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Debating if I should go tubeless on my road bike?

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Debating if I should go tubeless on my road bike?

Old 06-01-22, 11:18 PM
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jonathanf2
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Debating if I should go tubeless on my road bike?

I'm currently running tubeless on my gravel bike, and the benefits definitely outweigh the cons with wider profile tires. Though I'm debating if it's necessary to do the same on my road bike? On my road bike I'm currently running lightweight TPU tubes (33g) and the bike feels incredibly nimble. My 700x30c clincher tires (+ tube) weigh less than the tubeless version and are very easy to install/remove. Anyways I'm trying decide if I should do the same tubeless conversion on the road bike or stick with the TPU tubes? Anyone who run both prefer one over the other? Thanks for any feedback!
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Old 06-02-22, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post
I'm currently running tubeless on my gravel bike, and the benefits definitely outweigh the cons with wider profile tires. Though I'm debating if it's necessary to do the same on my road bike? On my road bike I'm currently running lightweight TPU tubes (33g) and the bike feels incredibly nimble. My 700x30c clincher tires (+ tube) weigh less than the tubeless version and are very easy to install/remove. Anyways I'm trying decide if I should do the same tubeless conversion on the road bike or stick with the TPU tubes? Anyone who run both prefer one over the other? Thanks for any feedback!
You're going to have to decide this on your own, because I don't think anyone will have any strong opinions on the subject.
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Old 06-02-22, 04:11 AM
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Yes. Especially if you’re in an area that you may get a decent amount of flats. Mounting can be a slight issue on some wheel/tire combos, but it’s worth it.
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Old 06-02-22, 06:08 AM
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You seem to understand cost vs benefit, but you need to acknowledge that the costs and benefits are different for each individual; you're going to have to do your own math.

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Old 06-02-22, 06:24 AM
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I would say that it depends very much on the wheels you are using. I am a long time road tubeless user having bought a pair of Campagnolo Shamal 2way fit wheels about 12 years ago. They already had tubeless valves installed and require no rim tape. Installing a tubeless tire is no more difficult than a tube type tire, easier actually because there is no inner tube to deal with. My last tire install took me about 10 minutes for both wheels. The tires I am using (Hutchinson Fusion5 all season 700 x 28) seal even without sealant, I inject the sealant after I have made sure that the tires are holding air, takes another 2-3 minutes for both tires. The tires with sealant installed hold air about as well as a lightweight butyl inner tube. A lot of the problems I have seen in various tubeless threads involve problems with air leaks on wheels that have to be taped, so I can't speak to that sort of problem. I recently bought a gravel bike with 700 x 45 tires and rims that were already taped. Conversion to tubeless took me about 20 minutes. I don't expect any real problems due to the fact that I am running half the air pressure in these tires that I do with my road tubeless setup
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Old 06-02-22, 08:25 AM
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Riding on tubeless for almost 5 years now. To date, only 1 puncture that the sealant (Orange) was unable to stop and required a plug. Can’t estimate how many punctures the sealant took care of without me knowing. To me, periodic replenishment of the sealant and a bit more effort to mount new tires is a small price to pay.

The tubeless debate ranks right up there with whether or not disc or rim brakes are the better option.
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Old 06-02-22, 10:06 AM
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Tubeless makes all the sense in the world for people who were experiencing lots of punctures. I've been dragging my feet because I don't.
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Old 06-02-22, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
I would say that it depends very much on the wheels you are using. I am a long time road tubeless user having bought a pair of Campagnolo Shamal 2way fit wheels about 12 years ago. They already had tubeless valves installed and require no rim tape. Installing a tubeless tire is no more difficult than a tube type tire, easier actually because there is no inner tube to deal with. My last tire install took me about 10 minutes for both wheels. The tires I am using (Hutchinson Fusion5 all season 700 x 28) seal even without sealant, I inject the sealant after I have made sure that the tires are holding air, takes another 2-3 minutes for both tires. The tires with sealant installed hold air about as well as a lightweight butyl inner tube. A lot of the problems I have seen in various tubeless threads involve problems with air leaks on wheels that have to be taped, so I can't speak to that sort of problem. I recently bought a gravel bike with 700 x 45 tires and rims that were already taped. Conversion to tubeless took me about 20 minutes. I don't expect any real problems due to the fact that I am running half the air pressure in these tires that I do with my road tubeless setup
One thing I notice with my tubeless gravel bike is that I can corner so much faster on the curves. Also I perfected my rim taping, going over the center and sides several times over to make sure the tape is properly sealed. I do a small xacto knife incision where the valve stem goes, to minimize leaks. Though after switching from butyl tubes to latex (and now TPU) tubes, I actually haven't had any issues with flats on the road bike. I even had a staple lodged in my tire and the latex tube I was using didn't puncture. I'm just wondering though how much of the tubeless ride benefits port over to smaller width tires?

The only logistical issue is that I don't have an air compressor or an air shot canister. So in order to do a proper tire bead, I have to make trips to the gas station air pump. I tried the inner tube beading trick, and it's just a hassle.
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Old 06-02-22, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post
I'm just wondering though how much of the tubeless ride benefits port over to smaller width tires?
What "ride benefits" do you expect tubeless to offer compared with supple low-hysteresis inner tubes? Are you currently inflating your road tires harder-than-optimal because of the tubed setup?
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Old 06-02-22, 08:37 PM
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I ride both tubeless and TPU wheels, and would say that, all else being equal, let the tires determine whether you run tubeless or not. Some tires, particularly the supple, lightweight types, can just be a real hassle to make airtight, and not all tires are available in both tube type and tubeless type. And with TPU tubes, you’rre getting a lot of the beneficial attributes of tubeless, particularly in terms of enhanced durability and puncture resistance over butyl, lower rolling resistance, improved feel, lower weight, and reduced likelihood of sudden or rapid air loss. So that’s most of the good stuff your gettin’ with TPU; not all the good stuff you’d get with tubeless, and not to the same extent, but most of it.

Of course, we know all else is not equal; I wouldn’t get involved with tubeless without having an air compressor, for example, so that’s something to figure in. A good inflator head, spare sealant, maybe extra tape, stout levers, plug kit…it’s stuff that not only adds cost, but requires some consideration in selecting, as lousy bits will cause lots of frustration.

There are Goldilocks tubeless wheel/tire combos out there, but findng them isn’t straightforward; it’s probably trial and error to find them. If you’re into the challenge, perfect, but if you want to reduce complexity, tubeless is an easy pass in favor of TPU.
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Old 06-03-22, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
I ride both tubeless and TPU wheels, and would say that, all else being equal, let the tires determine whether you run tubeless or not. Some tires, particularly the supple, lightweight types, can just be a real hassle to make airtight, and not all tires are available in both tube type and tubeless type. And with TPU tubes, you’rre getting a lot of the beneficial attributes of tubeless, particularly in terms of enhanced durability and puncture resistance over butyl, lower rolling resistance, improved feel, lower weight, and reduced likelihood of sudden or rapid air loss. So that’s most of the good stuff your gettin’ with TPU; not all the good stuff you’d get with tubeless, and not to the same extent, but most of it.

Of course, we know all else is not equal; I wouldn’t get involved with tubeless without having an air compressor, for example, so that’s something to figure in. A good inflator head, spare sealant, maybe extra tape, stout levers, plug kit…it’s stuff that not only adds cost, but requires some consideration in selecting, as lousy bits will cause lots of frustration.

There are Goldilocks tubeless wheel/tire combos out there, but findng them isn’t straightforward; it’s probably trial and error to find them. If you’re into the challenge, perfect, but if you want to reduce complexity, tubeless is an easy pass in favor of TPU.
After riding with my wheelset with tpu tubes, I've decided to keep them. They're fast and handle well, I'm not sure it'd make much difference going tubeless on these tires other than the better flat prevention. Though I did dust off an old wheelset I had lying around and decided to make those tubeless instead. Once you have the technique down, tubeless wheel setup is quite easy...well other than having to make trips to the gas station to use their air compressor!
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Old 06-03-22, 11:12 AM
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My tubeless tires have all seated fine with just a floor pump. Soon(ish I hope !!) I will have a new MTB. I will be curious to see how those set up .... I have a compressor if I need one but interested to see if the larger tires make it more difficult.
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Old 06-03-22, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Tubeless makes all the sense in the world for people who were experiencing lots of punctures. I've been dragging my feet because I don't.
This.

If you get a lot of (small) punctures, it makes more sense to go tubeless (instead of riding those brick-hard puncture-resistant tyres).
Otherwise - in my opinion, they are a bit more hassle compared to tubes, especially for the high-pressure road bike tyres, with questionable benefits (opinions and preferences differ, but that's mine).
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Old 06-03-22, 11:22 AM
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The narrowest tire Rene Herse/Jan Heine endorse for tubeless is 35mm, and if you read their website, they are less than enthusiastic about any potential improvements, especially if you don't flat much with tubes.

Having said that, I just converted my RH 38mm Barlow Pass to tubeless, and it actually did improve things, notably climbing steeper hills. (Perhaps the effect is more pronounced because I am so slow to begin with.)

The more narrow and high pressure the tire, the more likely you are to experience complications.
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Old 06-03-22, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Rdmonster69 View Post
My tubeless tires have all seated fine with just a floor pump. Soon(ish I hope !!) I will have a new MTB. I will be curious to see how those set up .... I have a compressor if I need one but interested to see if the larger tires make it more difficult.
They are usually easier, but each tire/rim/tape combo will be different. If you have any trouble, put a tube in for a day or more, and then take it out, breaking the seal only one one side of the tire, put in a valve, and pump it up.
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Old 06-03-22, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
They are usually easier, but each tire/rim/tape combo will be different. If you have any trouble, put a tube in for a day or more, and then take it out, breaking the seal only one one side of the tire, put in a valve, and pump it up.
I tried that on my first tubeless tire I setup and it was a bit of hassle. I found it easiest just to setup the tubeless tire and valve stem (w/no valve core) the night before and then making a trip to the gas station after dropping my kids off at school was the most hassle-free. Then it only took about 10 minutes to put the sealant and pump up both tires. I found it best to press over the rim tape several times down the center and edges to make sure it's sealed properly.
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Old 06-03-22, 11:50 AM
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The tube also presses the rim tape. I live 15 miles from the nearest gas station or bike shop compressor, but I have a pump with a canister.
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Old 06-03-22, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
The tube also presses the rim tape. I live 15 miles from the nearest gas station or bike shop compressor, but I have a pump with a canister.
In that case the air canister is definitely good to have. I also found pushing the tire to the rim hook on both sides by hand also helps the beading. It doesn't need to be perfect, just enough to minimize air loss when beading.
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Old 06-03-22, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
They are usually easier, but each tire/rim/tape combo will be different. If you have any trouble, put a tube in for a day or more, and then take it out, breaking the seal only one one side of the tire, put in a valve, and pump it up.
I ordered a Trek Top Fuel which will have the same hard plastic internal liner as my Domane has. They are a bit of a pain to mess around with but they came pre installed and work just fine. They seal right up with my regular floor pump. If they don't I have a good size compressor in my garage that will do the trick. I wouldn't honestly mess with road tubeless since I only flat a few times a year usually and am handy with a patch kit. I like new tech tho and since they are pretty good size (32s) I feel it has been worth the effort.
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Old 06-03-22, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
The more narrow and high pressure the tire, the more likely you are to experience complications.
That has not been my experience, nor do I think tire width or pressure is of any real consequence to tubeless performance.

My easiest-to-live with setups have been with 23mm rubber, and the most challenging 35mmm and 48mm, but again, I don’t thing tire size had anything to do with it. Rather, tire and rim construction and design are the main factors in frustrating tubeless experiences, it seems to me.
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Old 06-03-22, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post
After riding with my wheelset with tpu tubes, I've decided to keep them. They're fast and handle well, I'm not sure it'd make much difference going tubeless on these tires other than the better flat prevention. Though I did dust off an old wheelset I had lying around and decided to make those tubeless instead. Once you have the technique down, tubeless wheel setup is quite easy...well other than having to make trips to the gas station to use their air compressor!
I do not recommend trying to go tubeless with some old random wheels that were not designed for tubeless. Maybe you could do that for off road tires that run at low pressure, but not for high pressure road tires
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