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Eight tubeless tyres from Schwalbe, Mavic, Hutchinson, Specialized and more

With winter nearly upon us, and spurred by this forum discussion, it’s a good time to take a look at the current tubeless options for the winter. Swapping lightweight race tyres for sturdier rubber is a sensible idea for riding through the winter, with extra puncture protection and tread compounds designed to provide more traction in the wet. With the rise in popularity of tubeless, there's a growing choice of winter-specific tubeless tyres, we've rounded up eight for your consideration below. 

Why tubeless?

Let’s get the why bit out of the way first, just in case you’re not already a fan.  Almost zero punctures being the biggest advantage over a regular inner tube clincher setup, and nowhere is that more of a benefit than during winter riding. Okay, so the installation can sometimes be a tricky old mess, but it’s getting easier all the tyre with better tyres, rims, tubeless kits and pumps. This guide below takes you through the tubeless installation steps and shows it doesn't need to be all that difficult.

- How to fit a tubeless tyre

I’ll happily admit to being a road tubeless convert. My personal tubeless epiphany came during one cold and wet winter ride many years ago. Riding along a busy road the rear tyre suddenly burst a leak. Fortunately, the sealant in the tyre quickly plugged the hole (and thanks to mudguards I was suitably protected from a stripe of gunk up my back) and the escaping air quickly stopped with only a small pressure drop. Importantly, I didn’t need to stop while this incident occurred and continued the ride. 

- Buyer's guide to tubeless tyres — all your options in new technology rubber

What are your options?

Despite the clear advantages of tubeless tyres, the choice is still somewhat limited, though it does get a bit better every year. There’s still a reluctance from some tyre brands to go near it, while others have fully embraced it, willing to invest in the technology to make it a viable alternative to regular clinchers.

What do you want from a winter road tyre? You want extra durability compared to a summer race tyre, with a carcass and tread that is more resistance to the debris that can litter wet roads during the winter months. You might want a bit of extra width, provided your bike has clearance, for additional comfort and the benefit of lower pressures. Tread materials for winter tyres are often modified to provide better traction when the going it slippery.

- 18 of the best road cycling tyres

Eight tubeless winter tyre options

 

IRC Formula Pro Tubeless X-Guard tyres  £50
IRC 2017 IRC Formula Pro Fusion X-guard tubeless road tyres.jpg

IRC 2017 IRC Formula Pro Fusion X-guard tubeless road tyres.jpg

IRC might not be the most familiar tyre brand in the road bike market at the moment, but its Formula Pro Tubeless X-Guard road tyres offer exceptionally good performance, with easy tubeless installation and great durability. The price does put them at the top end of the tyre market, though.

Traction is impressive, too, whether in the dry or wet, but it's the latter where they IRC tyres pull ahead of the latest generation Schwalbes. The IRCs feel more predictable and planted in the wet, and handle fast corners superbly.

Read our review 

Bontrager R3 Hard Case TLR £49.99
Bontrager-R3-Hard-Case-Lite-TLR-Folding-Clincher-Tyre.jpg

Bontrager-R3-Hard-Case-Lite-TLR-Folding-Clincher-Tyre.jpg

Most of the Bontrager wheels are now tubeless-ready, and to complement them the company has started adding tubeless tyres to its range, and there are now quite a few to pick from. The R3 Hard-Case Lite TLR is its flagship road tubeless offering and is designed to be durable thanks to a butyl liner providing the reliability you want and need in the winter.  It’s available in 24 and 26mm width options.

We haven’t tested this tubeless tyre yet, but have tested the regular clincher version - you can read that review here 

If you crave more width, the cheaper A2 Hard-Case Lite TLR tyre is offered in extra 28 and 32mm width options, and if your bike has space for them, those are probably the ones to pick for winter riding.

Specialized Roubaix Tubeless Ready £70
Specialized-Roubaix-Tubeless-Tyre.jpg

Specialized-Roubaix-Tubeless-Tyre.jpg

The Roubaix Tubeless tyre from Specialized is pitched as an all-rounder and we reckon it has all the right ingredients for a reliable winter cycling tyre. Of course, we haven't tested it yet but that's something we'll be aiming to address very soon. Why we think the tyre will be good for winter cycling is because it uses the company’s Gripton compound, which we’ve found to be very grippy in a range of conditions, dry and wet, with shoulder sipes to increase traction through the corners. It features a 180 TPI casing with an Endurant flat protection and comes in 25mm width, weighing a claimed 295g.

Hutchinson Fusion 5 All-Season £39.99
fusion 5.png

fusion 5.png

The Fusion 5 is a brand new tyre from the French company that pioneered Road Tubeless many years ago, and with three models to choose from the All Season 11Storm looks the ideal choice for surviving a winter of cycling.

road.cc has tested the Performance version of this year. We were highly impressed with the ease of tubeless installation, traction, rolling resistance and durability. The All Season version has a specific tread pattern designed to improve wet cycling performance and has Kevlar reinforcement to prevent punctures.

The new tyre is available in 25 and 28mm widths and weighs a claimed 325g for the former.

Zipp Tangente RT 25 and RT28 tubeless tyres £71
Tangente_RT28_30Course_HERO1_800px.jpg

Tangente_RT28_30Course_HERO1_800px.jpg

The new Zipp Tangente RT tyre, available in 25 and 28mm widths, isn’t expressly designed as a winter tyre but tubeless goes a long way to reducing flats and the company has added a “water-siping tread pattern” to these new tyres, though there is evidence to suggest such grooves on a road bike tyre are largely pointless.

Further boosting their puncture resistance is a polyamide layer under the tread. The tyres are reasonably light, 292g claimed for the 25mm tyre and 302g for the 28mm version.

Mavic Yksion Elite Allroad £49.99
Mavic Yksion Elite Allroad .jpg

Mavic Yksion Elite Allroad .jpg

Not all bikes are going to have space for 30mm wide tyres, but if your bike does, these new Yksion Elite Allroad tyres from wheel specialist Mavic look like being a good option thanks to the tubeless-ready construction and bead-to-bead polyamide casing reinforcement.

The tyres also have a tread pattern designed to ramp up traction in adverse conditions, with side grooves for extra cornering grip on dirt and loose surface roads, while the centre section is smooth for fast rolling on the hard stuff.

Schwalbe G-One £64.99
Schwalbe G-One.jpg

Schwalbe G-One.jpg

Not so much a winter tyre as an adventure and gravel tyre, but we’ve been impressed with the rolling speed of this dimpled tyre on the road, and if the roads are covered in mud thanks to local farmers then they do offer a compelling benefit over narrower slicks.

Once you're off the good roads and onto the average ones – and we have plenty of them around here – any conceivable difference in rolling speed is easily outweighed by the comfort of the big air chamber, and the fact that you don't have to ease off and pick your line: just batter on through. I've not managed to put a hole in them that the sealant hasn't immediately coped with. Plus you can take them off-road as well, and they’re right at home on the canal towpaths, bridleways and trails like the South Downs Way.

There's now a road version of the G-One Allround pictured and reviewed above, called the G-One Speed. It comes in a narrower 30mm width with V-Guard protection that could be a good choice for more road-based riding, providing your frame has space for them.

Read our review 

WTB Horizon TCS Road Tyre £39.99
WTB Horizon tyres - 1.jpg

WTB Horizon tyres - 1.jpg

Throwing a bit of a curve ball into the short list here, the fat WTB Horizon is another possible contender. Granted, it won’t fit all bikes and it might require a new set of wheels, but if it fits this is a durable, grippy, comfortable and fast rolling tyre that might, as the name suggests, open up new horizons…

It’s a 47mm wide tyre which is simply massive compared to everything else in this article, but on a 650b wheel (an old French standard resurrected by the mountain bike industry) the outside diameter is roughly the same as a regular 700c wheelset.

The tread pattern is mostly slick save for a few grooves and chevrons on the shoulders, and the grip is impressive in the wet. They instil bags of confidence on treacherous roads covered in water, mud or wet leaves.

Read our review here.

Related reading: How to winterproof your bike — protect your ride from the wet, salt and crud

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

20 comments

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bobbypuk [57 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

I've been running the G-one speed for a couple of months now. They are fast but have really worn. After about 3000km they're not very dimpled anymore. Which is good as they roll even faster now.

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iso2000 [82 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Are you sure about the G-One speed section? I wouldn’t say it is a gravel tyre and you may be confusing it with the G-One Allround which is more knobbly and comes in wider widths than the Speed.

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TheScotsman [30 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

I'd be more concerned about getting a flat in winter, with 5 miles to go to work and 5 miles to go  back home, with a tubeless tyre which doesn't seal .

What do you do then? Is it a case of a very long walk in freezing conditions?  I'm much more comfortable with the idea of quickly popping a new tube in, inflating it with a CO2 canister & getting back on my way.

I'd need a heck of a lot more convincing that this latest fad is going to involve a lot less hassle than my current (puncture-free for almost 3 years of 20 mile-a-day commuting) tubed setup!  Can someone who runs tubeless and who may have experienced a non-sealing puncture let me know how they dealt with it?

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. . [190 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

TheScotsman:   If you get a puncture that doesn't seal itself, stick an anchovy in the hole.   If it still won't seal, you put a tube in.

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StraelGuy [1095 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

TheScotsman, I'm no advocate of tubeless either but if they do puncture they're no different than normal clinchers, just pop it off and fit a tube and CO2 it. Messier though...

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Zermattjohn [239 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

If it punctures and the sealant doesn't do the job, you can always put an inner tube in there as an emergency get-me-home measure. So it's no different to changing a tube, but there's a pretty good chance you won't need to do it unless it's a really big cut in the tyre.

I have the Schwalbe G-One's, and the rear is really worn. They're less than a year old - they're very supple and I think they're better for mostly gravel riding, the tarmac really seems to wear them down.

I'm a big fan of tubeless, but why are the tyres so bloody pricey!!?

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Simboid [94 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

TheScotsman,

I run g-one speed tubeless and over about 3500 miles on road, stony Scottish glen paths and sandy Norfolk off road have had inumerable punctures. Each time I've lost 10-20psi and it's sealed itself, I just pump it up and carry on. About ready for a new rear one now.

Hasn't happened yet, but for a big hole I carry a tubeless repair kit (widely available and stupidly small and light). Anything an anchovy can't fix will be so big a tube would balloon through and last about 5 mins.

As for it being a fad, when was the last time you saw any other type of 'carriage' using tubes? Seems to me we're finally catching up with other road (and off-road) users.

 I have used a tube recently though, to cushion my tent pole against the frame when bikepacking!

Avatar
hawkinspeter [1119 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
TheScotsman wrote:

I'd be more concerned about getting a flat in winter, with 5 miles to go to work and 5 miles to go  back home, with a tubeless tyre which doesn't seal .

What do you do then? Is it a case of a very long walk in freezing conditions?  I'm much more comfortable with the idea of quickly popping a new tube in, inflating it with a CO2 canister & getting back on my way.

I'd need a heck of a lot more convincing that this latest fad is going to involve a lot less hassle than my current (puncture-free for almost 3 years of 20 mile-a-day commuting) tubed setup!  Can someone who runs tubeless and who may have experienced a non-sealing puncture let me know how they dealt with it?

I had a 2cm cut in a Schwalbe Pro-One that wouldn't seal, but as I was just 2 miles from home, I walked and fixed it there. Otherwise, I could have shoved something (a fiver or a bit of paper) to cover the hole and pop in an inner tube, so at their worst, they're the same as non-tubeless. That's the only puncture that I've got (or noticed) so far.

Avatar
. . [190 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes
Simboid wrote:

Anything an anchovy can't fix will be so big a tube would balloon through and last about 5 mins.

I carry a piece cut from an old plastic toothpaste tube for that. 

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CXR94Di2 [1856 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

I've not had a true non seal failure. My MTB got a 1 cm flint hole which deflated to 10psi but still rideable. My other experience is with my tubs, so not tubeless. They got a small hole at some point riding around the IOW. I only noticed the small weep of sealant at the ferry crossing. No loss of pressure I could detect.

Most tubeless punctures relate to slow going down or slight loss of pressure which you only find out when you've got back home. There is no chance of pinch flats on tubeless.

Avatar
3mkru73 [60 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
TheScotsman wrote:

I'd be more concerned about getting a flat in winter, with 5 miles to go to work and 5 miles to go  back home, with a tubeless tyre which doesn't seal .

What do you do then? Is it a case of a very long walk in freezing conditions?  I'm much more comfortable with the idea of quickly popping a new tube in, inflating it with a CO2 canister & getting back on my way.

I'd need a heck of a lot more convincing that this latest fad is going to involve a lot less hassle than my current (puncture-free for almost 3 years of 20 mile-a-day commuting) tubed setup!  Can someone who runs tubeless and who may have experienced a non-sealing puncture let me know how they dealt with it?

Use a "Noodle" or "Anchovy".  I've had to do this a few times,  in the day and in the dark and wet (my commute route is often strewn with glass). It takes practice but once you have the hang of it it means repairing the tyre at the side of the road in the same time if not quicker than putting a tube in. I've not once had to fit an innertube in the 2 years I've been riding tubeless. Beauty of fitting a noodle is no removing wheels, tyres or messing with chains etc.  

Avatar
Simboid [94 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
. . wrote:
Simboid wrote:

Anything an anchovy can't fix will be so big a tube would balloon through and last about 5 mins.

I carry a piece cut from an old plastic toothpaste tube for that. 

Good idea. Even in the middle of nowhere there's plenty of crap chucked out of cars to use in the verges, water bottles, KFC buckets, etc. Bit of toothpaste tube would be virtually weightless but getting creative with the shite drivers 'bin' out of the window would be quite satisfying.

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TheScotsman [30 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Thanks for all of the answers, folks.

Something to consider next time my wheels need replacing!

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muffies [79 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
bobbypuk wrote:

I've been running the G-one speed for a couple of months now. They are fast but have really worn. After about 3000km they're not very dimpled anymore. Which is good as they roll even faster now.

technically they should roll slower. less surface contact and lesser aerodynamic stability  3

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muffies [79 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

I'm using the G-One all-around and hum, I've been using them all *summer* and plan to use them all *winter*. Basically til they're dead.

Given I do 100km/week (400km/month and thus 2400km/6month) i wonder how much more people bike than i do to have to change tires "for the winter"  3

 

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kevvjj [285 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
TheScotsman wrote:

I'd be more concerned about getting a flat in winter, with 5 miles to go to work and 5 miles to go  back home, with a tubeless tyre which doesn't seal .

What do you do then? Is it a case of a very long walk in freezing conditions?  I'm much more comfortable with the idea of quickly popping a new tube in, inflating it with a CO2 canister & getting back on my way.

I'd need a heck of a lot more convincing that this latest fad is going to involve a lot less hassle than my current (puncture-free for almost 3 years of 20 mile-a-day commuting) tubed setup!  Can someone who runs tubeless and who may have experienced a non-sealing puncture let me know how they dealt with it?

Yeh. I put a tube in it. Easy as.

Avatar
ghibbard [88 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
kevvjj wrote:
TheScotsman wrote:

I'd be more concerned about getting a flat in winter, with 5 miles to go to work and 5 miles to go  back home, with a tubeless tyre which doesn't seal .

What do you do then? Is it a case of a very long walk in freezing conditions?  I'm much more comfortable with the idea of quickly popping a new tube in, inflating it with a CO2 canister & getting back on my way.

I'd need a heck of a lot more convincing that this latest fad is going to involve a lot less hassle than my current (puncture-free for almost 3 years of 20 mile-a-day commuting) tubed setup!  Can someone who runs tubeless and who may have experienced a non-sealing puncture let me know how they dealt with it?

Yeh. I put a tube in it. Easy as.

Ditto, put a tube in.  Just don't forget to check all the inside of the tyre for thorns/flints/etc.  Ripped a slit in a tubeless mtb tyre a few years ago that wouldn't seal. Tube lasted about half mile: there were 7 thorns through the tyre that had sealed previously.

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BrokenBootneck [228 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Anyone using Hutchinson sector 28s? My pro ones are 8 months old on my commuter, have a few noodles in but still going strong.  60-100 miles a week plus the odd long ride too. 

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Initialised [328 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

I'm on my third set of Roubaix Tubeless, they're more resillient than the Mavics or Schwalbe Pro 1s and grip really well in the wet.

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logomomo [8 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
BrokenBootneck wrote:

Anyone using Hutchinson sector 28s? My pro ones are 8 months old on my commuter, have a few noodles in but still going strong.  60-100 miles a week plus the odd long ride too. 

 

I've been running sector 28s for the last 2 years and whilst they were a really nice ride, they're quite weak on the side walls and i've had a couple of cuts.

i've switched to IRC (courtesy of the cycle clinic) for the winter - they do seem a lot tougher and whilst they dont ride quite so smoothly, i suspect they'll be more reliable over the detritus covered winter roads of east sussex.