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Does anyone know how difficult it is to stop air from escaping through the spokes? If someone were to dab silicone sealant on the end of all the spokes around the rim (after carefully cleaning the rim) then would the air still escape?

I've bought an Outex kit which wasn't very expensive compared to the after-market rims mentioned, but I've seen a youtube video where are guy uses pure silicone on a car's wire wheel. I struggle to think of a good reason why that wouldn't work reasonably well. Certainly, you could easily replace a spoke and then reseal it with some fresh silicone afterwards. Is there really a special magic to this that only Bartubless understands? Why is their polymer any better than pure silicone (which is also a polymer)? Maybe the O-rings that Alpina rims have are better, but maybe they just do the same job as silicone or any other polymer sealant. Are we being sold an idea that we need to pay for something special, when in fact the job can be done with fairly ordinary sealant?

I'll use the Outex kit, because I already have it and hopefully it works well - but I can't help wondering if I couldn't just make up a simple and cheap method of doing the same thing.

I should mention that getting a 2nd set of rims with a wider rear that has a safety bead is worth something over and above just sealing the spokes.
 

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As much as I like o-rings, sealing each spoke with a o-ring bothers me because if you break a spoke then you have a flat tire.
Any type of rim strip or silicon should maintain the air pressure by not letting the spoke nibble move.
Yes, I did have a bike that loved breaking spokes. Ended up having it laced up with super spokes and the problem went away.

This just makes me wonder if using o-rings to seal the spokes is the way to go. Guess you could also run a rim strip also, which would provide additional safety.


Does anyone know how difficult it is to stop air from escaping through the spokes? If someone were to dab silicone sealant on the end of all the spokes around the rim (after carefully cleaning the rim) then would the air still escape?

I've bought an Outex kit which wasn't very expensive compared to the after-market rims mentioned, but I've seen a youtube video where are guy uses pure silicone on a car's wire wheel. I struggle to think of a good reason why that wouldn't work reasonably well. Certainly, you could easily replace a spoke and then reseal it with some fresh silicone afterwards. Is there really a special magic to this that only Bartubless understands? Why is their polymer any better than pure silicone (which is also a polymer)? Maybe the O-rings that Alpina rims have are better, but maybe they just do the same job as silicone or any other polymer sealant. Are we being sold an idea that we need to pay for something special, when in fact the job can be done with fairly ordinary sealant?

I'll use the Outex kit, because I already have it and hopefully it works well - but I can't help wondering if I couldn't just make up a simple and cheap method of doing the same thing.

I should mention that getting a 2nd set of rims with a wider rear that has a safety bead is worth something over and above just sealing the spokes.
 

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This just makes me wonder if using o-rings to seal the spokes is the way to go. Guess you could also run a rim strip also, which would provide additional safety.
I'd guess that anything CAN fail, but I've not had any spokes break on my DR650 and would hope that it wasn't a common problem on the AT.
I'd definitely look to having a rim strip, additional protection is always good. For emergency repairs - a tube of silicone sealant could easily be carried, or even a tube to put in there until you can repair the spoke & sealing around it.
 

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I have had 14 bikes and that was only one bike that had the issue.
Just something that sticks with you.

Always like to be prepared. Having the silicone is a good idea.


I'd guess that anything CAN fail, but I've not had any spokes break on my DR650 and would hope that it wasn't a common problem on the AT.
I'd definitely look to having a rim strip, additional protection is always good. For emergency repairs - a tube of silicone sealant could easily be carried, or even a tube to put in there until you can repair the spoke & sealing around it.
.
 

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Over-thinking can be a problem too.....but there’s no known cure or fix for that. >:)
I wish to plead Guilty my Lord ;)

How easy is it to get spare spokes, nipples and seals? Might be worth having a front and a rear spoke/nipple/seal in your tool kit whilst touring.
Doh, done it again :grin2:
 

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Discussion Starter #27
The Alpina wheels have thick spokes. I doubt they will break. The nipples also have a retaining ring that should retain the seal should a spoke break.
I don't think silicone would work from the outside. With air pressure behind and nothing to support the silicone, the air will win.
 

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Certainly over thinking here - got some birthday funds soon so will jump shortly and still inclining towards Bartubeless - but then again --
 

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You are missing the point.
The desire is to avoid having to make an emergency repair in the field.
Yes, it is easy to carry and replace a spoke but avoiding the flat tire is the goal.
All you need is something that would hold the nipple in place so that the air will not leak out since there would be nothing to hold the o-ring in place in the rare situation where a spoke does break.


I wish to plead Guilty my Lord ;)

How easy is it to get spare spokes, nipples and seals? Might be worth having a front and a rear spoke/nipple/seal in your tool kit whilst touring.
Doh, done it again :grin2:
 

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Great!
Was not aware that there was an additional protection already in place.


The Alpina wheels have thick spokes. I doubt they will break. The nipples also have a retaining ring that should retain the seal should a spoke break.
I don't think silicone would work from the outside. With air pressure behind and nothing to support the silicone, the air will win.
 

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Does anyone know how difficult it is to stop air from escaping through the spokes? If someone were to dab silicone sealant on the end of all the spokes around the rim (after carefully cleaning the rim) then would the air still escape?

I've bought an Outex kit which wasn't very expensive compared to the after-market rims mentioned, but I've seen a youtube video where are guy uses pure silicone on a car's wire wheel. I struggle to think of a good reason why that wouldn't work reasonably well. Certainly, you could easily replace a spoke and then reseal it with some fresh silicone afterwards. Is there really a special magic to this that only Bartubless understands? Why is their polymer any better than pure silicone (which is also a polymer)? Maybe the O-rings that Alpina rims have are better, but maybe they just do the same job as silicone or any other polymer sealant. Are we being sold an idea that we need to pay for something special, when in fact the job can be done with fairly ordinary sealant?

I'll use the Outex kit, because I already have it and hopefully it works well - but I can't help wondering if I couldn't just make up a simple and cheap method of doing the same thing.

I should mention that getting a 2nd set of rims with a wider rear that has a safety bead is worth something over and above just sealing the spokes.
I have seen a number of people doing just that (silicone the nipples on the inside of the rim to completely cover the nipple head), and then putting rim tape on before the silicone sets up. Remember the air pressure will hold the silicone against the nipple and the silicone will try and make its way out of the nipple (very unlikely). What is likely is that the centrifical force of the wheel spinning at high rpm will overcome the ability of the silicone to hang onto the metal or nipple (at that time you will have a flat). So you need some sort of tape to secure the silicone to prevent that. Effectively thats what Outex do they have the first layer gel tape that seals the area and the second layer to stop that expanding and being flung off at high rpm.
I have removed an Outex install to get my spokes replaced, beleave me I dont think its going to fail, takes a long time to get that stuff off if it goes on right.
I personally think either Bartubless or Outex type systems would be a better option than individual spoke seals, just my point of view.
 

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What is likely is that the centrifical force of the wheel spinning at high rpm will overcome the ability of the silicone to hang onto the metal or nipple (at that time you will have a flat). So you need some sort of tape to secure the silicone to prevent that.
Thanks your input. I agree that there will be some amount of outward force on the silicone and I'd definitely want some tape to help hold the silicone in place as well as to protect the silicone from being scraped off during tyre fitting. I don't really know enough about how well the silicone would hold vs how much force trying to pry it loose, but I'd suspect that the air pressure in the tyre would do a LOT to hold the silicone in place.

I'm kinda reluctant to try it myself and will put my trust in my Outex kit, but if someone wants to go with silicone they could keep us updated on how well it works.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
I cant think of a reason why not. You would need to remove the tubeless valve first. However you would be unlucky if a tyre plug would not get you home after a tubeless puncture. I carry a tubeless plug kit, air compressor and CO2 cannisters. I am also going to add some kit to get nails etc out the tyre. Point nosed pliers etc.
 

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I like the Italian polymer treatment, but they don't say how much that costs, along with shipping both ways. I like the Outex kit, but it seemed expensive for what it is, so I just bought the 3M tape, 30 bucks or so, and a set of tubeless valve stems that would fit the stem hole as is, ans cleaned the rims well, dried them with compressed air and installed the tape and valves. Bought tubeless tires and viola! I did have to redo the front, as I failed to properly dry the rims after cleaning, and was careful to start and end the tape between the spoke nipples. I did see that the air pressure really formed the tape around the spoke nipples. Ridden a few thousand miles, and no issues so far. I do carry tubes should I have a failure, or a puncture that I cannot plug. I did trim the width of the tape for the front, so as not to interfere with the bead seating surface. I'll see I guess.
 

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I've been following this thread with interest and can't help but think that the simplest answer to running tubeless tyres would be building a set of cross spoke rims as used by BMW.
To my way of thinking, any rim tape/O ring system is a band aid solution with a limited life span, potentially compromised when replacing spokes and subject to damage by careless tyre fitters.
I appreciate that cross spoked wheels are supposedly difficult to manufacture and true but having run them for many years and kilometres on 1150 and 1200 Adventures without problems I can't help but wonder why they aren't used universally by manufacturers.
Is this down to cost saving, ease of manufacture or something else that I haven't considered?

Hi Sundoger - yes, cross-spoked/laced tubeless rims are an excellent solution to running tubless tyres on spoked wheels - such as are fitted to the BMW R1200GSA, Honda VFR Cross-Tourer and Yamaha Super-Tenere... but as you surmise, they are both expensive and their supply is usually limited to OEM manufacturers, making it difficult if not impossible for aftermarket companies to offer their own version using that hub and rim format (note. most spoked- wheel rims are actually built by specialist companies, and bought in by the OEM manufacturers).

Other options include the single (or double) flange tubeless rims - such as Suzuki use on their V-Strom models, and have been used for years on smaller/lighter dual-sport and trials bikes of course; but again specific hubs are required for the reverse-laced spokes, which again adds to the overall cost of the wheel build.

Jx
 

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Ironically, Honda use this type of wheel on their VFR1200X and the XAdv, so there’s no real reason why they couldn’t of done a version of the AT, with this style of wheel.
Hi Shedracer - I suppose it is possible that the cross-lacing design is not appropriate for a narrow 21" front rim as fitted to the Africa Twin? Both the GS and the VFR have a wider and smaller diameter 19" front wheel.

Jx
 

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I am in the same boat considering new tubeless wheels. A friend in the UK also said to make sure the front wheel bearing is oversized as his was destroyed in a recent trip in the USA with only around 17,000 miles on the clock.

Choices seem to be Bartubless or Alpina

Rugged Roads SM wheels (standard bearings ? Bartubless, rear 36 spoke, 18 x 4.25 ) - £ 1,248
Rally Raid (oversized front bearing, Bartubless, rear 36 spoke , 18 x 4.25) - £ 1,500
Alpina (oversized front bearing, rear 36 spoke, 18 x 4.25) - £ 1,695 (Painted) or £ £ 1,512 (Anodized)

I know with the Bartubless system you can repair the polymer with a tube of the stuff they supply, the question is how long after 4 years will it remain bonded to the wheel? It does have the advantage of being able to put a tube in if required.

Alpina only guaranteed for 2 years but replacement sealing rings are available so in the event of a failure should be an easy fix. In addition they claim the seals should last around 900,000 miles.

Decisions, decisions
Hi Chris - if it helps to make your decision any easier, the Rally Raid Products tubeless Africa Twin wheels in OEM replacement size are £1248 inc. 20% VAT (£1040 ex. Vat - so around $1450 USD at the current exchange rate) and are in stock, for immediate dispatch.

With regard to the 4-year warranty offered by BARTubeless, consider that is at least a year longer than an extended warranty on the rest of your bike, and ought to illustrate their confidence in the fitting and durability of their sealing system long-term.

Jx
 
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