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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!

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 – 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.

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. 

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. 

mavicksyriumeliteustwheelset

- 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 road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. 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, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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126 comments

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dave_t | 4 years ago
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I guess I must just be lucky, I've just tried going 'ghetto tubeless' because I had the bit's required just laying around. Mounted up some 40mm Schwalbe G-One clinchers onto Mavic Aksium rims without too much trouble, used a home made air compressor using a 2 litre drinks bottle to get the blast of air to seat the tyres. Had a few small leaks but a bit of shaking the wheels aruond solved those. I do lose about 4-5 psi over 24 hours but seeing as most of my rides are only 3-4 hours long not a problem.

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fukawitribe replied to dave_t | 4 years ago
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dave_t wrote:

I guess I must just be lucky, I've just tried going 'ghetto tubeless' because I had the bit's required just laying around. Mounted up some 40mm Schwalbe G-One clinchers onto Mavic Aksium rims without too much trouble, used a home made air compressor using a 2 litre drinks bottle to get the blast of air to seat the tyres. Had a few small leaks but a bit of shaking the wheels aruond solved those. I do lose about 4-5 psi over 24 hours but seeing as most of my rides are only 3-4 hours long not a problem.

With the low pressures you're probably using with those 40mm tyres, it's less of an issue - plenty of people i've heard of running ghetto tubeless sucessfully, one way or another for 'cross and off-road where you're probably running 20-40psi. Roll-off is not unheard of, but not really heard of a tyre blowing off otherwise. Trying to ghetto, e.g. a 25mm tyre on a narrower rim at 70-90psi is another matter - don't think anyone would recommend that.

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dave_t replied to fukawitribe | 4 years ago
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fukawitribe wrote:
dave_t wrote:

I guess I must just be lucky, I've just tried going 'ghetto tubeless' because I had the bit's required just laying around. Mounted up some 40mm Schwalbe G-One clinchers onto Mavic Aksium rims without too much trouble, used a home made air compressor using a 2 litre drinks bottle to get the blast of air to seat the tyres. Had a few small leaks but a bit of shaking the wheels aruond solved those. I do lose about 4-5 psi over 24 hours but seeing as most of my rides are only 3-4 hours long not a problem.

With the low pressures you're probably using with those 40mm tyres, it's less of an issue - plenty of people i've heard of running ghetto tubeless sucessfully, one way or another for 'cross and off-road where you're probably running 20-40psi. Roll-off is not unheard of, but not really heard of a tyre blowing off otherwise. Trying to ghetto, e.g. a 25mm tyre on a narrower rim at 70-90psi is another matter - don't think anyone would recommend that.

Yeah you're right, I'm using 40-45 psi. Seeing as I've got all the parts to try ghetto on a 25mm might give it a go just for the hell of it. Think I'll do it outside though and stand well back when I hit the tyre with the blast air!

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Nick T | 4 years 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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DaveL75 | 4 years 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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achoey | 4 years 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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Yorkiescot | 4 years ago
1 like

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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Jimthebikeguy.com | 4 years ago
1 like

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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Nick T | 4 years ago
2 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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Team EPO | 4 years ago
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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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MarkiMark | 4 years ago
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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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Sub4 replied to MarkiMark | 4 years ago
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MarkiMark wrote:

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.

 

Pro 1's are a nightmare to mount! Having said that, if they've been off before, it is a little easier to re-mount. The bead does seem a little more forgiving.

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antigee | 4 years 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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taberesc | 4 years 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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duk31nlondon | 4 years ago
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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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Nick T | 4 years 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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Russell Orgazoid replied to Nick T | 4 years 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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SantaCruzRing replied to Russell Orgazoid | 4 years ago
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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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BehindTheBikesheds replied to SantaCruzRing | 4 years 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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AllegedlyAnthony | 4 years ago
1 like

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 replied to AllegedlyAnthony | 4 years 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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hawkinspeter | 4 years 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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Miller | 4 years 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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Markopic | 4 years 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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jerome | 4 years 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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balint.hamvas replied to jerome | 4 years ago
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jerome wrote:

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.

Exactly. I thought it was a good idea to go tubeless on the off-road wheels. The problem is, as you said, they need to be used constantly or they start to deflate as the sealant can evaporate over time in a warm room. I had my wheels sorted back in December, but then baby arrived, so haven't touched the bike until early February. By that point, the off-road wheels were totally flat and there was not much sealant in it. Now, I try to go off-road once a week at least, to keep the stuff slushing around, but that is far from ideal.

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Walo | 4 years ago
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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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BehindTheBikesheds replied to Walo | 4 years ago
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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 replied to Walo | 4 years ago
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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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Boss Hogg replied to Nick T | 4 years ago
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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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