FattyStripper review

So reading a forum recently, I got wind of a new product to help with tubeless set-up called FattyStripper. (Sounds like one of “those” websites, I know, but rest assured it’s perfectly wholesome.) It’s basically a giant latex rubber band that you stretch around your rim before you mount the tire. Combined with a separate tubeless valve, it’s pretty similar to the “ghetto” tubeless method that I’ve tried before using old innertubes, except a lot lighter — 50 grams before trimming. The band is wide enough for any fat rim up to 100mm.  A picture is worth a thousand words so here is the first of many:

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Yep, that picture is for real: I got the tire bead to seal using a floor pump, on the first try. A bit of dish soap applied to the bead before pumping caused the tire to slide right onto the bead shelf. Granted, it’s a high-volume pump made for fat tires but I don’t think that would have mattered. And it showed no noticeable loss of pressure in the course of about 2 hours. This is a Surly Rabbit Hole, and Surly rims are a real bitch to set up tubeless, but on the other hand, Bontrager tires are the bomb when it comes to tubeless setup (I run their Barbegozzi tire on their Jackalope rim on my fat bike, with nothing but a single wrap of tape over the spoke holes, and they hold air for days without sealant). So I feel like the FattyStripper makes up for the poor tubeless characteristics of the Rabbit Hole.

Now Jim@FattyStripper recommends gluing the band to the rim before mounting the tire, but I didn’t want to do that until I was sure I liked the product. But after setup, I didn’t really feel like taking it all apart, and I kind of liked the way it looked with the strip hanging out, so I hit upon this brilliant idea: why not glue the strip to the outside of the rim? I headed down to Home Depot and bought some painter masking tape/plastic. This stuff is the easiest way to mask something — the tape is already pre-applied to the plastic and it comes off the roll ready to apply.

The roll is tiny but the plastic is folded up, so that when you unfold it, it’s 24″ wide. This is great because there’s no chance of getting any of the spray glue on your disc rotor.

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Now I just put a nitrile glove on one hand, and went around the rim pulling up the strip while spraying glue under it. I erred on the low side since I didn’t care how much glue I got on the plastic mask, and I didn’t know what it would do to the tire sidewall. Jim recommends Elmer’s mutli-purpose spray adhesive, but I couldn’t find that locally, so I used 3M Super 77.

Here’s the result after trimming. I think it looks amazing.

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Thumbs up for FattyStripper!

Now for the stuff that didn’t quite work out. Along with the FS I purchased their 3M Bling Strips to cover the rim cutouts. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend these with the Rabbit Hole or any rim like it. Although they may work fine for double-walled rims with recessed spoke nipples, the Rabbit Hole is a single-wall design with nipples that sit up above the inside of the rim, and they are offset to one side. As a result, the Bling Strip, which doesn’t have any elasticity whatsoever, does not lie flat and puckers horribly when pressure is applied. Too bad, because they look great when mounted properly.

I went back to the Surly rubber rim strip designed for this rim. However, then I got another rude surprise, which was that when you air up the tire, the strip bulges ridiculously out of the cutouts. I think this is because the strip does not provide enough support without the (heavy) Surly innertube. I solved this problem by running a single layer of Orange Seal 45mm tubeless tape around the rim before mounting the FattyStripper. The OS tape is extremely thin, has no stretch, and weighs nothing. And it’s just a tiny bit wider than the rim strip (45 vs 38mm) so it overlaps just a bit on each side. I would really like to switch to a solid rim but it is hard to find one that has offset spoke holes like the Rabbit Hole. I’m a big guy (over 200lbs) and I like the extra strength provided by offset lacing. I would love to use the Bontrager LinePlus rims, but they are only available in 28h at the moment and I’m not comfortable with that either.

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