Running tubeless tyres

rivers

How far can I go?
Location
Bristol
I'm currently running tubeless on my winter bike. I will stick with running tubeless on my winter bike I want to do everything in my power to minimise having to change a tube in the rain and cold. I don't mind running clinchers on my summer bike as if I do have to change a tube, it will likely be warm and somewhat sunny so no loss of dexterity in my fingers.
 

Dogtrousers

Kilometre nibbler
What kind of riding? Road/MTB/trail?

I'm quite keen on learning people's opinions on this as I considered them last time I replaced my wheels. So I've avidly read quite
a few threads on the subject. To sum up what I've learned.

Some people use them on the road, really like them and have had no problems. Benefits being ability to run lower pressures - more comfort and to be able to survive most - but not all - puncture incidents.
Some people have used them on the road and run into problems and reverted to clinchers.
No one who has used them for MTB seems to have any problem with them.
They can be tricky to fit. They can be extremely tricky to fit if your rims aren't tubeless ready and go down the bodge-it route.
You must remember to periodically top up the sealant or you will lose all benefit.
When out and about you still need to carry a spare tube with you in case you get a seriously big hole.

And lastly ...

Some people have never used them at all but hold very firm opinions that they are a stupid idea. Possibly the stupidest idea ever.
 

lane

Über Member
A lot does depend on the tyre and rim combination. I use GP5000 tubeless and so far very happy with these. Things to think about:

Can be hard or near impossible to fit which can make dealing with a puncture on the road a real problem. My GP5000s on my hydra rims are very east to remove and reinstall so not a problem for me. I have also seen on forums people who have given up with the same tires because they are very difficult to fit on their rims. I know someone in real life who gave up with tubeless for the same reason.

Some people would argue that tubeless are not safe / more likely to blow off if they are too easy to fit; I don't know if there is any truth in this. Not had a problem myself. However there is evidence of some blow offs for whatever reason and I would therefore run them as lower pressures than clinchers - I run mine at around 65psi on 32mm tires.

Being able to run them at lower pressure is also an advantage in my view for comfort and better grip.

Tubeless tyres are more likely to reseal the lower the pressure. Hence they tend to work better with wider tires (28+) run at lower pressure.

Always run tubeless with sealent and top up when necessary.

Keep an eye out for the valve gumming up and clean if required.

Rims vary in the way they retain the tire due to the profile. On some rims tires will unseat when pressure gets too low; on other rims the tire will be retained by the rim profile even when flat. A tire that unseats may be a problem if it is difficult to inflate (needs a track pump or compressor) because you will then need to put a tube in to get it too inflate if you are out on the road. However I have found that while my tires do unseat when nearly flat I can easily re inflate them with my full size frame pump I have with me on the road so not a problem for me. I also wonder if rims where tires unseat are also easier to inflate the tire (I have no evidence of this).

If you get a puncture that won't seal then you can use a worm or dynaplug to repair before using a tube. Should be easier and quicker and tube is very last resort.

Based on my experience I am sold on tubeless especially the GP5000 which I really like. They are comfortable, fast and so far I have had no punctures that I know about.

When topping up sealant you can either put it through the valve or break the seal and put straight in the tire. I do the latter because I use Stans Race sealant which is not supposed to go through the valve.

Some very high millage riders have used tubless with long term success such as Steve Abrahams (1 year time trial) and Mike Lane (multiple years highest mileage in Audax). My view is if these guys stuck with them long term doing mega mileages they must have something going for them.

I found converting to tubeless surprisingly easy but no doubt that was partly luck in terms of my tire rim combination.

Finally, some tubeless tires are porous so need sealant to stop air seeping through the tire itself. GP5000s are not porous and this in my opinion is an advantage. The sealent is needed to plug any holes in the rim (rim tape should mostly do this) and around the valve. The sealant is then only needed to seal a puncture. I have a theory (unproved) that non porous tires like the GP5000 won't need sealant topping up as often.
 

Sharky

Veteran
Location
Kent
For me, I am too old and have too many bikes for me to adopt a new technology and fixing punctures is never a problem for me.
 

Ian H

I am an ancient randonneur, & I stop often for tea
Location
East Devon
I believe that manufacturers have now agreed common standards for tubeless tyres and rims. I don't know what the time-scale is, but it should eventually make things a lot simpler and more reliable.
I'm running tubeless on the new bike. So far so good.
 

Milkfloat

An Peanut
Location
Midlands
Wow 8 posts without anyone making outrageous claims that they are the worst thing ever. As Dogtrousers says, this thread will go in a predicable manner. My personal view - I have ridden tubeless offroad for years and years, on the road for just 4 years. I am a total convert and despite the initial setup faff have never had a serious problem.
 

Threevok

(if specified)
Location
South Wales
Not done it yet, despite buying only Tubeless compatible tyres for the last four years

I change tyres on both bikes so often, that I am afraid of the faff
 

wonderloaf

Über Member
Location
Hampshire
Been running tubeless for ~3000 miles now, had a few punctures and only one where the sealant couldn't deal with it, this was where a small piece of flint got stuck in the hole and agitated the sealant and so wouldn't seal. By the time I got to it I'd lost most of the sealant so had to tube the tyre which was no more hassle than if I'd been running an inner tube (although was a little bit messier).
I'm running non-tubeless 38mm Schwalbe G-One tyres on non-tubeless Mavic Aksiums rims @ 45 psi front & back, and have not encountered any real problems doing so, think I must be one of the lucky ones!
 

iluvmybike

Senior Member
Have used tubeless on mtb for yonks and no problems. I am just waiting for my current (non-tubeless ready) rims to wear out so I can then get some tubless ready ones for my road bike. Initial fitting can be a bit tight depending on tyre/rim combo but after that easy peasy - but if you are tubeless then it is unlikely you'll need to remove the tyre anyway. But I would not try it with non-tubeless ready rims or tyres
 

PaulSB

Legendary Member
I've been running tubeless - GP5000 - on carbon wheels since May on my summer bike, a Cervelo C3. Probably 3000 miles. The wheels and tubeless was all new at the same time so it's difficult to separate where the improvement is coming from.

Lower pressure is definitely a comfier ride. These are quality tyres and I feel rolling resistance and grip are excellent. The tyres do lose pressure more quickly than tubes. I have always checked pressure before every ride so this is no big deal. I've had no failures to date and I'm very happy I made the switch.

The only issue I've encountered is my valves gummed up. I ride three times a week so some air is added every 48 hours. We had three weeks of poor weather in early autumn so I rode my winter bike. When things dried up for a few days I went back to the Cervelo and found it impossible to loosen the valves to check pressure. Ten minutes at my LBS sorted that out.

I've no science to back this up but feel to prevent the valves gumming up one needs to release a little air and then reinflate on a regular basis.
 

lane

Über Member
I had slight problem with gummed up valves. However seems to have resolved without me doing anything. One thing I read was when bike is parked leave the wheel turned with valve at top.
 
I've been running tubeless for a couple of years now. After the first year of it on my TT bike with great success I put it on my leisure bike and for 3 or 4 month it was a success then it became a nightmare, with unsealable holes and unseating. Just as I was about to give up and go back to tubes I had an Epiphany. The wheels came with tubeless fitted and I had topped up the sealant with finish line stuff. Googled it and found out that a lot of people had the same problem with it so I switched back to Latex sealant (Joes/Stans) and havent had a real problem this year in over 4,000 miles this year. I say a real problem as I did get an unsealable side wall hole but I stuck one of those tyre worms in and it sealed for 30+ fast miles (17-18mph ave) and that was mainly my fault as I had been running the tyres deliberately low as the chemo cannula was bruising my wrist which was fine on road until my mate decided to go down a gravel path :rolleyes:

AVOID FINISH LINE SEALANT apart from that my experience of Tubeless is positive and I've put it on my winter wheels too :okay:
 
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