Converting 2015 era Ardennes+ to tubeless

Hey folks,

I’m trying to convert my trusty Ardennes+ LT wheel set to tubeless. This is a rim brake clincher wheelset I originally purchased in 2015. They were advertised as tubeless compatible, but the technology was pretty nascent back then. I’m a little concerned on whether they are actually safe to use in a tubeless setup and looking for advice. I’ve had tubeless tires blow off previously, and definitely don’t want a repeat.

The concern is that if I let the air out, the tyre falls back into the center of the rim. It doesn’t seem to be mechanically retained at the rim shoulder. With my other (more modern) wheelsets, after deflating the tyre, you basically have to pull the tyre off the shoulder. The former behavior is presumably because the rim profile on the older Ardennes doesn’t have that little hump that helps retain the tyre bead.

Does this indicate a potential safety issue, or is it just typical of “tubeless compatible” rims of that vintage?

Niall

Just discovered this take from Lennard Zinn:

I have reservations about running tubeless road tires on standard wheels (even “tubeless-compatible” wheels) with tape to seal their spoke-nipple access holes in the rim bed. A tubeless-specific rim, by contrast, needs no tape because it is completely airtight, without any spoke-access holes in the rim bed. It also, perhaps most importantly, has a narrow ridge (the “hump”) on the inboard edge of the bead ledge, a bead-locking ridge that Hutchinson designed the tires to mate with. The hump is designed to seal against the extra rubber flap extending inboard from the tire bead as well as to lock the bead on.

Without the little ridges (humps) on the inboard edges of the bead shelves inside the rim that a tubeless-specific rim has, the bead will not be locked on. Instead, having shiny, slippery sealing tape smoothing the rim contours under the tire bead, lubricated by slippery tire sealant, seems to me to offer significantly reduced resistance against the bead moving inward and burping air in the case of hard cornering, especially at the lower pressures that tubeless makes possible by eliminating the inner tube and hence pinch flats. Additionally, without the inboard bead ridge, the tire could come off of the rim more easily in the event of riding on a flat. And you identified the other thing that can happen with rim tape, namely that it can become dislodged and leak air.

I’ve Ardennes plus bought 2017 (black version) I ride them with tubes but when inflate to around 90 psi the tyre ‘pops’ into the rim hook, if I deflate it completely it stays there and needs to be pushed off (i ride them around 75psi but always inflate higher to seat the tyre). Have you tried over inflating to start to see if tyre seats in the rim hook ?

Don’t.

You could convert MTB wheels to tubeless because the pressure was significantly lower, but road bike tire pressures are so much higher that it is dangerous to convert a regular wheel designed for tubes to tubeless.

Just get new tubeless wheels…it isn’t worth the risk factor.

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@Henri_Desgrange I agree it would be totally reckless to try and convert a wheel that was designed for tubes, however the 2015 HED Ardennes+ was advertised as “tubeless compatible”

Yes, I’ve inflated to 100 PSI. Another thing is that I don’t get a “pop” when mounting tires on these rims (whereas I do with my HED Emporia and Zipp 303 rims).

Do you know if the rims on your 2017 wheels have a little hump to retain the tyre on the shoulder? See diagram below …

Ah, I missed that part, sorry…but the technology and rim / tire designs have changed significantly since 2015. I would probably still just get new wheels.

I’ve had a pair of Belgium+ ( same rim as Ardennes+) since April 2014 and I’ve always used tubeless on them without issue.

I’d send an email to HED themselves, they’ll have the engineering data as well as claim/litigation history of the wheelset in question and should be able to give a pretty good barometer of Go/No for this particular set up. Wheel companies are usually pretty good about this stuff even if a wheel is older since insurance companies usually require them to keep the data.

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No they don’t have the hump shown

I’m still waiting for a “new wheels?” thread to pop up in this forum, since it’s been created. Maybe it’s eventually coming

“currently using 23C Pro Ones in combination with HED’s Belgium Plus rims”

I emailed HED tech support, and they said there’s “no safety issue” if:

  • the initial setup creates an airtight seal
  • the bead seat line is present and equal around both sides of tire
  • the wheel spins true without radial or lateral wobble
  • you keep within recommended pressures (https://www.hedwheels.com/tyre-pressure-article)

They mentioned the shelf on newer rim profiles has a shallow ramp toward the lip of the rim (which presumably helps with retention).

Anyhow, despite the above, I ultimately decided I’m going to play it safe and stick with tubes on this older wheelset. I’ve had a great experience running tubeless on my 303S but that design benefits from 10+ years of trial and error.

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I have the exact same concerns with a pair of Rose wheels from 2017. Rose said they are tubeless compatible but there is no lip or slope so the tyres drop into the centre channel when they lose most or all pressure.

They would definitely meet the criteria that HED suggest, but like you I am not taking the risk.

Only the Plus Ardennes/Belgium rims are tubeless compatible. Running the non-plus rims tubeless would be taking a chance.

If your concern is of them blowing off the rim if you puncture and lose air you could look at something like the Vittoria air liners as an added safety measure. But as long as you have enough sealant and got the bead to seat properly which on older tubeless wheels ive always found you need way higher pressure than youd actually run it ie like 60-70 psi on old mtb tubless to but then rode them with a psi in the 20s. It shouldnt spontaneously roll off the rim if their tubless compatible.