Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Testing: Joe's No Flats Tubeless Conversion Kit

Ok so I was given a Joe's No Flats kit last year to try out. The opportunity for me to use it really hasn't presented itself so I decided to let a co-worker of mine try it out on his DH rig. I figured what better way to get real world feedback then with a downhiller since they are pretty hard on their equipment and prone to punctures. In fact this rider was complaining of constant punctures so we'll see how he likes the added protection and ability to run lower pressures.
Kit comes very complete. Here's what's included:
Big Bottle of sealant - 500mL
Small measuring bottle
Rim prep tape
Rubber rim strip with attached valve stem
Instructions in many languages
Spare valve cores

Also I received 2 different widths of rubber rim strips to accommodate any application I would encounter.

So I'm going to come clean here. The sealant I used in this install was Stan's. I have already used the bottle of Joe's to seal up my tubeless tires to my tubeless rims on my race bike. I can report that it works just as well as Stan's. Seems a little stickier and seems to bond more to the tire once the liquid has evaporated. Didn't really notice if this was a good or bad thing compared to how Stan's sets up. So I already know that the sealant works well whereas I'll have to wait until Brian the guinea pig gets back to me with his impressions of the strips in a couple weeks.

First step is to remove the tire and check the rim tape. I found the tape he had on to be a little wide and didn't want it to interfere with the rubber rim strip so we decided to use the provided rim tape which has a lower profile.

Here is the installation of the rim tape. Just like a normal tape. Just do one wrap, should be enough to cover the spoke holes. Take a knife or screwdriver and cut a hole for the valve stem. Make sure not to dislodge the tape if you are doing it with a dull screwdriver.

Next install the rubber rim strip. The valve is attached right to the strip so feed the valve into the rim first and go from there. Keep even pressure as you seat the strip into the rim. You sorta have to let it slide in your hands or you'll end up with a big loop of slack strip. Here is was just making sure the rubber was tucked under the bead lock on the rim so that it wouldn't protrude once the tire was on.

Next put the tire on. We used levers to finish it off. I've never really damaged a tire or rim so that it couldn't be sealed when using levers. I think as long as you are careful and only use nylon ones then you will be fine.

Measure out the correct amount of sealant. I used the Stan's cup but with the Joe's No Flats kit you can use the measuring bottle which is handy. They tell you to seat the tire first then remove the valve core and squirt the sealant in through there yada yada yada. I just simplify this step and add the sealant while one bead it still off the rim. Just be careful not to dump it out when you are putting the other bead of the tire on the rim.
Got the first one to seal up no problem. 2nd one gave us a bit of trouble but we managed to get it to work eventually. The tires were seated using the compressor.

So until I hear back from Brian about the strips I can only comment right now on the sealant. I know what you are thinking, Joe's No Flats??? What a rip off of Stan's No Tubes. I 100% agree. From what I have seen so far it looks and performs extremely similarly so the only reason I would ever buy Joe's over Stan's is if it was significantly cheaper.
Performance gets 8 out of 10
-Works very well just like Stan's. Strips can be a messy pain in the @ss and changing a flat is more of a hassle out on the trail since you have to pull the tape out and keep it in your jersey. So I guess it's not that much more complicated then changing a flat with tubes.
*Update on the kit after some ride time.*
Brian reports that he hasn't flatted since we installed the kit. He also likes the lower pressures that he can run with less risk of failure. He does report some burping of air but attributes this to the crapply old tire that he is running. It even sealed up some pretty big cuts in the tire, so overall impressions are good at this time. This kit gets 2 big toes up.


  1. I also purchased Joes system and I had an absolute %$%% of a time geting the tire on between the rim and the rubber rim strip. Having done this I now have to find a compressor to pump the tyre up. I am thinking of going back to the tube and filling it up with sealant

  2. Honestly the best bet is to ditch the stupid thick rubber rim strips and just use Stan's yellow tape to seal the rim. Weighs like 10 grams for both wheels and is much easier to deal with. I will post back with more info on this the next time I seal my rims.