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50+ Thoughts on going tubeless.

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50+ Thoughts on going tubeless.

Old 05-19-21, 11:51 AM
  #1  
leob1
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50+ Thoughts on going tubeless.

I been thinking about 'up grading' the wheels on my road bike to a tubeless set up. But the curmudgeon in my says that tube work fine so why go through the time and expense setting up to tubeless. Wheels and tires are tubeless ready.
So, what is the benefit of going tubeless; better ride? less flats? less maintenance? Is it worth it?
Your thoughts and opinions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-19-21, 12:09 PM
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PROS: peace of mind (I've been tubeless since last year on three bikes and no flats yet)

CONS: mounting the tires onto the rims is a serious PITA. I had to have my LBS do it for me. I did get a special tire pump to quickly force air into the tires but I haven't tried it yet. But once you get the tire on the rim, it's smooth sailing from then on with the periodic sealant addition.
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Old 05-19-21, 12:33 PM
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To me, renewing the sealer every six months as recommended, and then de-mounting the tires once a year to remove all the old dried out sealant (again, recommended) just wasn't worth it. My riding buddy recently had a flat tire on a ride, and we changed the tube and had him back on his way in about 5 minutes.
I guess if you ride on surfaces that could cause a lot of flat tires, fine.
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Old 05-19-21, 12:33 PM
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You'll wish you didn't at some point, but probably just ever so briefly. Then once you get past those things or used to doing them, then you'll probably be asking why you didn't do it sooner.

I'm not to that point yet. I still plan to remain on tubes for the near future. I'm just having trouble myself imagining they are that much better since I don't flat but rarely. So far not quite 4000 miles since the last flat. If I don't get out there and ride, it'll still be 4000 miles next time I get a chance to brag.
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Old 05-19-21, 12:35 PM
  #5  
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I've done a number of ghetto conversions for my son's and my CX bikes. It's a great way to deal with goat heads and it allows you to run lower pressures. With a good tubeless ready tire and a good tape job, it works fine. I wouldn't try ghetto tubeless for the road, though. But if you have tubeless ready rims and tires, go for it.
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Old 05-19-21, 12:40 PM
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The added expense, the difficulty mounting, the difficulty seating the bead, the mess of sealant, the clown circus of trying to repair a puncture roadside.

Sounds great!
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Old 05-19-21, 12:45 PM
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Looks like more hassle and mess than it's worth to me. I've no issue with tubes. It sounds like you don't either.
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Old 05-19-21, 01:09 PM
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My first attempt at Tubeless wheels was with Continental GP5000's. I about broke my hands trying to get them on. I took it to the bike shop and it took them 4 hours and the invention of new swear words. There was no way I could fix a flat with them on the side of the road so I went back to tubes.

My second attempt at tubless was with Micheline Power Road 28's. I warmed them up with a hairdryer, and they went on with just a little strain. They beeded on the first attempt and I've got 1200 miles on them without a problem. They ride smooth and feel fast, I will definitely buy these tires next time I need tires.
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Old 05-19-21, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by cj3209 View Post
PROS: peace of mind (I've been tubeless since last year on three bikes and no flats yet)

CONS: mounting the tires onto the rims is a serious PITA. I had to have my LBS do it for me. I did get a special tire pump to quickly force air into the tires but I haven't tried it yet. But once you get the tire on the rim, it's smooth sailing from then on with the periodic sealant addition.
Once the bike companies standardize tubeless sizing for different wheels and tires, mounting and maintaining should improve.

I also forgot to add that tubeless allows for lower tire pressures which increases comfort and if you want to dabble into gravel territory, tubeless is pretty much a must. I live and ride in Los Angeles and although I predominantly ride on the roads, there's so much debris, rocks, glass shards, etc. on the road that it's almost like riding gravel - lol...
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Old 05-19-21, 03:11 PM
  #10  
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I've had the same "difficulty mounting" my tubes as my tubeless with the modern rims. I've had trouble getting the tubes tires to pop on all around. I did get a few tools which help. This big screwdriver made for it, then another tool to help guide the tire on rim. (same problem tubes or not). I also got a $60 air canister(used w/ my pump), unused yet, that I'll be using next time i need popping help. As far as repairing tubeless on road, i carry a tube, but i haven't needed it. I'm not convinced about tubeless, but i'm going with the flow. I may even try tubeless on my road bike, probably after the 3rd or so flat this summer.
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Old 05-19-21, 04:06 PM
  #11  
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What does age have to do with tubeless?

FWIW, the general consensus is regardless of age, tubeless is great for getting you home or letting you finish a ride with a minor puncture. It may or may not be faster than using a good clincher with a latex tube. Tire/wheel pairings are one of the primary determinants of how well tubeless works for you.

From personal experience - tubeless isn't a magic bullet, but its pretty good. I race on latex tubes and cotton clinchers. I train on tubeless.
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Old 05-19-21, 04:12 PM
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I have been tubeless for about six months now. So far it looks like one flat self-sealed. In terms of the work, most tires I found super easy to mount, but a few were near impossible to seal. So, if you are not a mechanical fiddler type like I am you might find it overly annoying/frustrating in some cases. For me, I enjoy a mechanical challenge and tubeless tires can be one! So it has been a lot of fun. In terms of riding there does seem to be a bit of benefit in terms of slightly less resistance and slightly lower pressures working. For my road kit I now just carry Stans Darts, a patch, and a pump. No spare tube unless I am riding in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 05-19-21, 04:48 PM
  #13  
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I converted about 8 months ago and will never go back to tubes. I used to have flats all the time as the roads around me are full of staples, glass & goat heads.

Many people say its difficult to mount tires, I don't agree with that. My mounting process was simple and I used a regular pump.

Maintenance is that simple, much simpler compared to tubes. Deflate tire, add sealant and reinflate. Once a year remove tire completely and was the old sealant out.

If you ride on roads on which you get flats, I would say go tubeless. If you only get an occasional flat here and there stay with tubes.
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Old 05-19-21, 04:50 PM
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I’ve been tubeless on most of my bikes for over 3 years. It’s a learned skill to mount TL tires like any other skill. Lots of stories out there but I like the ride, the feel, and the security.
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Old 05-19-21, 04:59 PM
  #15  
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I'm a 'mostly pavement' guy and not a proponent of wide and soft tires.
So, IMHO for me, tubeless is not an advantage in my road bike collection.
note: no goatheads or other Nature produced tire hazards. Just bike lane debris.

I get my kicks from quality lightweight, high TPI tubular tires glued to aluminum wheels. For a cush road ride, 28mm dropped 10-15 PSI from where I pump 25mm = is the way to go.

As an alternative to quality tubulars, I find the expensive clinchers (call 'em foldable, 'open tubulars', whatever...) with a latex or race-butyl tube can be close to tubulars.


tires that have a nice round profile are my preference. Vittoria, VeloFlex, Specialized, Wolfpack maybe my faves. But I also run Conti & Schwalbe.

Last edited by Wildwood; 05-19-21 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 05-19-21, 05:02 PM
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I resisted tubeless for about 5 years and flatting 6-8 times a year. After a particularly bad period of several flats in a short time, I took the plunge. My wheels were tubeless ready so it was just a matter of getting the tires, valves, and sealant. Was a bit of a hassle to set the bead on the first try but i don't expect that to be much trouble going forward. I know from finding sealant on my seatpost, that I have prevented at least one roadside repair so far.

Just to be clear, I would not bother with tubeless if I was getting 1-2 flats a year or less.
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Old 05-19-21, 05:11 PM
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I went tubeless a month ago. Got a flat that didn’t seal first day at around mile 35. To be fair, there was a lot of debris on the road from a bad storm the night before. Tire wouldn’t seal, wouldn’t hold air.

Lbs got it to hold air, told me to reduce psi to 80, which I did. Two rides later, same hole flatted again. Threw a tube in, did the ride, took the bike back to the lbs and they put on another tire.

In the last 3 weeks or so since, I’ve put on around 750 miles. No mo’ problems.

Would I do it again, Well, yeah. I mean stuff happens and I’m not going to get turned off by what really was one event.

The bike is an Argon 18 Disc Di2 with carbon wheels and the original 25’s needed 125 psi. The bike isn’t designed for comfort, but my 67year body was fine with it. It really is much more comfortable with the 28’s at 80. I ride longer because I’m less tired and I think I might be a bit faster,

I buy bikes/gear from the lbs that organizes the Saturday ride. They did the tires. I was going to buy extra sealant and applicator but they told me just to bring the bike in after a Saturday ride every few months and they would top it up gratis. Cool.

Last edited by BCAC; 05-19-21 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 05-19-21, 05:14 PM
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Once a year remove tire. You folks do not ride much. When (not IF) the casing ruptures and the sealant does not do its magic, you better be prepared and hope it is not 2 am in the dark and in the rain. I was tubeless for about 6 months and around 8,000 miles, it was a PITA all around.
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Old 05-19-21, 05:26 PM
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No thank you. Last spring, 2020, I had a really bad couple of weeks, 6 flats. I do not think I had 6 flats in the 3 years previous to that. I really thought about going tubeless on one of my bikes, but never got around to it. I believe I had 2 more flats in about 6000 miles for 2020. I have yet to have a tube go flat this year. To be fair, I am down on miles so far this year, about 30%.
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Old 05-19-21, 05:36 PM
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Tubeless is pointless to me...There is nothing wrong with using tubes, why complicate things ??
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Old 05-19-21, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by BCAC View Post
The bike is an Argon 18 Disc Di2 with carbon wheels and the original 25ís needed 125 psi.
125 psi in a 25 mm tire?

Gee, that sounds quite high.

Michelin recommends for a 25 mm tire a pressure range of 73-102 psi, dependent on the cyclist's weight:


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Old 05-19-21, 05:48 PM
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So, you hit a small nail. Twenty revolutions of your wheel later, it stops pissing glue all over the place. Instead of 80-100 psi, you now have 20-40 psi. So, you get out the pump and try to add pressure. Will the sealed hole take the pressure? If it doesn't you have a couple choices. You can ride back to the start on the lower pressure, you can boot the hole and repressurize, you remove the tubeless valve, clean the glue from the inside, and put a tube in. The best application for tubeless is goathead country, where the holes are small and often and easily sealed. I flat once every 3-4,000 miles and it takes me 10 minutes to replace the tube and be on my way if I am being slow.

Trouble initially mounting? Good grief. One rim would not hold a seal. I tried everything for weeks. The tape would not adhere to the rim. I even called the rim company for support because it seemed to me that they might have used a release agent that prevented good adhesion. I tried every solvent known to man and every rim tape available. The best part was the torn skin each time I had to mount the tire. Oh the joy.
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Old 05-19-21, 06:11 PM
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Someone else mentioned it but I think it’s the key. If you ride in an area where you are prone to picking up debris which cause flats on road rides then tubeless would be my choice.

The roads where I normally ride are very clean as we are riding in the actual road. Vehicles tires do a good job of keeping the asphalt very clean. I rarely flat around home so I’ve stayed with tubes. However I’ve ridden a lot out west where I’ve ridden a lot on the shoulders.

When I rode across the US I was in the shoulders most of the time. I flatted a LOT. Interestingly probably none of those flats would have occurred if I’d been tubeless. All except one of my flats were from the small wires off steel belted radial tires. They even penetrated Gatorskins. I had one snake bite pinch flat which wouldn’t have occurred if I’d been tubeless.

I currently have a set of tubeless wheels where I run tubes. The tires are seated on there so tightly I can’t break the bead from the depression where it sits even with tire tools. I have to use a set of pliers to pull the bead towards the center of the rim to change a tube. One of my friends can easily remove the tire but his hands are stronger.

Good luck with your decision!
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Old 05-19-21, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by leob1 View Post
So, what is the benefit of going tubeless; better ride? less flats? less maintenance? Is it worth it?
There are a few kinds of people that really like tubeless:
1. They otherwise get a lot of flats from small punctures like goatheads and staples.
2. They like riding lower pressure than tubed tires like to see for pinch flat reasons.

So if you're not one of those, it's not worth it.
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Old 05-20-21, 03:02 AM
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I am 230 lbs, ride 28's on the road at 80 psi front and 90 psi rear and have not had a flat in 2 years. I use tubes with Continental Ultra Sport tires. On the mountain bike I have never had a flat and have been mountain bike racing and trail riding since 1983. If you are experiencing a high rate of punctures from debris or have the need to run seriously low tire pressures, try tubeless.
It is more technical and requires topping off tire pressure before rides more frequently than tubes. Additional maintenance such as adding sealant at least once a year or dismounting and cleanout of tires and rims every two years puts it on par with tubes in my book. Since I do not have issues with flat tires, I have decided it is an unnecessary expense.
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