. Easy Climb up: The climb up EMT isn’t too bad, while it is 2.5 miles of climbing it’s a gentle climb with no steep pitches and easily doable even on a near 40lb rig like this. 

The Bike: 

Ok now we got the trail info out of the way lets talk a little bit about the TR250 and what it offers. 

Geometry: The TR250 is a very planted bike, offering quite a bit of adjustment in numerous areas; wheel base, chain stay, shock travel, bb height and head angle are all things that can be changed quite easily. For the purposes of this test, the TR was set up in 7″ rear travel mode, shortest chain stay, and slackest head angle. Which leads to a low slung, well planted and slack set up perfect for railing corners and keeping an over eager (ME!) rider out of trouble. 

Suspension Setup: Just like the geometry, the suspension on this bike is extremely adjustable. The TR is running a Fox DHX RC4 Rear Shock and Fox Vanilla 180 FIT RLC in the front. Both shocks offer low speed, high speed, and rebound adjustment. In my set up the bike is currently set up with a fast rebound, poppy compression settings (to help give that pop off lips on jumps) and finally to suck up the bigger hits at the end stroke of the suspension set up. 

The Climb: 

Lets get to the dirty secret of this jump eating, hill slaying, crazy machine. It’s really not a bad climber all things considered. It is a 40lb rig that is slack, low and set up to be squishy and there is no getting around that, BUT it pedals very well, doesn’t bob in its travel, rides high in its travel (which I love) and made it to the top of this climb with little to no fuss. I’m impressed and feel that with a dropper post one could put some miles on the bike and not hate life while doing so. 

The Turns: 

This was an eye opening experience. I know EMT very well, I know the turns, I know how fast I can enter these turns on my normal bike, I know where I can push and where I need to scrub speed. All of that knowledge went right out the window, the TR250 will bring you through a corner, the bike loves to be tossed into a corner and it will bring you out on the same line it took you in. Thanks to the 150mm rear axle, and giant front stanchions / 20mm axle the TR holds lines you don’t think it should. If you have traction the bike gets you through. Simply put, this bike is a demon in the corners and led me into numerous situations where my brain was screaming at me to slow down but the TR just didn’t care to listen. 

The Jumps: 

Now no one will mistake me for Brandon Semenuk with my jumping ability. To put it bluntly, I get through more with just going for it and hoping for the best than sheer ability. I’m not a smooth jumper, but I can get to where I want to go….usually. The TR250 today changed that for the better, this bike loves to jump, cleaning lines where it really has no business cleaning. Essentially trust the bike, have ample speed and you’ll clean what you’re trying to clean and come out the other side. In time the TR250 may just upgrade me from HACK to SLIGHTLY Dangerous to Myself in regards to jumping, and yes that IS a step up. 

Conclusions: 

Overall for a first ride impression I’m extremely impressed. Granted the TR250 does have some drawbacks and we’ll eventually cover those, but to be honest a lot of those are niggling details that any type of bike similar to this would have. The biggest drawback I would consider is a pronounced about of brake jack, take a step back though and realize you’re on a single pivot bike with 7″ of travel and really the amount of brake jack just really isn’t that surprising. 

My thoughts on the TR250 are very good, this is a bike that will improve your riding if you trust it. If you screw something up, it will bring out out the other side, and treat her right and she’ll take care of you. If you are in the market for something to push your skills on, to improve your riding and to generally have a great time on a bike, the TR250 is a fantastic option.

Chromag Rootdown – All Mountain 29’er Hardtail

If you are anything like me, you grew up riding hardtail bikes you did everything and anything on them. In today’s bike market, it’s hard to figure out what you want, there are dozens of suspension platforms, there are new “categories” of bikes seemingly everyday, there are multiple wheel sizes and finally that doesn’t even mention the amount of brands that are out there. When planning on a new bike build, what do you do?

I wanted to build a fun bike this summer, I wanted the bike to be as little maintenance as possible, I wanted it to be capable, and most of all I wanted it to be something that forced me to work on skills and improve my abilities. When thinking about this, I decided I wanted to go with a long travel hardtail, something that had aggressive geometry, liked to jump, was steel and could accept up to a 150mm fork. With those options in mind, I ended up choosing a Chromag Rootdown.

I’ve never ridden a bike from Chromag, they are generally a company that offers what I like to call “BC Geometry”, meaning they build aggressive bikes that love to jump and they only offer hardtails. You may be more familiar with Chromag as a parts company, they offer stems, posts, seats, seat post binders, and a million other little bits and pieces in addition to their frames.

Enough of that stuff, lets talk about the bike!

Bike Build:

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The Chromag Rootdown offers aggressive geometry highlighted by a long top tube, short chain stays, slack angles and solid weights. This leads one to believe that this bike will not only handle anything you can throw at it as a rider, but will be fun doing it as well. Check out these numbers, in my current build, the Rootdown offers a 16.9 chain stay, 31.6 seat tube, 67 degree head angle, and a 24″ top tube. That lets you build a bike that has any dropper you want, run’s a 140mm fork currently (will be upgrading to a 150 Pike shortly), run a short 50mm stem, and overall gives you a riding position that is upright and lets you really get that bike to go where you want it.

The overall build is pretty awesome, it’s strong, dependable, and builds out to be about 28lbs.

  • Large Chromag Rootdown Frame:
  • Rock Shox Revelation RCT 140MM
  • Easton Haven Carbon Wheels
  • Maxxis Ardent 2.4 Rear / Maxxis Minion DHR 2.5 Front
  • Hope V2 Brakes
  • SRAM X9 Shifter
  • SRAM X9 Type 2 Rear Derailleur
  • Shimano XT Cassette
  • Shimano XT w/ Race Face Narrow Wide 30T Ring
  • Race Face SIXC Bars
  • Chromag Ranger 50mm Stem
  • Chromag Trailmaster Saddle
  • KS LEV Dropper Post 

As you can see a no nonsense build.

Riding Impressions:

So now we have a bike that is built like a tank, offers fantastic performance and is super fun / jumpy “on paper” but how does it ride out in the wilds? 

First thing that you notice with the Rootdown is it gets up to speed QUICK. If you put the power down the bike JUMPS out from you. It wants to go fast, it wants to be a little reckless and it wants to have fun doing it. 

Climbing: 

If you’ve never ridden a hardtail before on a trail, climbing is a whole new experience. There is zero power loss through the suspension system, the bike just scoots from every pedal stroke. The Rootdown is no difference here, it loves to climb and with the bigger wheels makes short work of chunky and technical climbs. 

Having a slack headangle, short chain stays and a tall fork does lead to a fairly light front end that can be prone to wandering. If your weight drifts to the back of the bike, you’re front end will want to lift up. The Rootdown really does reward proper climbing technique and has enough traction to help clean most climb. 

Technical Chunk: 

The Rootdown shines in the rough, the bike just wants to claw, spit and fight its way over rocks, roots and chunky lines. If you have the legs and the balance, the Rootdown will get you through, overall and down obstacles that show up in your trails. I’ve taken it over, off of and down things that a hardtail really has no business doing. 

It does take a few rides to get familiar with riding a hardtail in chunk, especially if you’ve been on a full suspension rig for a long time. Your attack angles, approaches, speed, and lines will be different, and possibly the toughest aspect, learning to trust the bike all take time to learn and get comfortable with. Once you do, the Rootdown will truly surprise you with what it and you are capable of. 

Descending: 

Now we get to some real fun stuff, when the trail points down! The Rootdown loves speed, loves to fly downhill, carve corners, and get rowdy over chunk. The faster the Rootdown goes, the smoother the trail seems to get! The Rootdown has such a relaxed posture that speed just feels comfortable, I’ve actually found myself going faster through sections that I’ve done on some of my past FS rigs, which really surprised me. 

The Rootdown loves to be tossed into a high speed corner, set it up with some grippy fat tires and the bike will reward your speed. The possible downside to the Rootdown’s descending is that you won’t forget that you’re on a hardtail, you do feel trail chatter, you feel the smaller rocks and roots that your FS rig just eats up. When riding the Rootdown (like any HT), you need to focus on being loose, don’t lock your knees / elbows out, and try and flow with the trail. You’ll be going faster than you know what to do with in no time! 

Air Time:

Possibly the most fun aspect to the Rootdown is when the trail has lots of jumps to play with! The Rootdown loves getting into the air, loves to be whipped around and generally is pretty darn playful considering it’s bigger wheels. That shouldn’t be surprising considering that the bike IS from Chromag, guys who love to build amazing jumping bikes and the Rootdown is no exception. 

I’ve taken it off just about everything that I’ve taken my FS rigs off, including 3ft drops, fun doubles and overall anything else that I’ve come across. The Rootdown really rewards speed here, you’re not going to forget your on a hardtail, drops to flat can be a bit rough but as long as you use your body to absorb the drops with your knees / elbows you’re going to enjoy the Rootdown. If you can play on things with transitions then the Rootdown is a BLAST! 

Conclusions: 

So after piling up a good number of miles I can confidently say that the Rootdown is a great bike. It’s not going to make you forget that you’re on a HT, you feel trail chatter, you feel roots, you feel rocks and you have to focus on your riding. You can’t just blindly rush your way through rocks / roots, you can’t be lazy, and at the end of a ride you’ll be more beat up than you were on a FS rig. Which is pretty much the same thing you could say about any HT bike. 

That really doesn’t sound like a great bike. Yet the Rootdown is for a person looking for a hardtail, as far as hardtails go the Rootdown offers a smooth ride, climbs great, loves technical terrain, screams downhill and loves to get crazy in the air. If you stay aggressive, ride with good technique, and focus on maintaining speed the Rootdown will truly impress you. The bigger wheels, the slack angles and the playful nature of the bike brings a smile to your face. At the end of the day, that is truly what makes this a GREAT bike. 

 

Monday Mechanicals

Hey gang! I wanted to try something new and start having weekly articles and one series that I’ve been wanting to do is talk about the mechanical side of bikes and give a short “how to” on taking care of and fixing our bikes. 

One of the most common questions I get asked is how do I clean a bike. I figure that this will be a great starting point to talk about as it’s a pretty critical aspect of taking care of a bike yet also one of the most overlooked items out there. While I love seeing bikes out on the trails and dirty bikes are well loved bikes dirt / dust is a killer on a bike. So lets talk about why it’s important to clean your bike as well as how to actually go about doing it! We’re also going to talk about some common problems caused by dirt and how to address them. 

Creaks: 

This is possibly the most annoying aspect of a dirty bike, and one that you can hear a mile away. There is nothing more annoying than a constant creak as you pedal your bike, it creaks over and over again, similar to a dog with a chew toy. So how does this happen? DIRT! 

As we love getting our bikes out on the trails, dirt gets everywhere on the bike as well as in places that would boggle the mind. Creaks / cracks / groans most commonly come from three places on your bike and are directly related to dirt. The first place dirt loves to accumulate is around your seat post where it slides into the frame. Everytime your weight hits the saddle, CREAK! The easiest solution to that is slide your post out of your frame, get a dirty rag and clean the post as well as carefully cleaning the inside of the frame as well. Important tip here, do NOT grease the post if you put it back in the frame, that is NO BUENO! 

Now you’ve cleaned your post, lets look at your saddle. This is where dirt loves to live, right there under your saddle along the rails that get clamped by your seat post. Dirt LOVES hiding there, and can easily cause the same creak as your post will make. Again this is an easily solution, remove saddle, grab a slightly damp rag and clean your rails as well as the rail clamps on the post. 

The last place that dirt loves to hide is IN your pedals. Some pedals will constantly creak as they get dry and dusty. The bushings and bearings get dry, start to make noise and with every pedal stroke starts to erode your sanity. Pedals are a little harder to take apart, but if your pedals are rebuildable, it’s usually a simple matter to take the spindle off, clean it and apply a light layer of grease on the axle contact points, as well as cleaning the actual threads that slide into your cranks. Both of these places are great spots for dirt to hide, and can be easily addressed. 

Fork / Shock Seals: 

Dirt not only can cause a creak on your bike, but can prematurely wear away at your fork seals which in turn creaks a leaky fork and shock. Cleaning your fork stanchions are extremely quick and easy and can lead to MUCH longer times between service. The simplest way to clean your fork is to get an old cotton T-Shirt (with no graphics on it, the old stand by cotton white tshirt is great for this), gently wipe off any dirt on the stanchion itself, now follow the leg down to where the fork stanchion enters the lower portion of your fork, that is your seal and you will see a buildup of dirt there, just slide the tshirt down into that gap and “floss” the seal top and you’ll pick up most if not all the dirt out of there. This little 5 minute cleaning exercise can increase your fork seals lives a LONG time. 

Cleaning Frame / Rest of bike. 

This is the part where most of my customers go horribly wrong when we talking about bikes. Most people want to use some type of harsh soap / clean (simple green, 404, and even bleach!) which is exactly what you don’t want to do. These soaps / cleaners are designed to do one thing, and that is to break up grease. Yet your bike requires bearings to provide smooth actuation for your suspension which REQUIRES grease to operate at full capacity. 

So how does one go about cleaning the dirty bike? Well the simplest thing to do is grab a hose, grab a rag and just spray and wipe the bike down. As you are mostly removing dust you don’t really need any major cleaning substances. 

So I hope this quick read helps you keep your bikes cleaner and at the same time keep them out of the shop longer! Next week we are going to stay on the cleaning kick, and talk about a little more in-depth cleaning of cassettes, brake rotors, and deep cleaning a frame! 

 

Enduro Races, what do they offer you?

So unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year or two, you’ve noticed that Enduro racing is all the rage. Combine XC riding with time downhill runs and you’ve created a super fun format that just about anyone can enjoy. What else does an Enduro race offer for you as a mountain biker? 

Enduro races are odd ducks to say the least. As a rider you need to be able to handle multiple things on a bike, sometimes almost simultaneously. You need to be a fairly strong climber, have good cardio, and at the same time need to have solid bike handling skills as well as be fast when the trail points down. Sounds daunting to say the least! So how does a rider get better at all of that? 

Enduro’s have blown up the market when it comes to skills classes. If you look at popular Enduro destinations (Washington, Oregon, NorCal, Denver and Utah) you’ll notice that there are a TON of privately run classes to improve almost any aspect of riding you could want. This is nothing new as classes have been around a long time, yet the quality of instructors is climbing, the amount of companies offering classes is increasing, and the sponsorship opportunities for these classes are also on the rise as companies realize its a GREAT marketing opportunity. 

So Enduro’s have given us better instruction, which is great! What about those of you who feel that you don’t need instruction, yet you need someplace to put your rad shredding on display! In comes FLOW trails! These “trails” are purpose built with the intention of improving riders skills in things that you just don’t always see on the trails in a manner which is safe and sustainable. Just here in Norcal we’ve seen an explosion of these trails with Soquel Demonstration Forest opening a trail this year, Tamarancho opening a trail last year, and a confirmed 3 or 4 more in the planning stages for local areas. 

So far we’ve seen that Enduro’s have given us some rad places to ride, some types of classes to improve our riding (especially for us HACKS!) and that’s not everything that the popularity of Enduro’s have lead to. 

Open a bike mag or go on a MTB website, you’ll see Enduro plastered over everything. Now look at those vendors that sponsor or advertise on those websites. You’ll see drastic improvements in equipment across the board. Improved safety gear, lighter armor, safer armor, safer helmets, lighter helmets, and improved eye protection are all demands that Enduro rider has and the market has listened. Not only does the safety apparel get better but so do your bikes, with lighter frames, better suspension designs, better components and more  shock / fork options than ever. Increasing the competition between manufacturers only benefits us consumers. We get lower prices, improved technology, improved performance and more choices. How can you go wrong? 

In talking with some of my customers, you get the sense that they are sick of just hearing about Enduro’s over and over again. Yet when you look at the full picture of what the Enduro craze has provided, you realize that maybe just maybe even if you never run an Enduro, you still benefit from that crazy Enduro scene! 

2014 Rock Shox Pike Review

During my time on bikes I’ve had the pleasure of riding a lot of fantastic bikes with great components on them. I’ve ridden everything from fully rigid single speed bikes (super fun!) to full blown DH bikes. Yet from all that riding one thing I’ve personally always taken for granted is my front fork, I’ve always wanted the fork to do what it’s supposed to, which is to help keep the front wheel in control. Some forks have done better than others at that over my time on a bike, and I’ve managed to stumble across the one that so far has put all others to shame. 

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The 2014 Rock Shock Pike we are testing is the Diffusion black, solo air, 150mm, 29er version; which has extremely good timing as there are more and more longer travel 29’ers coming to market. The Solo Air version is the “simple” version of the fork, which gives you the benefit of lock out, slow speed compression adjustment and rebound adjustment. The stiff chassis is comprised of beefy 35mm stanchions, and Rock Shox “Power Bulge” lowers to give an amazing light and stiff chassis. 

If you just looked at the description of the fork you’d think it’s heavy, but you’d be wrong as it’s only 4.1lbs which puts it within spitting distance of weenie XC forks. The Solo Air version of this fork is the set it and forget it type of fork, which is perfect for riders like me who don’t want to fiddle with remotes and other things and just ride the heck out of the fork. 

After a few months of testing and thrashing on this fork in all kinds of terrain, including Jump Lines, DH Resorts, XC Slogs, Chunky Technical, and long climbs I’m extremely impressed. Once you get the fork dialed into your riding preference (setting up sag and compression) this fork really does well in all types of terrain. Lets break down how the fork does in these situations. 

Cross Country Riding: 

The Pike is very good in this type of terrain, eating up small bumps, washboards, staying in control within loose sand and overall inspiring confidence that the wheel will go where you point make the Pike a great XC Fork. The Pike won’t be the lightest fork out on your trails, and it wasn’t designed to be, yet it is light enough to not put you at a big disadvantage. Setting up for long climbs was easy with the lock out switch close on the top of the fork leg, and it works great. There is a little bit of blow off so if you do hit something hard you won’t lose any fillings too. 

Technical Terrain: 

The Pike really excels in any chunky terrain. The fork makes short work of small to medium bumps with very little loss of composure. The fork holds its line amazingly well and as long as you have the ability to keep the line the fork is not going to let you down. The Pike is light enough that it won’t hinder you in lofting the front end over obstacles and provides a nice liner real through out all of it’s travel so no harsh ramp up at the end of the fork’s stroke. 

Jumping: 

The Pike has been great so far in jumping, yet this may have highlighted one of the Pike’s very few weaknesses. Rock Shox made the Pike extremely linear in it’s travel, which simply means the fork feels the same through out it’s whole travel range. On the one side this is very good as control is excellent. On the negative side, this can sometimes lead to harsh bottoming out if you are not a smooth jumper (like me, who I’d consider a hack!). 

What I found impressive with Rock Shox though is that the designers knew this, and provided some internal spacers for the fork which increase the fork’s compression. What this will accomplish for you is to create a more progressive spring rate (makes the fork firm up the deeper into it’s travel it goes). The benefit to this is that the fork will resist bottoming out at the same air pressures you are currently riding. So there is no need to jack up your air pressure settings which would create a harsh and uncomfortable ride. So kudos’ to Rock Shox for thinking outside of the box on that.

Conclusion: 

So we’ve found that the Pike is a very good performer for most riding. Handles everything well, is light weight and looks good. So we’d expect that the fork would be crazy expensive after that, but it’s really not. You can find a new Pike for around $800-850 if you spend some time looking. That is a sick deal for a fork that you’ll have a VERY hard time ever replacing. 

Personally I’ve found the Pike to be the best 29’er fork that I’ve ridden and would gladly put it up against any offering from Fox. Next time you’re in the market for a fork, give the Pike a thought! 

The Journey To Missing Link

Lots of people have asked me how Missing Link Bikes got started, as we’re not your “typical” bike shop. You can’t come here and buy a new bike off the floor, it’s pretty uncommon that we have any “new” equipment for sale. You can’t come to our showroom and browse what we have for bikes. So by most definitions, we’re a bike shop that won’t succeed by normal standards. So how have we been here for two years already and continuing to grow? 

The biggest reason for the success of Missing Link Bikes was found 12 years ago today. That day I met my future wife to be Sarah, and it’s been a whirlwind since that day. In the last 12 years we’ve lived in 4 states, have purchased 3 houses and numerous employment opportunities. Work has always had us moving around and really getting to explore this wonderful country we live in. One constant thing through the twelve years has been both of our love of bikes and the outdoors. 

About 2 and a half years ago, Sarah was offered a career that would bring us to North California and unknown to us a mountain bike mecca. Once we got to California I found a job with a company that I could grow with professionally and thought it was a good fit. After 6 months in that job I realized I made a mistake and hated going to work every single day. That’s when Sarah and I sat down and figured out this business. Building custom bikes and selling what I’ve built has always been a hobby over the 12 years so I had tons of experience with parts, frames, builds, and overall getting what I want out of the bikes that I built. 

Sarah pushed me into starting Missing Link full time and forget about what the “money” side of the business was. At that time we didn’t have a ton of cash, we were paying a mortgage and renting a house at the same time. She had the faith that we could build Missing Link into something special and that the money would take care of itself. So with $3,000, what you know as Missing Link Bikes was born. 

The first year of business was truly special, we met some amazing people, found kick ass friends, life long customers and at the end of the day even an extended family. Sarah would attend mountain bike camps, meet awesome people and soon after we’d be building bikes for camp goers. The name Missing Link Bikes started spreading from friend to friend and business kept coming in, it was an amazing experience! 

Year two has come and gone and shockingly we’ve doubled in business, which truly staggers me and I can’t thank you guys enough for the support. We run this small business out of our garage and the types of bikes that come through here are amazing. I truly can’t believe how amazing this has been so far, especially for something that started as a hobby. 

Today is the 12th year that Sarah and I have been together, and this is dedicated to her. Not only has she been there through the good times and bad, she’s always believed in me even when I may have lost that belief. She pushes me to be better, she pushes me to excel, she pushes me to do what I think I can’t do. 

Now only if she could push me to pick up my laundry! 

I love you babe! 

 

Adventures in Tubeless Tires!

By now you’ve all heard about Tubeless tires, about how they offer better performance, how they offer good weight savings and yada yada yada. What you probably haven’t heard a ton of information on is how fickle these little jerks can be sometimes. Those of you who don’t know a ton about tubeless setups, we’re going into detail below. 

Benefits of tubeless tires are real, but are they really for you? Lets see. 

Lighter Weight: 

With removing the tube from your tire and using a small amount of sealant in the tire you can lose a good amount of rotation weight (150+ grams). This is pretty significant as you’ll see the biggest gains in from losing weight when you can loose “rotational” weight. 

Lower Pressures: 

So what would lowering your tire pressure gain a rider you may ask. This answer is tricky for some riders but in essence it’s fairly straightforward. The lower pressure will allow your tire to conform better to trail debris or the trail itself as the tire “flattens” out a little bit more. This gives you a more flat tread pattern which gives you much more traction. 

Those are your main benefits of tubeless tires, it lets you squeak out more performance from your set up with usually no major changes to your bike. 

That all sounds fantastic in theory, but it’s not always as simple as most want you to believe and even seasoned tubeless users have experienced issues. Lets look at some of the downsides. 

Cost: 

Generally setting up tubeless is not exactly cheap. Ideally you’d want to have a tubeless ready wheel set (can be expensive), or convert your wheel set to tubeless (can be a giant pain in the rear). On top of setting up your wheel set to run tubeless, you need to look at cost of tires. I know of numerous tires that run $90+ for tires that are tubeless. Yup that’s expensive! 

Weight:

Wait! What? I thought tubeless set ups were less weight! Well that is true, you do get to remove the tube which in theory will remove weight. Yet, if you look at tubeless or TR ready tires versus normal tires you’ll see the tire weight is generally heavier, as well if you’re not careful with your fluid you can overfill a tire and completely eliminate any weight savings you get. 

Lower Pressures: 

Again?!?! I thought this was a good thing? Well that is true, you gain traction and performance by lowering your pressure. That’s the good thing. But what happens when you run pressures that are too low? Well the easiest answer is you can easily damage that fancy new wheel set you just purchased, so if you’re not sure of your weights you inflate your tire pressure to pre-tubeless levels and lose the benefit of lower pressure anyways…

Blow Offs:

If you’ve never experienced a tubeless blow off, count yourself lucky. It’s LOUD, like shotgun loud and it will scare the poop out of you. I’ve never experienced a blow off of a tubeless tire on the trail before yesterday, and I’ll tell you that it’s just not fun having to walk back to the truck after that. Of course you could just put a tube in and go on your merry way, but because you have “flat” protection you forget to pack a tube and thats it. 

Tire Mounting:

If you’ve ever mounted a tire for a tubed setup, it’s a pretty painless process. If you’ve ever tried to mount a stubborn tubeless tire, where you break out all the tubeless tricks like an air compressor, warm soapy water, and tire bouncing and still can’t get the bead to seat you know how frustrating it is. If you haven’t had that pleasure in life, imagine trying to mount a tire combining warm soapy water, leaking sealant, and frustration. Massive Frustration. 

So tubeless set ups do offer great advantages, if you are detailed oriented it can be a painless set up and give you great performance for minimal cost. If you don’t know what you’re doing in a tubeless set up it can be a complete nightmare which will make you question your sanity. 

Now I’m not saying to do or don’t do a tubeless. Just understand what you are getting into and understand that it’s not as easy as you may have been lead to believe. On the plus side, there are tons of people out there who’ve set up tubeless stuff and should be able to help you you for your first time!

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