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Tires for Touring....beaded vs unbeaded and tubeless vs tube

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Tires for Touring....beaded vs unbeaded and tubeless vs tube

Old 08-02-15, 08:40 AM
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cyber.snow
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Tires for Touring....beaded vs unbeaded and tubeless vs tube

Sorry in advance for all the noob questions, but I am really learning a lot from this forum and you expert tourers out there.

In looking at tires for my new bike, I see two confusing areas....one is beaded vs unbeaded tires. Which is better for touring? It seems unbeaded would be better to carry as a spare.

The other area I see on some of the tire manufacturers sites is their push towards tubeless as the "new technology". It seems that you increase the risk of a flat and increase the maintenance required to fix a flat with tubeless, but then I am not sure.

What is your experience?
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Old 08-02-15, 09:14 AM
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All tires have a bead, I suspect you are confusing folding tires and those with a wire bead that do not fold that well.

Tubeless becoming popular with mountain bikers in areas of lots of thorns, but so far not many are using it for touring.
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Old 08-02-15, 09:21 AM
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Folding tires use Aramid fibre as a bead, to make them fold better.
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Old 08-02-15, 09:31 AM
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Touring I stick with tried and reliable tubes in steel bead wire tires .. IDK what you mean by unbeaded ...

Even the folding tires have a bead , its Kevlar, a synthetic with steel like tensile strength .

only AFAIK bead less tires are Glued to the rim. Tubular or 'Sew-ups' , the pro style racers use those.

Kevlar beaded tires are fine for the 3rd Spare

but last tour in my 50th year I brought another steel bead tire..

pulling the sides closer together makes the tire drape nicely over the rear panniers loaded on top of them .

I went opposite the younger rider's trends , did not prioritize light tires, used thorn resistant tubes .

10 month tour , no puncture flats 3rd tire came in to replace a sidewall rupture, tube bulged out but did not burst
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Old 08-02-15, 09:57 AM
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For my part, I wouldn't shy away from a wire bead on the tire you are using, but, as has been said, a foldable tire makes a much more convenient spare, and that means no wire bead.

I don't know of anyone touring on tubeless, but it does seem that some people have gone many, trouble-free miles on a tubeless set-up. Advantages seem to be weight, ability to run lower pressure, and better flat protection as the sealant closes leaks as they occur. The first two do not seem to be of much advantage to tourers. The flat protection might be. Major downside seems to that if the tire does fail, roadside repair of a tubeless tire might be difficult, and you have to be prepared to switch to a tubed set-up.
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Old 08-02-15, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
All tires have a bead, I suspect you are confusing folding tires and those with a wire bead that do not fold that well.
...
I misspoke when I said this, racers on tubular tires do not use a beaded tire - but NOBODY in their right mind would tour on a tubular tire. Sorry, I forgot about tubular tires when I made my comment.
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Old 08-02-15, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I misspoke when I said this, racers on tubular tires do not use a beaded tire - but NOBODY in their right mind would tour on a tubular tire. Sorry, I forgot about tubular tires when I made my comment.
I've done some moderate touring in the past on old sewups... I'd like to try some new ones sometime. But, I suppose I spend too much time in the LEFT BRAIN

Anyway, there are 4 basic types of tires.
  • Wire Bead
  • Folding (kevlar bead)
  • Tubular / Sewups
  • Tubeless (sealed to rim)

The newer tubular tires are supposed to be better, especially when running with a leak stop. But, perhaps it is best to leave them to the racing.

As far as the folding vs wire... I'm a little late with the change, but I really don't see a big difference between the two. I have encountered old wire bead tires with rusted wire... inevitably headed to a failure. The folding tires are easier to pack.

I certainly would consider the tubeless, and also carry everything needed to swap over to a tube + boot in an emergency (or simply a spare tire).
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Old 08-02-15, 10:59 AM
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Unless you have 26" wheels and want to ride fat, MTB tires, I am not sure how many (if any) mid sized (e.g., 32c) tubeless tires there are to choose from. I have tubeless on my road bike. Great feel, but I would question the durability under load. Also, the new Schwalbe One aside, which the guy who built my road frame and tubular wheels is skeptical about, they are heavier. Finally, not all punctures will self-seal, so you have to carry at least one tube with you anyway. There is no "extra maintenance" required to install a tube in a tubeless tire if you have to. I wouldn't bother with them for touring.

BTW, I would like to recommend this book to you:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Paradox-Ch.../dp/149151423X
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Old 08-02-15, 11:18 AM
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Running tubeless is actually a great idea for touring. You get nearly flat-proof protection without the added weight of tire liners, thick tubes, or extra beefy tires. If you do get a flat, you can install a tube just like normal. The only drawbacks would be that on extended tours (over 6 months), you'd probably have to stop by a bike shop to add more sealant, as it dries out over time, and that you have to top off your tires more often because the tire casing loses air faster than a butyl tube.

Since the industry seems to be pushing more mountain bike tech (disc brakes, 1x setups, tubeless, wide tires), I bet we'll see a lot more tourists running tubeless in the near future.
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Old 08-02-15, 06:35 PM
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OK, told you I was a noob. I guess I meant steel beaded or folding tires....will go with folding and be able to carry an extra. While tubeless sounds cooler and quicker, think I will stay with tubes...a little to risk aversive to try tubeless right now. Did someone mention not using presta valves in the tubes? I am not sure what the advantages are in presta vs non presta, other than I can always find an airpump that will pump up schrader valves, but do they leak air quicker? Why did the biking industry go to presta in the first place? Always wondered about that.
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Old 08-02-15, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
OK, told you I was a noob. I guess I meant steel beaded or folding tires....will go with folding and be able to carry an extra. While tubeless sounds cooler and quicker, think I will stay with tubes...a little to risk aversive to try tubeless right now. Did someone mention not using presta valves in the tubes? I am not sure what the advantages are in presta vs non presta, other than I can always find an airpump that will pump up schrader valves, but do they leak air quicker? Why did the biking industry go to presta in the first place? Always wondered about that.
Unless you want to take a drill to your rim, which doesn't sound like a likely move for someone who's risk-averse, you'll be using presta. Rims are drilled to either accept one or the other. I'm not sure what the pros and cons are, but if you're buying a complete bike, you likely won't have a choice.
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Old 08-02-15, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
Rims are drilled to either accept one or the other.
Not really, Mavic 719 rims for example are drilled large enough to accept a schrader valve but come with a plastic insert that can be added/removed at will making the rims acceptable for a Presta valve as well.

Also, don't forget that a Kevlar beaded tire doesn't just make the tire more easily foldable which has been mentioned above but it creates a lighter tire and in some cases, the kevlar bead is easier to insert and remove from a rim. Kevlar beaded tires are all I ever use any more.
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Old 08-02-15, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by niknak View Post
Running tubeless is actually a great idea for touring. You get nearly flat-proof protection without the added weight of tire liners, thick tubes, or extra beefy tires. If you do get a flat, you can install a tube just like normal. The only drawbacks would be that on extended tours (over 6 months), you'd probably have to stop by a bike shop to add more sealant, as it dries out over time, and that you have to top off your tires more often because the tire casing loses air faster than a butyl tube.

Since the industry seems to be pushing more mountain bike tech (disc brakes, 1x setups, tubeless, wide tires), I bet we'll see a lot more tourists running tubeless in the near future.
I had checked out some posts on tubeless touring & most were somewhat negative on the idea. Perhaps most of the opposition was about limited choice & expense. But OTOH if going tubeless saves considerable weight that would be a plus. Old rule of thumb that 1 oz off the wheels = 2 oz off the rest.

As for carrying spare tires, I doubt the utility for shorter tours. My whole life I've never had an incident that wrecked a tire. Frames, wheels, yes...but for tires just simple flats. I'm sure that occasionally one might run over a jagged piece of metal or sharp rock that could slice a tire; & if one is using lightweight narrow tires then a spare will be fairly light anyway. Some savvy tourists know all the hacks like how to make an emergency tire boot. Park even sells a kit which looks far more compact & light than toting a spare tire.
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Old 08-02-15, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
OK, told you I was a noob. I guess I meant steel beaded or folding tires....will go with folding and be able to carry an extra. While tubeless sounds cooler and quicker, think I will stay with tubes...a little to risk aversive to try tubeless right now. Did someone mention not using presta valves in the tubes? I am not sure what the advantages are in presta vs non presta, other than I can always find an airpump that will pump up schrader valves, but do they leak air quicker? Why did the biking industry go to presta in the first place? Always wondered about that.
Carrying an extra tire is a waste of space and weight, unless your going to an extreme outback area. Touring grade tires very rarely fail so catastrophically that they can't be booted and ridden.

Presta is fine, you can carry a schrader adapter if you feel the need to pump up at a service station.
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Old 08-02-15, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
Presta is fine, you can carry a schrader adapter if you feel the need to pump up at a service station.
I always carry one of those screwed onto one of my valves. I did find a public repair stand up in Portland that should have had a Presta/Schrader pump, but only the Schrader half seemed to be working for some reason. It has been a long time since I've filled up at a gas station (when they used to have free air).
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Old 08-02-15, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
Not really, Mavic 719 rims for example are drilled large enough to accept a schrader valve but come with a plastic insert that can be added/removed at will making the rims acceptable for a Presta valve as well.

I did not realize that, which goes to show how observant I am since I have that rim. The OP will likely have a choice as well as I think the Alex Adventure rims that come on the disc Trucker are drilled for Schrader. So presumably there an adapter.

For what it's worth, while I prefer Presta, I have never felt the need to change my rims from how they came. Rims drilled for Presta valves get Presta, and rims drilled for Schrader valves get Schrader. Carry a spare and it won't matter. There's also a Presta to Schrader adapter you can put on your valve stem if you want to pump up your tire from a gas station air compressor. I have one on my tire at all times, but I also keep a Presta pump handy, so the adapter has never been necessary.
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Old 08-02-15, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
...I am not sure what the advantages are in presta vs non presta, other than I can always find an airpump that will pump up schrader valves, ...
Get a Shrader to Presta adapter at the bike shop, about $1 to $2. Some are longer than others, thread it on at the store to make sure it is the right length, I have bought some that were too long to function correctly. I leave one of the adapters on the Presta valve and use a Shrader valve cover on that adapter as my Presta valve cover.

I have no clue why Presta was invented in the first place. I think I once read that because it uses a threaded fitting to hold the valve closed instead of a spring, centrifugal force at high speed (think record attempts at Bonneville salt flats) can't open the valves but can on Shrader valves. But I question if that is really true. But you can always tell others that you need Presta because you go so fast.

I have drilled out my touring rims to take Shrader tubes in the event that I end up in rural USA and find only Shrader valves available, but I also had to buy the adapters to fill in the larger holes in my rims since I try to only use Presta. I think that some rim manufacturers do not like to put large diameter holes in narrow rims, that might be why all narrower racing rims are always Presta.

I prefer Presta, but there are others out there that prefer Shrader.

I also have no clue what the correct spelling is of Shrader, so maybe that is why I prefer Presta.
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Old 08-02-15, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
I did not realize that, which goes to show how observant I am since I have that rim. ...
My A719 rims are vintage 2003 or 2004, they did not come with that adapter either, they were drilled for Presta.
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Old 08-02-15, 10:14 PM
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Yea, the latest Mavic 719, 319, and 119 rims all have:
Valve hole diameter: 8.5 mm, supplied with valve adapter
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Old 08-02-15, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
My A719 rims are vintage 2003 or 2004, they did not come with that adapter either, they were drilled for Presta.
The adapters I've seen are for schrader drilled rims.
An insert takes up the slack around the valve to allow a firm fit for a presto valve.
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Rim-Saver...-/371206103549
or
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Panaracer...-/400545521961

Secondary to that you can get a shrader adaptor to fit a presta valve so you can utilise a service station air pump which suits a schrader valve as per car/truck tubes.

Last edited by rifraf; 08-02-15 at 10:38 PM.
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Old 08-02-15, 10:51 PM
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I am not sure about the rims that come on the Surly DT but was wondering about Presta vs Schrader. I have bent the little screw piece on my Presta tubes in the past by not being careful when removing the pump attachment. I did also notice that several of the bikes in my LBS had schrader valves on the wheels. But I have had Presta for the past decade or so and will prolly just stick with them. Keep Schrader/Presta Adaptors in my seat bag, just in case but my pump also has the ability to change valve types. Interesting. Thanks for the good info.
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Old 08-03-15, 12:03 AM
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I don't know if there is any big advantage of presta over schrader. Or visa versa.

I do have to let the air out of my rear wheel to install/remove, and the presta is handy, although it only takes seconds more to release the air from a shrader valve.

I have considered a bike build for a friend's 88 yr old mother. I don't relish the idea of teaching her about presta valves, so she'll get the schrader too.
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Old 08-03-15, 07:38 AM
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Why did the biking industry go to presta in the first place?
European bike traditions, smaller hole - in narrow rims , no return spring pressure closing the valve
with every hand pump stroke, Just the air pressure itself.

then there's woods/dunlop valves .. though they rarely leave the continent, they are common on NL Oma/Pa bikes
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Old 08-03-15, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by niknak View Post
Running tubeless is actually a great idea for touring. You get nearly flat-proof protection without the added weight of tire liners, thick tubes, or extra beefy tires. If you do get a flat, you can install a tube just like normal. The only drawbacks would be that on extended tours (over 6 months), you'd probably have to stop by a bike shop to add more sealant, as it dries out over time, and that you have to top off your tires more often because the tire casing loses air faster than a butyl tube.

Since the industry seems to be pushing more mountain bike tech (disc brakes, 1x setups, tubeless, wide tires), I bet we'll see a lot more tourists running tubeless in the near future.
For the most part, tubeless tires tend to be thicker and heavier. I run them on all my mt bikes. The main advantage to tubeless are the ability to run lower pressure and no flats from thorns. There is lack of commuter sized tubeless tires with smooth tread, like almost nothing. And the ability to run say over 40 psi. Right now there is a 28 mm road tubeless set up, that's about it. I would love to see some in the 700 x 35-50 mm or 26 x 1.5 to 2.00 inch size tubeless tires. And the ability to run 45-65 psi. Most tubeless rims aren't rated that high. Some have had good luck with some of the marathon( almotion?) tires. Seem like the commuter/ touring segment would greatly benefit form some tubeless options.
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Old 08-03-15, 10:27 AM
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Several above have commented that touring could benefit from tubeless. But, quite frankly I have only had one tour related flat after several tours, and that one flat was discovered after my bike got home after hanging on the rack for a few days on the back of a jeep for a long drive.

My past tours were not in thorn country. But I will be doing a tour in thorn country next month for 8 to 10 days while doing a mountain bike trail with camping gear. I will be using slime in tubes for that and one of my wheels will have a thorn resistant tube. Still contemplating using tire liners for that trip.

But other trips I take in the future that are not in thorn country, I expect do to what I have in the past, just use inner tubes without slime, without liners, but with good quality tires. So far I do not see the benefit of tubeless.

I seem to have more trouble with flats around home than touring because I think I average about one flat a year, but I ride several thousand miles a year around home. And I use five different bikes around home.
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