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Touring on tubeless tires

Old 02-14-17, 03:48 PM
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superpletch
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Touring on tubeless tires

recently purchased 2017 specialized sequoia and converted 42c sawtooth tires to tubeless. planning a tour from san francisco to la in may and am interested in thoughts on touring on tubeless tires. i like the flat protection, rode 25 miles with large staple through tire without loosing any psi, and reduction in weight. i may be crazy but i feel the bike rolls better on tubeless tires and i can run a bit lower pressure which offers more comfort. the other question is what recommendation on tubeless psi with 250-275lbs on bike (including rider)
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Old 02-14-17, 03:52 PM
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I ride tubeless road. Have for several years. Love the feel. However, not all punctures will self-seal at a sufficient pressure. Carry at least one spare tube. With issues of durability, I don't have any desire to tour on tubeless.
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Old 02-14-17, 04:14 PM
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I have bikepacked tubleless, have a tubeless road bike, cx bike, and two mountain bikes.

I'm a fan, myself, but things can be finicky at times. When I bikepacked, I still took two tubes with me, a small 2oz bottle of sealant, and patches, just so I was covered for emergencies. I would have probably only carried one tube and no sealant if I wasn't tubeless, but I'm always paranoid that the worst case scenario will play out and I'll be stranded somewhere with two flats and only one tube. Still, a few extra ounces of weight trumps having to change a tube in my book. Tubeless has failed on me a couple of times, but I can't even count the number of times it's saved me from having to change a tube.
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Old 02-14-17, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
I ride tubeless road. Have for several years. Love the feel. However, not all punctures will self-seal at a sufficient pressure. Carry at least one spare tube. With issues of durability, I don't have any desire to tour on tubeless.
What is not durable?
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Old 02-14-17, 07:00 PM
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I've ridden 1.5k miles on sequoia with tubeless tires and they have been more than durable. quite the contrary they have been more than durable by avoiding several flat tires. I rode 25 miles with an annoying ticking sound that i couldnt identify and when i got home found a large staple through tire with no loss of psi. thats durable!
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Old 02-14-17, 07:26 PM
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If I have my next bike tubeless, and I DO get a flat - will I get that sealant all over my hands if I try to put a tube in it to get it home? I'm not afraid of getting my hands dirty - I'd just like to know what to expect. Should you pack a pair of nitrile gloves along with a spare tube?
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Old 02-14-17, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by superpletch
I've ridden 1.5k miles on sequoia with tubeless tires and they have been more than durable. quite the contrary they have been more than durable by avoiding several flat tires. I rode 25 miles with an annoying ticking sound that i couldnt identify and when i got home found a large staple through tire with no loss of psi. thats durable!
IMO, that's not evidence of durability in the sense of holding up over time. (Back in the 90s I had the same staple experience as you with a clincher, right down the "What the hell is that clinking noise, so it's not a litmus test.) 1,500 miles is not a lot, especially if they were not loaded miles (you didn't specify). But use 'em for loaded touring if you'd like. I am not here to argue with you. Let us know how it works out.
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Old 02-14-17, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by NoControl
If I have my next bike tubeless, and I DO get a flat - will I get that sealant all over my hands if I try to put a tube in it to get it home?
Maybe, but it's water soluble so it's not a big deal. I have put a tube in a couple of times and didn't mind what mess there was.
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Old 02-14-17, 08:20 PM
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This is why I initially asked for thoughts on touring with tubeless. So your thoughts are that tubeless tires will not last as long or wear as well as clincher tire? That may be the case, but I would suggest that treadlife or wear would be quite dependent on design/compound of tire not on whether it has a tube inside it.
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Old 02-14-17, 08:40 PM
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I'd roll with what you have. The Sawtooth tires are robust. Tubeless is fine and riding to LA isn't a long tour, so consider it an experiment for future tours. I bet a lot of us would also appreciate a report once you finish the tour.
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Old 02-14-17, 10:38 PM
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I have a lot of curiosity about tubeless myself. Can we get a complete rundown of the pros and cons, and also get a description of worst-case scenarios, what causes them, and their likelihood?

Here's what I've gathered so far:

Pros
Slight weight reduction
Virtually no flats
Can run lower pressure
Better "feel"

Cons
More expensive
Less choices/availability
Initial setup can be annoying
More disastrous in the event of total failure

Seems like mountain bikers like tubeless more than anyone, but I've yet to understand why. The only reason that makes sense is they like low pressure more than anyone else.

Also, if the tires are glued to the rims, how do you take them off when your tires wear down?
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Old 02-14-17, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by BlarneyHammer
More disastrous in the event of total failure
Also, if the tires are glued to the rims, how do you take them off when your tires wear down?
I think you might be confusing different tire systems.

Tubeless tires are not glued to the rim. They're literally just clinchers without an inner tube; the air pressure holding the tire bead against the rim wall keeps that interface sealed. In the event that the system stops being able to hold a tubeless seal for some reason or another, you can install an inner tube and run it like a normal clincher.

The tires that get glued to the rim are tubulars. Tubular tires do not have a bead; the tire's casing is sewed up around an inner tube.
People typically use a tacky glue to attach road tubulars to their rims, which allows them to be removed by basically just ripping them off. You then pop your spare onto the rim, inflate, and go... being careful to not corner very hard, since the spare isn't properly glued. To clean a rim of old glue when doing a fresh glue job, heat and solvents can be used.

Seems like mountain bikers like tubeless more than anyone, but I've yet to understand why. The only reason that makes sense is they like low pressure more than anyone else.
That is the reason. Tubeless tires can be used at low pressure without pinch flats.

Low pressure offers more consistent grip, and because it allows the tire to work better as suspension, it can also be faster on rough surfaces.
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Old 02-15-17, 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Maybe, but it's water soluble so it's not a big deal. I have put a tube in a couple of times and didn't mind what mess there was.
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Old 02-15-17, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by BlarneyHammer
I have a lot of curiosity about tubeless myself. Can we get a complete rundown of the pros and cons, and also get a description of worst-case scenarios, what causes them, and their likelihood?

Here's what I've gathered so far:

Pros
Slight weight reduction
Virtually no flats
Can run lower pressure
Better "feel"

Cons
More expensive
Less choices/availability
Initial setup can be annoying
More disastrous in the event of total failure

Seems like mountain bikers like tubeless more than anyone, but I've yet to understand why. The only reason that makes sense is they like low pressure more than anyone else.

Also, if the tires are glued to the rims, how do you take them off when your tires wear down?
I have been running tubeless on my mountain bike for about a year now. I trail ride pretty much daily and went from having to patch a tube at least weekly to not having a single flat in a year. We don't have goat heads but do have a lot of other thorns here and those are the typical source of flats, for them my tubeless setup has been 100% effective.

I have found that with my Stan's No Tubes wheels and tires that I was able to seat the tires easily with only a frame pump, but that may not be typical based on comments I have heard from others.

The sealant is not the messy nasty stuff that I experienced when I tried slime tubes. It is water soluble and easily rinses off of hands, clothing, and tools.

I like the feel of a light tire with supple sidewalls and going tubeless helps with that.

I pack really light so I am more likely to run skinny road bike tires for my on road touring, but if I were going to run fat tires on tour, I'd definitely consider tubeless. I'd probably carry a tube if on a long tour especially where services might be few and far between, but not expect to use it.

I have never tried road tubeless so I will not comment on that setup.
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Old 02-15-17, 06:32 AM
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superpletch, If you have a rim-tire combination that's maintaining pressure, why not? It's still good to have a tube in the repair kit. I imagine that tire pressure is going to be at whatever the tire's maximum listed pressure is.

Balancing the load between front and rear will be important at your weight and I'd load the front heavier than the rear, as that is the stronger wheel. Also due to the all-up weight, the tires will wear faster than with a lighter load whether they're tubeless or not.

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Old 02-15-17, 09:45 AM
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The guys on bikepacking.com seem to like it.

Traveling Tubeless for Bikepacking and Touring - BIKEPACKING.com
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Old 02-15-17, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by superpletch
recently purchased 2017 specialized sequoia and converted 42c sawtooth tires to tubeless. planning a tour from san francisco to la in may and am interested in thoughts on touring on tubeless tires. i like the flat protection, rode 25 miles with large staple through tire without loosing any psi, and reduction in weight. i may be crazy but i feel the bike rolls better on tubeless tires and i can run a bit lower pressure which offers more comfort. the other question is what recommendation on tubeless psi with 250-275lbs on bike (including rider)
Just start with the pressure you are using. 50 psi? As said, carry a tube or two, plus sealant. Also they make tubeless tire repair kts. For my bike packing tours, I carry a needle and some dental floss for fixing tire tears.
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Old 02-15-17, 01:24 PM
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I'm going to do my south-north ride tubeless. Right now I have a Hutchinson Intensive on the rear with over 2600 miles on it and it's still going strong. There are 2 spots that I can tell have been sealed, but I didn't notice either one while riding. I ride in an area with a lot of thorns. No flats at all on this tire. It's not a cheap tire, but there are always deals if you're patient.

I don't have any real worries about going tubeless on the ride. I'm going to take 2 spare tubes and a patch kit with me (which I would have done on a standard setup anyway) in case **** hits the fan. That happened to me once on my old Fusion 5s (garbage tires, BTW) and it really wasn't as messy as I was expecting it to be.

I ride tubeless mainly for the protection against thorns. The ability to run lower tire pressure is a nice side benefit. I don't ride anything super low around here because the roads are pretty good, but you never know what you're going to run into on a tour. If the roads are **** or you run into a lot of rain it's nice to have the option to go low on the tire pressure.
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Old 02-15-17, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by superpletch
I've ridden 1.5k miles on sequoia with tubeless tires and they have been more than durable. quite the contrary they have been more than durable by avoiding several flat tires. I rode 25 miles with an annoying ticking sound that i couldnt identify and when i got home found a large staple through tire with no loss of psi. thats durable!

wow thats a lot, 25miles
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Old 02-15-17, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Leebo
I carry a needle and some dental floss for fixing tire tears.
Suturing a touring bicycle tire? Have you actually done this???
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Old 02-17-17, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by BigAura
Suturing a touring bicycle tire? Have you actually done this???
More for mt biking with a big gash. Middle of nowhere. Put a tube in to finish up the next 25 miles of off road riding.
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Old 09-20-23, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by BigAura
Suturing a touring bicycle tire? Have you actually done this???
I doubt it very much . Sounds like a war story . 😉
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Old 09-21-23, 07:25 AM
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I have sutured a tire on tour. Threw it out as soon as possible though.

On the tubeless topic, I would love to tour tubeless, but flying with tubeless is a mess. Since I almost never tour without flying, tubeless is a dead end sadly.
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Old 09-21-23, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Yan
On the tubeless topic, I would love to tour tubeless, but flying with tubeless is a mess. Since I almost never tour without flying, tubeless is a dead end sadly.
I kind of hate replying to zombie threads, but I found this interesting. My experience with tubeless is limited, but I have trouble imagining this being a huge issue. With the rim/tire combos I have used beads stay seated unless you make fairly considerable effort to unseat it. The valves can be closed so I wouldn't expect any mess.

Personally, I'd just deflate the tires close the valves and take my chances.

I guess that it is possible that a TSA agent could intentionally pop a bead off the rim, but IME adents are far more likely to be incompetent than malicious

That said you could remove the sealant and even rinse it out if you were worried. I doubt that is necessary though. I'd imagine if you really wanted to you could remove the sealant with a syringe inserted through the valve stem. I've read of someone changing sealant that way. So unseating the bead wouldn't even be necessary to remove most of the sealant. Also the stuff is water based so a little minor spillage isn't a huge deal any way.

Given that tubeless is very common these days I'd imagine lots of people fly with tubeless and I have not heard horror stories. Have folks here generally had success? Horror stories?
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Old 09-21-23, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
I kind of hate replying to zombie threads, but I found this interesting. My experience with tubeless is limited, but I have trouble imagining this being a huge issue. With the rim/tire combos I have used beads stay seated unless you make fairly considerable effort to unseat it. The valves can be closed so I wouldn't expect any mess.

Personally, I'd just deflate the tires close the valves and take my chances.

I guess that it is possible that a TSA agent could intentionally pop a bead off the rim, but IME adents are far more likely to be incompetent than malicious

That said you could remove the sealant and even rinse it out if you were worried. I doubt that is necessary though. I'd imagine if you really wanted to you could remove the sealant with a syringe inserted through the valve stem. I've read of someone changing sealant that way. So unseating the bead wouldn't even be necessary to remove most of the sealant. Also the stuff is water based so a little minor spillage isn't a huge deal any way.

Given that tubeless is very common these days I'd imagine lots of people fly with tubeless and I have not heard horror stories. Have folks here generally had success? Horror stories?
I have been touring with tubeless tires for a few years now and I have found them to be excellent. They allow me to use a high-performance, supple tire while providing the flat resistance of a GaterSkin or Marathon garden hose. I could not imagine going back to tubed tires for touring. I only had one issue with a puncture which did not seal even after installing two plugs. A sizable cut became a slow leak and for the last three days of my tour, I just topped up the tire each morning. As for flying, I have flown to South East Asia, Europe and across the US on numerous occasions without any issues. I leave about 10 psi in the tire just to ensure it stays seated and never had an issue with airport staff, but I also find that the latest generation of wheels really stays seated after mounting, even with no pressure.
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