July 28, 2015 at 11:48 am #806019
I’ve run into some long time riders recently who still don’t wanna make the jump to tubeless. So I have to ask the tubed among us: what the heck are you waiting for? What do you not like about it? What do you like more about tubes? Why do you like stuff that worse than stuff that’s better?
Let me help you to help yourself.
JesseJuly 28, 2015 at 12:49 pm #806023
I run tubes in my bikes and have no real interest in going tubeless….bike weight doesn’t concern me, I very rarely get flats (run contis on my DH rig there like car tires) And run fairly high pressure compared to a lot of people because im a much bigger, heavier rider than most. Just got tubes for my new wheelset im building for my trail rig! My buddies who run it often burp air and spray out sealant, and it just isn’t something im keen on experiencing. Its quite easy to change a tube on a ride, its not very easy to reseal, reseat, and get going again on a ride when you run tubeless….unless ya peel the tire off and jam a tube in there.July 28, 2015 at 1:02 pm #806024
Good question Jesse.
I’ve run tubeless in the past and liked the feel, but its the setup and maintenance that keep me from going back. Tubes are just easier to manage, especially if you don’t have a fancy pump, compressor or removeable core valves.
The performance benefit doesn’t seem to balance the hassle IMHO.July 28, 2015 at 1:33 pm #806027
I hear your points, and they seem to be based on experiences with older set ups, but I might be wrong. My first foray into tubelessness was with UST proper rims and tubeless ready tires and it was just a no brainer for me after that. My specialized tires went on with a regular floor pump and I made no mess because of the ease of installation. I went tubeless on a whim after getting two flats in one ride. 5 years later I’ve only had one flat because of a gash from a chuck of glass, and ever year I run a bit less pressure. I did burp once landing hard on my front end, but that was an anomaly.
Current rims and tires like WTB and Schwalbe hook up so well that most issues are long gone. Last season I ran my sidewalls bare, to the point that sealant was leaking out and the tires still held pressure fine. I even had a 1.5″ slash in my tire that just made it’s way through the casing and the tires still held fine. Tubes never would have lasted.
The initial set up can be down right annoying depending on the tires/rims, but once that thing is on your good till you want a new tire. I’ve never needed a compressor FYI. If you get a bad puncture in your tire, just slap a tube in like you always did, but the chances of you needing to are slim if you aren’t running your tires way too low or love rolling over glass.
If this sounds all too complicated I’d say it’s worth it for the tire pressures that are available risk free. After running pressures from the mid 20s to high teens (I’m 200lb without gear) I just hate the bouncy feeling of hard tires. You lose so much grip and control over roots and small bumps on the trail. And if you’re on a hardtail it is even that much worse.
If though, you must change your tires more than every two months, or are shredding on some heavy DH bike and like hard tires then I understand not seeing the upside to tubeless tires. Otherwise, I think you should give it another go and soften up those tires.
Annoying to install, sometimes
More work to change your tires every few weeks
Lesser rims/tire combos can burpJuly 28, 2015 at 10:28 pm #806034
What do you mean in your cons “more work to change your tires every few wks”.
I’m interested in tubeless but may as well wait to try on a new bike as I’m riding a 2005 Trek 6500. It’s all I know but I’ve shown restraint the last couple years not jumping on the latest innovations. To me tubeless upgrade would not be worth sinking the money into my bike. I’ve been really drawn to 27.5 bikes. Lately the Scott Genius 27+ seems to fit my desires. I imagine 27+ tubeless is a good idea because of the lower pressures you can run.July 28, 2015 at 11:10 pm #806035
I understand many people have issues with tubeless setups burping or blowing off. And if that’s the case, I suppose it makes sense that you switch back to using tubes if that is the easiest way to fix the problem.
However, it begs the question: Was this a ghetto tubeless setup, or was something done wrong? Even maybe a tire choice that wasn’t right for the application? Personally, I have been running tubeless for years. On my trail bike, I run my front tire at 17-18psi, my rear at 21-23psi, and I weigh over 200lbs with my gear on. The only flat I’ve had in all that time completely destroyed my rear tire, and I’ve never burped any air (at least that I’ve noticed). On my downhill bike, I go 23-ish front and 26-ish rear. I do touch down on the rim occasionally, but never burp, and haven’t had a flat in two years of running that setup. Obviously I’m just one guy, but there are many world cup downhillers running standard tubeless setups (eg. not dual-chamber setups) for their race days in the mid-20s. I feel if setups are available to get them through a race run, then pretty much anyone should be able to get through a trail ride.
I suppose you could argue that you like to run heavy tires and high pressures anyways, but those are both contradictory to getting better performance from your tires. If you could switch to a decent tubeless setup, which allowed you to run a lighter casing and lower pressure, you would be granted a much better performing tire. The benefits of running tubeless – if it works for you – are without consequence. It inherently provides less weight (in the component for which weight matter most), less rolling resistance, better traction and fewer flats. On top of this, it also permits lower pressures, which also adds up to better traction and less rolling resistance. There is actually no performance trade off here. A decent pump or cheap compressor to help the setup is pennies in exchange for the massive performance gain relative to other bike upgrades ( less than the price of a decent carbon bar), and all the maintenance it should need is to pop the bead of the tire open and check/top up the sealant every few months, which doesn’t even require taking the tire off the bike. A single trail-side pinch flat repair on a tubed tire probably adds up to more time than I spend maintaining my tubeless tires in an entire year.
All that being said, the most important thing is to be confident in the tires you are running. If that means 1.9 Panaracer Fire XCs at 40psi, then that’s probably going to be the tire that results in the best ride for you.July 29, 2015 at 12:52 am #806036
If I tried to run under 25psi on anything short of a DH tire, I’d mangle a set of rims every 2-3 weeks and/or destroy the tire itself, thus I don’t get the low pressure benefits of a tubeless setup. No I’m not fat (150 lbs), I just get stupid on my bike from time to time. Ok, I lied, I do enough stupid stuff that I’ve broken a few frames and more rims than I care to count. I need about 27-28psi to keep UST profile tires (mostly Conti and Maxxis) on my WTB Frequency i23 rims and prevent excessive rim strikes, any less than that and they either burp or the casings get mangled and I end up with a large wobble in the tire. Or the rim gets dented.
With that said, it’s not that I can’t ride smoothly and not break things, i can. I have a bike setup with Race Kings and weight weenie rims that I’ve ridden at Hilton Falls and several other places that are notorious for breaking tires and rims, and I’ve yet to mangle the wheels & tires on that bike. Problem is I enjoy riding like a hooligan at times. Ok, a lot of the time, which unfortunately means the i23 is barely strong enough in a 26″ size and a Maxxis EXO or Geax TNT casing is the minimum required to keep me from warping casings and punching quarter sized holes through the tires. I destroy Schwalbe tires just by looking at them and have a couple sets of warped Conti tires in the Protection casing.
Because of the way I ride and the trails I ride on, I don’t get many of the benefits of tubeless, even though I do have 2 of my bikes setup that way. My only real benefit is flat resistance and a marginal weight & rolling resistance reduction. The only reason I setup my bikes tubeless is because there’s a crapload of glass & thorns on some sections of my local trail and I got sick of getting flats.July 29, 2015 at 6:42 am #806040
i’ve run my dh bike tubeless for several years now and quite pleased how it worked out. also my xc bike is set up tubeless . most tires i can seat with a decent floor pump. a little soapy water goes a long way to easy the process. there is even special lube http://uncledicksbikeshop.com/ i’ve even have gone tubless in the winter with studded tires.
though keep in mind you still will get punctures (not a real pain to repair), the last 4 years using tubeless i’ve only had one puncture…
some tips:July 29, 2015 at 9:32 am #806044
Here I thought I was the last person to switch over!
I made the leap late last year on my trail bike and realized all of my concerns were red herrings – when set-up properly there is less maintenance and hassle with tubeless and I do feel the performance improvements of lower pressure. I was ready to trash my rubber and drop coin on new tires until I saw how the tires I have perform with lower pressure. I’m running 28-32psi (175lb rider), avg 10psi or more less than tubed, and everything feels better. And this is a quasi-ghetto set-up with TR wheels, rim tape (alum duct tape – didn’t have clearance in the rim for a thick rubber tape and still get the bead to sit right) and Stan’s and I haven’t had any issues now into the 2nd season on this set-up.
Eventually I will change over all of my bikes, as tubes fail. First will be the road bike – blew a tube a few weeks back a long way from home and was quickly reminded how much of a pain in the ass changing a high pressure tube can be road side with pencil-sized pump.July 29, 2015 at 10:08 am #806047
I am still running tubes even though I have Stans Flow rims and proper tubless tires. I set it up once tubeless and I had a slow leak on the trail several Km’s out and it kept getting worse. I changed to a tube right on the trail. I am riding at least once a week at Hilton Falls/Agreement Forest. This has got to be one of the toughest places on tires. I am running around 18 PSI with tubes and I have not had a flat yet. (now I’m going to have to change tubes every ride). I get more flats on the road than I ever do on the trails. I had 3 flats last year on the road bike and one on the fat bike. No flats this year so far. I’m in my fifties and have been running tubes all my riding life. I have never had an issue with flats. Ok, maybe when I was riding trials with really low pressure on the back and got pinch flats. I don’t DH, or do big drops, so that might have something to do with it. I do ride a ton of rocks though all the time with little issue. Not really interested in tubeless. For me tubes work just fine and perform perfectly for what I ride. Maybe a more demanding rider would see some benefit.July 29, 2015 at 10:33 am #806048
I am still running tubes even though I have Stans Flow rims and proper tubless tires. I set it up once tubeless and I had a slow leak on the trail several Km’s out and it kept getting worse. I changed to a tube right on the trail. I am riding at least once a week at Hilton Falls/Agreement Forest. This has got to be one of the toughest places on tires. I am running around 18 PSI with tubes and I have not had a flat yet. (now I’m going to have to change tubes every ride). I get more flats on the road than I ever do on the trails. I had 3 flats last year on the road bike and one on the fat bike. No flats this year so far. I’m in my fifties and have been running tubes all my riding life. I have never had an issue with flats. Ok, maybe when I was riding trials with really low pressure on the back and got pinch flats. I don’t DH, or do big drops, so that might have something to do with it. I do ride a ton of rocks though all the time with little issue. Not really interested in tubeless. For me tubes work just fine and perform perfectly for what I ride. Maybe a more demanding rider would see some benefit.
If you can get away with 18psd at hilton falls with no flats you’re definitely doing something right, haha.
What tires are you running??July 29, 2015 at 10:40 am #806049
Hans Dampfs.July 30, 2015 at 10:39 am #806066
and all the maintenance it should need is to pop the bead of the tire open and check/top up the sealant every few months, which doesn’t even require taking the tire off the bike.
Better yet, purchase a removable core valve stem. Remove the core, add sealant, reinstall core, and re-inflate. No need to pop the bead. Takes minutes.July 30, 2015 at 11:28 am #806068
I agree with @matty-f – if the tubeless is installed correctly and uses the right equipment it won’t give you issues.
The only downside to tubeless (as far as I can see) is for those of you who like to change your tires frequently to match changing dirt conditions. I’d point out though that this is partially offset by the increased flexibility you get from a large useable pressure range.
Tubeless wins for me hands down. Every rider owes it to themselves to at least try it before they decide it’s not for them. It’s such a cheap upgrade that makes a big difference.July 30, 2015 at 12:04 pm #806069
What do you mean in your cons “more work to change your tires every few wks”.
This has been answered by others, but all I’m saying is that those people who like to change tires every few weeks may find tubelessness too much work. I usually only change tires in the spring and fall, so the 1 hour of work a year is of no consequence to me.
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