Want to go tubeless? Here are all your options in tyres.
Tubeless tyres are gradually gaining popularity as more riders become convinced that their improved ride and increased resistance to punctures are worth the cost of new wheels and tyres and the sometimes problematic fitting process. If you’re about to make the switch, here’s a look at your tyre options.
When tubeless tyres for road wheels first appeared you had very few choices. Hutchinson made tyres, Shimano and Stan’s NoTubes made wheels and conversion kits and, er, that was it. Now many tyre makers offer tubeless options, though Michelin and Continental are notable hold-outs.
Bontrager offers a range of three tyres badged Tubeless Ready, which means what you need to get them working is sealant and either Bontrager’s special rim strips if you have Bontrager wheels, or other tubeless compatible wheels and valves. In ascending order of raciness, they’re the AW2, R2 and R3. We’ve tested and liked the latter as part of the Bontrager Road TLR Upgrade Kit.
|Bontrager R2 TLR||235g (25mm)||£33.99|
|Bontrager R3 TLR||200g (25mm)||£38.49|
|Bontrager CX0 TLR||395g (33mm)||£44.99|
|Bontrager CX3 TLR||405g (33mm)||£44.99|
Hutchinson launched tubeless tyres for road bikes back in 2006, so it’s no surprise the French tyre maker has a fairly big range. While most tyre makers have gone down the Tubeless Ready route with lightweight tyres that need sealant to keep the air in, Hutchinson also makes tyres to the original Road Tubeless spec, sealed with a coating of rubber inside the tyre.
|Hutchinson Fusion 5 Galactik Road Tubeless||240g (23mm)||£48.98|
|Hutchinson Atom Road Tubeless||270g (23mm)||£49.99|
|Hutchinson Fusion 3 Road Tubeless||300g (25mm)||£45.47|
|Hutchinson Intensive 2 Road Tubeless||315g (25mm)||£39.99|
|Hutchinson Sector 28 Tubeless Ready||295g (28mm)||£49.99|
IRC makes several tubeless or tubeless ready tyres, but they’re very rare in the UK; we’ve only been able to find one source. That’s a pity as IRC has been pushing road tubeless technology to make tyres lighter and faster. The Pro Tubeless tyres have internal coating based on latex rubber rather than synthetic butyl. That makes for lower rolling resistance, just as a regular clincher tyre is faster with a latex inner tube than a butyl one.
|IRC Formula Pro Tubeless Light||285g (25mm)||£56.00|
|IRC Formula Pro Tubeless RBCC||310g (25mm)||£50.00|
|IRC Roadlite Tubeless||340g (25mm)||£40.00|
|IRC Formula Pro Fusion X-guard Tubeless||300g/340g (25mm/28mm)||£50.00|
|IRC Formula X-Guard Tubeless||285g (23mm)||£40.00|
Mavic jumped into the road tubeless sector with both boots in summer 2017, announcing a new standard — Road UST — and a big range of wheels. The accompanying tyre offerings are a bit thin at the moment — the Yksion Pro UST in 25mm and 28mm widths — but Mavic clearly anticipates other manufacturers adopting the standard when it's been ratified by the relevant international bodies.
Mavic still offers its all-purpose/gravel tyre in the old Road Tubeless standard, the 30mm Yksion Elite Allroad.
|Mavic Yksion Elite AllRoad||330g (30mm)||£30.00|
|Yksion Pro UST||NA||£50.00|
Panaracer has joined the tubeless fray with the Race A Evo 3 Tubeless. The Japanese tyre maker has developed a brand new bead which it claims allows the tyre to be inflated using just a hand pump and claims this tyre increases puncture resistance by 24% compared to the previous Evo 2 tyre, thanks to a new Protite puncture proof material. The tread compound is also claimed to improve cornering performance.
|Panaracer Race A Evo 3||280g (23mm)||~£32.50|
Schwalbe says “The future will be tubeless” in its latest blurb for the Schwalbe Pro One tyre, which it claims is its best tubeless tyre ever. We tested the slightly less advanced One Tubeless recently and found it rode brilliantly and, unlike many tubeless tyres, it was easy to get on the rim and to then pop into place on the bead seat.
Schwalbe offers a total of six ‘Tubeless Easy’ tyres, from the Pro One, which is being reliably reported as having a super-low rolling resistance, to the aptly named Big One, a 60mm tyre intended for mountain bike beach racing but which we’ve included in case anyone’s thinking of building up a ‘monster-cross’ bike.
|Schwalbe Pro One||255g (25mm)||£56.99|
|Schwalbe X-One Allround||370g (33mm)||£34.99|
|Schwalbe G-One Allround||400g (35mm)||£37.99|
|Schwalbe Big One||530g (60mm)||£36.20|
|Schwalbe Marathon Supreme||595g (40mm)||£44.95|
|Schwalbe Marathon Almotion||655g (40mm)||£48.99|
Until recently, Specialized has focused on endurance and cyclo-cross riding with its Tubeless Ready tyres, which it spells 2Bliss because — well, who knows. Californians, eh?
Specialized also makes a Road Tubeless version of its S-Works Turbo tyre. The 26mm version of this tyre recently won a rolling resistance test against a range of standard and tubeless tyres, and looks promising as a fast tyre for UK riding.
|Specialized Roubaix Road Tubeless||295g (25mm)||£70.00|
|Specialized Terra Pro 2Bliss Ready||370g (33mm)||£40.00|
|Specialized Tracer Pro 2Bliss Ready||365g (33mm)||£40.00|
|Specialized Trigger Pro 2Bliss Ready||490g (38mm)||£40.00|
|Specialized S-Works Turbo Road Tubeless||240g (24mm)||£70.00|
|Specialized Sawtooth 2Bliss Ready||615g (42mm)||£40|
Vittoria makes the big claim that this graphene technology tyre is the fastest ever independently measured, and the lightest tubeless-ready tyre too.
|Corsa Speed (Open TLR)||205g (23mm)||£41.99|
[This article was last updated on September 1, 2017]
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.