Tubeless tires sound like they would be good for a tandem application in that they would be less likley to roll of the rim. The Hutchison web page was not very helpfull. Does any body have any input regarding rims or tire manufacturers?
Ride it like you stole it
I've been riding tubeless (Shimano Scandium DuraAce wheels) on my half bike for a season and love it. I had one flat in about 3000 km on that bike. I have two friends who have both gone two seasons with no flats. Still waiting for a suitable rim/tire combination for my tandem. I'll probably buy them for my Cyclocross bike before I buy them for the tandem.
Note that Specialized and Campy are both coming out with tubular road wheels, and Specialized is also coming out with tubular tires (which are made by Hutchison).
I have not really looked at these new wheels wrt suitability for tandem use. I also don't know if you can buy the rims separately or not to pair with tandem hubs. Personally, I like a 28 mm tire for the tandem and I'm not sure there are any of those offered either.
For road use, rumor has it that Mavic Ksyriums with sealant work well with tubeless-ready tires as well as heavy-carcass high volume/low pressure tires (less than 80 psi or so). I have not personally tested this. I do know that cyclocrossers are adopting the Road Tubeless cross tires with great success, both with and without sealant depending on the rims used.
I keep waiting for the Road Tubeless version of the Hutchinson Intensive to become available but no shop in my area knows when they'll be in stock.
Greater choice/availability/rims/ price will influence whether tandemistas will go for tubeless.
I have been riding my tandem with Shimano WH-7801 tubeless wheels and Hutchinson Fusion 2 tubeless tires for over a year. I run 105 PSI in the front and between 100-105 PSI in the rear depending on the stoker. On my single I run about 90-95 with the same wheels.
The only flat I have had was a front flat that went down slowly over about 2 miles. We rode the final mile of the ride with a flat front (no tube with me) and had no issues.
Bit of a pain until you figure out mounting and how to keep them from weeping between rides. Once you get past that hurdle you will love them. You will not pinch flat again.
Having never pinch flatted with tubed tires (team weight in 360-370# range) the charm and
appeal of a tire aimed at the top 1% of riders in their current incarnation seems limited. A
local rider with tubeless was stranded about 30mi out of town with a double flat on his
singleton and is well known for frequent flats. Nice and anecdotal but until a more suitable
range of tandem friendly tires/rims appear it would be prudent to regard these as experimental.
I think this system needs a bit more work until it's right for recreational and competitive road use. That said I would be keen to try the system once lighter wheels and tyres are available. I am also somewhat sceptical about lower rolling resistance and comfort as IMHO benefits of the tubeless systems have not been objectively measured and you can get those same benefits by running lighter inner tubes or running a 2mm wider ordinary tyre.
For competitive road use tubulars seem to be lighter and offer greater benefits.
For recreational road use it addresses a problem that doesn't exist. On a single bike if you pump up your tyres and look where you are going there is no need to have pinch punctures. Last time I had one was quite a few years ago and involved a mistimed kerb bunnyhop.
On a tandem you're more prone to pinch punctures because of the additional load, but again if tyres are right width and pressure and you look where you're going, no need to get pinch punctures.
Currently tubeless systems are heavier than similar non tubeless setups, and offer little choice of tyre, add significant installation hassles, limit choice of wheels, still need an inner tube if you flat while riding along and so IMHO should remain a novelty for some time to come.