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9 things they don’t tell you about tubeless tyres

It’s not all roses with tubeless technology; here are some of the common pitfalls, and how to avoid them

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 can be 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, but in our view tubeless tyres are a big step forward (you may beg to differ). Even so, as the technology stands today tubeless has its drawbacks – some of them are pretty well known, others less so.

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

No more punctures...

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

When you witness it happening firsthand and are able to continue riding without needing to replace the inner tube you'll be convinced that 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. This means you might, in rare cases, find yourself with a flat tyre and sealant everywhere. Messy!


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 – yep, that's what they're called – 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.

You still need to carry a spare tube

Yup, it’s advisable to 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 (non-tubless) 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 five 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. Also, 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 can be 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.

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

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

The result is that some tyres are a breeze to fit to some rims, with the complete opposite true of a different tyre and rim combination.

This is slowly changing, though, with more brands making their tubeless tyres to ETRTO standards and we have to say that similar issues can affect tubed clinchers. That said, the issue seems to be magnified with tubeless.

There’s a difference between tubeless-ready and tubeless rims

You do need to be a little careful if you’re upgrading to a new wheelset when going tubeless as there is a difference between a tubeless-ready rim and one that is designed for tubeless-only tyres.

Hookless rim Fast FWD - 1

The difference can be found at the rim bed and specifically, where the tyre bead sits. Hookless rims (above) are designed for tubeless tyres (although you can still use them with an inner tube up to certain pressures; different brands offer different advice on this), and as the name suggests, they do not feature a hook on the rim. 

Hooked rim Fast FWD - 1

Tubeless-ready rims, meanwhile, offer you a wider selection of tyres as you can use standard clincher tyres and tubeless-ready tyres. A tubeless-ready rim (above) keeps the hooks that you’d expect to find and they don’t come with the lower max tyre pressures of hookless rims either. 

Which one is better? That’s not a debate that we’ll get into today.

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 could 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.


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. 

Just don't go expecting tubeless to shed loads of weight from your bike with tubeless, although 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. 

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

It can be an 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 and replacing them with new tubeless tyres.

How to fit a tubeless tyre — step 1.jpg

Tubeless tyres are a little bit more expensive than the clincher model and you’ll also need to get yourself tubeless valves, sealant and rim strips if the rim bed isn’t sealed.

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

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. 


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

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.

The liquid sealant required of a 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!

Stans No Tubes Tire Sealant

Muc-Off claims its sealant lasts 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 the easiest option is to just top up the sealant every few months.

It isn’t easy to add sealant

When you do need to add sealant, there isn’t really a foolproof way to do it.

Yes, you can remove the core of most tubeless valves, but over time they love to get themselves gunked up with old sealant – and that can make removing the core a nightmare. Then, once you manage to get it out, most sealant bottles don’t fit the valve properly so you’ll inevitably get some sealant dripping down onto the rim, tyre sidewall and – in the worst cases – down onto the carpet. Our Liam is terrible for this.

Now there are specific syringes available for this job but even those are prone to throwing sealant everywhere. This all means that you probably want to have a rag ready.

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 worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of 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, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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maxdabrit | 2 years ago
1 like

A recycled article with comments that are still relevant in June 2021. 

Tubeless is still not currently an acceptable solution for the road. It is for gravel and MTB.  The higher pressures required for Road tyres makes whatever liquid sealant you use spurt out the slightest hole. When pressure drops low enough the sealant will work but do you really want to ride fast and corner at 45/50 psi on the road? 
 Throw in fitment issues- getting tyres on and off is ridiculous and a total faff as well. Then add in the fact that tubeless tires suffer holes from the tiniest of pin pricks(Why Schwalbe Ones is that a known issue) and don't seal, making tube insertion a messy necessary nightmare. Just stop it. 

'Friends don't let friends ride tubeless' . Definitely true for the road rider. 

ktache | 2 years ago
1 like

Whilst reading the page on covering tubeless plugs I saw our friend Secret_squirrel mention tubeless repair patches, I was intrigued and had a look for these things that I had not heard about, seems there are a thing and there are a few of them out there.  I will be buying some of the Hutchinson Rep'Air Tubeless Repair Kit, the crc page adress is just to long, but £5.99, and available in road and mountain.

Here is a review

My only anchovie repair was on the front on my low pressure plus, and worked very well and has stayed good for over a year.  But at some point I will repair "long" using this kit (MTB) when I get it.  Maybe when I imminently put the front on the rear as the rear's tread is getting thin has the pattern indicating sidewall damage.

Thing is, this repair kit might be a fix for the small cuts you get in normal (non-tubeless) tyres, for those small holes, not rips mind, but a few mm.  The tyre ruiners thst you'd see a small blister of inner through the hole, so you are a bit scared to use. 

I did once get one in a very new summer semi slick.  I was much poorer then and I didn't want to buy a new one so I used a Park Tyre Boot, worked of course, bit it did degrade, cracked, and put a few punctures into the tube.

Some have suggested super glue, this kit uses a form of super glue, more flexible and as the above review mentions, you use it on the outside of the hole and then patch on the inside. so closing the hole.  Now I know that tubeless reedy tyres tend to have a layer of rubber, to prevent air loss, on the inside of the carcass, so an especially light tyre would be more fabrikey and might not work well, but perhaps ones with a more rubbery inner. 

The patch being thicker than a standard patch resisting stretching too.

Jules59 | 2 years ago

Peoples opinions are often based on their own experiences and the advantage of tubeless systems seems to be less punctures and a softer ride.
All I can say is that I recently did a group LEJOG where nearly everyone had clinchers;  with a combined total of 19K miles we had only two punctures and one leaking tubeless tyre which was solved eventually by installing more sealant.
I ran my 28mm clincher Gatorskins around 80psi without any issues.
I had one puncture last year;  on a cycle path (of course) riding The Way of the Roses, which took about 20mins to sort. 
At the moment I will probably stay with clinchers for my next bike as I have a collection of useful clincher tyres and inner tubes, and dont really see tubeless offering a massive advantage for me.

Diesel Engine | 2 years ago

Agree with Peted's comments from a year ago.  3 years of tubeless for me and I won't go back.  Instantly sealing punctures at 90psi always puts a smile on my face (using stans race never an issue to seal).  Add in rolling resistance benefits and comfort it's a real win. 

There is a learning curve though. I too now also go out with a small bottle of extra sealant after learning the hard way, and also take super glue and anchovies for repairs but rarely used them in 3 years.  Most times nothing needed and the tyre sealed before you can stop.  Occasionlly have to use a mini pump for small top ups after bigger cuts, but I do also take co2 as well, as I learned once after a really big cut, those GP5000s are tight and if they deflate a lot and pop to the centre, you'll have a job to get them back on the rim with a mini pump..  So tubeless does require a bit more thought and there is a learning curve, but once you've got it sussed you'll not go back.

rdaddict | 2 years ago

If tubeless tech is so good how come Pro Peleton teams at this years TDF used conventional Clinchers and Tubes?
I for one am sick and tired of all the hype surrounding tubeless tech, it is being promoted at every opportunity by manufacturers and the bike press as 'the future' of tyre technology.
What happens when for example, you decide to swap out your winter tyres for summer ones or you just decide to try a different make or model?
cue getting covered in Latex type gunk, scrubbing gunk off the inside of the tyre walls (unsucessfully) etc.
Even with the compatible Rims it is far from user friendly, I have tried going Tublesless on my Mountain Bike but the whole experience was a painful, exasperating one from start to finish, I certainly have no intention of going through it all again on my Road Bike!
Please stop going on about it and give conventional Clinchers and Tubes a chance!

WP | 1 year ago

So true. My experiences with tubeless have been horrific. I can do all parts of bike maintenance, except fit tubeless tires. If i was riding tubeless in the desert and needed to do a tire change, i'd ditch the bike and start walking

rdaddict replied to maxdabrit | 2 years ago

Completely agree but try telling the Bike Industry that, they just won't have it.

hawkinspeter | 4 years ago

@Pilot Pete - two things.

How did he get sealant onto his brake disc? My experience is that the latex gets sprayed over your down-tube and front mech (assuming a rear wheel puncture), so it shouldn't go near the discs.

The special tool for removing the valve is known as "fingers".

peted76 | 4 years ago

@PP some good anecdotes in there, I pretty much agree with your views. Clinchers and tubes are very simple and as long as you're carrying enough patches or spare innertubes. 

For me personally, after three or more years of running road tubeless, I can tell you I've made seemingly all the mistakes someone could make in the setup and maintenance of tubeless. I've also experienced one of the oft mentioned but rarely seen sidewall pinch flat and had seeping sidewalls tyre failures which reminded me of some sort of religious artifact..  oh and don't get me started on brands of useless sealants purporting to be magical.

Weight is about the same tubeless or tubed.

Grip I have no idea about as I rarely go out to test grip.

Comfort is something I can attest to, tubeless instantly allows you to drop tyre pressure, so I went from 90-105 psi range to 80-90psi range. 

Anecdotally I can attest to rolling resistance too, as I'm a long-standing rollers user, I have my own historical data going back a bit.. fitted tubeless tyres to the same prior tubed wheelset at the same PSI (110), resulting in an 'instant' not insignificant increase in speed for the same HR/Cadence cost. I jumped from 29mph in my standard 10 min warmup to 34mph simply by fitting tubeless. I'm not saying they make me any faster out on the road, but I'd be very surprised if they hadn't made some small difference.

I can also attest to getting punctures and not noticing them. I'll estimate that I reckon tubeless has solved 8 out of 10 punctures I've had. Sometimes a hole won't seal as quickly as I'd like and sometimes a load of air comes out before it seals, I've ridden home on 25psi before. But if you consider that I've saved the faff of changing eight innertubes by the roadside then that makes me feel pretty good. 

On longer rides, I carry with me, 1x small bottle of sealant (about 40ml of liquid), one valve core remover, one set of worms, one mini pump. I've learned too much to go back to tubes and accept it's failings alongside the benefits.

Miller | 4 years ago

Thing about tubeless fails, you notice them, whereas tubeless successes, it can be that you don't notice them at all. I have 5 years on tubeless now and love the compliant ride and low rolling resistance (which is something else they don't tell you about tubeless) and have abandoned rubber bags completely.

Pro tip for gettting tight tyres off a rim: use three tyre levers. Two isn't enough  because they don't get enough length of bead over the rim. Insert three evenly spaced levers and if you're deft enough with your hands and arms to use them simultaneously, you can lift a long section of bead over the rim so that the bead tension is lost and you can just pull the rest off.

peted76 | 4 years ago
1 like

Lots of 'doing it wrong' examples in PP's notes above, including far too much sealant if it's dripping from anywhere other than a tyre. 

Cantilever brakes are more simple than dual-pivot caliper brakes, disc brakes are just a bit different but they all do the same thing.. pro's and con's.. some people may not like the added faff of the dual-pivot brakes over canti's, so why change to discs if you can brake well enough with canti's.  I get it, it's horses for courses. PP has had his mind made by it appears three mates who are all appear to be doing something a bit wrong, it's a shame though as the people I know who 'run and like tubeless' do see it as an upgrade in the most part. Those I know who try it and don't like it usually have tended to do something wrong or have had some bad luck. 

Kapelmuur | 4 years ago

I’m worried about these tubeless problems now as my probable next bike comes with tubeless as standard.

As I’m over 70 with arthritic hands, fitting a replacement tube in a clincher takes me at least 30 mins rather than the 5 quoted here. It sounds like I’d never get a tubeless tyre off a rim.

But I’m surprised at how many punctures people have, I’ve had 2 in the last 25k miles. I do run Durano  Plus  as puncture protection is my No 1 criteria for tyres.

hobbeldehoy | 4 years ago

Irrespective of the comments from tubeless enthusiasts why are tyres and tubes still overwhelmingly the preferred choice?

Pilot Pete | 4 years ago

My mind hasn’t really been made up by people ‘doing it wrong’, I can see through that and beyond that. I’ve already listed many of the reasons why they just don’t seem worth it to me currently.

My mate got sealant all over his disc rotor because the hole was too big to seal at road pressure, hence the spray of sealant, which was contained somewhat by the mudguard and then splattered down over the chainstays and brake caliper/ disc rotor. He had the recommended amount in the tyre when it punctured.

I just don’t see it as an upgrade for me yet. I say yet because it may be in time - I’m thinking when  there is a standard rim and tyre bead design, which makes them easy enough to fit and dismount and makes sure they pop onto the rim  shoulders as you inflate them, preferably with just a sharp few pumps on a track pump. Also, when they have designed a sealant which actually works at road pressures rather than spraying everywhere until the pressure has dropped to mountain bike pressures or below. And a sealant which doesn’t blow out again if you inflate it back up to road pressure, or one that doesn’t react to CO2 (or a new ‘tubeless specific’ inflator cyclinder gas).

So for me, the supposed benefits just aren’t game changing enough yet when I way up the pros and cons. This may well change in the future, but I think the industry needs to progress the technology further before I will be  convert. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not averse, I’m just more than happy with my current setup and as others have said, I too am amazed at how many punctures people claim to get!



iandon | 4 years ago

Too much faff for not a lot.  Im sticking with inner tubes and continental gatorskin tyres.  One flat in three years and 25,000 km

CyclingInBeastMode | 4 years ago

 run fairly thin treaded fast rolling tyres even on the commute bike, I've never really given much consideration for puncture resistance aside from when gatorskins came out and I got a sharks tooth flint that did for me when I was 16 miles from home and was so cocky/confident about the tyres I didn't take a tube/pump/levers (yeah what a d@@k!), luckily I got a lift back most of the way from a WVM of all people. aside from lesson learnt it's meant I went back to what I knew.

That I get the odd puncture now and again doesn't bother me, I ride with time in hand going places I need to be for a certain time so a puncture isn't going to mess that up, inconvenient, of course. Also that means I don't need to consider tubeless, especially since the tube/normal tyre/normal wheels set up works, and it works easily 99.9999% of the time for most people, it's a simple and a  very tried and tested method that is foolproof.

scgf | 4 years ago

I was a tubeless fan. I've been running tubeless on my of-road bike for a couple of years, using Hunt wheels and Panaracer tyres. I don't know about the times I may have had a puncture which self-healed but I doubt there have been any, tbh. On three occasions  exactly the same thing happend. I'd be cycling off-road, along a gravel trail, and I hear air escaping from my rear wheel. I look back and see sealant spraying out. I keep riding and the noise stops and I assume the puncture has healed. A bit further on, the same thing happens. I examine the tyre and can see the sealant escaping from a tiny hole in the tread of the tyre. I keep cycling and the tyre goes completely flat. I try and pump it up but there are now gaps between the tyre and the rim so a hand pump is pretty useless. On all three occasions this has happened miles from home.

In the end I pop in an inner tube and am back in business. The first couple of time I bought new tyres. The first tyre was only weeks old but was useless with that hole which couldn't be sealed. I tried the tubeless repair kit but they're pretty hopeless. A plug of rubber works great in a car tyre which is made of thick rubber/compound. A bike tyre is less than a couple of mms thick so a plug really isn't a practical solution. Just picture it. Today was the third time it happened and I made a decision to go back to using inner tubes. When tubeless fails, it fails big time and is messy.

I'm going back to what I used before I went tubeless. Inner tubes with slime.

CyclingInBeastMode | 4 years ago

would a flexible resin that can fill holes and bond to the existing rubber be an option to repair tubeless tyres?

shutuplegz | 4 years ago

After two years of running tubeless on my commuter (approx 6000-7000 miles) I am thinking of changing back.

I only changed to tubeless 'because I could' (new rims) and because I like to try new things! I have been impressed with the 'feel' and comfort, but this may have been down to the width and volume of the Schwalbe Pro One tyres I have been using, which in '25mm' form come up more like 27/28mm on my rims. Hutchinson Fusion tubeless tyres I used for a while were much less comfortable (and 25mm wide in 25mm form). I never suffered from punctures with my old 'tubed' setup with Durano tyres that went on for miles and miles so I didn't go tubeless due to punctures with tubes fitted.

My reasons for changing back are:

1. Since going tubeless I have spent more 'workshop time' faffing with tyres than I ever did before - okay some of this is due to having to replace the Pro One tyres more often as they wear out too quickly, but each time I do anything with the tubeless setup it takes much longer - so much more faff time than with a tube - and that's if it seats straight away. With new tyres I find I have to leave them inflated with a tube fitted, overnight, to 'stretch' the new tyre. So fitting a new tyre becomes a weekend job, rather than just something you could do on a weekday evening.  This is impractical for a bike you need every day.

2. Each time I have removed a tubeless tyre, the sealant has all been dried out. The only way you can find out if the latex is still liquid is either by getting a puncture or by removing the tyre. With an inner tube I just fit and forget. On my commuter I don't want a tyre setup that requires a quarterly tyre removal and inspection!

3. Getting some tyres to seat, or re-seat is too finickity and un-reliable. The method I use on new tyres mostly works, but other times has not worked, even for used tyres. I use a tyre booster to inflate (no way just a track pump would work) but during my latest 'faffing' session even this would not work. Had to resort to a tube for now.

4. I don't really like the idea of liquid sloshing around in my tyres (whilst it stays liquid anyway!).

5. I appreciate that many small punctures may have been sealed without my knowledge but to me these are 'dormant failures' potentially storing themselves up for a bigger failure later on (which is what happened recently, due to the sealant drying out).

6. No matter how neat, tidy and careful you are, it is still messy. Each time I remove a tubeless tyre that I am going to re-fit, my 'OCD' tells me I have to clean off the old dried latex. This takes ages and is also messy.

7. Tyre choice is more limited than tubed clinchers. Hence why I have been using Pro One tyres on my commuter! I have struggled to find good 'endurance road' tubeless tyres.

8. It is more expensive.

9. I think on balance it is slightly heavier.

10. Taping the rims is also a faff and finickity. A challenge to get it smooth and bubble free. Usually results in lots of wasted tape! Another job where it is best to insert a tube and leave overnight to smooth out the tape!

I could probably think of more but it feels like the 'cons' outweigh the 'pros' by some margin. I might try some Schwalbe One (tubeless) for a while to see if they wear better, but only if I can get them seated properly after say three attempts. That's my new limit! Previously it was only limited by lack of arm strength after spending all day 'pumping'!

Maybe in the near future, rim and tyre bead standards will be rationalised and everything will be much easier. Even so, many of the above 'problems' would still exist!


Xenophon2 | 4 years ago

To each his own.  I also run a tubeless setup on my commuter/gravel bike, run it with wide (38 mm) and very thin/supple tyres (René Herse Barlow pass) and am happy.  Had 2 punctures with it (that I know of) over the past 6 months and in both cases it sealed well, I lost maybe 15 psi, had to top up after the ride but could make it home.  Rode about 6 k km in that time so not too bad I'd say.

I run at 38 psi with that tyre width, that probably influences effectiveness too.  Not so sure that it would be a great idea on a 25 mm tyre at high pressure.

It requires a bit more maintenance than an inner tube setup but that can be done from the comfort of your home and there's no more changing inner tubes by the roadside in the dark.


Thatsnotmyname | 4 years ago
1 like

Pedant mode:  Can I just point out the paradox of tubeless' claim to offer "no more punctures".

You will still puncture - ie an object will still penetrate the tyre.  What you might not get is a 'deflation'.  Anyway, carry on.

Dingaling | 4 years ago

I've just checked my maintenance records.

Since the last puncture on each bike:

-road bike 5600km

-tourer 5100km

-mtb 3000km

-gravel 1650km

All on clinchers (Conti GP4000 , 4 Seasons, Schwalbe One).

I haven't had to fix a puncture since 07.17. If it goes on much longer I will have forgotten how. I reckon 5minutes to change a tube and pump the tyre up and half that time is unpacking and repacking the little saddle bag.

I may not have fixed a puncture but I have changed tyres often enough and it only takes a couple of minutes. When I read the article here and the problems some have had with tubeless you can bet I won't be changing anytime soon.

(Now I've written all that I hope sod's law doesn't get to work this afternoon.)

Miller | 4 years ago

The trouble with articles like this is they reinforce negative impressions and bolster prejudice.

I have been running tubeless for a few years now and there are positives apart from puncture protection. You can run lower pressure and get more comfort and grip with little to no increase in rolling resistance. Also, tubeless gives a lovely ride feel. Not long ago I tried wheels with 23mm tyres and tubes at 100psi and was shocked at how wooden they felt. That was on high-end kit too.

The price argument is weak now that there's a lot of tubeless choice and discounting.


Nick T | 4 years ago

Popped into my friends LBS on the way home from a ride today and he had two people in there bringing their tubeless wheels and tyres for mounting as they couldn't get them on themselves, so tubeless seems to be good for local businesses. I got a pair of clincher wheels last year (2 way fit for a gravel bike, natch) for the first time in eons and now that I've sacked off both gravel and tubeless for being bollocks I'm using the rims for audax - I now understand why people are leaning on wide tyres and tubeless because 28mm clincher tyres at 80psi are nowhere near as comfortable as 23mm tubs at 120

Xenophon2 | 4 years ago

If you need to bring your bike + tyres to a LBS to mount them tubeless then you should just stick to inner tubes imo.  Or learn some basic maintenance.  Depends on the rim/tyre combination but sometimes it's not  hard at all, I mounted mine without the use of levers though I did need an airshot to seat the bead. 

I'm not convinced about the added value of going tubeless on race bikes but for gravel/CX riding it makes a lot of sense.

Nick T | 4 years ago
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To be fair, the guys in the shop were having a nightmare mounting them as well so I wouldn't say it was user error particularly.

For off-road tyres yeah, it's a game changer. I'd never go tubeless on thin, lightweight road tyres though. I have a bottle of Tufo sealant to squirt in my tubs as an emergency, it's much faster drying and gloopy than regular sealant, and even that's not a permanent fix

ktache | 4 years ago
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The amount of effort and energy required to break the bead/rim seal shocked me.

Eventually a combination of pulling with the hands and then pressing on the tyres with my feet.  And such a simple description cannot convey the straining I had to do.  At points I felt like giving up.

I want to be able to use the removed tyres at some point so using the vice was out.

It's going to be a nightmare if I ever have to do it by the trail/roadside.


Drinfinity | 3 years ago

All of the complaints can be valid, but it comes down to understanding how to use it.

Choice of sealant - some seal big holes better than others. Stans Race will seal pretty much everything.

Use of plugs to seal a big hole - I have done this several times (sidewall gash on MTB generally - never in the tread) and it is quicker than fixing a tubed puncture- no need to remove wheel, take tyre off and refit. Road tyres are higher pressure, but it still works, and are much less likely to get sidewall damage. 

Fitting - yes, some combinations are tight. I got one of those scissor shaped tyre mounting tools, and it makes a sweary half hour job into 5 minutes. Also used it on some tubes road tyres that I had broken levers with in the past.

Sealent mess when fitting - hang the wheel up, carefully squirt in through valve without core. Or for Stans Race squirt in before final mounting. If you can manage not to spill beer you can do this.

Seating tyre on rim - waggle the wheel to make sure bead is lubricated with sealant (always good practice to soap the bead to seat it). Get a big air reservoir to blow the tyre on the rim. Yes this is a new tool, but they are not too dear, and I love new tools. 

On the road I carry some CO2 and anchovy kit, usually don't bother with a tube any more. Make sure kit includes a tiny knife to trim the excess off. (Or hunt around in the verge for some broken glass when you forget the knife)

slappop | 3 years ago

Quite honestly, I'd rather deal with a puncture once every ten years than the six-monthly task of scraping old sealant out of both tyres (not to mention the bloody mess and hassle every time I change a worn-out tyre).

Gstev68 | 3 years ago

I'm not convinced that Continental are working to the same standard as Mavic's UST from my recent experience!

Bought a pair of new Continental GP5000 tubeless tyres to fit on my Mavic Cosmic Pro SL UST rims replacing the original Mavic Yksion pros.

I couldnt even get one side of the tyre on let alone both.  After hours of straining, swearing and very sore hands. I visited my buddy's LBS just to check I wasn't being either a bit dumb or too much of a softy with by gentle office-worker hands.

He couldn't get them on either and reported that he'd had loads of issue with them.  Somteimes he can get them on with levers but doesn;t recommend it on carbon rims.   He also made the valid point that if it was a nightmare in the garage with tools but we managed to get them on; how much more of a nightmare would it be if I had a puncture on the road that wouldn't seal and needed to try and get a tube in to see me home!

Fitted Pirelli in the end, just a tiny stuggle for my feeble computer bashing hands  3



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