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Why tubeless over tubulars?

Old 12-22-21, 08:21 PM
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urbanknight
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Why tubeless over tubulars?

Now that I have finally joined the ranks of tubeless riders, I started to think back to my racing days when I would race on tubulars and train on clinchers. Tubulars seemed to roll more smoothly and corner more confidently (or maybe it was just a placebo). So is there any downside to just putting the tire sealant into tubular tires as compared to tubeless? If not, I know what kind of wheels I'm getting next!
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Old 12-22-21, 10:10 PM
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This summer I went back to using my old sewup wheels from racing days and bought some 25c Continental Gatorskin Sprinters. I had always raced on the regular 22mm Sprinters, and I found this wider version to feel great even though they were Gatorskins. I used these wheels on a vintage Pinarello Gavia TSX with Campy Ergo 8sp.

I decided to try Conti’s Revo Sealant (4ml) in the rear tire. I have no indication that the sealant came into play, as there are no outward signs of a repaired puncture. I did suck out the remaining sealant for the winter and I am not sure I would go back to the Revo as it seemed to fail inside tubed clinchers that I also tried it with. May try Cafe Latex or OrangeSeal next summer.
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Old 12-22-21, 10:44 PM
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The choice of tubulars vs tubeless should be made on other factors than sealant use.
I suspect tubulars don't respond as well to sealant as tubeless do, but certainly better than tubulars without sealant.
If you're going tubular because you want to, adding sealant isn't much of a down side at all.

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Old 12-22-21, 11:39 PM
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I thought Cafeelatex in tubulars was a given.
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Old 12-23-21, 01:23 AM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott
The choice of tubulars vs tubeless should be made on other factors than sealant use.
I suspect tubulars don't respond as well to sealant as tubeless do, but certainly better than tubulars without sealant.
If you're going tubular because you want to, adding sealant isn't much of a down side at all.
My reason is ride quality (at least in my perception), but the one thing that kept me off of them on the open road was the fear of getting stuck with a flat.
So it sounds like you're saying the sealant wouldn't heal holes as quickly or readily?
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Old 12-23-21, 01:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty
I thought Cafeelatex in tubulars was a given.
I raced in the 90's and don't recall anyone using or talking about any sealant back then. In the later half of the decade, Slime made a sealant that was used by a few commuters and recreational riders in their inner tubes, but it was regarded as too heavy for racing and training applications. I also think I heard of some people carrying something like Fix-a-Flat, but just to finish the ride and not as a long term solution. Now that people are riding tubeless and claiming to almost never get a flat with the caveat that the rare flat will almost guarantee you get stranded, it sounds like doing the same with tubulars would be a viable and similar option.
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Old 12-23-21, 02:26 AM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott
I suspect tubulars don't respond as well to sealant as tubeless do, but certainly better than tubulars without sealant.
I ride tubulars and always carry a small 2oz bottle of Stan's in my jersey pocket. My last puncture was about 15,000 miles ago, I hardly ever get a flat with tubulars. It took me a couple of minutes to squirt half the bottle into the tire. It sealed so well I could go a week without having to top off the air pressure. Of course you can just put it in a new tire and always ride with sealant in it but I don't puncture often enough to want to do that.
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Old 12-23-21, 08:36 AM
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I don't get punctures with tubed or tubeless, where I ride. No punctures in over 16,000 miles. Pinch flats from hitting rocks is a possibility that I cured with 28mm tubeless. If your frame can clear 28mm tires, that's the ticket to a better ride with low rolling resistance. My rims have an internal width of 19mm, but 21-25mm will allow even lower pressures. Read about Zipp's latest hookless rims and tire pressure recommendations at zipp.com.
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Old 12-23-21, 09:59 AM
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I have no insight regarding sealants in tubulars. Never used it while riding them. I am hanging out here to absorb the current thinking because I am going back. Eight years ago I had the crash that decided it. Had a clincher blow and come off. Never want to do that again and that was just a rear at ~22mph. I cannot get that out of my mind going downhill. By contrast, I've blown tubulars as 40+ and they were so uneventful I cannot remember whether it was front or rear.

Being a belt and suspenders guy (and not having a spouse, willing or otherwise), I will carry at least one spare and a patch kit. I see no reason not to go back the the Tubasti I used for everything but my race wheels. (I trained, commuted and club raced on the stuff. Never cleaned the rims other than taking off high areas. Spares were stuck on well enough to club race when I got home.)
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Old 12-23-21, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight
I raced in the 90's and don't recall anyone using or talking about any sealant back then. In the later half of the decade, Slime made a sealant that was used by a few commuters and recreational riders in their inner tubes, but it was regarded as too heavy for racing and training applications. I also think I heard of some people carrying something like Fix-a-Flat, but just to finish the ride and not as a long term solution. Now that people are riding tubeless and claiming to almost never get a flat with the caveat that the rare flat will almost guarantee you get stranded, it sounds like doing the same with tubulars would be a viable and similar option.
Huh? A puncture on a tubeless tire will not "almost guarantee you get stranded."
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Old 12-23-21, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
I am hanging out here to absorb the current thinking because I am going back. Eight years ago I had the crash that decided it. Had a clincher blow and come off. Never want to do that again and that was just a rear at ~22mph. I cannot get that out of my mind going downhill. By contrast, I've blown tubulars as 40+ and they were so uneventful I cannot remember whether it was front or rear.
That's definitely my worst nightmare. I've blown a front going 30+ before and it took all the cojones I had to gradually come to a stop. Luckily it was a dead straight road.

Since then, I've upgraded to carbon rims with TL tires. They have REALLY strong bead shelves. The tires simply *do not* come off, intentionally or otherwise. I would be very comfortable riding these flat, besides the rim damage issue. I actually sliced my front tire coming down the snake (LA). I let the tire barely seal, pumped it up, then sent it. No worries.
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Old 12-23-21, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
Huh? A puncture on a tubeless tire will not "almost guarantee you get stranded."
I didnít say puncture. I said flat (like if the hole wonít seal), and even that is just what Iíve been told from people who had a hell of a time stuffing a tube inside. Iíve heard about some kind of plugs, but canít rely on those until I get some.
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Old 12-23-21, 10:57 AM
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Over time, some sealants can make a clog at the base of the valve, degrade latex tubes, and make deflated tube stick to itself, causing it to burst when reinflated.
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Old 12-23-21, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
Huh? A puncture on a tubeless tire will not "almost guarantee you get stranded."
Originally Posted by urbanknight
I didnít say puncture. I said flat (like if the hole wonít seal), and even that is just what Iíve been told from people who had a hell of a time stuffing a tube inside. Iíve heard about some kind of plugs, but canít rely on those until I get some.
Your statement that "the rare flat will almost guarantee you get stranded" is simply incorrect. It's a common misunderstanding among people who've never run tubeless.
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Old 12-23-21, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass
I ride tubulars and always carry a small 2oz bottle of Stan's in my jersey pocket. My last puncture was about 15,000 miles ago, I hardly ever get a flat with tubulars. It took me a couple of minutes to squirt half the bottle into the tire. It sealed so well I could go a week without having to top off the air pressure. Of course you can just put it in a new tire and always ride with sealant in it but I don't puncture often enough to want to do that.
How long does it take the sealant to set once you put it in? I definitely find it appealing to just carry sealant instead of refresh it every 3 months.
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Old 12-23-21, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
Your statement that "the rare flat will almost guarantee you get stranded" is simply incorrect. It's a common misunderstanding among people who've never run tubeless.
It wasnít a statement of my own. Itís what I heard others (who ride tubeless) say, and the whole reason I posted it here is to hear differing opinions. Feel free to let me know how easy or difficult it is for YOU to fix a tubeless flat. It would very likely calm my concerns.

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Old 12-23-21, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by woodcraft
Over time, some sealants can make a clog at the base of the valve, degrade latex tubes, and make deflated tube stick to itself, causing it to burst when reinflated.
Are you speaking of latex tubes inside sew-ups? I canít imagine it sticking to itself, but degrading would be a concern. Plus, does ďover timeĒ mean months, or years when the tread wears out anyway?
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Old 12-23-21, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight
It wasnít a statement of my own. Itís what I heard others (who ride tubeless) say, and the whole reason I posted it here is to hear differing opinions. Feel free to let me know how easy or difficult it is for YOU to fix a tubeless flat.
It is precisely the same process as fixing a flat with a regular old clincher tire, except that a little sealant might dribble onto your hands in the process. Anything that would destroy a tubeless tire (and leave you stranded) would destroy any other type of tire - a standard clincher or tubeless tire included.
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Old 12-23-21, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
It is precisely the same process as fixing a flat with a regular old clincher tire, except that a little sealant might dribble onto your hands in the process. Anything that would destroy a tubeless tire (and leave you stranded) would destroy any other type of tire - a standard clincher or tubeless tire included.
Thanks, that makes sense. I suppose I should just practice doing it at home to feel more confident.

I still wonder if the sealant would do the same thing for tubulars though as I would highly prefer to ride on those.
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Old 12-23-21, 11:33 AM
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After I had my tubeless tires in use for several months, I let the air out and removed one bead to be sure that I could do it out on the road. I carry a spare tube and some nitrile gloves to keep the sealant off my hands. I've never had a flat in 35 years that a new tube wouldn't fix, but there's a first time for everything. I've hit 56 mph several times and regularly hit 50 mph. I don't worry about my tires coming off.
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Old 12-23-21, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott
I suspect tubulars don't respond as well to sealant as tubeless do ...
Why would that be? A puncture is a puncture. But, to your point: tubulars were invented and designed to survive incredibly high inflation pressures. Modern riders think 100psi is high pressure. Tubulars are just hitting their stride at 120psi and tubulars have been up in the 140's and higher! During my time with tubulars (late '70's) sealants had not been invented. Tubulars were already a mature technology. Their construction would seem fragile today but these were racing tires. Still, 120psi has a certain amount of flat resistance all by itself. IF you did puncture, you simply removed the tire/tube assembly from the wheel and mounted a fresh one! You didn't go on a training ride without a tubular (or three) in your back pocket (the original folding tire) or under your saddle and a small tube of tire adhesive (rubber cement). Skilled riders could change out a flat tire in less time than it took to ... number one.

To be brutally honest, the o.p. is asking the wrong question. It isn't really "why tubeless over tubular?", it really should be "why use either one anymore?!". I simply cannot see the need, in 2021, for tubular OR tubeless tires when standard clincher tires can sustain 120+psi for the racing contingent and are also available in 'plus sizes' for the gravel addicts. I would much rather use a Kevlar or Urethane tire liner than Slime. The tire liner will be much lighter than the liquid sealant and it makes much less mess and does not gum up valve mechanisms. It was a mistake, I think, to try and adopt the automotive tire infrastructure of tubeless tire technology for bicycles! It simply does not scale down well enough. Tubulars are simply obsolete and while they fulfilled a real need back in the day, that time has passed.

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Old 12-23-21, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight
It wasnít a statement of my own. Itís what I heard others (who ride tubeless) say, and the whole reason I posted it here is to hear differing opinions. Feel free to let me know how easy or difficult it is for YOU to fix a tubeless flat. It would very likely calm my concerns.
I've flatted twice on road tubeless (sidewall gash both times), and once on MTB tubeless. First road flat, I had zero issues booting the sidewall, installing a tube, and finishing 40miles of my 50 mile ride. Second road flat, I was unable to remove the stem due to a stuck stem nut, and had to call an Uber to get home. This was a maintenance issue on my part. My MTB flat was quickly resolved with a tube, and I finished 2 more hours of riding in challenging terrain with no issues.

I'm less excited about tubeless that I used to be, but continue to run it.
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Old 12-23-21, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight
I still wonder if the sealant would do the same thing for tubulars though as I would highly prefer to ride on those.
There are tubulars made by Tufo that are actually tubeless. Using them with sealant would be just as effective as using sealant in a tubeless clincher
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Old 12-23-21, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight
Are you speaking of latex tubes inside sew-ups? I canít imagine it sticking to itself, but degrading would be a concern. Plus, does ďover timeĒ mean months, or years when the tread wears out anyway?

Yes, latex tubes in sew ups. The others are things I've seen in used tires & probably not an issue for actively ridden wheels,

but the sticking-to-itself can happen sooner, but maybe newer, better sealants are not prone to this.

An example:


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Old 12-23-21, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight
My reason is ride quality (at least in my perception), but the one thing that kept me off of them on the open road was the fear of getting stuck with a flat.
So it sounds like you're saying the sealant wouldn't heal holes as quickly or readily?
I have used caffelatex and it seems to me to be the best (also used in tubes on clinchers, only one i have tried that worked there)
there is also vittoria pit stop, aersol can of sealer/inflator (have one but havenot tried)

pretty easy to carry a spare tubie and 2 if you are really paranoid

I like the jannd bag for carrying tubies and othe stuff

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