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  1. #1
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    The Tubeless Tire Thread.

    I was reminded that I was going to post my experiences/thoughts regrading road tubeless. So here we go:

    Given that virtually all cars and motorcycles have gotten away from tubes you'd have to think that, barring the UCI's interference, we're eventually going to end up there. Road tubeless is no longer "new" tech, and I can only think that the small number of tires and tubeless ready wheels is the only reason the technology hasn't wiped tubes off the map.

    Quick pros and cons vs. conventional clinchers:

    Pro:

    No pinch flats
    Less flats if you use sealant
    Less catastrophic flats (especially if you use sealant)
    Better ride for clinchers than latex tubes
    Better rolling resistance with the new tires
    No weight penalty

    Con:

    Harder/messier to mount
    Less brand selection (Hutchinson has 4 models so tire selection isn't really the right term to use)
    Requires a kit for non-tubeless rims

    And vs. Tubulars:

    Pro:

    Easier to mount (hugely quicker)
    Easier to change flats
    No pinch flats

    Con:

    Slight weight penalty
    Less wheel selection


    I've been running Shimano Ultegra and Dura Ace tubeless ready wheels for a couple of years now with a variety of Hutchinson Fusions, their Atom race tire, and I just tried the Intensive 25c training tire as "everyday" trainers. For the really bad cut ups I carry a tube and a tire boot, no different than if I was using a tube, though my spare tube didn't see use for nearly 12 months.

    I liked tubeless enough that last year I set up my wheel used Token C50 wheels with a Stan's kit and some Fusion3's for the Chico Stage Race which has a long section of gravel. It was pretty much the bomb.

    So I'm sold enough to be setting up a set of crit wheels for next season. If they work as expected I'll be moving away from tubulars for most of my race wheels except for track and my rear TT disc.

  2. #2
    illusoryly superior Ygduf's Avatar
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    easiest way to try this?

    just order what rim and what tire.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member SpeshulEd's Avatar
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    My cannondale came with ultegra tubeless rims and schwalbe ultremos. I blew the tires off the rims twice trying to get them up to 110psi. After that I gave up and just went back to the GP4000S and latex tubes.
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  4. #4
    Speed is Life... UnfilteredDregs's Avatar
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    I certainly hope it takes off for road bikes. It makes sense. Safer, more reliable. As far as mess goes, not really- considering that sealants come with injection applicators. Remove the core, fill with sealant, pressurize, and you're done.

  5. #5
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    easiest way to try this?

    just order what rim and what tire.
    Cheapest way is to use your rim and go with a Stan's kit and some Fusion 3's if you're looking at an "all around" set up.

    Quote Originally Posted by SpeshulEd View Post
    My cannondale came with ultegra tubeless rims and schwalbe ultremos. I blew the tires off the rims twice trying to get them up to 110psi. After that I gave up and just went back to the GP4000S and latex tubes.
    Not all Ultremos are tubeless. My guess would be a bad match or bad tire. I've mounted a dozen or so Hutchinsons at this point with zero issues.

    Beware trying to use a non tubeless tire without a tube. Tubed tires are not designed to work without a tube; while you can do the Stan's thing on an MTB with "tubed" tires and sealant, for road bikes it's not an option.

    Both Schwalbe and Hutchinson make tubed versions of their tubeless tires (at least for the Fusions and Ultremos), you need to make sure yours say "tubeless". Why they take the risk and don't just rename their tubeless tire, I have no idea.

  6. #6
    Pedal Warrior Specialized2k10's Avatar
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    I was bored at the shop one day and I set up an old ritchey wcs protocol rim with specialized roubaix tubeless tire and the stand kit. It's holding air nicely. Haven't ridden it yet since my front tire is still good and I don't want to waste a perfectly good clincher tire.
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  7. #7
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    NY had two teams sponsored by stan's. This year one of those is a UCI continental team. The guy who who owns that team races on tubular zipps. Maybe he doesn't get a deal.

  8. #8
    In the Pain Cave thechemist's Avatar
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    Any disadvantages to stans kit over dedicated tubeless rims? I didn't know the stans kit was out there!

  9. #9
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    I used stan's on my mountain bike, regular rims, tubeless tire, no sealant. it was bomb proof

  10. #10
    Senior Member SpeshulEd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    Not all Ultremos are tubeless. My guess would be a bad match or bad tire. I've mounted a dozen or so Hutchinsons at this point with zero issues.

    Beware trying to use a non tubeless tire without a tube. Tubed tires are not designed to work without a tube; while you can do the Stan's thing on an MTB with "tubed" tires and sealant, for road bikes it's not an option.

    Both Schwalbe and Hutchinson make tubed versions of their tubeless tires (at least for the Fusions and Ultremos), you need to make sure yours say "tubeless". Why they take the risk and don't just rename their tubeless tire, I have no idea.
    Hmm, you know, I never looked at the tire, just went by the cannondale specs online. I'll have to take a look when I'm out in the garage today.
    TIRES

    SCHWALBE ULTREMO TUBELESS 700X23C
    Hey guys, lets go play bikes!

    Strava

  11. #11
    Senior Member globecanvas's Avatar
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    I didn't know the technology was "there" for setting up regular road clincher wheels tubeless. Verrry interesting.
    http://www.notubes.com/Road-Tubeless-C78.aspx

    Having run MTB tubeless for a couple of years, the mess isn't necessarily when setting up the wheel, but changing a flat makes you feel like an extra in a porn movie. It especially sucks (ahem) in the woods where you get a nice tarred-and-feathered effect.

    I ran CX tubeless for a few months too. I have since switched back to tubes for both bikes after two frustrating experiences with particular rim/tire combos. Sometimes it just plain doesn't work.

    Do you need a compressor to mount the tires?
    Last edited by globecanvas; 12-07-13 at 07:57 AM.
    Ninny

  12. #12
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    I think it predates official tubeless systems

  13. #13
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    I think it predates official tubeless systems
    For MTB. Though it might be of roughly the same vintage or even a bit newer than UST.

    It's a bit different on the road, mostly because you can't use a non-tubeless road tire with a Stan's setup. The pressures are too high, it would be pretty unsafe. You're stuck with tubeless specific tires. I have to admit, one reason I've been unsure about road tubeless is simply that I don't have a high opinion of Hutchinson. Tubeless Schwalbe Ultremos, though, are definitely intriguing.

  14. #14
    Speed is Life... UnfilteredDregs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grolby View Post
    Tubeless Schwalbe Ultremos, though, are definitely intriguing.
    Schwalbe has come out with a new series of tires that look to be very interesting, the Schwalbe One...

    What don't you like about Hutchinson? I have no real experience with them other than I went with the Secteur 28s after talking to the guys at HED. So far so good, but, I'll chime back in when I've logged a thousand miles on them.


    Another thing to consider is more recent sealant concoctions...I called the guys at Orange Seal and asked them why they're better...

    They said something along the lines of, "We stand on the shoulders of Stan's technology, and we've implemented a whole new type of nanite technology," Stan's formula is 15 plus years old, etc..
    Last edited by UnfilteredDregs; 12-07-13 at 11:11 AM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    As an MTB racer who rides nothing but tubeless (well, race wheels are tubulars), this is an interesting topic.

    First and foremost, if you're running 110psi, tubeless, that is absolutely frightening. Your inflation shouldn't be anywhere near what you run on a normal clincher set up. Like 80%, max. You're losing some of the biggest advantages of tubeless by running pressures that high; grip and comfort.

    I'm a fan of Bontrager's tubeless rim strips. MTB, road, whatever. I have them on 26" carbon all mountain wheels, 29er carbon XC wheels, and aluminum cyclocross wheels. Best set up I've used, including Stan's strips. The plastic is somewhat rigid, and when pulling a tire off will NOT move, unlike the Stan's kit, which shifts around when you poke around with a tire lever.
    "If a non personal post makes you feel as if you've been attacked, maybe the problem IS you."

  16. #16
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thechemist View Post
    Any disadvantages to stans kit over dedicated tubeless rims? I didn't know the stans kit was out there!
    I haven't seen any between the set ups I have. I have only done the one Stans set up but I have logged a lot of training miles on my TT bike on them.

    Spesh, not sure what might be going on there. Subbed a tubed tire? Not seated evenly before inflation?

    As far as mounting it's easier with a compressor but I have done more than a couple with a standard pump. Road is easier to do with a hand pump that MTB if that is a reference point.

    Be interested in hearing how the Schwalbe performs, as well as the Specialized.

    The Stans road kit is different than he MTB kit. It uses a proprietary adhesive tape and not the rubber strip that's used in their MTB set up
    Last edited by Racer Ex; 12-07-13 at 11:19 AM.

  17. #17
    Underwhelming MrTuner1970's Avatar
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    Glad to read this thread. I've been using tubeless since 2009. Around 20K miles with one flat, and that from hitting a sharp rock going around a curve.

    One benefit that wasn't mentioned at first is better cornering feel. Might not be as noticeable with the thinner rims, but tubeless on 23+mm wide rims is fantabulous!

    Quote Originally Posted by UnfilteredDregs View Post
    As far as mess goes, not really- considering that sealants come with injection applicators. Remove the core, fill with sealant, pressurize, and you're done.
    Mess when you change a flat. Mess when you install new tires--the old stuff is all over the rim and must be cleaned up. For me, the benefits outweigh the mess. But for those people who want the easiest and don't mind spending $8 per tube, it makes sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    I used stan's on my mountain bike, regular rims, tubeless tire, no sealant. it was bomb proof
    Maybe bomb proof, but hardly flat proof. Tubeless needs some sealant to work well on bike tires. Yes, with a puncture, tubeless will leak far slower, but the sealant, well…it seals.

    Quote Originally Posted by globecanvas View Post

    Do you need a compressor to mount the tires?
    No. I've done it dozens of times. Never anything other than a hand pump. Now if the rims or tire walls haven't been cleaned off, it won't mount. Most of the complaints I've read about tubeless are a result of failure to understand how they are supposed to work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of Kent View Post
    First and foremost, if you're running 110psi, tubeless, that is absolutely frightening. Your inflation shouldn't be anywhere near what you run on a normal clincher set up. Like 80%, max. You're losing some of the biggest advantages of tubeless by running pressures that high; grip and comfort.
    Correct. I'm 170-175 lbs, and run front around 85, and rear around 95.

  18. #18
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrTuner1970 View Post

    Maybe bomb proof, but hardly flat proof. Tubeless needs some sealant to work well on bike tires. Yes, with a puncture, tubeless will leak far slower, but the sealant, well…it seals.
    Carry a spare tube.

  19. #19
    Underwhelming MrTuner1970's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    Carry a spare tube.
    Duh?

    Even though I use tubeless, there's always a spare tube with me. Have only needed it once.

  20. #20
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    I'm not really looking to debate it. I'm conveying my experiences. I started using Stan's on regular rims with tubeless tires and no sealant about 11 years or so ago with no issues at all. No leakage either. In fact, I found that to be a better and more reliable system than tubeless rims.

    That's my experience. YMMV.

  21. #21
    Senior Member SpeshulEd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of Kent View Post
    As an MTB racer who rides nothing but tubeless (well, race wheels are tubulars), this is an interesting topic.

    First and foremost, if you're running 110psi, tubeless, that is absolutely frightening. Your inflation shouldn't be anywhere near what you run on a normal clincher set up. Like 80%, max. You're losing some of the biggest advantages of tubeless by running pressures that high; grip and comfort.

    I'm a fan of Bontrager's tubeless rim strips. MTB, road, whatever. I have them on 26" carbon all mountain wheels, 29er carbon XC wheels, and aluminum cyclocross wheels. Best set up I've used, including Stan's strips. The plastic is somewhat rigid, and when pulling a tire off will NOT move, unlike the Stan's kit, which shifts around when you poke around with a tire lever.
    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    I haven't seen any between the set ups I have. I have only done the one Stans set up but I have logged a lot of training miles on my TT bike on them.

    Spesh, not sure what might be going on there. Subbed a tubed tire? Not seated evenly before inflation?

    As far as mounting it's easier with a compressor but I have done more than a couple with a standard pump. Road is easier to do with a hand pump that MTB if that is a reference point.

    Be interested in hearing how the Schwalbe performs, as well as the Specialized.

    The Stans road kit is different than he MTB kit. It uses a proprietary adhesive tape and not the rubber strip that's used in their MTB set up
    Hmm, I'll have to try them again. I still haven't bothered to look at them yet today to see if they say tubeless on the side. I'll need to pick up some more valves anyway as I ended up using the valves for the mtb.

    It very well could be lack of sealant, I was being cheap and used hardly any sealant. Not to mention the high psi I was pumping them up too. I believe stans recommends that you don't go over 40psi with mtb tires - I keep those around 30.

    I had a very easy time with the mtb tires and love running tubeless with those. I did this trick for the mtb wheels - gorilla tape sells a 1" size now that worked perfectly, no cutting needed.
    http://www.pinkbike.com/news/Tech-Tu...onversion.html
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  22. #22
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnfilteredDregs View Post
    What don't you like about Hutchinson? I have no real experience with them other than I went with the Secteur 28s after talking to the guys at HED. So far so good, but, I'll chime back in when I've logged a thousand miles on them.
    Nothing specific. I don't think highly of their quality. They aren't reputed to roll particularly fast or grip particularly well. I might just have an incredibly unfair bias not based in reality.

  23. #23
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    i've been riding tubeless for MTB for 12 years. MTB is a fantastic application for it because the terrain that most folks ride on the MTB is more prone to causing more small cuts, nicks, tears, etc. than most roads. lower pressures (higher volumes) mean it is safer to convert regular tires for tubeless use.

    the "official" tubeless standard (UST rims and UST tires) is significantly heavier than sealing normal tires -- but the thing is not all tire-rim-sealant combos are effective.

    any solution has pros and cons and Ex did a nice job covering many of the common ones. for my purposes, tubeless on the road is a solution to a question i haven't asked. the best part -- instant sealing of small punctures -- is just not a big factor for me in my normal riding. if i lived in an area where the roads had tons of glass or goat heads, i might feel different. pinch flats on the road, for me, are super rare. (can't recall a single one....and it is even less likely with tubulars.)

    the higher pressures required for road tires mean that non-certified tubeless solutions carry a bit more risk to them. the beads on official tubeless tires are significantly stronger (=heavier) because they have to be. that's what is saving your skin. the sidewalls of a non-tubeless tires simply aren't designed for this; for lower pressures MTBing it is not as big an issue, but at 80, 90, 100+ psi you want to be careful.

    aside from lack of tires options in today's market, the bigger issue -- for me -- is that stiffer sidewall = less supple tire = rolls slower. i've tested other tires but have not personally roller tested tubeless tires; the data i've seen from others suggests that the current crop of tires are not particularly great. this matters if you care about rolling resistance; not everyone does. i think the new schwalbe tire, if memory serves, tested REALLY poorly in this department.

    installing tubeless tires does not have to be messy. it sure can be, but it is also easy to do it in a very clean way.

    while latex tubes have their drawbacks, use of latex tubes can help remove some of the drawbacks of tubes. pinch flats are less likely with latex tubes, and there's less of a hit on ride quality and speed. tubular tires...usually the best ones...use latex tubes; their ride quality is not limited by having a tube, or should i say any ride quality of road tubeless is not due to absence of a tube. different tire compounds, lower pressure, less weight...maybe.

    Ex--not saying it is right, but shimano says absolutely NOT to use sealant with their TL-rated wheels. i don't personally know anyone who would run tubeless without sealant, at least in any terrain of consequence.

    i suspect this might got back to the worry about the damage that sealants left inside rims for a long time have sometimes been shown to cause. search "stan's" & "ammonia" if you want to learn more about what can happen to rims. there's some debate about it, but it seems to generally be accepted that ammonia DOES cause problems. some manufacturers chose to eliminate it and others claim that any ammonia in their formula is ok. individuals can decide what they want to believe.

  24. #24
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    I have pinch flatted a bunch of tubulars from hitting potholes and road debris over the years. Haven't found that latex tubes are much less prone to pinch flatting than butyl in either tubulars or clinchers, a pinch is a pinch. But latex does go flat a bit slower when the punctures are small.

    All the tests I've seen on tubeless have been a few generations separated from the latest versions but that may be more an issue with my data base. The differentiations between tires weren't all that huge, but I would be looking for the watt or two if I was time trialing. I flatted out of a half dozen or so races in the last 12 months, and if I could knock that in half it would be worth a watt.

    I would be interested in seeing if the tests played around with pressure what the results would be...would running a tubeless at 90 improve the crr? And the tests I've seen all have a presumed road surface...food for thought.

    The ammonia issue is easily solved by riding the tire a bit, releasing the air, then refilling a few times. The corrosive part of the sealant is a volatile and will off-gas quickly leaving you with mostly water and latex. And with carbon it's a non issue.

    I am assuming (guessing) that ammonia keeps latex in solution better than XYZ ingredient, otherwise they wouldn't use it? But I question whether there is something else at play. Oxidation that would roll through a rim in a few months as claimed is pretty far out of "it's the sealant" mode as a sole cause in that small a percentage. I have built and used many an aluminum speargun over the years that saw years of salt water use and barely blinked. My guess is there is something else going on that's setting up a galvanic cell. The one set of Shimano wheels the the weight weenie guy had were carbon/aluminum rims. Hmmmmmm.

    zinc nipples would be the answer In any case if Stans was so horribly corrosive then why are some rims not blinking after years of service? Alloy selection? Other materials in the wheel? Some alloys are much less corrosion resistant but to this degree? And you'd expect a pretty huge backlash vs. the onesy/twosy thing. The one person's conclusion that the soap he used couldn't be an issue is a bit of denial too.

    Corrosion is funny...I can tell you a good $5,000,000 story sometime.

    Tubeless rims can be run without sealant, though that seems to be a waste of a good option.

    As far as weight goes tube vs tubeless is pretty negligible when you weight all the stuff in a bucket. If grams are of primacy you're already rolling your eyes at clinchers.

    Worth noting for the latex tube folks the Challenge latex tubes have a removable valve core if you did want to add sealant.
    Last edited by Racer Ex; 12-08-13 at 12:45 AM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member abhirama's Avatar
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    Very informative thread, thanks! I was going to get some DA C24s CL but I'm going to go TL instead. If Shimano says not to use sealant, I won't. Worst case, if I run into some issues I run it as a clincher - a few additional grams on the rim. No biggie for me.

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