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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited by Moderator)
Picked up a gravel bike and just getting things set up. My rear tire is losing air, albeit fairly slowly. I do not see any sealant goo coming out. Should I ride it and hope the sealant kicks in, add more sealant, other?

Tire Bicycle Wheel Bicycles--Equipment and supplies Bicycle wheel rim
 

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To determine where it air is leaking, mount on the bike and spin while spraying with windshield cleaner, you will see bubbles pretty quick. I would do that first to determine if your valve is leaking, if the valve is leaking, tighten it more. I dilute my window spray 50% with water.

Did you tape the spoke valley?
Did you add sealant? After you add sealant, pump the tires to 65psi +/-. Bounce them on the ground 20 times as rotating, then spin them 20 times cross axis (rotate 20 degrees after each cross rotation spin) in your hands to get the sealant up on the spoke valley. Let rest for 1 hour, do that about 4 times a day for a couple of days. ...or if they still lose air, add more sealant and start the process again.

It's easier to pay the pro's to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I bike came set up tubeless. Not sure what the assember did. The set-up checklist says "sealant installed". I will try the bubble method
 

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Yup, find the source of the leak first.

How slow is 'fairly slowly?
Some tubeless tires inherently leak. Which will seal up after some rides with sealant.
But if it's the tape or valve core you want to get that straightened out. Those may seal up from sealant too but I'd want them fixed.

You can also submerge the wheel in a bucket (or tub) of water. Even the smallest of leaks will stream air bubbles and tell you where it's leaking.

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yup, find the source of the leak first.

How slow is 'fairly slowly?
Some tubeless tires inherently leak. Which will seal up after some rides with sealant.
But if it's the tape or valve core you want to get that straightened out. Those may seal up from sealant too but I'd want them fixed.

You can also submerge the wheel in a bucket (or tub) of water. Even the smallest of leaks will stream air bubbles and tell you where it's leaking.
I pumped it up to 60 psi this am. Its about 10psi now. I will try the water method
 

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I pumped it up to 60 psi this am. Its about 10psi now. I will try the water method
That's the best method. I found pinhole leaks through the sidewalls on some of my tires. Orienting the tire so the sealant puddle is over the leak soon sealed it. It could also be the rim tape. Leakage at the spoke nipples or even the valve stem indicate rim tape problems. I've even had valve cores leak requiring replacement or cleaning of the valve core.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That's the best method. I found pinhole leaks through the sidewalls on some of my tires. Orienting the tire so the sealant puddle is over the leak soon sealed it. It could also be the rim tape. Leakage at the spoke nipples or even the valve stem indicate rim tape problems. I've even had valve cores leak requiring replacement or cleaning of the valve core.
Just tried the water plan. Went slowly around the tire twice including the valve. Saw no bubbles. Stumped. Maybe the sealant finally kicked in??
 

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Just tried the water plan. Went slowly around the tire twice including the valve. Saw no bubbles. Stumped. Maybe the sealant finally kicked in??
I have the same issue and did the same thing about 12 hours ago today, with the same result, i.e., no trace of the leak. But the tire this evening is more squishy that it was this morning.

I put on a different wheel-set for a ride this evening. It seems to have no trouble holding air, but I noticed a bubble of sealant on the sidewall. Yet the tire felt fine before, during and after the ride. (The seepage stopped almost immediately, but WTF?).

Maybe I should try inner tubes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have the same issue and did the same thing about 12 hours ago today, with the same result, i.e., no trace of the leak. But the tire this evening is more squishy that it was this morning.

I put on a different wheel-set for a ride this evening. It seems to have no trouble holding air, but I noticed a bubble of sealant on the sidewall. Yet the tire felt fine before, during and after the ride. (The seepage stopped almost immediately, but WTF?).

Maybe I should try inner tubes.
I did not expect tubeless to be such a PITA. After this experience I cannot see going tubeless for a road bike
 

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I did not expect tubeless to be such a PITA. After this experience I cannot see going tubeless for a road bike
My wife has tubeless tires on her road bike. I find them to be a PITA. When she needs new tires, I have to pay the LBS to mount them cause I can't get them off and on. The mechanic there struggles with them for 20 minutes a tire. And he does this for a living. I get relatively few flats and can fix one in minutes. I just don't see any benefit on a road bike unless you ride on glass shard strewn roads.

They lose air quicker than conventional tubed tires, but not nearly as fast as what you're experiencing. I'd add some more sealant and ride it. It probably pooled up and your tire isn't sealing.
 

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I'm 6+yrs on road tubeless. Over 30,000mi. And not one single flat.
Can run lower pressures and not worry about pinch flats.
My tires don't lose air faster than tubed. Not even close.
I can get tubeless tires on just fine. Sometimes by hand and no levers.
I would never dream of going back to tubes.
 

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As much as I find TL essential for the mountain bike I ditched it on the road bike. The benefits are not there for me. And yes, if you flat on the road it's a pain...and I've been a pro mechanic for over 25 years.
 

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A couple of years ago I had a terrible (and dangerous) experience with a 'new' set of very expensive Tubeless Only (i.e. hookless) wheels. I set them up and rode them a few times. I was out on a very long gravel ride out of mobile phone range, and cut a tire. It was a sidewall cut that required booting.

Problem is, I could NOT get the tire off of the rim to put a tube in and boot it. I had two Pedro's levers and tried every trick in the book, but I could not get that bead over the rim edge. Bear in mind, it was a cold, wet day and it was getting dark - not an ideal situation.

I ended up walking six miles to get mobile phone service and had to call someone and wait several hours in the pitch black night on a gravel road before I was picked up.

I called the manufacturer the next day and told them about this. They told me that the tire I was using was not compatible with their hookless rim (the shop I bought them at put the tires on - I had no idea it was so difficult) . I asked them what tires they tested the wheel with. They gave me one specific model of tire in one specific size. There was nothing about this tire compatibility issue included with the wheels, and the bike shop I purchased them at was also not aware. Hilariously, the marketing photos on their website showed the wheel with a completely different tire. (edit: those photos are no longer on their site)

I returned the wheels to the bike shop I purchased them from the next day. They happily processed my return/refund and stopped carrying that particular wheelset. Apparently there were other customers that had similar issues, and even their own mechanics had trouble with them in the shop (when customers asked to fit their favorite tires).

Bottom line for me, until road tubeless tire and wheel standards are more.. well.. 'standard', and I can choose any tire I want (within reason), I will stick to rims with hooks, and tubes and run whatever tire I want at the pressures I want.

Edit to add: I just looked at the manufacturers website. They now have an entire section of their support site dedicated to tire compatibility for their wheels. They have a published list of 'Approved/Recommended' tires, as well as a list of 'Not Approved/Not Recommended' tires (my favorite road tires on on the second list).

Also, I had forgotten about the limitations on tire pressures. I'm not an average cyclist. I'm 6' 6" and weight 240lbs. Optimal pressure for me is higher than optimal pressure for most. The limitations on tire pressures on hookless rims (at least some of them) are also a deal breaker for me.
 

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I too am wondering if tubeless is worth it. I think I'm spending more time and effort messing with all that is tubeless than just fixing an infrequent flat on the road and patching tubes. I seldom ride my mountain bikes these days and find the sealant has dried up when I go to use the bike. I used to get the most flats on the mountain bike from thorns. I don't think road tubeless is worth it. Just this morning, my gravel bike front tire was low (the back was fine). I use this bike a lot. I checked the sealant level and it was fine. Nothing stuck in the tire and no sealant leaks that I could see. I spun the wheel in all sorts of different directions and hope it seals. Next step if it doesn't is a water dunk. This shouldn't have happened. Another time I saw a thorn in my tire. This was in the garage. I pulled out the thorn and the hole didn't seal. Just made a puddle of sealant on the floor. I injected some fresh sealant and it finally sealed. Using Orange Seal, which seems to be one of the best sealants.
 
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