Thoughts on going tubeless?

by rnarito   February 19, 2014  

I am considering going tubeless on my Felt Z3. I use this bike primarily for long rides (4 hours or more) and I'm starting to tire (pun intended) from multiple flats on rides (happened to me recently). Most of my flats have either been pinch flats or small pieces of glass or metal-going tubeless could remedy that. I'm thinking about going the Stan's No Tubes route. They seem light and have great reviews....anyone have any thoughts?

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I haven't switched over to tubeless either but in my experience and from what I've read, pinch flats or snakebite flats tend to be associated with underinflated tubes. What size tires do you run and many psi do you pump up to? (It's also helpful to know what weight you are too) I'm 55 kg and run 25s in the winter and 23s the rest of the year and at 100 psi I've never had a pinch flat. (I live in Portland, Oregon, and the roads here only get cleaned 2X a year so there's lots of glass and debris in the streets coupled with a good amount of potholes.) I know according to the 60/40 rule (55/45 for non-race bikes) I run my tires too high (90 psi front and 60 rear would not only flat on my roads and probably wreck my rims too) but that's what I'm used to and I ride on pretty crappy urban roads.

http://www.bikequarterly.com/images/TireDrop.pdf

Just a thought.

Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling. ~James E. Starrs

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posted by movingtarget [126 posts]
19th February 2014 - 4:49

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+1 on what movingtarget said, punctures often due to under inflation.

I wouldn't change to new tubeless wheels just to avoid punctures -they use sealant and you could just add sealant to an inner tube if that was your concern.

If, however, your wheels are already compatible then they're worth a try I think. The ride quality may be superior, not sure..

posted by 700c [541 posts]
19th February 2014 - 12:21

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Unless you are racing, I see no point in going tubeless.

The quality of clinchers you can get, are easily as good as tubeless. Punctures happen to both types.

The benefit of staying clincher, its an easy job to fix at the roadside. Tubeless....not so much

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posted by Gkam84 [8645 posts]
19th February 2014 - 13:24

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Not a road tubeless user yet but have been on mtbs for some time.

If you get a flat with a tubeless set up then you simply remove the valve and put a tube in. Easy as. You will probably want to carry a bit of paper towel to clean off the valve before sticking it in your pocket and then to wipe around the inside of the tyre first though, not so much to clean up the sealant but to make sure there's nothing there to puncture your replacement tube when you inflate it.

In the time I've been using tubeless off road I've had:

one nail through a tyre, tyre did not deflate immediately like a tube would but slowly lost pressure enabling me to stop safely and find out what was going on, I removed nail, topped up tyre pressure, rode home. Still using that tyre.

one side wall ripped on a rocky descent, sticky Park patch and tube in, completed event. Binned the tyre later as the rip was too big to fix properly, I've done the same for non-tubless tyres in the past.

a few which were entirely my fault when I started using tubeless, I was running silly low pressures for my weight to see what would happen, the result, loads of grip until you get carried away and pop the tyre off, tube in, ride on.

Swapping tyres can be a bit of a faff, most of the sealant can be contained and reused but any left in the tyre will go off so I've found it best to scrub the tyre clean once removed if you plan on using it tubeless again. I now tend to use tyres until they are worn out.

Having said that I am not tempted to convert road wheels as I have for mtb (I use Stans tape, generic valves, Stans solution and Spesh 2Bliss tyres) because of the higher pressures and lower tyre volumes involved. I wouldn't hesitate to use tubeless on road if I had appropriate wheels and the tyres weren't so expensive.

posted by Bagpuss [101 posts]
19th February 2014 - 14:52

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This crops up occasionally, there are links to some earlier discussions in this list:

http://www.google.co.uk/#q=site:road.cc+tubeless

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posted by Simon E [1885 posts]
19th February 2014 - 15:08

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Interesting, why did you use google over road.cc's own search engine?

http://road.cc/search/node/tubeless

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posted by Gkam84 [8645 posts]
19th February 2014 - 15:23

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If your bike comes tubeless ready or you are upgrading your wheels anyway - go tubeless, the benefits are great. I ran tubeless for four years on my MTB and NEVER got a puncture. In the dry hot and rocky Australian conditions normal tyres are prone to pinch flats. Country Victoria has the dreaded 'Bindy", not the obnoxious daughter of idiot wildlife pest Steve Irwin, but a tiny thorny weed which if accidently ran over at the side of the road will give you ten or more punctures. The difference in ride quality and grip was superb and I would ride the tyres until they wore out.
For the road the benefits for me (when I upgrade my Avanti Corsa) will be,
No punctures on rubbish Australian high country roads.
Greater grip.
Safer descents, as tubless tyres tend not to 'blow out' catastrophically.
Sales blurb also tells me they are faster rolling.
Better pressure stability in the massive variations in Australian temperatures.
With tubeless MTB tyres I run Slime instead of Stans goo, it is water based, less messy and you simply scooped it out and rebottled it when you swapped tyres. It is also a good indicator as to how many punctures you have saved yourself from or if your tyres are on the way out as a tiny blob of green goo shows on the outside of the tyre where it has sealed a hole.
The amount of tubes I get through I'll be glad to get rid of them.
The only good reason for not changing can only be that of initial cost.
Any other reason is pure Luddism.

Richie Bikelane

Richie Bikelane

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posted by Richie Bikelane [8 posts]
19th February 2014 - 23:22

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I went tubeless for CX - Stans NoTubes wheels + Clements - night and day difference - ride, speed, handling.

Then I picked up another Stans NoTubes road set with DT Swiss hubs with Hutchinson tires. Again terrific road performance - acceleration and climbing much improved.

Go read what Schwalbe say about their Ultremo ZX tubeless. This is NOT a road tire without a tube in it. It's a completely redesigned tire - different rubber, profile, handling, everything.

I have a set ready to mount once I've finished my winter training on the Hutchinsons.

Clearly tubeless is the future. BTW - I'm using Orange Sealant. Technology is good. Smile

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posted by agingbrit [2 posts]
20th February 2014 - 4:33

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Gkam84 wrote:
Unless you are racing, I see no point in going tubeless.

The quality of clinchers you can get, are easily as good as tubeless. Punctures happen to both types.

The benefit of staying clincher, its an easy job to fix at the roadside. Tubeless....not so much

I think you are confusing Tubulars with Tubeless.

posted by Welsh boy [102 posts]
20th February 2014 - 15:29

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I think people mentioning "underinflation" as a cause of pinch flats are completely missing the point of tubeless and pneumatic tyres in general.

With tubes, the lowest pressure you can run is indeed dictated by pinch flats.
With tubeless it is NOT. It's limited only by bike handling and a chance of strong rim strikes.

What many people don't realise is that on many roads (especially in the UK) the optimal (fastest and much more comfortable) pressure is BELOW of what they typically run with tubes.
Unless you're on a velodrome, every single PSI less from your usual 90-120PSI can give you extra speed and much more comfort.

I don't follow trends. Trends follow me.

posted by BBB [171 posts]
21st February 2014 - 16:35

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Just gone tubeless. American Classic Tubeless with Schwalbe One tubeless tyres and Stans Notubes sealant.

Well impressed!

Setting up was much easier than some on interweb had suggested. Front held air without sealant but I put some in anyway. Rear leaked a little with no sealant through the sidewall (possibly a slight tyre defect or I was a bit rough fitting) but the Stans cured it.

Ride quality an improvement over my conventional GP4000s on DA C24s and on my tubulars on AM 58s. No punctures yet!

If anyone thinking of making the leap - hearty recommendations.

posted by veseunr [277 posts]
27th June 2014 - 12:26

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