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Road Tubeless Tyres – Are They Worth It?

Road Tubeless Tyres – Are They Worth It?


There’s a lot of mystery around
road tubeless that we’ve seen. What is it? What’s the point of it, and
is it worth it? So here’s what we think. ♪ [music] ♪ First of all, what actually is it? Well,
simply, using a tubeless specific tire and a sealed rim, you can dispense with your
inner tubes. Now, you either leave a setup like that, or more usually, you add
in a little bit of liquid latex sealant. So, what’s the point of it? Well,
fundamentally, you get massively improved puncture resistance. By removing the
inner tube completely, you eliminate pinch flats, and then with your liquid latex
sealant, that actually seals small holes in the tire as you’re riding along,
lending minimal loss of pressure. Meaning that you don’t have to stand
by the side of the road, changing inner tubes. Now, if you do get a puncture
whilst you’re out, you can simply stick an inner tube in, and it will get you home,
meaning you can then fix the tire with a patch kit when you get back. In addition,
some people claim that removing the inner tube helps to improve rolling resistance,
and that removing the inner tube also helps to make the system lighter. And
we check that one back at GCN HQ. The wheels are the same, generally,
whether tubeless or non-tubeless, so any difference in weight is going
to come from the tire and the tube, or lack thereof. Now, we’re using
Schwalbe tires here, so first of all, let me put the non-tubeless tire on
the scales along with the inner tube, minus valve cap and lock ring,
obviously, and that comes up as 308 g. Let’s repeat that for the tubeless. First
of all, obviously, we’re going to have to put our sealant on, zero there. Then
the tire, which is significantly heavier, it takes 100 g over the non-tubeless
version, and then the valve as well, with lock ring this time, has to be
done, and that comes in at 382 grams. So the extra 74 grams per wheel
for the privilege of running tubeless, which is quite a significant
weight disadvantage. What about installation? Now, if you’ve
watched our “How to set up road tubeless” video, you’ll see that we didn’t really
have any problem. Regardless, I still have reservations compared with
how easily you can set up a standard tire, especially if you’ve got a good rim-tire
combination. Now, tubeless tires by their very nature have to be really tight on
the rim, and that can be a massive pain. While it’s unlikely that you’ll
puncture in the field, if you do, and you have to pop a tube in the tire,
then you don’t want to get stranded by the side of the road because you can’t get the
fricking tire off the rim. Now, obviously, you can still use tire levers, but there
is a high risk that you’ll get stuck. It’s not a dealbreaker by any stretch of the
imagination, but it is a consideration. The most important thing, though, is
how they actually feel when riding. Now, I’ve been using these Stan’s Alpha
340 rims with Schwalbe One tires and butyl inner tubes for the last week or so. They
feel great, just like what I’m normally used to, but I’ve now swapped out to
Schwalbe One tubeless tires so that we can do a direct comparison and see how they
shape up to one another. Let’s check it out. So, first impressions then, as you
might imagine, I can’t actually tell the difference in 150 g of rotating weight.
Now, that’s not saying that there isn’t a difference, it’s just that even a picky
rider like myself can’t actually do it. One thing I have noticed, though,
is that running them at 95 psi, which is where I run normal tires, is that
they do seem to transfer buzz from the road, little vibrations that normally
get absorbed. Now, potentially, that’s because the carcass in a tire
is a little bit stiffer. Whether that’s essential for a tubeless tire, I
don’t actually know, but certainly, conventional wisdom would have it
that a tire with a high thread count and a real nice flexible outer
would feel a little bit more supple, whereas these just feel a bit stiff.
So what I’m going to do is stop, let a little pressure out, and see whether
running them lower is going to help. ♪ [music] ♪ That’s a heck of a lot better, actually.
We’ve let the tire pressures down, so I’m probably running about 20
psi less than I normally would. And it quite feels a lot more comfortable
and, dare I say, a lot more normal. It handles like it did when I had
the standard clincher tires on, because I’m only using 80 psi in there.
Normally, the tires would squirm a bit if I’m cornering hard. So we’re going to
go check out, do some fast descending, and see whether or not having
only 80 psi on the tires, on 23s, don’t forget, is going to make a
difference to the way the bike handles. ♪ [music] ♪ So, is it worth it? Well, like so many
recommendations for bikes or bits of bikes, a lot of it depends on your
riding style and where you ride it. And this ride, for me, confirmed what I
kind of already thought from previous outings on tubeless tires, and that is
that for pure performance-oriented riders, I’m not sure there’s all that much
to recommend it. Obviously, there’s a slight weight penalty, but for
me, it’s the lack of feel and the lack of suppleness in the tire casing that means
that it doesn’t feel quite as lively as the kind of tires that I normally like to
ride. If, however, you ride more steadily, or you’re a bigger rider, and you’re
more susceptible to punctures, then, without doubt, they could be
an absolute godsend. Certainly, if you do ride steadily, you’re not
always accelerating and cornering hard, then you certainly wouldn’t ever
notice that they’re not quite as supple. So what’s my actual opinion? Well, if I
was to get one of these new endurance road bikes, kind of things with disc brakes
and relaxed geometry, without a doubt, I think tubeless tires are the way to go.
Those bikes are so capable of more than tarmac, but it’s the standard
tires and tubes that let it down. If, however, you stick a pair of tubeless
tires on there, and you’re not going to pinch flat, you could take that bike
almost anywhere. And that, for me, would be a serious recommendation. For
a video showing you just how to install road tubeless, click here, and to
subscribe to GCN to get more tech insights, click over there.

100 comments on “Road Tubeless Tyres – Are They Worth It?

  1. I run regular (non-tubeless folding tires) on my XC 29er as tubelles, and they are lighter. I have no problems whatsoever (more than 5000km on the trails), and rolling resistance is noticeably better, as well as grip.
    In that way I have managed to lose 30-70g per wheel (cause of the bike tires manufacturing tolerances).
    Anyone tried that with regular road tires???

  2. What a brilliant video.  Highly informative and superb production.  Has saved me the hassle and unnecessary expense of changing to tubeless.

  3. would like to of known how Tubeless handled in a Criterium race, but there again, if your not the 5th wheel going into the sprint the tubeless are not going to help you anyway, also, to would like to know you views on latex tubes.

  4. if an ex-pro can't tell the difference of 150g from a wheelset, really sends a message to the Freds upgrading from good (1500g) to great (1350g) lightweight wheelset……

  5. From personal experience, Schwalbe 20 Extralight inner tubes are very light (70g actual weight) and durable. They cost as much as normal inner tubes and weigh about 30g less.

  6. I've tried TLR, I still prefer Tufo Tubular Clincher's, they're more user friendly and more light weight than tire + tube. If I need a dealer shop to replace TLR's, it's not wort it for me, it only leaked when I tried.

  7. How can I be sure if my tubes are inflated with the correct psi without a pressure gauge. i dont have a pressure gauge or a pumper with that mechanism. Sorry for the off topic quarry..

  8. I've ridden tubeless for years now, and they are a much better riding experience than compared to riding with tubes. It is common to ride through a whole tire and not have a single flat, not a moment of time on the side of the road fixing a flat. I ride at about 85-90psi with Hutchinson tires and Easton RT wheels. And very easy set up mounting them.

  9. Bontrager road tires and TLR wheels suck big time.  Hell of time to get the tire on.  Followed by a hell of a time to get the bead to set (Yes I had to use the pricey Bont flash pump.)  Added the sealant and the fuckers still leaked.  Then the POS tires started to develop splits after about 100 km.  Then a hell of a time to get the fuckers off to replace with tires from a quality brand. (IRC).

  10. the only advantage with tubeless tires, the sealant saves you from punctures, i may buy a pair of alpha 340,

  11. Can you give me a example of the endurance bikes as I am at 56 years old looking for a more comfortable bike

  12. beautiful place tintern. used to use tyre weld (for cars) on my tubs. used to use tubs for time trialling and inner tubes for road racing. can't cycle anymore, but still love the sport

  13. I recently switched my cross bike to tubeless.  While I mostly road and trail ride with it, I live in WV and the roads and our paved bike path are horrible.  I have found it to be very comfortable and just as fast, and while never flatting in four years with tubes I hit something on a paved trail that cut a hole in the tire and the bonus became apparent.  Never even got off the bike it sealed an almost 1/4" cut on the road face while I was still riding lost 10psi and hasn't lost pressure since. Setup as follows:
    Bontrager Dual Wall TLR Rims
    Bontrager CX3 33c Cross tires
    Stan's sealant
    Bontrager MTB(wide not thin road tape) Rim Tape
    Stans Tubeless Rim Strip( I have valves just lazy)

  14. Ah, but what if running tubeless means you only need to carry one spare inner on long rides? That makes up for the weight penalty, surely?

  15. red colored tires are the best… it give you additional speed, stamina, and most importantly….good looks.
    with red you cant be wrong. ^_^

  16. The new Schwalbe Pro One claims to be 70g lighter than the 'One' used here. So the weights could be pretty much equal if this is true.

  17. Can you make a review about the Tannus solid tires? You should also compare how each tire deforms under cyclist weight with a progressive scale of pression. I heard that lower pression allowed on tubeless gives more grip in dirt, rocky, gravel tracks, at least for mtb, but that should be valid for cyclocross also and for cubbles, like those on Paris – Roubaix.

  18. http://pelotonmagazine.com/uncategorized/tubeless-goes-pro-schwalbe-pro-one-tubeless/

    IAM Cycling is going tubeless?

  19. Don't know if this has been discussed, but Schwalbe recommends 30 ml sealant for a Schwalbe One tire. So subtract 29 grams from your scale.

  20. Giant Gavia tubeless tires on my Giant rims install with bare hands, and can be removed with a flimsy plastic lever. They are a huge improvement over the original Hutchinson tubeless tires that were miserable to put on and take off. They are very supple and light! I recommend them to anyone.

  21. Is there a weight saving advantage in using Tubeless tires  versus clinchers?  I guess it all depends if we must use this sealant liquid or not on the tubeless /.. I believe tire tubes weigh about 65 to 80 grams for a 23-25mm.

  22. mmm. i still can't understand how a tubeless weights more than a tubular. isnt it that any tire can be rode tubeless?

  23. Simon, I question your method for weighing the tubeless tire, valve stem, and sealant assembly. Stan's NoTubes Sealant is at least 30% water by weight. A significant portion of this weight will disappear shortly after the sealant is deposited into the tire and the tire inflated. I would like to see your experiment repeated as follows:

    1) Assemble wheel, tape, valve stem, and tire, inject sealant and weigh the assembly immediately after the sealing procedure is complete.

    2) Re-weigh the wheel assembly 24 hours later. This will give you the final weight of the wheel assembly.

    3) Subtract the second measurement from the first. This will be the weight lost due to evaporation of the sealant solution.

    I'm not saying you're wrong, but I think this experiment could have been done a little bit more carefully. Thanks for your consideration!

    Also, as a general addition to the discussion, in a place like the Southwestern USA where goathead seeds are a real problem, going tubeless saves a rider a lot of weight. The common solution to goathead punctures is to use tire strips, thorn resistant tubes, sealant in the tubes, or any combination of the three. Obviously, there is a huge weight penalty here, and using tubeless tires shaves a lot of weight off the tires. Plus, the ride on a tubeless tire is a huge improvement over a tire with a strip or thorn resistant tube in it. To be fair, the benefits of tubeless tires in areas where punctures are a problem was discussed, but not in the context that it has a dual benefit of increased puncture resistance in addition to weight saving benefits.

  24. @global cycling network Can you do a quick vid of a long term tubeless review? I tried to adopt it, but have constantly failed on road. As soon as the smallest of punctures seems to seal up ok, it opens up again as soon as the tyre deforms, reinflation just seems to blow more sealant out of the tyre. Grrrr.

  25. If you are heavier rider you allso need higher psi and then it mite be that tubeless can't handle it.
    I don't have tubeless rims and tyres to test that. But if some manufagtures want to send me one to test. Go ahead🚴🏻✌🏻

  26. How are you feeling about this now then with technology moving on and 25c being more the norm? I've run tubeless on my DH, Endure and trail bikes for years but yet to swap my road bike over.

  27. Most people i have heard and myself prefer the feel of tubeless even at higher pressures than clinchers indeed it is precisely the feel that is usually cited for the preference.

    The downside is that if you get a bigger puncture that cannot be stopped by sealant e.g. in the side wall, then tyre replacement is more difficult and the spare more bulky than tube replacement.

    But sealant is surprisingly good especially if augmented with flakes of nylon string, or glitter etc. Google homebrew sealant.

  28. I really don't see the benefit, you have all the problems of a clincher and not all the benefits of a tub. You can run sealant in tubs and clinchers so why run them?

  29. Ok soo with the tubless tire the total weight was higher… However the total required air pressure was much lower.. 20 psi less… Depending on how much how much air that is, the total weight might be less now?

  30. If you're a weight worrier take into account that you wont need to stuff a saddle bag with inner tubes and hand pumps or CO2 cartridges with tubeless.

  31. Very unusual you would say ride feel in hindered. No friction between tyre and tube should mean better ride (This is why they are considered to roll faster by as much as 20%). Even if the sidewall is stiffer, and it shouldn't need to be only need a rubberised section on the bead and a specific bead shape to make them tubeless. Anyway I agree they are a pain to get on and add weight at the rim. Generally not worth it unless your running 28 or 30mm tyres and rolling on really slow roads or gravel

  32. Its heavier than the normal tyre with tube. It has a rubber strap that is equal to tube weight and secondly it must be more thicker to avoid punctures and also it has sealant inside that is also weight. It is complicated to repair and what i believe its a one time use, once it starts leaking there is no other way to fix it again or else it will not work smoothly, not to mention its a cumbersome job to repair it. Sealant will also by the time get harder so it will make tyre uneven so more the punctures it get the more quickly it will get harder and get un even. These can be improved to avoid sealant and fix the puncture as we do with car tyres. Sealant is just a mess and it has some life period to expire which mean it will anyway get hard inside after a while.

  33. I'm using Fischer tiers MTB , never had a flat tire in 5 years except once when i accidentally punched it when i was changing them.

  34. 23mm tyres with continental GP 4000S II on rear and VREDEISTEIN Fortezza Senso all weaher on the front. 90/110 PSI.
    28mm tyres with Conti 4-season on the front and Continental Grand Prix on the rear. 80/100 PSI

  35. There is an awesome invention called tubulars. They also don't have tubes. And you can add sealant. And they are supple. Tubeless really makes sense for gravel, non-race cyclocross and MTB but for road it's silly.

  36. Has your opinion changed now that 28s are becoming the norm on road bikes and they seem to work well at lower tyre pressures? I am about to go tubeless and was also curious on what you consider is best value for money sealant. Some are quite expensive.

  37. I ride my bike once a week for enjoyment or occasional into town. I am 13 stone and find I keep having to put more air in the back tyre. I hand very potholes roads around me and I fancy tubeless one.
    When I can afford them…..
    Are they affordable and where can I get some? I also have 700c by 35.

  38. So GMBN has a video on going tubeless, and your videos have some contradictions between them, most noteworthy, you show that tubeless adds weight, and they say that tubeless saves weight. Maybe you guys and sit down and talk about the tubeless experiences between the various styles of bikes and surfaces?

  39. Are they worth it? Well I just set up the Mavic Ksyrium Pro WTS and I will say if I had known that road tubeless could be this good, I'd have invented it myself years ago. Between the quality if the wheelset, the Yksion Pro tires, and the integration between them, I've dumped my Enve carbon hoops, latex tubes, and Conti GP4000S tires.

  40. Comprehensive summary:
    Tubeless yes or no? No
    Why tubeless? MTB need tubeless due to the nature of the terrain, it's often to have multiple punctures on a ride.
    Road on the other hand is generally smoothish, with a flat on average once or twice a year.
    Tubeless doesn't stop the flat. That means if you get a nail or wire, your tyre is going down, tubeless or not.
    Sealant only last a couple of months, so you need to pull the tyre off and change sealant as often as you would get a flat with a tube tyre.
    Once you get a flat that doesn't seal (I had the front and rear tyre flat on the same day) you find out quickly that you still need to carry a tube, CO2 and/or pump.
    If sealant goes on the brake surface, your brakes don't work.
    If you put a tube in and don't clean all the sealant out thoroughly, the tube will be glued inside the tyre, so next time you get a flat, you can't get the tube out of the tyre and have to bin both the tube and tyre.
    Do I need to go on?? Tubeless is a solution to a problem that isn't a problem. There is nothing simpler than get a flat, take out tube, in with new tube, on your way. It's a reality of cycling. Sorry, tubeless for road sucks.

  41. I've ridden all sorts of bikes all my life on and off and I'm 56. I've never had a "pinch flat". I use whatever pressure feels not too stiff…usually well under the max.

  42. Had gatorskins for my London road….. pinch flats often….. went tubeless….. difference is night and day…… I won’t go back to conventional tyres and wheels AGAIN……

  43. G man that was amazing you riding that tyre through all that Broken Glass………….WOW!! and to think that some people are facicous…….

  44. Simon, fast forward to today. There has been a vast improvement in tubeless technology. I just purchased a set of Mavic’s entry level race tubeless wheelset/tire combo.

    The difference is unbelievably amazing. From now on I will have two spare tubes. One for my road bike and one for my gravel bike. No more changing tubes for me unless it is an emergency.

  45. Bought a new bike with tubeless tires on it and on my first ride I had 2 big punctures that wouldn't let me ride along. Luckily I was 500m away from the next bike shop. Got back to tubular instant lol

  46. I guess it still doesn't do it for me personally, clinchers, tyre n tube seems perfect for my training. Also, I can't imagine the mess when actually getting a flat on a tubeless and having to stick in an inner tube with all that sticky sealant present in the tyre dripping all over the place! Guess I am old school still lol

  47. i'm changing tires 3x a year (summer,winter, gravel) on my endurance bike … i'm wondering if tubeless is something for me? i guess it gets messy all the time i change the tires?

  48. I like the idea of tubeless but I have a life thus little time to devote to something so insignificant. Tubeless turns marginal gains into a loss. More time, money & effort and you still need a spare tube, perhaps now a spare tire.

  49. What is the sg do the sealant? Be interesting to know. As my inners tubes weight is 90grams, I added only 30grams of sealant approx 30ml per tyre.

  50. I'm not sure why you wouldn't go tubeless. Never getting flats is just such a huge bonus.
    I mean it's a problem if you're going to be swapping out tires all the time, but that doesn't apply to most people who have multiple bikes for multiple situations. But if you're a gravel "do it all" cyclist, I could certainly understand why going with tubes makes sense.

  51. I decided to go tubeless and bought the mavic UST system. First puncture of 2mm sprays sealant everywhere, does'nt seal at anything over 60 PSI, does'nt seal in the wet, and is generally a massive pain in the )*(. Have since switched back to inner tubes….so much better!

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