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I wish I would have read these comments last fall. I'm a mechanic at a LBS in STL, MO and last fall I laced up the Alpha's for a coworker. Before we got his Bulldogs in (carbon bead) we threw his old cheap wire bead Kendas on. Had trouble with those getting seated. We finally got them to seat. When his Bulldogs came in and we tried the install, it was a very poor experience. They blew off the rim much like some of the others experience far under the recommended psi. Leaving the bead destroyed. Initially, it seemed as if the weld joining the rim together was the culprit as it was very unfinished and rough. I even had a 3rd party Alpha rim to inspect for consistency in manufacture tolerances,but that one had a smooth weld. After many emails and phone calls to NOTUBES they left me with a few bits of info. 1 Bulldogs with the carbon bead don't work with Alphas. 2 Use the CX rimstrip with MUD 2s. 3 Apparently I was doing everything wrong that they don't even have specified on there site. 4 I was told there was nothing wrong with the rim and it wasn't a warranty.........It was.
Whats funny though is the NOTUBES rep was very dodgy when answering my questions. Also, at the time I was doing this last year I found out the actual road tubeless tires have a carbon bead as well, but those seem to be fine. A little contradiction maybe? I even grilled him about that. I did find on NOTUBES website after some digging a rim description talking about how a upper bead hook on the Alpha's, Crests, Arch's, and Flow's isn't needed and they shed weight in the rim by having less of that bead hook. Disturbing! It also helps allow the tire to expand yadda yadda yadda stans jargon. After reading that and hindsight of my experience with the Alpha rims last fall. I'd be nervous to recommend them. For fear the bead will blow off. The logic is "whatever", but the proof is in the practice.
I'm not completely writing NOTUBES off my list. Late last summer I E.P.'ed a stock Stans Crest 29er wheel set. I put them on my monster cross bike with dropbars/disc brakes and raced all season. Just for reference I raced both SS and the B race back to back for about 8 or 9 races so about 18ish races total. I used the Bontrager CX0 700x38 tire(yeah i know, not legal) front and back tubeless with stans sealant. I needed to add extra sealant before they would not creep down in psi. In a variety of conditions they only failed me once and it was a puncture. when I checked to see if there was sealant I found that it had dried up due to me not using enough in the first place with a non-tubeless ready tire. I got the psi down to around 20-23 in a couple races, but was sketched out and had to ride real light. I road regularly at 25-28 psi. I weigh in at about 150lbs. I never did burp them, and there were a few times I probably should have.
So for what its worth, that was my longwinded experience.
We have some demo Ultegra 6700 wheels at the shop that i'm gonna try some different cx tires on hopefully soon. I keep asking that coworker mentioned above to bring one of his Alpha 340 wheels to work so I can experiment more with tire options again. Much like others I like to tinker and get things to work.
2 years ago on Going Tubeless for Cyclocross – Avoiding the Burp, Choosing the Best Tires, and a DIY System (Updated, Part III)