Written by: Greg Kopecky
Added: Tue Jul 10 2012
You’ll quickly notice that the tires and wheels used, however, aren’t necessarily triathlon-intended. Ten points for you. They aren’t even really intended for road, or mountain, or traditional cyclocross. No, this is a very unique package, so allow me to explain.
The wheels are Shimano WH-MT75, which are intended for 29er (700c) mountain bikes. These feature Shimano’s centerlock disc brake mounting system, and standard quick release axles in 100mm front width, and 135mm rear width. The rims have a 19mm internal width – so certainly wider than we’re used to on a road bike. The rims feature a smooth inner surface, and adhere to the mountain bike UST tubeless standard.
The tires are Hutchinson’s Bulldog CX tubeless. This tire is a very unique beast – and one of my favorites. It stands as one of the only tubeless-intended cyclocross tires. While our mountain bike friends have UST, there is no tubeless standard for road or cyclocross tires. However, this tire features a very “UST-like” bead – which is to say, it is very thick and square-shaped. Hutchinson simply calls it a “tubeless ready” cyclocross tire.
And – for your road triathlon purposes – the set of steps I outline are exactly what you’d do on a road tubeless system. You’d just want to use a tubeless road wheel, such as the shallow-section Shimano Dura Ace aluminum wheels, and a pair of road tubeless tires. But the basic concept is identical.
What bike will this odd wheel and tire combination be used on? For that, you’ll have to wait… but I can give you a hint that includes a mix of cyclocross, a dash of disc brakes, and maybe even a set of aerobars.
To get started, we need to know the required parts and tools. The top photo details the items that are generally required equipment: wheel (with tubeless valve), tire, pump, sealant, and either an air compressor or CO2 cartridge. Here is the optional equipment – a set of tire levers, a “super” tire lever, and some sort of bead lubricant.
Start by inserting the tubeless valve. With many UST or tubeless-intended wheels, they include a specific-designed valve that you must use. These Shimano wheels included their own valve, and you can see why: it perfectly matches the contour of the rim.
I should note, however, that if you’re going to err on one side, I’d rather the fit be a little bit too loose. In this case, I was able to install both tire beads without any tools at all – not even a single tire lever. No blistered thumbs means a happy mechanic. So what’s a guy to do? If you have an air compressor, that’s the best option. I don’t have one, so I had to sacrifice a CO2 cartridge for each wheel.
For Road Tubeless, follow the same procedure outlined here. I look forward to riding these wheels flat-free for the rest of the year. In the coming weeks, we'll have a more detailed report on the complete bike for which these wheels are intended.
Editor's Note: For clarity's sake, Hutchinson is discontinuing this tire (the Bulldog CX Tubeless), along with the lighter-treaded Piranha CX Tubeless. Unfortunately, the UCI changed the maximum tire spec for cyclocross from 35mm to 33mm, making this tire illegal, at least at the professional level. Given that, along with the market's slow response to disc brakes and tubeless for cyclocross, Hutchinson now offers 32mm widths in two tube-intended clincher models (the Piranha 2 and Toro). Our use of this tire was simply for educational purposes, although we secretly hope that they will bring back their excellent tubeless CX tires in the future.
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