Using a syringe to add latex sealant to a bicycle tire

Gettin’ the hang of this

Hot on the heels of Thursday’s success in tracking down and fixing a slow leak, I returned to the balcony this cloudy but mild Saturday morning to see if I could mount the final tire — the spare front wheel that I’d had no luck with a couple of weeks ago.

Checking tire pressure with digital gauge
New toy

I’ve been out on the balcony a few times since Thursday to give the newly fixed tire a squeeze and a few bounces. This morning I decided to give my new toy a try. The pressure showed nearly 52psi, satisfyingly close to the 60psi I’d inflated the tire to when I was finished on Thursday.

Bicycle tire pump gauge
Sanity check

Just as a sanity check, I attached the tire pump. The reading was in fair agreement, particularly considering that attaching the tire pump usually results in a small loss of air.

That done, I put that wheel to one side and pulled out the spare front wheel, the one with the dynamo hub. This has been sitting with the tire on but not sealed since I first tried to mount it two weeks ago. It’s also the one I scavenged the valve from for Thursday’s fix, so the first order of business was to insert a new valve.

Bicycle tire, valve core and valve core tool
New valve in, core removed

With the valve in and the core removed, I pumped up the air reservoir, soaped up the tire and rim, and attached the pump head. The first go just resulted in a lot of air whooshing out of the pump and through the valve, and there wasn’t even enough bubbling anywhere to give me something to investigate. So I just charged up the pump once again and soaped up the tire, and let it rip. This time there was progress. The tire didn’t pop onto the rim, but it held the air for a few seconds, expanding all around the circumference. Large soap bubbles appeared all around the rim, showing that we were close to a seal.

Third time’s a charm — nearly

Soapy bicycle tire with pump attached
Charming lack of bubbles

On the third try (pump up reservoir, lather up tire all around the rim), there was a satisfying Pop! Success! I quickly worked to add sealant to the tire.

Using a syringe to add latex sealant to a bicycle tire
Latex infusion

At that point I thought I was good, and so inserted the valve core and pumped up the tire — or tried to.

Digital pressure gauge with bicycle wheel in background
High and tight

I could quickly see I wasn’t getting anywhere. So once again I removed the core, charged up the reservoir and gave it the business. This time I was rewarded with a couple of very sharp Pops!

Elated, I once again inserted the valve core and pumped up the tire. It was holding air this time. By the time I got up to about 40psi, I could hear some leaking. So I removed the pump head and picked the tire up to swirl the sealant around inside. After a few seconds of swirling, the hissing of leaking air stopped, and I resumed pumping up the tire to 60psi (or thereabouts).

As always, I finished up the job with more swirling of the sealant, a few bounces of the tire on the balcony floor, and a close inspection of the bead all the way around to make sure it’s evenly seated. Done!

Four for four

I’m now four for four on tubeless tires seated to Kuroko’s wheels — the main set and the spares. I have plans for the spares, which have a somewhat more aggressive tread pattern than the slicks on the main wheels, but they’re not quite ripe. In the meantime, I picked up the spare rear, the one I’d seated the tire on two weeks ago. It was noticeably soft, and yet was holding air. I decided to top it up again and call it a day.

Digital tire pressure gauge
A wee bit low

Bicycle in stand with extra wheels in background
Four tires, one wheel drive

(I have more time today. I could probably clean up some of those old tires … )

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