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It's not all roses with tubeless technology, here are some of the common pitfalls

You’ve probably heard lots of good things said about tubeless tyres (better puncture protection, comfort, rolling resistance and so on) but have you heard about the downsides? The tyres are a pain to fit, sealant makes a mess everywhere and there are huge compatibility issues, as we explain below.

- Tubeless tyres: With more choices than ever and Mavic entering the field is it time to switch to tubeless?

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

Tubeless might just be the best thing since the invention of the pneumatic tyre, or it might be a complete waste of time. The history of bicycle product development is littered with as many rubbish products as significant ones, in our view it's a big step forward (you may beg to differ) but as the technology stands today tubeless is not without its drawbacks - some of them are pretty well known, others less so.

Here then are some of the cons with current tubeless tyre technology.

No more punctures...

Before we get into the downsides, let’s start on a positive. One of the key benefits of a tubeless tyre setup is a greatly reduced risk of puncturing. The liquid sealant is able to seal smaller holes caused by glass, flint or stones and literally plug the hole because it dries very quickly.

When you witness it happening firsthand and are able to continue riding without needed to replace the inner tube is to be convinced this is the future.

...but doesn’t plug all holes

That said, tubeless isn’t invincible and the sealant won’t seal all holes above a certain size, generally about 6mm, because it’s simply overwhelmed by the speed of the air rushing out of the hole. So you might, in rare cases, find yourself with a flat tyre and sealant everywhere. Messy!

genuine-innovations-tubeless-tire-repair-kit

For really big holes that the sealant can’t fix, you have two choices, either whack a tube in or use a tubeless repair kit involving an odd rubber anchovy which you stuff into the hole to seal the tyre. They’re popular with mountain bikers but yet to be embraced by roadies, you can read a review here. So that's something else you need to buy. The price is creeping up.

And you still need to carry a spare tube

Yup, it’s advisable to still carry a spare inner tube even though you’ve banished them from your wheels, just in the rare event that the sealant can’t plug a hole.

Slime Pro Pre-filled Lite inner tube crop

Installation issues - the tyre just won't fit

This is the biggest problem with current tubeless tyres. Fitting a regular clincher tyre and inner tube is mostly painless, at worst you might need a few tyre levers, but after that, a small pump will get the tyre inflated onto the rim. It takes about 5 minutes.

How to fit a tubeless tyre — step 10.jpg

Some tubeless tyres, however, can take much more time to get fitted to the rims and involve much cursing. The problem is due to there being no one standard that all rim and tyre manufacturers adhere to, and because you need a very good seal with the tyre bead on the rim, it generally involves a very tight fit. In some cases so tight that you need multiple tyre levers. We've known people to give up, it's that difficult. 

When you've got the tyre onto the rim, it's not all over. Nope, in some cases, you need a tubeless-specific pump, CO2 canister or compressor to deliver the big burst of air needed to pop the tyre up onto the beads.

Still, we could all be glueing tubs to rims still if somebody hadn't invented the clincher tyre...

Compatibility and lack of standards

Much of the problem with tricky tubeless installation comes down to the issue of compatibility between different brand rim and tyres, and a lack of a universal standard.

The issue is the wide variation in the rim and tyre size and the bead stiffness, which not only affects installation but also safety. Keeping the tolerances small is crucial to the success of the system because without an inner tube pushing the tyre bead against the inside of the rim there needs to be a really good fit to ensure the tyre doesn’t blow off the rim.

prime-road-race-alloy-wheelset-decal

And the result is the current situation that sees some tyres being a breeze to fit to some rims, and the complete opposite being the case with another combination of tyre and rim brand.

However, there is hope. It looks like the bike industry has finally put its heads together and working towards updating the key guidelines and standards for rims and tyre design, including tubeless and clincher, to ensure all the issues of compatibility are a thing of the past.

- One step closer to a road tubeless standard? And why this matters to you

We’re yet to see what the standard actually looks like, but don’t expect a massive change or need to rush out and buy all new wheels and tyres, as it looks like some brands have been slowly transitioning towards the guidelines, as we expect Continental has with its latest GP 5000 tubeless tyres. It appears that the standard being adopted is based on Mavic’s Road UST which it introduced in 2017 and is based on its long-running MTB UST standard.

It can be messy

All that sealant invites the risk of a mess, and sometimes tubeless can be a messy thing. If you get a puncture while riding, unless you have mudguards you are going to spray sealant all over your frame, bum and back and anyone riding behind you. I’ve seen this happen and while it’s funny, it’s not nice at all.

step19_0

When a tubeless installation goes wrong, you can be left with puddles of sealant on the floor or ground of your workshop/kitchen/office. Try explaining why there’s white gunk everywhere to your other half!

Tubeless can be heavier

The extra material needed to make a tubeless tyre, and in some cases, the rim as well with additional rim strips, plus the tubeless valves and necessary sealant, means that even though you’re ditching the inner tube, a tubeless setup can be heavier.

The tyres are generally heavier too. A Continental GP 5000 TL 28mm tyre weighs 340g versus 250g for a regular GP 5000 tyre. Removing the inner tube however does save you in the region of 100g but you're adding back  50-60g of sealant which negates some of the weight saved, and those tubeless valves are probably a little heavier too, and there's the rim strip if your wheels need it. 

So don't go expecting tubeless to shed loads of weight from your bike but in some cases it can save a small amount. Plus if you're carrying two spare tubes just in case, that's your weight saved added back to the bike. 

Tubeless or tubeless-ready… there's a difference?

Tubeless tyres fall into two categories: full tubeless and tubeless-ready.

Road Tubeless, as developed by Shimano and Hutchinson over ten years ago, and Mavic’s own Road UST, feature tyres that have an air-retaining coat of butyl rubber on the inside of the tyre and can be used without sealant, though it’s recommended for its puncture prevention.

Hutchinson tubeless tyre.jpg

Tubeless ready, which comes under many names and labels, means a tyre with a standard tyre carcass and omits the extra butyl liner. These tyres are lighter but the air-permeable sidewall requires the use of sealant for the system to work.

Some brands, like Hutchinson, make tyres in both tubeless and tubeless-ready versions. Mavic only makes full tubeless tyres using its UST designation. Some brands like Schwalbe only offer tubeless-ready tyres. 

Common names for tubeless tyres includes 2Bliss, tubeless compatible, Tubeless Easy, TLR, TL, Tubeless Complete and various other names. All of these tyres can be used with inner tubes, though you might struggle to get a full tubeless tyre and an inner tube fitted to the rim, it's commonly easier with a tubeless-ready tyre.

Most tubeless tyres on the market these days are of the tubeless ready variety because they are lightweight.

Limited choice

There’s no shortage of tubeless wheels, indeed nearly all wheel brands have added or made their wheels tubeless-ready. Where there is an issue is with the limited choice of tubeless tyres.

goodyear eagle all season tyres5.JPG

The situation has improved hugely in just the last couple of years with even Continental adding a tubeless tyre, and more recently Vittoria has got in on the action, but step back a few years and there were just a handful of options.

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

However, most of these tubeless tyres are top-end ones with big price tags. What we want to see is affordable tubeless tyres to make it more accessible.

Expensive upgrade

Wheel manufacturers have been quick to embrace tubeless and a lot of new road and gravel bikes are now being sold with wheels that are tubeless-ready, so you’re halfway there.

If you want to go tubeless, you’re going to have to buy new tyres. Now, unless you need to replace worn out tyres, then it does mean removing a perfectly good set of tyres with new tubeless tyres.

How to fit a tubeless tyre — step 1.jpg

Tubeless tyres are often a little pricier than their clincher non-tubeless cousins. Continental’s new GP 5000 TL tyres were about €10 more at launch but shopping around now reveals they’re both about the same price, meaning you don’t have to lay out more cash to go down the tubeless route.

You also need to buy tubeless valves, sealant and rim strips if the rim bed isn’t sealed. There are kits you can buy with everything you need to get started like the Stan’s NoTubes Road Bike Tubeless Kit that has everything you need in one bag.

Might need new wheels

If your bike doesn’t currently have tubeless-ready wheels then you’re going to need to buy a new set of hoops. 

One alternative to buying new wheels if yours aren't tubeless-ready, and we're not recommending this, is to go ghetto. In the early days of tubeless, especially in the mountain biking world, it was common to use regular non-tubeless tyres and rims and use rim strips and sealant to achieve a tubeless setup. With the higher pressures involved in a road bike tyre it's probably safer to follow manufacturer guidelines and only use approved tubeless components. 

mavicksyriumeliteustwheelset

- 238 tubeless wheelsets — the most complete listing anywhere of your choices in new technology hoops

Easier to ding rims with lower pressures

Lower tyre pressures are very much on-trend now along with a push towards wider tyres, but the risk of running lower pressures does raise the issue of potentially damaging rims. This is especially true if riding a cyclocross or adventure bike off-road where rocks and roots can damage soft aluminium rims if the pressures are too low.

Sealant eventually dries out and needs topping up/replacing

Sealant is the magic ingredient that gives tubeless setups their big advantages over inner tubes, in being able to seal punctures.

Most are latex based but there are some latex-free options if you have an allergy to the ammonia content of latex, or worried about its oxidising impact on aluminium. Latex also doesn’t like carbon dioxide from Co2 canisters so that rules them out.

Stans No Tubes Tire Sealant

Sealant quality and variety have improved over the years and there’s now a vast choice on the market. Many are now biodegradable and don’t use ammonia, which means they’re less harmful and you can use a Co2 canister in an emergency. Some brands have developed sealant that claims to never dry out.

The liquid sealant required of tubeless setup doesn’t stay liquid forever, it’ll eventually dry out. I’ve had many alarming cases with road and mountain bikes when I’ve whipped the tyre off only to find the sealant completely dried out!

Muc-Off claims its sealant last up to six months after which you’re going to need to top it up. In most cases, the sealant is going to dry out long before your tyre wears out. Now you can either carry out checks every few months by popping the tyre off the rim, or an easier solution is to use something like milKit’s Tubeless Valve and Refill Kit.

MilKit - 4.jpg

It revolves around a clear plastic syringe and thin plastic tubes that lets you extract the sealant to see how much is remaining and whether a top-up is in order. It’s also useful if you’re swapping tyres as you can reuse the sealant and it removes the usual mess involved in swapping tubeless tyres.

Tyres glued to the rim

Another downside of sealant is when it comes to replacing a tyre and the sealant has dried and effectively glued the tyre to the rim, making removal of the tyre so difficult that people have been known to clamp said tyre into a bike work stand to break the seal.

We should add this does happen in isolated cases, very often getting the tyre off is a cinch. Again, this comes back to the lack of standards but it's gradually improving. Still, you only need to do an Internet search to find lots of people reporting issues with getting tubeless tyres off rims.

You might also have glubs of dried sealant on the inside of the tyre which you'll want to remove if you're moving the tyre to a different wheel, especially in the bead area where dried sealant has the potential to impact the seal on the rim.

The pros don’t use it (and that’s an issue for some cyclists)

For many cyclists, the fact that the pros haven’t embraced tubeless is as good a reason not to make the switch.

Professional cyclists, with their closed roads and support vehicles, still prefer tubular tyres for the principal reason that you can continue riding on a flat tyre long enough to receive a wheel or bike change. Johan Vansummeren famously won Paris-Roubaix despite riding the last 5km on a slowly deflating tyre.

Tubular wheels are usually a lot lighter as well because they require a much less complex rim bed design.

That’s not to say the pros haven’t dabbled with tubeless. Rolling resistance tests prove tubeless provides less resistance and a few WorldTour level time trials have been ridden and won aboard tubeless tyres.

Tubeless tyres have also been spotted at the cobbled classics in the past as well, a natural environment for the puncture resisting benefits of tubeless tyres to shine. Philippe Gilbert even won Het Volk back in 2008 on tubeless tyres.

But for the foreseeable future, the pros are sticking with tubular, not tubeless.

Sounds like tubeless is a terrible idea then?

If all that has put you off the idea of trying tubeless, we should end by saying that in our opinion the pros of tubeless tyres outweigh the cons. Getting the tyres on and off can be messy and a general pain but the beauty of tubeless is that it's not something you have to do often. There is hope for tubeless to become much more accessible and easier with the industry finally agreeing on new standard guidelines to maybe all these troubles will be a thing of the past and nothing more than teething problems.

Do you love or hate tubeless? Let's hear your thoughts in the comments section.

 

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.

73 comments

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Russell Orgazoid [560 posts] 8 months ago
1 like

Some fair points made here but you can keep your tubes!

Spending many minutes in the rain at the side of the road fixing a flawed/tubed system? No way, Pedro.

Never been let down by tubeless; don't carry a tube anymore; I get punctures but not flats!

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mike the bike [1269 posts] 8 months ago
3 likes

 

Call me old fashioned but I'm less than enthusiastic about a tiny plug of dried sealant keeping my front tyre inflated as I rattle down a long incline at 60-70 kph, dodging the traffic.

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Walo [47 posts] 8 months ago
3 likes

I switched to tubulars with my first carbon wheel set some 15 years ago for safety reasons. The quality of tubulars have so much improved over time that I was never tempted going back to clinchers.  I agree that gluing a tubular is not everybody's cup of tea, but the tubeless clinchers certainly also not. I am an average roadie doing around 8 to 10'000 km/year and a lot of my fellow club members followed suit in going to tubulars only when riding carbon wheels. I cannot understand the negative reporting sometimes and the little attention tubulars get these days.

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Russell Orgazoid [560 posts] 8 months ago
1 like
mike the bike wrote:

 

Call me old fashioned but I'm less than enthusiastic about a tiny plug of dried sealant keeping my front tyre inflated as I rattle down a long incline at 60-70 kph, dodging the traffic.

Understandable but how is a vulnerable rubber tube any more secure? It can deflate fast; the sealant will prevent that.

If tubeless existed first, tubes would never be marketed or sold. Not a chance.

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BehindTheBikesheds [3322 posts] 8 months ago
1 like
Walo wrote:

I switched to tubulars with my first carbon wheel set some 15 years ago for safety reasons. The quality of tubulars have so much improved over time that I was never tempted going back to clinchers.  I agree that gluing a tubular is not everybody's cup of tea, but the tubeless clinchers certainly also not. I am an average roadie doing around 8 to 10'000 km/year and a lot of my fellow club members followed suit in going to tubulars only when riding carbon wheels. I cannot understand the negative reporting sometimes and the little attention tubulars get these days.

I don't race, never have but always hankered over tubs back to the days of the ubiquitous Mavic GP4s when my college mate had them for his club runs. I actually came into a pair of mint cond complete with virtually new tubs, one had a small puncture but I used tyre repair foam and this fixed it perfectly and instantly. I only used them a couple of times on my Gitane team replica but knew that my next top end wheel purchase were going to be tubs.

Bought some lovely Gigantex/FRM carbon from a German racer guy on ebay for silly money about 10 years ago, came with Conti 4000SIIs, even though I'm a big guy and the tubs were 22mm they were a noticeable improvement over my Mavic SSCs fitted with some lightweight tyres, that said I still think the best tyres I ever had in terms of 'free' speed were a pair of Maxxis Xneith Equipe Super Legere, fag paper thin but by god they felt fast with 55g tubes!.

Current deep tubs are Bora One's with 25mm Conti comp on the front and 27mm Veloflex vlaanderen on the back, just lovely. 

Tubeless is just too much hassle compared to clinchers for me, I rarely get punctures and the amount of grief and potential to be left stranded by not being able to get a tyre off is simply a massive put off, that's on top of having to buy into a totally different wheel/tyre type and the fairly strict restrictions in place such as Mavic with their new open pros.

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Nick T [1345 posts] 8 months ago
3 likes
Walo wrote:

I switched to tubulars with my first carbon wheel set some 15 years ago for safety reasons. The quality of tubulars have so much improved over time that I was never tempted going back to clinchers.  I agree that gluing a tubular is not everybody's cup of tea, but the tubeless clinchers certainly also not. I am an average roadie doing around 8 to 10'000 km/year and a lot of my fellow club members followed suit in going to tubulars only when riding carbon wheels. I cannot understand the negative reporting sometimes and the little attention tubulars get these days.

I’ve been on tubs for donkeys years, I’d never use any of the other options on the road. 23mm tubeless tyres at 110psi? No thanks, there’s no sealant in the world that’s going to work in those conditions. I put tubeless on my gravel bike and it’s a total fuck on; seating tyre beads, sealant glop, soapy water, sod that when I can glue a lighter tub on my much lighter rims in a few minutes. Roadside fixes are easy when you’ve got a preglued light tyre in your jersey pocket where an inner tube would normally be

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jerome [81 posts] 8 months ago
2 likes

You missed: tubeless slowly deflate whatever and need topping every week or two, tubeless do not necessarily "pop" when installed and that's just fine. I am on tubeless for commuting (I do not race) and love it: light and puncture proof.

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Boss Hogg [145 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

Road tubeless are arguably as safe as tubulars as the will not come off the rim in case of an immediate loss of air.

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Boss Hogg [145 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes
Nick T wrote:
Walo wrote:

I switched to tubulars with my first carbon wheel set some 15 years ago for safety reasons. The quality of tubulars have so much improved over time that I was never tempted going back to clinchers.  I agree that gluing a tubular is not everybody's cup of tea, but the tubeless clinchers certainly also not. I am an average roadie doing around 8 to 10'000 km/year and a lot of my fellow club members followed suit in going to tubulars only when riding carbon wheels. I cannot understand the negative reporting sometimes and the little attention tubulars get these days.

I’ve been on tubs for donkeys years, I’d never use any of the other options on the road. 23mm tubeless tyres at 110psi? No thanks, there’s no sealant in the world that’s going to work in those conditions. I put tubeless on my gravel bike and it’s a total fuck on; seating tyre beads, sealant glop, soapy water, sod that when I can glue a lighter tub on my much lighter rims in a few minutes. Roadside fixes are easy when you’ve got a preglued light tyre in your jersey pocket where an inner tube would normally be

Please do your homework first. Road tubeless tyres hardly come in 23mm, rather in 25mm and 28mm - or even wider. Mavic Pro UST 25mm have a max pressure of 87psi and a recommended pressure of 75psi. I'm 77kg and run mine between 75psi and 80psi, which is more than enough. The 28mm version of the said tyre runs at even lower pressures.

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Markopic [43 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

Some good advices, but NEVER try to set up tubeless tire that is not meant for it. 

Probably it will be ok, but it can also blow of the rim when you try to inflate with sealant inside... try to imagine how the workshop look after that, or does the rim stays true  1

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Miller [298 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

Is there any point making a differentiation between tubeless and tubeless-ready? I don't think so.Either you can run the tyre without a tube or you can't.

I went tubeless in 2015 and have enjoyed the ride, I will never go back to rubber airbags that's for sure. Stopping at the side of the road with a tyre issue is mostly a memory now. On the other hand I think it's fair to say the maintenance load moves from beside the road to back in your workshop. I'm happy with that. Some routine maintenance is required, occasional sealant top-ups. For people who never want to touch their bike tubeless is not a good choice.

But don't focus just on puncture-proofing. There's a lovely ride quality with tubeless associated with the fact that it suits wider tyres and lower pressures. Neither does that mean being slow, it does not.

It requires a certain openness to change to adopt road tubeless and that rules a lot of roadies out. 

 

 

 

 

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AllegedlyAnthony [17 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

How long does it take to set up tubeless? How many times per year do you need to top up or replace the sealant? When you add that time up and compare the figures with how long it actually takes to swap out a tube and re-inflate it (3 minutes if you're slow), old-style clinchers save time and misery.
However, I will accept that tubeless set-ups start to make sense for a commuting bike in town on grotty roads or if you keep getting pinch-punctures because you insist on running overly low tyre pressures .

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hawkinspeter [4235 posts] 8 months ago
2 likes

I'm confused about the actual difference between tubeless and tubeless-ready as I'm currently using Maxxis Padrones that should be "tubeless", but they seem to drink the sealant. At one point I had the rear tyre losing air slowly, so I just put in more air and got home. When I examined the tyre, it was quite flat, so I pumped it up to look for any obvious hole and instead saw tiny bubbles of air escaping at lots of places around the sidewall. It turned out that it had "run out" of sealant as there wasn't any left and when I popped in 40ml, the tyre was back to normal again. That sounds to me more like tubeless ready than tubeless.

Edit: just looked at my tyres and they're actually Padrone-TR so they are tubeless-ready.

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hawkinspeter [4235 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes
AllegedlyAnthony wrote:

How long does it take to set up tubeless? How many times per year do you need to top up or replace the sealant? When you add that time up and compare the figures with how long it actually takes to swap out a tube and re-inflate it (3 minutes if you're slow), old-style clinchers save time and misery. However, I will accept that tubeless set-ups start to make sense for a commuting bike in town on grotty roads or if you keep getting pinch-punctures because you insist on running overly low tyre pressures .

Setting up tubeless can take quite a time if you don't know what you're doing.

I have spent hours trying to get a tyre to properly seat and it's been either the valve or the rim tape not being installed correctly. However, now that I've made enough mistakes, it doesn't take me long to figure out when it's not working properly. Definitely longer than using tubes though I've ruined inner tubes by pinching them when installing.

Checking sealant - maybe 4 times a year? I've got the Milkit valves and it's an easy 5-10 minute job to do both tyres. Tubeless tends to leak more air (could be mini punctures for all I know) so there's more time spent inflating tyres as well.

However, for me, I don't mind spending time fettling tyres if I can choose when to do it and not have it forced upon me whilst out riding, so I think of tubeless maintenance as performing rituals to appease the puncture fairies.

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BehindTheBikesheds [3322 posts] 8 months ago
1 like
Boss Hogg wrote:

Please do your homework first. Road tubeless tyres hardly come in 23mm, rather in 25mm and 28mm - or even wider. Mavic Pro UST 25mm have a max pressure of 87psi and a recommended pressure of 75psi. I'm 77kg and run mine between 75psi and 80psi, which is more than enough. The 28mm version of the said tyre runs at even lower pressures.

I'm 98kg and 87psi doesn't cut the mustard, what about larger riders, I was 107kg at one point, if you think these max wheel pressures are going to suffice for us bigger types then you're sadly mistaken. The new Open Pro is a fucking piss take to offer such a low max pressure, especially since it's thinner at the braking surface than the last lot so it could keep the weight down (along with the scalloping)

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Nick T [1345 posts] 8 months ago
1 like

I’m 70kg and anything less than 100psi feels awful to me. I have the option of running my tubs at low pressures but no thanks, 75psi on the road is far too low for my taste, vague and mushy. Give it a few years and the trend will be for higher pressures again though 

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duk31nlondon [7 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

I have Mavic cosmic elite wheels which came with yksion pro ust tyres that were mounted tubeless.

The set-up worked well and the couple of punctures I got sealed fine after a bit of a wait and was able to carry on after reinflating. It was a bit of a shock though as I previously used Marathon plus on which I had zero puncture in many years.

When it came to changing the rear one I found to my dismay that the choice is still super limited and prices really high at about £50 a piece. So went back to tubes with a tyre which claims a degree of puncture proctection.

 

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Russell Orgazoid [560 posts] 8 months ago
3 likes
Nick T wrote:

I’m 70kg and anything less than 100psi feels awful to me. I have the option of running my tubs at low pressures but no thanks, 75psi on the road is far too low for my taste, vague and mushy. Give it a few years and the trend will be for higher pressures again though 

Not a hope.

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taberesc [17 posts] 8 months ago
2 likes

I was a fan until I got stranded in some godforsaken part of Scotland after the sealant wouldn't plug a hole. Had to wait an hour for a taxi to rescue me. Tubeless works amazingly until it doesn't. In our trade you need to be able to get back going 100% of the time, and that means the tried and trusted tube in the back pocket.

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antigee [566 posts] 8 months ago
2 likes

'the sealant won’t seal all holes above a certain size, generally about 6mm"  I'd make that more like 3or4mm?....been running tubeless mtb for quite some time and happy ...tried tubeless on my recreational road/gravel bike with some 30mm mavic tyres,  no problem setting up as done a few times but the wheelset is now sat at back of garage and gone back to (see above ^^^) reliable swalbe marathons and tubes - glass cuts take an age to seal at road(ish) pressures (70psi) you get covered in jizz and then to make it worse they reopen if you bump down a kerb and you have to stop and put some pressure back in once its sealed again and if won't seal push an anchovy in and wait and shake and then try and get the tyre off to put a tube in - so work great for thorns and nails but if you ride anywhere might encounter could well end in frustration 

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MarkiMark [104 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

Can't add much more to other comments, other than to say beware thinking you can easily take a tubeless tyre off at the roadside to insert an inner tube. There may be some wheel/tyre combinations that are better than mine, but removing a tubeless tyre is a long and frustrating process.

But, for communting I've taken to carrying a small tube of sealant, a couple of those funny little things you stick in a puncture hole and a CO2 can. Had a flat a few weeks ago that the sealant couldn't cope aith, but a quick top-up with sealant, widget in hole, suirt of CO2 and I was on my way again.

Despite drawbacks I get far fewer flats, even though I know I get quite a few punctures (they don't result in flats). For commuting in dark, cold, windy, rainy mornings I would truse tubeless over everything else.

For anyone interested, I use Hunt Carbon 32 Wide rims with either IRC Pro Tubeless X-Guard 28mm in the winter or Schwalbe Pro One 28s in the summer. I weigh 80kg and run them around 70 or 80 psi. Perfect.

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Team EPO [222 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

The key is all about the wheelset you are using eg my Shimano tubeless were a nightmare whilst my Cannondale Stans rims were easy to fit.  PS Worth keeping some of these bacon bits for those holes that won't seal

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Genuine-Innovations-Unisex-Tubeless-Repair/dp/B...

 

PPS I would be keen to know how easy it is to add an inner tube to the Hunts as they provide a tyre fitting service which makes me think they are a pain to fit.

 

 

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SantaCruzRing [3 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes
Plasterer's Radio wrote:
Nick T wrote:

I’m 70kg and anything less than 100psi feels awful to me. I have the option of running my tubs at low pressures but no thanks, 75psi on the road is far too low for my taste, vague and mushy. Give it a few years and the trend will be for higher pressures again though 

Not a hope.

 

Me niether. Anyone riding 23mm tubs at 110psi because they think it is more efficient has missed the last 2-3 years of development and testing. As he said - hes been riding them for donkeys years. You cant teach an old dog new tricks.

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Nick T [1345 posts] 8 months ago
3 likes

I never claimed it was more efficient. I think it’s debatable which is actually more efficient, but I ride at high pressures because I’ve tried both and I prefer the feel of higher pressure. On one of my bikes 110 is the sweet spot. On two others it’s closer to 120. On my gravel bike with 38mm tyres it’s rarely over 40psi, and the feel on the road is horrible. Whatever you feel comfortable with is up to you, I’m not going to tell you another way is better - but if you think it’s only in the last 2-3 years of tyre and wheel development that the industry has finally cracked the mystery, you’d be mistaken

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Jimthebikeguy.com [271 posts] 8 months ago
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Some fair points here, most of which are easy to offset with a bit of research and learning. Overall, if you rode around on a decent tubeless setup for a year, i reckon you can be pretty sure by the end of that year you would have spent a lot less time changing flats. Sure you can go for an armoured tire and tube setup, but that feels like riding round in pit boots compared to a decent tubeless setup with a high tpi carcass.

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Yorkiescot [5 posts] 8 months ago
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I'm pretty convinced about the benefits of tubeless. Have been running then for a couple of years on Hunt wheels. Usually Hutchinson Fusion 5 all season 28mm in winter and the Fusion 5 Perfomance 25mm in summer. 2 punctures in 2 years is pretty good. First was a sidewall gash, so popped in an innertube and was off again in less than 5 mins. Second was last week, big gravel chip straight in, again 5 mins back on the road. I'm lazy, so top up Schwalbe sealant when I remember (maybe every 6 months), pump tyres up when they feel a bit soft.

I'm running these tyres at 90-100 PSI back and 80-90 PSI front on rough country roads with hedge cutting all winter, so I could be getting a lot of punctures but wouldn't know and only care when it goes flat. Before tubeless I seemed to get a puncture every couple of rides. I weigh about 100kg so back wheels and tyres get a proper hammering

As for changing the tyres, it's been pretty easy to date with both the Hutchinsons and a set of Mavics. Seating the tyres can be a pain so I invested in a new track pump with a reservoir that releases a blast up of air, so now it works every time.

Upside (for me anyway) less punctures, less innertubes waiting for 'repair', running 28/25mm tyres is great on rough roads

Downside - tyres are fairly expensive, still carry an innertube, sealant makes a mess.

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achoey [1 post] 8 months ago
2 likes

Nice article,  I'd highlight a few other salient points.

If you ride offroad MTB, CX or gravel then running tubeless is critical for wet, mud or sand harsh conditions that require lower tire pressures to maintain grip and avoid pinch flats.  If you dont ride offroad then tradeoff of protection from external debres may or may not be worth the bother especially for road use.

The other issue I run into is wanting to change tires for different offroad terrain and weather conditions (dry, wet, mud, rocky, sand). If you only have 1 wheel set then swapping tubeless becomes a PITA and expensive.  Best for tubeless is to leave them on and dont mess with them except to top off fluid.

Finally, if you have a ding in your alu rim as I do then fitting may be harder. 

If you want to run tubeless and have the flexibility to swap tires when you want then its worth going full enchilada -  Invest in tubeles ready tires and rims that fit well together, get your own pump and supplies and learn to do it yourself.

 

Adam

 

 

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BehindTheBikesheds [3322 posts] 8 months ago
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SantaCruzRing wrote:
Plasterer's Radio wrote:
Nick T wrote:

I’m 70kg and anything less than 100psi feels awful to me. I have the option of running my tubs at low pressures but no thanks, 75psi on the road is far too low for my taste, vague and mushy. Give it a few years and the trend will be for higher pressures again though 

Not a hope.

 

Me niether. Anyone riding 23mm tubs at 110psi because they think it is more efficient has missed the last 2-3 years of development and testing. As he said - hes been riding them for donkeys years. You cant teach an old dog new tricks.

Most people riding, even high end stuff don't always ride for max efficiency, in fact ask how many riders actually check their tyre pressures before each ride and set them to max efficiency for their weight and weight distribution, it won't be half IMO.

I kept my 22mm tubs and I will still have the back at over 120psi, might it not be the most efficient, well ultimately that depends on the terrain you're riding on, even when comparing tests on a continuous uneven rolling 'road' the differences between high pressure narrow tyres and wider tyres at realistic pressures (because if you're going with the wider tyre you won't be pumping them up to same pressures as the narrower tyre right) the differences are minimal. This can be seen between the three conti 4000SII clincher tested by tyrerollingresistance.com. On roads that are actually relatively smooth like your local TT course, A roads and newly laid roads etc then the narrow high pressure tyre is still going to be more efficient/lose less energy than your wider tyre. 

ATEOTD some people like the feel of a higher pressure tyre, it's not necessarily not being able to teach old dogs new tricks but allowing people to choose what they want, same as with helmets, same as with tubeless, tubed or tubs and everything else. At least with tyres there's more quantifiable evidence that states narrow high pressure tyres are still faster/more efficient in some circumstances, circumstances that many of us ride on even if not 100% of the time.

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DaveL75 [13 posts] 8 months ago
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I like tubular - the set I had on my Zipp 808s were lovely to ride... until I got a puncture.  I sold those wheels very quickly.  I don't have a support car or rescue vehicle and if anyone thinks that it's hard fixing a puncture in a tubeless tyre by the roadside try getting a deflated tub off.

All my bikes are going tubeless and I have no regrets.

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Nick T [1345 posts] 8 months ago
1 like

Did you use rim tape to mount them? That can be difficult to remove. Vittoria mastik glue breaks off relatively easily, I can do it by hand but tyre levers will help. I can pull the old tyre off and fit the spare quicker than I can remove a clincher 

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