Dropping Weight & Going Tubeless - Maxxis Ikon 27.5 x 2.2 (+ CF Saddle)

Catalyzt

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
As some of you know, I was on a budget when shopping for my first real, integrated mid-drive, so I had to make some compromises. When I got my Moto Ultra, I was hoping it would be 47 or 48 pounds, but I did need a 48 cm frame-- it fits like a glove-- and based on what I was hearing, I had a feeling it would be what it was: 49 pounds. Not that heavy, but a lot for a 40 Nm motor on an EMTB.

I figured I could drop two pounds if I could find the right tubeless tires, but I kind of liked the stock tires, which were WTB Riddlers (with tubes.) I really didn't want to lose much of the grip on dirt and gravel in particular, or downhill stability on asphalt at 35+ MPH. What made me pull the trigger was when I got a slow flat after getting lost in a dodgy neighborhood; I knew that could easily happen again, and knew tubeless would give me better puncture protection. I had also learned here that wheels were the best place to drop pounds-- unsprung weight and all that, rolling resistance, etc. My LBS recommended the Ikons, which were also at the top of my own list after looking around online, it seemed like I would sacrifice the least and gain the most-- but it was all really academic; people said they had less rolling resistance, but how do I know what that feels like? And so on. I figured as long as I was spending money, why not try a CF saddle as well, because the WTB saddle is nearly 400 grams and that's just unnecessary.

Holy mother of God, what a difference! Previously, my best times on my standard 850 foot climb were on the Trek kit bike-- a hair over 20 minutes, though I think I did 19:40 one run with the throttle wide open. At first, wearing my winter armored jacket, I couldn't do it on the Moto in less than 22 minutes. Bringing less crap with me-- camera, extra sweatshirt I didn't need-- and wearing lighter summer armor, I finally matched the time on my Trek at around 20:20.

After swapping the tires, before putting on the CF seat, I'm climbing that hill in 19:20. Downhill speeds are faster, too: 34 MPH on Vermont Canyon (36 if you believe Strava) where my best previously was 32.5, and it's just as stable. Stability on sandy dirt on top of asphalt has actually improved, which I don't understand, because the Ikons are 2 mm thinner than the Riddlers. There is a tiny penalty in uphill traction on dirt and gravel-- like, I had one very brief wheel spin on each of the steepest dirt and gravel hills I generally take, barely noticeable.

The CF saddle was an adventure-- my frickin' torque wrench does not have a hex the right side, so I used arthritis pain as my torque indicator, e.g., I saw how much pain 5 or 6 produced with the torque wrench, and tightened just short of that without it (the saddle provided no spec for torque for the CF rails). Saddle began slipping on one super nasty uphill dirt single track, so I had to stay out of the saddle until I bonked and had to jump off and push. (I always do on this hill, but each time, I go just a little bit further, and today I got about 30 feet further.) Had tools, torqued to an estimated 8, and it held for the rest of the ride.

The bike has dropped from 49 to 46 pounds, and when you're as close to the edge of the power-to-weight thing as I am, every pound really helps-- though I know the two on the wheels helped the most! For anyone in a similar situation who is thinking of going tubeless due to similar issues, I highly recommend this. I am glad I didn't do it right away-- best to get to know the bike first, and train a bit first IMHO; I waited 250 miles, and I really appreciate the difference.
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
What's a 'moto ultra'?
I run a Ikon on the back of my OCCAM. It's a very light and high-rolling knobby, Rekon on the front.
My 27.5 tubes are about 7oz each on the TranceE. Running Schwalbe Smart Sams for my mostly road-setup. Supposedly you can run them tubeless, but sidewalls are known to be somewhat porous. I'm okay with tubes - the bike is about 57lbs. Excellent on and offroad, roll really nice.
 

Catalyzt

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Motobecane Ultra I guess.
Correct, Motobecane ULTRA eAdventure.
What's a 'moto ultra'?
I run a Ikon on the back of my OCCAM. It's a very light and high-rolling knobby, Rekon on the front.
My 27.5 tubes are about 7oz each on the TranceE. Running Schwalbe Smart Sams for my mostly road-setup. Supposedly you can run them tubeless, but sidewalls are known to be somewhat porous. I'm okay with tubes - the bike is about 57lbs. Excellent on and offroad, roll really nice.
Is the OCCAM acoustic? (Is that the Orbea?) I can understand why you would not need tubeless on the Trance, if I had that much power, I wouldn't worry about it either. I did read the Smart Sams thread, I know they have a lot of fans here, sounds like a great tire.
Don't get me wrong but I would drop 3 pounds of my body mass to achieve the same effect :D
And I would gladly gain three! I'm one of those irritating people who can't keep on weight. (I know you like your pastries, Stefan! Regrettably, they would be a guilty pleasure for me, I have to do the gluten-free thing to avoid more GI issues.) If I could gain more weight, I'd probably be stronger and have more stamina.

Part of the reason I liked the Moto is that I'm 6'1 and only hit 150 pounds soaking wet after slamming a huge meal of carbs and drinking a high-calorie shake. (Supplements are mandatory when I'm getting anything like this amount of exercise.) Given my low body weight, I think it would feel very unnatural to ride an e-Bike that was 55 pounds or more, though I've never tried except in the LBS parking lot. The Moto is light enough so that it still feels very responsive to me.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Now I get it Catalyzt! Thank you for explanation!

Tubeless setup has its benefits. It is, however, messy; it requires frequent reinflating the wheel. And it makes life hard if you just want to swap one tyre type with another (say summer tyres with spiked winter ones).

As I am in shape now to carry my e-bikes up several flights of stairs, 3 lb saving in ebike weight means a little to me 😉
 

Catalyzt

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
<< it requires frequent reinflating the wheel. >>

As I am in shape now to carry my e-bikes up several flights of stairs, 3 lb saving in ebike weight means a little to me 😉
Ah, well, funny you should mention that, because the rear tire does seem a bit softer than it did when I rode it home from the LBS on Monday! I hope I didn't puncture it already, I wasn't riding anywhere extreme, though I did hear a "clink" during last night's ride that might have been metal or glass under the rear wheel.

Great you are in such good shape! Now I have to train myself to stop lifting the bike by the (new CF) seat (and rails) when I'm lifting it over a curb or log.

* sigh * I remember the days of slinging my 24-pound Raleigh Competition over my shoulder and jogging up 3 to six flights of stairs in New York City when I was a teenager and young adult. Many of my friends lived in walk-up apartments... and in the '70s and '80s, having an elevator that broke down was not something a landlord would take seriously. In a rent-controlled apartment, the superintendent would just laugh and put up a sign for a week or two.