Why is the FattyStripper/SkinnyStripper system better than tape or split tube?
The FattyStripper/SkinnyStripper latex band is the simplest tubeless solution because it is a continuous elastic band that completely covers and seals your rim from both air and sealant. Just put on the valve, stretch it over the rim, inflate and trim the excess. It is the lightest solution available and thin enough to work on EVERY known rim available today. The best characteristic of the bands is that the super thin latex will bond with the tire's bead due to the pressure and latex sealant acting like a glue. This turns your standard clincher tire into a tubular-like tire that will not burp. You can roll very low pressures on off-camber technical terrain without fear of burping. That said... you can still dent your rim, so some common sense is required. ;^}
Q1: I live outside the USA. Do you ship internationally?
A1: Yes, FattyStripper has been making FatBikes tubeless in Canada, Norway, Sweden, England, Italy, France, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. That reminds me... I need to book a trip to go "test" product!
International Shipping Note: PayPal can be picky about confirming addresses. Please confirm your address with PayPal and everything will work just fine. International shipping takes a while... I've seen it vary between 7 days and 19 days. I realize it takes a frustratingly long time in some countries/provinces (Quebec, Canada takes 2x longer than Norway for example) but there is nothing I can do without bumping up to Express shipping. Express shipping costs between $22-$45 depending upon location.
Q2: Do you have to change the BlingStrip or the FattyStripper latex band when you change a tire?
A2: No, you do not need to change the BlingStrip and it works just fine with tubes. You need to be careful when removing a tire while changing the tire. You want to separate the tire's bead from the latex and leave the latex band on the rim while changing the tire. The easiest way that I've found to do this is to use the back of a round, plastic, ball point pen. Simply work it in between the deflated tire's bead and the latex band and slowly work it around the tire until you've separated the tire from the latex.
Additional note: FattyStripper bands are less expensive than tubes... keep a spare set in stock.
Q3: What is the best way to trim the excess FattyStripper after the tire is installed?
A3: A sharp pair of fabric shears with a reasonably fine point works pretty well, but a long exacto blade with a sharp tip trims the rimstrip closer to the bead if you really don't want anyone to look close and see the rimstrip. Here is a link to the $1.29 Snap Blade razor I have been using from Ace Hardware.
Pull the excess band away from the tire so that it is decently stretched. When the knife point touches the latex near the rim, it cuts and retracts slightly into the rim hiding it nicely from view.
Q4: Is the "glue step" really necessary? Why do you do that step?
A4: No, its optional for sure. We no longer recommend this step. Once the latex is bonded to the tire's bead, it is too hard to separate without damaging the latex band. If you want to change tires (summer -> winter for example), we recommend using another tubeless valve and fatty stripper band... and leave the tire, FattyStripper/SkinnyStripper and valve intact as a complete tubular-like tire. It is easy to change tires once they have been set up!
Q5: How do the foam rods help me and how do I install them?
A5: The foam rods wrap around the center of the rim, up against each side's bead shoulder (not the actual bead). They effectively "build up" the bead shoulder with a firm but compliant foam rod that enables loose tire/rim combos to seat easier as well as prevent a catastrophic air loss if/when you roll the bead and have a "burp" at low pressure. The latex inherently attaches to the bead of the tire with sealant, but holding the latex up against the bottom of the bead keeps your tire pressurized even if you roll the bead off on a hard corner/rock strike while rolling low pressure. They work really well! IF you have a really, really loose tire/rim combo (like Turnagain and Bud/Lou), you may opt for the 5/8"dia rods you can get from the weather stripping section of your local hardware store.
Q6: What tricks do you have for seating a poor tire and rim combination?
A6: Some rims were simply not made to be tubeless. That doesn't mean they can't be tubeless, it just means they present more of a challange. Equally, some tires are made with very loose tolerances as well... and some tires stretch after being "over-pressurized" with pressures above 15 psi for extended periods of time. Regardless of the cause, the problem is that the tire's bead has too big of a gap to the rim's bead shoulder to generate any pressure inside the tire during inflation.
Luckily, we have a list of tricks to help you get your tire seated:
1) Pulling the core out of the valves is the most critical step. You simply can't get enough air flow through the valve stem with the core installed. Also, using a compressor with a trigger release allows you to "blast" air through the valve. This creates a pressure wave with the fast flowing air that can push the tire out to the bead shoulder and ultimately the tire's bead to the rim's bead hook.
2) Are the tires new? If so... often it takes a full day with a tube in the tire to get the crease out of the tire's bead.
3) Did you soap/lube the strip and the bead of the tire? Often, the soap/grease makes a great seal as well as helping the tire slide out to the bead.
4) Do you have the foam rods under the latex band in the center channel up against each bead shoulder? This helps build up the effective bead shoulder to reduce/eliminate air leakage during inflation. We ship 3/8" foam backer rods but 1/2", 5/8" and even 3/4" rods are available at your local hardware store in the weatherstripping section if you have a particularly loose bead/rim combo.
5) Try putting a 29" tube around the tire... or two 700c tubes. Don't inflate them, just use them as big rubber bands. If that isn't tight enough... you could put some air in those tubes too I guess (I've never tried that).
6) If necessary, put the 26" tube in and inflate to completely seat one of the tire's bead on the rim. Put the wheel on its side supported by a 5 gal pail. Carefully deflate the the tire while pushing on the side of the tire to release only one bead while keeping the other side's bead seated. Carefully remove the tube and put in the tubeless valve (core removed). Carefully turn the wheel over so that gravity helps pull the unseated bead down... and hit the valve with compressed air.
7) If putting the 29" tube over the tire doesn't unseat the seated bead... you can add that to the attempt above.
8) If all of that fails... try using 3/4" foam rods under the FattyStripper That's is the sure-fire way to get any combo seated.
Q7: How much pressure can the FattyStripper/SkinnyStripper latex bands and BlingStrips handle?
A7: This question involves a lot of variables. The size and shape of the cutouts matter to determine the stress on the materials. We have tested both the BlingStrips and the latex bands up to around 25 psi. FatBike rims really should NEVER exceed 15 psi. It is an incredible amount of force and quite frankly its dangerous to go above 15 psi. 27+/29+ cutouts are quite a bit smaller... so as long as the BlingStrip has a decent amount of overlap (5mm or more) on all sides, it'll handle 20 psi on a continuous basis without an issue. We have not performed long-term high pressure tests because rolling resistance of a FatBike tire really does not decrease measurably above 12 psi. IF you NEED to roll with pressures at 15 psi or higher, I would recommend adding a wrap or two of standard packing tape (doesn't stretch) around the BlingStrip to add quite a bit of strength while adding no measurable weight. A reminder from the installation instructions... The DT Swiss/Specialized rims that have the 10 little holes (1.5mm) right out at the bead should also be covered by a piece of scotch tape to protect the latex bands from the metal edges and perforation with high pressures. Rims without cutouts just need sharp edges covered to protect the FattyStripper when higher pressures are applied.
Q8: What do you use for an inflator?
A8: Here is what I use:
1) Cut off the inflator's tip.
2) Unscrew the dual head & separate from stock hose.
3) Insert the dual head into the inflator's hose & tighten.
Q9: Do you have "Dealers"? How do you support Local Bike Shops?
A9: Yes. LBS' love FattyStripper because it such a reliable system that installs predictably and fast. Contact me directly from your bike shop email and we can discuss the "bulk pack". Jim@FattyStripper.com
Q10: Which beer makes the installation the most fun?
A10: Tough call... but Mojo Risen from Boulder Beer does the trick for me if you can find it on a shelf (its only brewed in January). Its a lovely double IPA that has just the right amount of hops and finishes clean. 12.6% means that its a "light" beer. If you drink 2 of them... you're done. See... its a light beer.
UPDATE: Lately I've been enjoying Sam Adams Light (best light beer ever) WITH a shot of amaretto AND a shot of pulp-less orange juice. I've even had it with POG (for the Hawaiians among us). Its sweet and fruity, yet beer... Its a nice beer-cocktail.