The rise and fall of tubeless - the death of a favoured tyre.

Pumping the trail down Reigate Hill the other day I hit a bit of flint and tore my beloved Bontrager Mud-X rear. Had a set on my Pace RC303 for two years and they have been great in all conditions. Welsh mountain in the wet? Sure. Trail centre on rocks? Bring it on! Surrey mud? Pah, big Jess. So I spent some time trying to fix the gash, in a sad "I don't want to spend £30" kind of way.

You Dear Reader know that trying to glue patches on to the inside of a tyre will end in doom, but I tried, I really did. The patch lasted 23 miles. Was going to try and fix it again, but noticed another hole near the rim. The tyre had obviously either caught against something or had pinched itself. Also noticed that both tyres were pretty worn out, so into the Man Cave I went and dug through my spares. Tried to get a Maxxis Aspen to seal. One hour later no joy. Went to take it off, noticed a hole in the side. May explain why it was stashed away. In the skip that went, along with the two Mud-X's. Not doing well. Next on was another Maxxis, but on the bike the 2.0" size looked weeny, so it was replaced by another Aspen on the rear, a 2.25" On the Pace this filled the rear end totally, so utterly silly as it was almost rubbing against the frame. Always galled me that, Pace making a bike to use in mud yet not allowing any mud room. Anyway, off it came. Decided to remove a Racing Ralph from another bike and drag a Mud-X out of the skip. Both went on tubeless quite happily within a minute or so. I dislike tubes so much that there's no way I'm fitting them, but....

.....but that's 2 hours out of my life that I will never get back. My bike is up and running again, with a nice fat Ralph up front. Love those tyres. So I looked on the internet to get another. Found loads at £34. Great! Will order. Oh, usual internet scam; all out of stock, please buy a £50 one. Nah, I'm not about to spend that kind of cash on a tyre so eBay I went. Oooo, used ones that look well rough but a few shoplifted ones still in the packaging. I'll bid up to £30 and see how it goes. Of course I could pop down to my LBS and buy a Bonty XR for £30 but I'm still seething over them taking me for a ride over a wheel build [9 weeks to build, and cost more than one direct from Hope even though I supplied the hub, also a Hope item], so I'm not about to pop my head around their door any time soon now am I? It's always been said that service will win over the internet, so they shot themselves in the foot there. I don't mind paying a bit over the odds, fair play, but they took the piss big time.

And have you noticed that Orange have given up on the 26" tyre? Having ridden the Orange 5 this weekend at silly speeds one feels that we've passed Nirvana already. Bikes are pretty fast as is, perhaps too fast for shared trails. I did read an article this week where a pro racer said that over a three minute course he was one second faster. Hmmm, unconvinced that I need to buy a 650b bike - and anyway, just fit a 2.4" tyre; does the same. [Wonder if the new 650b rear end of the Orange fits the old one?]