06 November 2010

SIP Tubeless Rims: A Week On

After getting the Vespa back about a week ago, I went back to Modern and Classic Scooters to the get the front wheel sorted. Now, a week on from that, I can say that I have a better idea of how it feels to roll on tubeless rims.

Before and After

OK, to the untrained eye, the pic above might not mean much but to the scooter enthusiast, the tubeless rim is gigantic leap forward for scooter safety. I don't plan to have a blow-out any time soon but as I'm on my scooter on a daily basis, it's good to know that should I ever be unfortunate enough to have a six-inch rusty nail in my Vespa's tyre at 50 mph, the results won't be too dramatic.

Safety aspects aside, one thing I did notice when switching over from standard split rims to the tubeless rims was the handling of the Vespa. It was nothing too severe but on corners, the feeling could only be described as shifty. At first, I was going to lay the blame on the new Heidenau tires that still needed to be run-in but then again, I've had the same tires before and even out of the box, they didn't  have this strange effect on my Vespa's handling.

Look no splits: The lack of exposed nuts and bolts (on the other side) indicate that these rims are of a one piece construction

The only logical explanation for this would be the wider profile of the tubeless rims -  2.50x10 on the SIP ones against 2.10x10 of the standard Vespa split rims (and 2.15x10 on ScootRS' tubeless rims). The wider design makes it easier to fit tires on to the rims but I wonder whether handling would've been sacrificed for this convenience. Curious, I raised the matter with other scooterists that I know. The general feeling was that like any modification, I needed to learn to get used to the slight changes first. In a way, I needed to find my Vespa's sweet spot once again...

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