Tubliss High Pressure Bladder Leak-down Rate & Filling in the Boonies

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by motobene, May 27, 2019.

  1. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 51 years Supporter

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    Some comments and questions regarding dealing with the high-pressure side of Tubeliss out in the boonies, away from the compressors and other kit one can't (or should not) be hauling on the bike.

    Maybe I'm looking to buy a do-all CO2 inflator with 5 to 120 psi gauge, on/off/metering valve, and quick pop-off Schrader adapter? ...Or any other Tubliss support items that help deal with what-if problems while keeping kit taken on the bike to a minimum?

    I've gone Tubliss on my `19 Beta 390 RR-S.
    IMG_20190521_112143.jpg
    IMG_20190527_101014.jpg

    I retained the Michelin front tire and fit a Kenda Equilibrium rear tire:
    IMG_20190521_170532.jpg

    I wanted from Tubliss better traction and ground compliance feel from running the outer at low pressure. This was achieved, and my experience mounting Tubliss front and rear has me convinced this is a really great system! For one,t inice how the inner bladder forces the bead onto the rim.

    I desire to go remote places and NOT have to carry the usual heavy and bulky just-in-case kit for tube-type tires. I have never burdened any fellow riders with equipment failure, and Tubliss is not something I have lived with yet. My stuff is very well set up and maintained. I think things through before trips and rides. This post has come about because I hit a mental snags regarding the high-pressure inner bladder. Would I have to top off the bladder on say a 5-day BDR ride? Or do I just start out at 110 or even 120 psi and forget about it?

    I looked for a published decline curve of pressure versus time for the high pressure bladder, but could not find one. NuTech says 100 psi minimum is required, and to top off the bladder to 110 psi before rides. There is no statement about minimum working pressure. I have read one rider says he got by fine at 70 psi. Others say 80-90 psi is fine. But no one really talks about the conditions under which under-pressure would be fine.

    I am running Quadboss sealer in the outer, but no sealer in the high-pressure inner. Is there some sealer that is more ideal to slow the natural leak rate of the inner? Maybe the Quadboss would be fine. I just don't know.

    What has been the experience of fellow Tubliss users regarding leak-down rate? That can be hard to 'gauge' of course because like the Heisenburg Uncertainty principle, mere observation changes what is observed. Checking pressure reduces pressure!

    I did not yet do a test with gauge left on for, say, a week, to make my own graph. The natural leak-down rate may not be linear, but rather would slow down as pressure drops. I could do that before sealer and after.

    One solution - one might assume - is just hook up to a CO2 cartridge and let it rip. But it might do just that - rip! The equilibrium pressure of CO2 is well over 300 psi! And thread-on fittings like I have are no bueno as much pressure is lost backing the threads off.

    This is my current setup with 25g cartridge while I was testing equilibrium pressure. I just cracked open slightly the valve and pressure shot up to over 200 psi! I almost ruined the gauge....
    IMG_20190527_101004.jpg

    In my shop I just shut my compressor off at 110 psi and fill the bladders. I also have this bicycle pump I can use and take in the truck. That stuff on the end is because my filler tip broke and so did the gauge.
    IMG_20190527_110110.jpg

    Looking forward to your feedback, fellow inmates!
    #1
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  2. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 51 years Supporter

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    NuTech plasters "not for road use" on their packaging. I don't know why. Maybe expensive and onerous DOT requirements are a factor? Having the bead stay fixed to the rim if a tire goes suddenly flat would seem to me to be a big plus for safety.

    Not encouraging anyone to go against their warnings. I will have to do road sections however, and this is where good balancing comes in.

    No-Mar WT-SPK10BR-1 spoke weights (1-oz.) have worked well for balancing the rear. Not sure yet on the front.
    IMG_20190506_124523.jpg
    IMG_20190506_124449.jpg

    The nipple bores in the weights were a touch undersize for the 8mm nominal Beta front and rear spoke nipples, however.

    Solution? I drilled the bores out slightly with an O drill (0.316") to allow them to slide fully over the spoke nipples.
    IMG_20190506_124609.jpg
    #2
  3. sprinter27

    sprinter27 Adventurer

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    i have used tubliss for years front and back , i use a good stand up bike pump to keep the bladder at 120 (probably check the bladder weekly ). The reality is the bladder rarely goes down , but checking it will cause the 20-30 lbs loss because off the small volume . imo sealer in the bladder will not work due to the high pressure . But is good to seal any small punctures in the tire , and identify the hole easily to do a trail side repair . Have not seen a problem with balance and the tubliss , but that is dirt focused , with the frequency of my tire changes i personally would not get into trying to keep the tires balanced
    #3
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  4. guns_equal_freedom

    guns_equal_freedom Long timer

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    Me and my friends used to use Tubliss.
    We stopped because we got tired of some tires holding air and others not holding air.
    In addition to that, we also had issues of air leaking past the inner bladder and leaking out of the spokes.
    Heavy duty tubes for me.
    #4
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  5. shrederscott

    shrederscott Long timer

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    Hi

    After 5 seasons of struggling with tubliss ... I am done with it ... back to tubes.

    I did learn a few lessons before I gave them up.

    1. High pressure side loses air VERY slowly ! !...5 day ride ...unlikely you will experience lose of more than 1-2lbs.

    2 .... when you get gas ...they usually have air ...so you can top off at most pumps.

    3 A failure of the tubliss system is a difficult field repair ( I know as I have experienced 3 field failures) .... failure = loss of high pressure tube OR significant damage to tire that a plug can NOT repair ... in these cases ... about all you can do is field remove the tubliss system (what a pain ) insert a tube a rim lock ...ride on.....riding a significant distance on a full inner with 0 psi outer SUCKS ...handling is poor and rim damage is likely.

    Hope you have better luck than me.

    Scott
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  6. dogsslober

    dogsslober No neck tie, Ti neck

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    I didn't even make it thru 1 full season. Twice I had a puncture 1 1/2" slice in between knobs. So I felt like a failure in the field would possible need to carry a tube, patch kit and tire tools any how. I returned to tubes and the normal repair items.
    #6
  7. Hankus

    Hankus Been here awhile

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    A high pressure bicycle mini pump and a tire plug kit is what you need to carry with you. If you wanted to, you can also run sealant in the inner bladder. Stan’s sealant will seal high pressure leaks in bicycle tires. I see no reason why a Tubliss bladder would be any different. If the tire goes flat but the bladder is intact you can ride on that in an emergency to get home. I usually run 6-8 pounds in the tires. Imagine the difference between no air and 6 pounds of air. Its not much difference.

    The big deal I have found with Tubliss is that you must follow directions carefully and be meticulous in your technique. After that its really trouble free. Pumping the bladder and tires each ride is so easy. And that’s all you have to do.
    #7
  8. Nowwhat

    Nowwhat I'll Go Second... Super Supporter

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    Tubliss has its place but once outside of its narrow purpose, it can become a liability.

    From my experience

    1 there is no reason to put tubliss on a front tire. Run a nitro mousse and you will get 1500 trouble free miles

    2 Tubliss for technical ...I mean real technical rides on the rear can be a true advantage as long as it is paired with a tire that can be ridden back to the truck at 0 psi

    Anything outside of this and you still have to carry a tube...tools...rimlock etc

    Mousse front tubliss rear for hard stuff

    Mousse front and rear for general dirt riding

    Mousse front and HD tube rear for DS

    Ymmv
    #8
  9. renogeorge

    renogeorge Let's ride!! Supporter

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    Same old stuff. I remain convinced that most Tubliss problems result from faulty installs. Do it right and leak check both beads before putting wheel on bike. I air to 110 psi and have never had an inner bladder drop below 100 psi in anything less than 2 weeks. Use 100 psi indicating valve caps and you won't be losing air every day when you check them. If its green-GO.And that included major changes in temperature and elevation. I can't say I have proven the upper and lower sealing limits related to inner bladder pressure. But everything I have experienced on and off road tells me the Tubliss system is not that sensitive to pressure. I'm gonna say 80-120 psi just from gauge variation, filling at higher pressure and losing a little removing pump connection, etc.

    So much is made about inner bladder punctures. In thousands and thousands of miles I have never had one. I have had many tire punctures by nails, screws, etc. But never one that made it through to the inner bladder. Could it happen--sure! But cool down and think. That bladder and the inner liner can be patched just like a tubless tire or regular tube. With the same nail and regular tube, you'd be pulling tire off and replacing or patching tube. One more step with Tubliss--IF it ever happens. In the meantime No pinch flats, pressure as low as you want, ride flat and punctures plugged on the bike.

    No argument that a mousse is better where you just cant have a flat. BUT from experience I don't like the trade offs in harsh, unadjustable ride, cost, short life and install. But if you are happy with one, I'd agree--use it.

    FWIW
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  10. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 51 years Supporter

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    That's definitely an education, thank you all for the feedback. No one addressed the CO2 equilibrium pressure issue and how to gauge pressure on the trail. Do you all have any preference for a pressure gauge?

    I will respond to several points:

    I chose the Kenda Equilibrium rear tire which is great for performance, by it has a very flexible sidewall and very soft rubber. Very close to a trials tire. The Equilibrium is not a good choice for running flat.

    I'm not worried. I've not had a flat requiring field repair in 4 decades. I know that sounds implausible. Trials competition and my personality combine for extreme awareness of ground details and quick avoidance of tire killing details and impacts. I've gotten check mated and had that huge BAM thinking, "Surely that will cause a flat!" ...But no flats. Hope my luck continues.

    It's very good to know the leak-down rate is slow (though one of you reported varying leak rates and just plain leaks). Probably always a good idea to check pressure every day before s significant run.

    Running the outer at low pressure means significant difference in feel with temperature and altitude changes. I can feel when my rear tire warms during a trials competition and the pressure rises from the target 4-1/2 psi to 5-1/2 psi, or the front tire goes from 5.8 to 6.5 psi.

    I have two mini high-pressure pumps. I experimented with them bringing pressure up to 110 from 80 psi. I gave up at 60 pumps and just used the big bicycle pump. I'll stick with CO2 and be careful how I use it.

    My upcoming rides will be technical single track that won't be more than 20 miles from the truck and backup parts. The second part of my ride will be the northern half of NM BDR, multiple days with motels in between. That's where I'll be more vulnerable, as I need bag space for a few clothes so I won't reek, not tubes and rim locks. At least the BDR is technically way easy and less risky on tires.

    On the balance issue, with the stock Michelin Enduro from the factory my rear end was seriously out of balance above 40 mph. The worst imbalance I've ever experienced. I simply put two of the brass weights on the side opposite the rim lock and tube stem. Worked great. When I switched to Tubliss and the Kenda Equilibrium I just kept the two weights in place and the balance seems fine. Going to test ride more tomorrow at speed....

    Tubliss versus Mousse. I'm still trying to wrap my head around Tubliss. Mousse is just such an alien concept. I get it, and have watched install videos, but I have a hard time believing foam can feel as good as riding on low pressure air. If Tubliss gives me trouble I will try the Mousse technology.
    #10
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  11. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Long timer Supporter

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    I use these caps on my bike that I do multi day trips on, you can get them for 100psi.


    41t8cDPVLiL._AC_SY400_.jpg

    I have gone on trips of up to a month without needing to add air to either the high or low pressure sides of the system. I use Stans sealant in the low pressure side.

    CO2 is at about 7 or 800 PSI in those little cartridges.
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  12. AdvNener

    AdvNener Long timer

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    I use the same. Because everytime i wanted to "check" the pressure i lost like at least 20 psi because of the check itself.
    Btw i ride at least 50% (mileage) on pavement (pavement means 50 kph-110kph) and have now about 9000km total on the same tubliss install (finishing second set of tires). As some have said i don't see how this is more dangerous than running tubes for pavement.
    Never had to add pressure to the inner bladder during 7-10 days trips, but i carry a small bicycle hand pump just in case (one you can "switch" to low volume/high pressure mode, which helps a lot). That's what i use to top off inner pressure in the garage too, so i know it works, although yes it takes quite a few dozens pumps..
    #12
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  13. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Junky

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    CO2 isn't going to fill up the inner bladder to 110psi unless you carry one of those larger tanks that can double as O2 source for a diver. I can barely get CO2 cartridges to seat a bead @ around 50psi and that's only half the time and it typically takes 2 cartridges to get that far. I love it when I need a little more pressure to seat a bead so I connect up a fresh CO2 cartridge and basically nothing happens. The cartridge isn't capable of bringing the pressure up past about 45psi. No way it's doing 110. Get a good bike pump that can go up that high and ditch the CO2. You saw that high pressure when your gauge was connected because that was all that was connected, put it to a tire and the results will be much different.
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  14. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    If you bought a nice KTM with AER forks it even comes with a pump!
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  15. AdvNener

    AdvNener Long timer

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    I may be wrong but.. that's in a tire. Less volume in the tubliss inner bladder. But anyway, it looks like a PITA to use cartridges for that, because you are going to guesstimate with the cartridge, put your gauge, maybe lose pression when doing so, put cartridge again, etc... Unless you can reliably put a bit more than 110 psi (but not much more cause at some point the inner bladder with burst?), then slowly go down while monitoring with the gauge.
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  16. renogeorge

    renogeorge Let's ride!! Supporter

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    OK I'm going to try it in the shop today. I've only used the cartridges to fill outer chamber, so 10-12 psi max and not needing to re seat bead. Obviously the cartridges work fine for that.

    I can't figure out the effect of the inner tube being a relatively small volume, compared to outer, low pressure chamber. And the fact that it is constrained by the red liner, which is stout and will definitely limit expansion.

    I'll report back, assuming I don't blow myself up

    BTW, I have successfully used an 18" bicycle tube in a pinch. The Tubliss is much thicker though
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  17. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Junky

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    The volume is less for sure which should help. I learned my lesson with CO2, it works fine for bringing up a tire to operating PSI but not much over that. I've not tried the CO2 to fill the inner bladder but have come up short @ 45~50psi more than once in other tire situations. It was very disappointing at the time since I was relying on the CO2 100%, Had to ride that leg of the trip with an improperly seated tire, I won't make that mistake again. Since I don't trust it (CO2) enough not to also carry a pump there's not much point to carrying both. The dual (Hi/Lo) volume mini pumps work better IMO and they end up being smaller when you consider you really should carry extra cartridges. On top of that who's had a bad tire day, when a patch or a plug didn't hold for whatever reason. With CO2 you need to carry enough to account for that cartridge-wise or carry an emergency hand pump at which point you haven't gained anything.
    #17
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  18. renogeorge

    renogeorge Let's ride!! Supporter

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    Well, there you go. Think I'll switch to bicycle pump for my longer rides on small bikes. On the 690 I carry a 12V pump which does 100+ psi. I use it a lot as I air down for off road and back up for pavement.

    Gotta keep this in perspective. You can't possibly be prepared for everything. So there has to be some weighing of the probability of a problem occurring. For me, an inner bladder problem is pretty low-not zero, but a risk I'm willing to take on shorter rides. Options are there for longer, remote rides-take a tube and irons, bicycle pump and patch kit for liner, zip tie tire to rim/ride flat, die in the desert, etc.
    #18
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  19. renogeorge

    renogeorge Let's ride!! Supporter

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    OK, coffee has kicked in. An idea for the belt and suspenders guys:

    Before installing Tubliss, use Goop or another sealant on spoke nipples, so that your rim is tubeless. Install Tubliss. If you have an inner bladder puncture, plug the hole in the tire and air up using the low pressure valve, which should function just like a regular tubeless stem--filling the whole tire. Then the inner bladder is still in there but flat. The Goop is handling the sealing and the Tubliss rim lock is doing it's job. The part I haven't figured out is how to seal the hole where the Tubliss high pressure stem comes through the rim. I'm thinking a regular tubeless stem pushed through from the outside.

    For my next great (?) idea, I think I'll bring back the spark plug hole air pump. Think I have one rusting in the bottom of an old tool box
    #19
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  20. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Long timer Supporter

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    Co2 is in liquid form in those little cartridges. That is why they are labeled in grams. It is how many grams of liquid there is in there. It is also 7-800psi. That is the pressure at which Co2 converts from a gas to a liquid. In theory, if you had enough of those cartridges, you could achieve many hundreds of PSI in a tire. If you know the volume of the inner bladder, you could calculate how many cartridges it would take to inflate it to 100psi. I have used those cartridges to inflate road bicycle tires to 100psi, 2-3 is what is usually needed, depending on how sloppy I am at getting all the gas in the valve.

    Also be careful hooking up a gauge, like what was pictured above, to test the co2 pressure. Things could easily go wrong if they are not designed for that pressure.
    #20
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