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The Truth About Going Tubeless | Cycling Tyre Myths Debunked

The Truth About Going Tubeless | Cycling Tyre Myths Debunked

– Now much like it took
over for mountain biking, road tubeless is becoming the choice for an increasing number of road cyclists, logging big miles out on the road. So the word is out, that tubeless
has some major advantages yet, so many cyclists out there have a lot of concerns and questions
about this tire choice. Well, Zipp has actually
kindly stepped in to help on today’s video to answer
some of those questions, and to debunk some of those myths. They’ve also kindly given me a nice 404 NSW front and 808 NSW rear in tubeless setup with
a Zipp Tangente tires, and conveniently Zipp are just
down the road here in Kona So we’re about to jump on the bike, poodle down and meet up with
one of their specialists. (upbeat music) Right, so we’re now here with Ben, the design engineer for Zipp, so perfect man to answer
some of the common questions we get at GTN on tubeless wheels. Now, we’ve actually got
this bike setup here with the Zipp 404 on the
front and 808 on the rear, which I believe is your
most popular option here for the Ironnman
World Championships in Kona – Yep, today at bike check
in, we’re going to see a lot of athletes roll through
with 404 and 808 combo. – Cool, so I’m going to
ask you a few questions that we keep getting
about tubeless wheels. So, the first one is: Can you setup any wheel as tubeless? – Unfortunately no, there’s a
very specific tubeless profile that has a pretty specific
interaction with the tire to help it seal perfectly. So, if you take just any old clincher rim and try to put tubeless tape on it, with a clincher tire or
a tubeless ready tire, there’s not going to be
that nice geometric lock to get a good seal. – Yeah cause it’s almost
like a lip that comes out Isn’t it, so it locks exactly
– Yep Exactly. – And I guess, similar question then On a tubeless wheel,
can you put any tire on to make it tubeless? – Well, you can put a tubeless ready tire, or a clincher tire on it, so
it has the same like hooks as a normal clincher, so
a tubeless ready wheel you could throw a tube in
it, throw the normal tire on that your running
on your normal clincher and you’re just fine. – Okay, but obviously, you
can’t just put a clinch tire on and try and set that up as– – No, it’s not going
to be very successful. (upbeat music) – Right, another question we’ve got is: Is there actually really
any difference between the number of flats you get on a tube tire versus a tubeless tire. – Definitely, tubeless
really helps with two things: Pinch flats, so there’s no
tube in there to actually pinch whenever you hit a really big bump and your tire compresses,
you don’t pinch your tube and then go flat on your normal clincher. And like small punctures, the sealant that you put inside of your tubeless tire will, as that small puncture,
and air’s rushing out, the sealant will go there,
those little particulates in the sealant will just seal it right up. – And then another
question we get a lot is about traveling with
tubeless wheels or tires. So, obviously there’s the worry
that there’s fluid in there and then you want to let the pressure out to travel with it, so
what would you suggest? – Normally, whenever we travel with ’em , like we came to Hawaii here,
just let a few PSI out, kind of like you would,
cause whenever they’re in the airplane or whatever container, they’re going to get
really hot and they might expand a little bit, yeah
let a little bit of air out and normally they stay locked in, just like a clincher would and there’s really no issues
with it whatsoever. – Is there, you know,
an issue if you do let too much out, can it
sort of come off the rim? – Yeah, if you let a lot of air out, sometimes it will fall
down into the well there, the beads of the tire,
and then it might leak a little bit of fluid,
but then you can just pump it right up and you’re good to go. – All right, and then actually
coming to installing them: Do you need a compressor,
which is what I guess we used to be told we needed when tubeless tires first came out. Is that necessary now? – I would say yes and no, it depends on your tire and rim fitment. So earlier this week we did some demos and we had, I dunno 10 or
12 sets of Zipp tubeless wheels and Zipp tires. So like, since they’re both made by Zipp, we have a pretty good
interaction on the geometry. We did them all with just a hand pump. But some, whenever you get
like a really tight fit, you might need a
compressor just to give it that maximum airflow to get
that tire to seat perfectly. – So compressor’s probably the easiest but it’s very doable with– – Very doable, yeah. (upbeat music) – All right, so other than the weight, obviously we’ve removed
the tube from the tire and the puncture resistance. Is there any other difference really? – Yeah, like tubeless tires on a tubeless wheel set gets a lot
lower rolling resistance and basically you don’t have the tube inside on the tire rubbing against it creating that friction, so it does lower your rolling resistance and we’re seeing a lot of people running just even a little bit, larger tires too because of the lower rolling resistance. So you get a little bit more comfort and it will save your legs on race day if you need to get off and run. – And then, if you were to
get a rather bad puncture, that the sealant isn’t fixing, what do you do, are you stuffed then? – No, not stuffed, there’s a
couple of different options, people are selling some patch kits, where actually you just shove
a little piece of rubber or whatever the material
is into the puncture, or just like on your normal clincher, you pull the tire off, put a tube in, put the tire back on, pump it up and you’re ready to go. – So I guess at that point,
obviously you wouldn’t have lost too much air, so you would
of put that patch in, – Yep that’s going to fill that
gap and then it’s a case of pumping the…using the
CO2 canister or a pump – Yep and the sealant is then
going to do it’s work around that?
– Exactly, yeah – Yeah, so it’s not a case of game over, race over, ride, straight ride over. – No calls home. (upbeat music) – Okay, so another couple of questions. So, once the sealant’s in there, it’s all setup and ready, can you just leave it, is that it, or do you need to check
on them from time to time? – It depends on how much you ride. Like, if you’re riding every week, there’s really not much to do other than continue to pump up your tires. But, if you’re, if it’s a winter bike and you set it out for
you know, a few months, that sealant will dry-up so you got to either
keep spinning the tires, or just be prepared to
put some more sealant in after it’s sat for a few months. Pop your tire off, just wipe it off and if it’s dried, it’s really easy, it just comes out and you can throw it in the trashcan and go again. – Brilliant, I’ve been
riding tubeless ready wheels for a while, and I’ve had
them setup as clincher. So, what is the step now I would take to set them up as tubeless ready? – To be riding as
clincher, you probably have a rim strip in them, so you
just pull the rim strip off, get some tubeless tape, it
comes in different widths for different wheels. – And what’s the purpose of that, that’s to cover the spoke holes? – Yeah, covers the spoke holes and makes basically a complete surface where the sealant can’t get underneath. So, once you put that tire on and the tire bead seal, you have a
completely contained system. So, yeah, you put a couple
of strips of rim tape or tubeless tape on there, get your tire on and pump
it up, you’re ready to go. – Well thanks ever so much
to Ben at Zipp for that, I am definitely going
to put my hand up here and admit that I’ve been too proud to ask some of these questions
on tubeless tires in the past. So I hope it has helped yourself. If you do still have some
questions on tubeless tires, then please do drop them in
the comments section below and we’ll do our best
to answer them for you. If you like this video today, hit that thumbs-up button, and if you’d like to see
more videos from GTN, you can click on the
globe, subscribe to channel and be notified when our
videos next come out. If you’d like to see a maintenance video that actually explains how you can install tubeless tires, you can see that by clicking just down here.

61 comments on “The Truth About Going Tubeless | Cycling Tyre Myths Debunked

  1. Practise makes perfect for the worst-case scenario. Set up a tutorial with an expert and after a few times, it becomes easier.

  2. Really?? Riding a bike in sandles? That's an hurtful accident waiting to happen. I thought you guys also talk about bike safety. For shame.

  3. cross section diagrams of the two technologies would help to explain them. i found this:

  4. One of the worst tubeless videos ive seen.
    Letting air out on the plane because the wheels get 'hot' on the plane?

    Having used tubeless for 4 years on road, there is no need for carrying an inner tube. To recommend this is hugely messy and awkward at the side of the road

    Plugs do the job fine even on huge holes. The guy in the video says they are patches, if you google tubeless patches you're not getting the product you need to fix them

    Compressor is only needed for 'loose' setups not 'tight' as he says in the video;

    Usually one extra wrap of tubeless tape sorts this problem anyway if you dont have a compressor

    There is no debunking here just a plug for 808 and 404 wheelset which have notoriously bad hubs

  5. My only problem with tubeless is the sealant, most that are readily availably are latex. I know some people that are allergic to latex and I don’t want them to be affected by my tires.

  6. Yeah……Zipp just lost all my remaining respect: Niel said that tubless x tubed works Zipp is LYING TO US. Not great, but ridable. Dunno about the higher pressure tho….also, "a couple layers of tubeless tape"? F off

  7. As someone who's in to all types of cycling from motorcycles, electric powered cycles and leg powered ones, on the leg powered side Track, Off Road, Mountain bike, Cyclo-cross, Adventure, Gravel, etc and Road Cycling , Long Tours, Short Stage Races, One Day's, Crits and TimeTrials etc, etc, it's always amazed me how slowly new technology can sometimes be to jump from one style to another or to be accepted and used.

    Look at disk breaks and this, tubeless. Both have been accepted and used by MtB for ages especially disc's and I find it hard to understand what stops it from happening and why something that's obviously better is not being used. Even when the companies that make the bikes started to push their on the road it was slow to be taken up and still hasn't been by a big proportion or Roadies.

    Even the many who ride both can seem to have some sort of block that stops them from using the new thing on 1 of thier bikes when they've happily used it for ages on their other and know its benefits. Look at tubeless, I know a couple of riders who use it and swear by it on their MtB but still use tubes on their road, same with discs. They've used disc on their MtB for years and years and wouldn't even ride a none disc MtB now but don't want them on their road or didn't they've now mostly accepted they're use on all bikes but a couple still haven't swapped.

    Why won't riders and companies just take on any new tech that has obvious benefits and incorporate them in to all types and styles of bikes and riding. I know weight was a concern with early disc especially with that silly UCI weight limit rule but tubeless? Clutches on rear mechs, 1X drive trains, even dropper posts for some off road "gravel" adventure riders.

    In my opinion the new Electronic system by SRAM is an amazing step forward and it or something similar will end up on every type of bike in some form or another. Having 1 system that will control everything on your bike so you can program your shifters to control anything and everything on your bike or even that you put on your bike or yourself from gears to lights and helmets to gloves etc will happen and be the normal eventually once the price comes down etc. Especially as basically everything both on the bike and off it, helmets, your bike computer, maybe one day shoes, gloves, your indoor trainer, whatever will have something electronic on it you can control. Take the new helmet being designed that has the ability to change from aero to vented when required, the vents opening and closing as and when appropriate. As battery tech improves, getting lighter and longer lasting more things will go that way, gloves that heat up or cool you down, shoes that will do the same or appropriate for Triathlon especially that you can do up or undo with the flick of a switch on you bars.

    I just hope it doesn't happen on one side but not on the other for ages and for no apparent reason. The only reason I can even think of is that MtB riders and its culture is far more open to new things and the adoption of new tech where as Roadies are more traditional and unwilling to do anything that takes away from that nostalgic feel.

  8. You don't ever need a compressor these days. A decent track pump or one of the systems that have bottles you can fill with high pressure air before releasing in one go will always do it these days, especially if you get valves that you can remove the core from. There's new ones out that make it stupidly easy to do everything from pump the tyre up, get it seated, put in the sealent after and even take old sealent out. Especially if you get a Schrader type valve and use a Stans or similar valve type then it'll be easy.

  9. Tubeless are the equivalent of the Emperor's new clothes on road bikes.

    They lack the suppleness of decent clinchers and become skittish in the wet conditions often found in the UK so cornering is not confidence inspiring.

    Most people will still carry a spare tube "to be safe".

    I rode them for a year and about 8000km in all conditions to try and give them a fair chance. The two times I needed them to work the sealant failed its job description.

    If you're not really sure put your money into decent clinchers and put talcum powder inside the tyre and on the tube to help reduce internal friction.

  10. I've been running tubeless on my MTB for 2 years now. I've not had a single flat. Nothing. Not one. I was hesitant moving to tubeless at first for concern of being stuck out on some single track in the middle of nowhere with a major tire failure. I don't even think about it now. I carry a spare tube just in case, but I have never had to use it. I have a new road bike on the way that has a tubeless setup. Can't wait.

  11. I switched on my Road Bike to Tubeless. I chose one of the most rugged tyres out there, the Conti GP5000TL in 25mm. After 80km I got a flat tyre, the sealant couldn't close this little cut. I tried it before with a Vittoria Corsa Speed, but this tyre has no puncture resistance at all, so it was not a big surprise I got a flat after 20km. The sealant could close the hole but this tyre didn't hold more than 6bar anymore. The takeaway is this system is not as good as people promise. I give it a 3rd shot now, if I have a flat again I'll opt for a good Clincher with turbolito tubes inside…

  12. Went tubeless on my road setup 5 years ago, haven't had a puncture after that point (At least that I know of, thanks Stan's!!!) the change with tubeless vs tubes is huge. Better cornering, smoother ride, less weight. I've been running Schwalbe One's in 25c and bar none it's the best tire I've ever owned. Just make sure your inner rim is treated or coated as some of the tire sealants can cause minor corrosion.

  13. Thanks for this vid, I switched to tubeless tires a couple of weeks ago and you answered my concerns! Keep up the good work GTN! 🙂

  14. You fill the sealent in the tire through the valve stem. Obviously you remove the valve core prior to that 😉 But is there anything to watch out for before reinstalling the valve core? Like wiping of sealent on the inside of the valve stem (or rather the valve extension) for example?

  15. Tubeless only works fine for mtb or cross tires up to around 4-5 bar pressure, anything higher than that won't be sealed up by the fluid…i don't know of anyone in my huge cycling club who could make it work for heavier riders on road tires with 7 bar pressure…sealant will spray out and plugs just pop out… you can ride home with low pressure but it's no real solution like it is for mtb…running tubeless on my mtb for nearly 10 years now and never had any issues

  16. Had a big cut in my rear tubeless tyre on my first half IM. Too big for a plug, so had to install a tube. What a MESS with all that icky, sticky goo inside.

  17. I hate tubeless. After not riding my bike for less than a month tire lost pressure, I pumped it up, then boom loud pop all the remainin air escaped and I can't pump it up anymore. Tried to remove the tire, milk stuff escaped made a mess everywhere. Even more challenging to remove the tire remaining sealant tried to seal whatever opening it finds. I'm clincher for life now.

  18. Some good straight up questions Mark. I run tubeless on all my bikes and do the maintenance myselve. Ben is over trivializing. Dried up sealent doesn't wipe right out, & a road side repair with a tube is a right mess. Seating a tire with a regular pump is not easy either, unless you have all the tolerances right. Make sure to practise a lot before to commit for an A race on it. This is not for everyone.

  19. Can hardly remember the last time I had a puncture on my road bike, must be 6+ years ago. Not worth it for me and if want a smoother faster ride I'll try latex tubes. Had MTB tubeless and it does need maintenance and can get into a messy situation!

  20. Make sure the lock-ring around the value doesn't get glued on or you could end up on the roadside unable to take out the value when you need to fit a tube!

  21. Thank you for this. Your content is very educational. This video answered my question about putting a tube into a tubeless tire if you got a bad flat.

  22. Yes tubeless provides less resistance than a butyl tubed tire & yes, more comfort plus less punctures but the downsides are a many also.
    *When you park bike for many days etc you need to make sure the valve is in position to drain out sealant otherwise gums up valve.
    *Usually installation of tubeless tires on tubeless rims is very difficult because of the design & tight tolerances, sometimes nearly impossible on roadside.
    *In general is a messy situation to add, keep toped up & when it self seals, is also very messy when tire is removed completely.
    *Is very hard, if not impossible to inflate tire from scratch often with a hand or foot pump.
    *Still need to carry a tube, repair equipment & air filling other than hand pump.
    *Over time the sealant dries up or gets absorbed into tire so you need to check the level after a few months.
    *If you leave bike for more than a month or so you need to spin wheels to keep sealant from gumming up into a mass.
    Anyway probably there are more cons but that does not mean you should not use them, they could be essential in some situations where performance & a puncture is paramount, just good to keep in mind both the positive & negative aspects for them.
    Maybe one day they will be able to supply tubeless tires that dont require the messy sealant, then they will seriously take off with sales.

  23. Have been riding tubeless for over a year. Not a fan. They do pinch flat when the sidewall gets cut by the rim itself. Larger cuts will not seal. You will need to boot and put in a tube on the road. Pain in the butt. Super messing. Time consuming even if you have the correct tools. Tubeless is good for dealing with small nails, thorns, glass, and wires. I am back to using tubes with sealant added to the tubes.

  24. Converted my Flo 60/90 to tubeless 18 months ago. Not a single flat. Worth noting you do have to also put in a stem. Think they skipped that part.

  25. Did tubeless, technology isn’t there for road yet. Can’t pop in a tube because you have to remove the valve stem/core, and you can’t use Co2 because it’ll freeze the sealant inside and render it useless. Also, setting them up is a nightmare, especially if they’re brand new. Lastly, if you don’t thoroughly clean all the old sealant out, especially on the bead, the tire will never set. Too many variables.

  26. a lot of advantages with tubeless for sure, but the main reason holding everyone back is that most riders have approx 4 or 5 bikes, imaging topping up or changing the stans fluid on each wheel every 3 months. that is a lot of time!

  27. Tubeless is great for puncture resistance. The only downsides are yes it is a bit messy when you need to put a tube in it roadside and sealant can spray on your frame (requiring additional elbowgrease to clean) and on riders in your wheel. For me the benefits outweigh the downside. Especially in spring and autumn with all the dirt on the road it does it job when I see all the cuts on my tire. On my old training clincher wheels I do have more punctures

  28. Thanks for the comment section that brings some balance to the video. If tubeless really worked well it should be standard on bikes. From the comments section I can see that the myths have not been debunked, just glossed over in this video. Saves me from spending a lot of money on a tubeless setup and then being pissed that it doesn't work as oversimplified and presented here. I don't mean to be harsh, but if you want me to spend a lot of money on this setup, the goo in the tube has got to go.

  29. I’m glad to know so many commenters hate tubeless, I want to race against y’all. Vittoria corsa speed advantage me.

  30. just seen too many tubeless set ups needing help on the side of the road. Its all good in a supported event I'm sure but in the real world with broken glass etc on British roads a gel wrapper and a new tube will go a long way!

  31. I have deep section wheels and need valve extenders – I always find the 'milk' gets clogged in the valve extenders. How can I overcome this problem?

  32. I run tubeless on my Gravel bike, and on my TT bike for competition. I am not too happy with tubeless in terms of maintenance, and I have had many flats with tubeless, too.

  33. Put sealant in your tubes and you will avoid pinch flats and minor punctures and you won't have a mess if you need to replace the tube.

  34. A solution to a problem that doesn't exist for road cycling. MTB, Cyclocross, yes, road, no.
    1. Road flats occur once every 3 to 6 months, not a big deal to change a tube
    2. You carry tubes anyway…
    3. Sealant needs to be refreshed every 3 to 6 months.. see point 1
    4. Sealant on brake rotors or brake track = no brakes
    5. If you get a tubeless flat, insert a tube and leave it in there, next time you flat, your tube will have glued itself to the inside of your tyre, throw your tyre and tube in the bin and call os shame.

  35. Where I ride there is usually a decent amount of debris and little pokey plant material. I was running inner tubes and within a span of a month, I replaced the inner tube around 5 or 6 times with one week needing three inner tubes. That’s nearly 40 dollars in one week and at that point I said screw it, I have tubeless ready rovals so I’m just gonna go tubeless and see how that goes.

    Same route, multiple rides per week, multiple small punctures, $0. Tubeless has been great for me and I still have inner tubes should I need to put one in but it’s been months now and there has been no need. I’m loving it.

  36. I do not recommend taking the tubeless valve out once the sealant made it airtight.
    Use a compressor for sure.
    If the tyre ain't worn out don't take it off from the rim because the sealant sticks on the tyre and is difficult to remove. On the rim there is zero sealant which is great. I will never go back to clinchers.

  37. i've had good success converting standard hook rims to tubeless with the proper rim tape and valve. i lose about 10 psi over the course of a week, but really you should be topping up your tire pressures every ride anyway. if you've got a wheel set on hand, i'd say it's worth a try.

  38. saw a guide flat on IMLP and it was a total mess, but what makes me nervous is trying to inflate it with a CO2 cartridge when yo might need a blaster pump which there is no way you will have at a race.

  39. I mostly agree with everything discussed here EXCEPT: I would like to bring light on some false info in this video. 1.) I got a puncture in my sidewall and tried stuffing a bacon strip in it. No go. Soon as I starting re-filling the tire up with air, it forced the strip out of the puncture. Tried 2 bacon strips, same deal. Ride over. 2.) If you ever completely remove a used tire that was filled with sealant and gummed up on the beads and try to re-seat it onto a tire as-is, good luck. Won't happen. Not even with an industrial 160psi compressor. You will have to spend a few hours cleaning off all of the gummed up sealant from the beads, and even after you do that, the tire may or may not ever seal back onto the wheel even with a compressor. This is from my personal experience. Fair warning!

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