Tyre system investment strategy advice sought: Tubeless vs. Clincher?

by KiwiMike   January 21, 2014  

Tyre system investment strategy advice sought:

Setup per wheel:
Hutchinson Sector28 tubeless road tyre, UK LBS = £50
Stans NoTubes road valves = £6
Stans Notubes sealant = £22 for 1000ml = £1.50
Tesa 4289 tape (£10 for 60m on eBay UK, same as Stan's) = £0.83p

Total setup: £58.33

Annual cost:
4 x Stans refills per year = £6
Assume 5,000k out of a Sector28 (YMMV) = £50

Total annual tubeless cost = £56

This versus buying a Conti GP 4 Seasons + Tour 28 tube - £40. Assuming similar wear rates and doing in 1 tube per year (reasonable I think, Conti's are great but not that great)

So, an extra £16 per year for the benefit of tubeless flat protection + (apparently) non-existent pinchflats + no roadside faffing in the cold/wet/snow/traffic/stares of grumpy peloton plus about 45g lighter overall.

Any reason not to go tubeless?

13 user comments

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From my point of view, not ever riding tubeless, but many years of tubs. From what I have read/heard, tubeless is a better ride than tubes, but not as good as tubs, but I would think that this opinion may have some bias.

Think about how many times in the last few years that you have had to change a flat on the side of the road, then calculate if the savings are worth while. For me the only puncture I have had in a very long time was way to large for sealant to hold it, if I had been riding tubeless, I wouldn't have had a spare tube with me, and hence I would have been stuck....

I never did find what cut my tyre, but it left a gash about 6 mm long in the brand new tyre.

The main reason I havent gone tubeless is that I have several bikes with individual wheels, so my road bike has standard wheels, my hybrid/cx has disks, and my old Iron donkey has 125mm rear. What I tend to do is swap the tyres around depending on the season and the ride I am doing rather than having spare wheels with different tyres, I know this sounds strange, but as its been pointed out elsewhere, I am a little bonkers, but its nice to have the flexibility to ride the bike I want that day with the tyres that suit best for the conditions, with tubeless this would be quite costly, and a right PITA

But to answer your question, is there any reason not to go tubeless, I say no, and I think in the coming years it will be the standard, my puncture was exceptionally bad luck

posted by jason.timothy.jones [303 posts]
21st January 2014 - 12:20

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My Bontrager wheels are tubeless-ready, but I haven't yet taken advantage of that. I'd like to see a decent range of tubeless tyres before I do - the Conti GP4000s black chillis that I'm currently running are absolutely fan-dabby-dozy so I'd want to see something of similar performance/traction etc before I switch.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3108 posts]
21st January 2014 - 12:48

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Tubeless are fine with a cut. Just carry a tube. If the sealant doesn't work, just pop in the tube (making sure you remove whatever caused the puncture). Obviously for large cuts a gaiter (like the Park Tools TB2 or a bank note) will be required, just as for a normal clincher.

The fuss is getting the tubeless valve out and the mess with the sealant, but hopefully it should happen quite rarely.

Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

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posted by jmaccelari [151 posts]
21st January 2014 - 13:56

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Thanks all, pretty much validated my thinking. The reviews of the Sector are pretty universally 4 out of 5 stars, which suits me fine for our generic riding.

I might hold off on the expense until the urrent GP4's are knackered - doing His & Hers will come to about £250 *eeep*.

That said, if lightening strikes more than twice this year, I'm off to Tubeless land. Possibly sooner if it happens when it's cold/wet.

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

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posted by KiwiMike [474 posts]
22nd January 2014 - 11:35

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'Any reason not to go tubeless?' - I'd say no, not if you already have a compatible wheel.

If, however you are investing in a new wheel then advantages over clincher are marginal, considering the extra expense. And if its just the puncture protection you're after then you can put sealant in any inner tube anyway..

Tubular is also an option if considering a new 'system'. they ride beautifully, puncture less than clincher and the rims are lighter, so carbon and aero options start to make sense..

posted by 700c [556 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 10:22

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Sealed some big holes on the mtb with tubeless and you certainly notice the rolling and I have only had one puncture in the couple of years of having UST wheels. I still managed to ride home with about 10 psi in the tyre, and I think it only went down because I punctured right before getting to work so it never sealed correctly(relies on the tyre spinning).
I tend to put two cups of fluid in the tyre and the other factor is Stans does freeze so if you're riding in extreme cold you can run the risk of puncturing and using compressed air can set the sealant off as well so stick to a decent track pump. I normally check my sealant every 2/3 months.

posted by Shep73 [137 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 10:45

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Reasons not to go tubeless:

Poor choice of tyres - haven't tried the Hutchinson Sector but their tubeless road tyres Atom and Fusion are rubbish.

You still have to carry a tube because quite often the sealant doesn't fill the hole.

Trying to get a tube in to a tyre when the hole hasn't sealed properly makes you look like you've just been the guest of honour at a rubber bukkake party. if you have an aversion to roadside faffing in the cold/dark under the stares of a grumpy peloton then this will take it to new levels.

The sealant has to be cleaned out and renewed occasionally or it gums up inside your rims. This is a major pain in the arse.

It isn't that much lighter once you factor in the weight of the sealant, and the fact that you still have to carry all the spare equipment.

The ride quality is slightly better - about the same as riding open tubulars with latex tubes. But unless you are on a very high-performance bike I doubt you could really notice it, certainly not in a blind test.

Reasons to go tubeless:

You don't get pinch flats.

Your choice...

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posted by abudhabiChris [517 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 12:22

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700c wrote:

Tubular is also an option if considering a new 'system'. they ride beautifully, puncture less than clincher and the rims are lighter, so carbon and aero options start to make sense..

Absolutely.

posted by edster99 [161 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 12:54

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abudhabiChris wrote:
Reasons not to go tubeless:

Poor choice of tyres -

True - and they're pricey.

abudhabiChris wrote:
haven't tried the Hutchinson Sector but their tubeless road tyres Atom and Fusion are rubbish.

The Fusions i'm running seen fine, the Secteur gets very good reviews as do the Schwalbe One and Ultremo ZX (including an interesting chat with someone using them all over the end of last year including over the Pyrennes). Limited choice, but some nice choices none the less.

abudhabiChris wrote:

You still have to carry a tube because quite often the sealant doesn't fill the hole.

...and.... ?

abudhabiChris wrote:

Trying to get a tube in to a tyre when the hole hasn't sealed properly makes you look like you've just been the guest of honour at a rubber bukkake party. if you have an aversion to roadside faffing in the cold/dark under the stares of a grumpy peloton then this will take it to new levels.

Now that I *can* imagine....

abudhabiChris wrote:

The sealant has to be cleaned out and renewed occasionally or it gums up inside your rims. This is a major pain in the arse.

Perhaps it can be, not tried many types of sealant - had no hassle getting it out myself so far though....

abudhabiChris wrote:

It isn't that much lighter once you factor in the weight of the sealant, and the fact that you still have to carry all the spare equipment.

...and... ?

abudhabiChris wrote:

The ride quality is slightly better - about the same as riding open tubulars with latex tubes. But unless you are on a very high-performance bike I doubt you could really notice it, certainly not in a blind test.

Be interesting to try out - the ride on my Fusion 23s is not really noticeably better than the Vredesteins Fortezza Tricomps (with bog standard tubes) they replaced - mind you i'm running them at not totally dis-similar pressures (maybe 85psi vs 90-and-a-bit)

abudhabiChris wrote:

Reasons to go tubeless:

You don't get pinch flats.

Stop trolling - they're much better at reducing a range of flats vs standard (non-sealant) tubes and tyres. For me, i've had two 'confirmed' seals in the last 3 months which i'll take even with the lack of choice and higher price. YMMV

abudhabiChris wrote:

Your choice...

Yep - best to give a realistic set of reasons for and against though.

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posted by fukawitribe [375 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 14:03

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I have tubeless tyres on one of my mountain bikes - it's very good and I haven't had a puncture on that bike in a couple of years (and my riding style is more about overall momentum than grace and panache!). The key advantage, though, is that I can run lower pressures and therefore have that much more grip. However, I have had at least one puncture fixed by the sealant on the go, and that was quite a large (~10mm) cut - all I needed to do was add a bit more air and I was good to continue (of course, repairing it when I got home was a pretty mucky job).

All my other bikes have tubes - not a conscious decision per se, just haven't upgraded them. The low-pressure advantage doesn't really apply to the road or touring bike, but I may switch the tourer over because of the protection from pinches. My other mountain bike will be switched to tubeless using one of the conversion kits soon. The road bike - not sure...

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posted by adamthekiwi [44 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 14:24

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The comment from another poster about cleaning it out, you don't need to clean it, just replenish what you have used or has gunked up. It is a easy job and no longer than changing a tube, just prise part of the tyre off and pour some sealant in and fit the tyre back on.

posted by Shep73 [137 posts]
24th January 2014 - 1:41

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I had Hutchinson Fusions on my Ultegra wheels and found them very difficult to get on and to get inflated (LBS had the same issue when I finally got them to do it).

One split - probably from hitting lots of glass - and I found that the other had a flat spot with wear right to the cords (I've never done that on any other tyres and don't know how it happened).

My verdict: I was carrying a tube anyway and, though the ride did seem softer, I went back to tubes.

Gerard the Kiwi

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posted by GerardR [84 posts]
24th January 2014 - 7:09

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GerardR wrote:
I had Hutchinson Fusions on my Ultegra wheels and found them very difficult to get on and to get inflated (LBS had the same issue when I finally got them to do it).

I found them a complete bastard to get on, as did the last person I spoke to who used them. After that rather hideous first experience, I got myself a bead jack (Kool-Stop) - makes a world of difference.

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posted by fukawitribe [375 posts]
24th January 2014 - 15:59

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