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Airliner Update – Airliner Cancelled

I’ve been running a tubeless rear wheel with Airliner on both velomobiles for a couple of months now. They’ve been working well but I haven’t had any punctures during that period of time. I’ve heard stories of Airliners shriveling up and of the liquid sealant drying up. I think that these cases might have been due to the use of a non-Vittoria sealant. I decided that it would be a good time to open up a tire to check on the state of the Airliner and sealant. I removed the Milan rear wheel and opened one side of the tire to have a look. The short story is that the Vittoria sealant was still in the liquid state and well distributed. The Airliner looked exactly the same as when I installed it. That’s the good news.

The bad news is how difficult it was to do the inspection. I was able to break the bead away from the rim pretty easily using the Vittoria tool. But stretching one side of the tire over the rim wall to remove the Airliner took a couple of hours of breaking tire levers and swearing. Then reinstalling the Airliner and tire took a couple more hours … and I was never able to stretch the tire back onto the rim.

Since I wasn’t able to re-install the tire with Airliner, I had to come up with a plan for a rear wheel setup on the Milan. After struggling for hours with the tubeless tire – Airliner set up in my garage with access to all of my tools, I realized that it would be impossible to deal with it on the road. The Airliner isn’t the solution that I had hoped it would be. I could just replace the Airliner wheel with my original non-tubeless rear wheel. However, I decided to install the tubeless tire without the Airliner. I was surprised at how easy it was install the tire without the Airliner.

I realize that I’m giving up the safety benefits of the Airliner with this decision. However, I do think that the use of a standard tubeless tire / rim may be safer than my previous non-tubeless setup. I believe that a tubeless tire is more likely to stay attached to the rim when a flat occurs.

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