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Tubeless tire Q's

Old 01-18-22, 11:19 PM
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Tubeless tire Q's

I'm new to road bikes, well I had one about 25 years ago or so. I have parts on the way to build a new one and am going to go tubeless. I did a lot of reading in tires and seems there's really no consensus at all about what's best, lots of recommendations and people that like a lot of different tires across multiple brands. That's great that there's so many quality choices, given reviews and what's actually available I have some Pirelli P Zero TLRs 700x28 on the way. This is also my first delve into tubeless so I've got some questions...

First off Pirelli's web site says these tires are rated for 73psi max but they also publish a chart that recommends I run them at 90psi for my weight (I'm about 185lbs). So which is right?

Second question is choice of rim tape. Like the tires, there's lots of different options and proponents for any given brand from purpose specific tapes to anything from the hardware store so it seems it's completely noncritical so long as there's at least some kind of reasonable tape present. On my tubed tires I use 2 layers of kapton, it's cheap, I have it, and it's worked perfectly. On a new install I pump the tires to 80psi for a day or whatever just to prove all is good but actually run them at ~40psi (700x38 hybrid tires). Any reason I can't use the same tape for tubeless?
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Old 01-19-22, 05:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Ryan_M

First off Pirelli's web site says these tires are rated for 73psi max but they also publish a chart that recommends I run them at 90psi for my weight (I'm about 185lbs). So which is right?
The 73 psi limit applies to hookless rims only. It's in the small print on the box, but in a completely different place to the pressure chart! The chart indeed recommends 90 psi for you, but you can run lower than this. They do recommend dropping the front pressure by 5 psi for added comfort, or 5 psi lower all round for wet conditions.

They are great tyres, but I found them a bit prone to punctures on the main tread unless I was very unlucky.
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Old 01-19-22, 07:25 AM
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Yeah, 90psi in 28c rubber for a 185lbs-er seems high to me, too, but it’s super easy to start there and work your way down and back up in search of the sweet spot for your preferences.

With regards to rim tape, I dunno what kapton is, but the purpose of the tape is make a non-airtight rim airtight, so provided it does that without interfering with the seating of the tire, it’s basically fine. Whether that tape is grippy on the surface making seating difficult, or whether it will peel up cleanly without ripping or leaving chunky adhesive residue, are considerations the relevance of which depends on your willingness to F-around with stuff. You’ll also want the tape width sized appropriately for the design of the rim bed. In most cases, that’s simply the same width as the rim bed, but depending on shaping of the bed and elements like the bead shelf, you may be able to do wider or narrower without any issues. I’d say just check your inner width measurement and match tape width, or better yet, contact the rim manufacturer and ask.
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Old 01-19-22, 08:18 AM
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Just another data point for you on pressure - I'm 165lbs and run 28mm tubeless at 60-65psi.

DT Swiss rim tape is pretty great. I've used a few different kinds of tape and the DT Swiss tape has a bit of stretch to it and makes it really easy to get a tight seal. It's a bit more expensive than other options but worth it. A good tape job is key to a successful tubeless setup.
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Old 01-19-22, 08:37 AM
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I have tried generic “Kapton” tape for my DT Swiss R460 tubeless wheels and my results were not great. The “Kapton” that I bought was 18mm width I believe which came up just a tad too narrow for the rim bed. Even though the inner dimension is 18mm (I believe - I may have to re-check these measurements), when you factor in the depression (“well”) in the extrusion, it may be a wise bet to up-size by 2 or 3mm wider so that the square bead gets covered all the way with tape. I found the tape to be thin and prone to shifting and or cracking around spoke holes. I keep hearing that DT Swiss tape is good and plan to try some.

BTW: when untaping a tubeless rim that won’t hold air overnight to your satisfaction, there is a learning opportunity. Usually you well see trails of where sealant managed to leech through. This is instructive. For me, I learned several important things: 1) is to use a firm plastic tool to help conform each layer of tape fully down eliminating air bubbles. 2) don’t scrimp and think 1 layer is sufficient, it isn’t.
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Old 01-19-22, 09:04 AM
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The pressure calculator at zipp.com is the best I've found. I just put Pirelli p zero 30mm tires on zipp 303s hookless wheels. For my weight, 52/56 psi was suggested. With 19mm internal width hooked rims and 28mm tires it suggests 62/66.

Don't cheap out on the rim tape. Some use scotch 8896 tape, if you can find it in the right width.
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Old 01-19-22, 09:14 AM
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I've been thinking about different road tires. At 170 pounds, I ride GP5000 28mm at 68-72 psi front and 80 psi rear. I use Michelin Airstop tubes, sized for 18-25mm. My tires measure 29mm on my wide rims. (The previous 25mm ones measured 26.5 mm, so the 28s are more true to size.)

These are great for smoothing out bumpy roads, are very grippy in turns, and are very low rolling resistance on smooth roads.

I've had a few pinch flats over the years, mostly when hitting larger, squared gravel rocks that were sitting out on otherwise good roads, and I didn't see them. This pinch flats if I'm going fast, but not at cruising speeds. So I'm considering going tubeless, maybe.

Choices:
1. Keep the 28mm tires & tubes. I had one or two pinch flats in 5000 miles, but none this year. This is a pretty good setup.

2. Go to 32mm tires with latex tubes. I can lower the pressure even more. But there's no lightweight tubes for this size. I don't want to stretch my 18-25 tubes that much.
I've looked into latex tubes. These should work with the 32mm, and drop the rolling resistance by a couple of watts or so. I don't mind pumping them up before each ride. But there's reports of tube failures around valve stems or seams. I'd have to be very careful while mounting the tires, too, but that's okay. A difficult decision. This setup should ride very nice, but do I want the aggravation?

3. Tubeless. I have tubeless ready wheels, with the correct tape already installed. And I can run 32mm tires.
No pinch flats! That's a big reason.
Tiny punctures seal themselves. Glass slivers or truck tire wires would be auto sealed.
Tubeless is supposed to be less rolling resistance, but again, it's a few watts difference.
Rough roads? I can drop the air pressure even more, since it won't pinch flat.
But:
Tubeless can be difficult to mount on road wheels. It sounds like mountain bike tires and wheels are easier to mount tubeless.
The tires + sealant are at least as heavy as a road tire+butyl tube.
The sealant should be topped off, at least once during the year, probably more. I wear down a rear tire in less than a year, and put the old front tire on the back, mount the new tire on the front (otherwise the front stays there for years, accumulating small cuts and cracks.) So that would be the time to clean out the dried sealant?
The valves can get clogged, the core removed and cleaned occasionally. Sometimes it gets totally blocked?
Big slices from sharp metal objects or broken bottles on the road won't seal, spraying sealant all over. (I try to never ride on shoulders where the debris accumulates. Riding in the right side car tire track is the cleanest place on the road.)

I have an air compressor to use when mounting the tire. I'd need a presta adapter for it.

~~~

Tubeless road riders: Convince me to go tubeless!

Last edited by rm -rf; 01-19-22 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 01-19-22, 10:08 AM
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I switched last year and really like the ride with the lower pressure. I have 19mm internal width fulcrum racing 3 wheels that require no rim
strip. My michelin tubeless were a bit tough to get on, but a bead jack makes it easier. I have a blow off nozzle with a pointed rubber tip that inflates tires easily. Take the valve core out to seat the bead.

My new zipp 303s hookless rims with Pirelli p zero 30mm tires were far easier to install and aired up with my floor pump. So far, hookless has been great.
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Old 01-19-22, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf

2. Go to 32mm tires with latex tubes. I can lower the pressure even more. But there's no lightweight tubes for this size. I don't want to stretch my 18-25 tubes that much.
I've looked into latex tubes. These should work with the 32mm, and drop the rolling resistance by a couple of watts or so. I don't mind pumping them up before each ride. But there's reports of tube failures around valve stems or seams. I'd have to be very careful while mounting the tires, too, but that's okay. A difficult decision. This setup should ride very nice, but do I want the aggravation?
Forget the latex and go with Schwalbe Aerothan Endurance Race TPE tubes which fit up to 35c, and are lower weight, more puncture and cut resistant, and better at holding pressure than latex.
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Old 01-19-22, 12:14 PM
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rm -rf go with option 3 (road tubeless) ! You pretty much argued yourself right into it.

Since you already have the tubeless ready rims and you need a comfortable 28mm set-up - now the fun begins, picking your tires, then installing them, troubleshooting any obstacles to holding air consistently and finally riding them.

I’ve only run 25’s (Panaracer’s now discontinued Race A EVO 3 tlc’ s) but they were great. The learning curve is different to be sure and yes, setbacks do occur. But if you run your tubeless ready wheels tubeless for a season (or 1,000 miles or whatever arbitrary trial period seems adequate), just revert back to tubes if so inclined.

I have been commenting for a while that flat prevention is a nice bonus of tubeless road. Road grip & comfort to me is the bigger advantage of road tubeless.

Last edited by masi61; 01-19-22 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 01-20-22, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Ryan_M
I'm new to road bikes, well I had one about 25 years ago or so. I have parts on the way to build a new one and am going to go tubeless. I did a lot of reading in tires and seems there's really no consensus at all about what's best, lots of recommendations and people that like a lot of different tires across multiple brands. That's great that there's so many quality choices, given reviews and what's actually available I have some Pirelli P Zero TLRs 700x28 on the way. This is also my first delve into tubeless so I've got some questions...

First off Pirelli's web site says these tires are rated for 73psi max but they also publish a chart that recommends I run them at 90psi for my weight (I'm about 185lbs). So which is right?

Second question is choice of rim tape. Like the tires, there's lots of different options and proponents for any given brand from purpose specific tapes to anything from the hardware store so it seems it's completely noncritical so long as there's at least some kind of reasonable tape present. On my tubed tires I use 2 layers of kapton, it's cheap, I have it, and it's worked perfectly. On a new install I pump the tires to 80psi for a day or whatever just to prove all is good but actually run them at ~40psi (700x38 hybrid tires). Any reason I can't use the same tape for tubeless?
A few things...

1) The lowest PSI is for hookless rims (too much pressure may cause the tire to unseat because of the absence of hooks inside the rim). You shouldn't run tubeless tires at 90PSI regardless of your rim type though. I am 180lbs, running 28mm tubeless tires on hookless rims and they are always inflated at 60 front / 65 rear. I'm pretty positive I could run lower pressures, but I am comfortable at these two numbers.

2) Tubeless is more hassle for sure, but proven to be more resistant to puncture as well as the ability to self-repair almost instantly. Once you get comfortable with it, it's very easy to work with (aside from sealant squirt everywhere on your wheel, chainstays and transmission in the event of a bigger puncture that can't be sealed instantly by it), but it doesn't happen frequently if you ride mainly on paved roads lol.

3) Tubeless tape can be used with inner tubes, but regular tape can't be used with tubeless tires as the regular tape is not meant engineered to seal and block every possible air gap that would result in air loss (slow leak).
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Old 01-20-22, 08:58 AM
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eduskator question regarding #2 - in the event that sealant gets squirted on stuff, how easy is it to clean up? Soap&water or Simple Green sufficient or does the stuff need elbow grease to get off? Thanks.
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Old 01-20-22, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by gpburdell
eduskator question regarding #2 - in the event that sealant gets squirted on stuff, how easy is it to clean up? Soap&water or Simple Green sufficient or does the stuff need elbow grease to get off? Thanks.
It is water based and it cleans easily with water only. I do it with warm or hot water.
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Old 01-20-22, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by gpburdell
eduskator question regarding #2 - in the event that sealant gets squirted on stuff, how easy is it to clean up? Soap&water or Simple Green sufficient or does the stuff need elbow grease to get off? Thanks.
Originally Posted by eduskator
It is water based and it cleans easily with water only. I do it with warm or hot water.
I'd amend that answer by saying that it cleans easily from hard, smooth surfaces if you don't take too long to address it. If it gets on to clothing/fabric and you don't rinse it out quickly, it may permanently stain. It can also be a pain in the ass on a matte finish bike if you really let it set in for days/weeks/months. In fairness, though, matte finish bikes are a pain in the ass to clean no matter what. *shrug*
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Old 01-20-22, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf

Tubeless road riders: Convince me to go tubeless!
Dynaplug. That's what convinced me to go tubeless. Sealant + Dynaplug will keep you rolling with minimum effort 99% of the time when you get a puncture. No more sitting at the side of the road taking wheels off and fitting tubes. Well actually that is the very last resort, but I haven't been in that situation for years. But you need to pick your tyres and sealant carefully. I found those Pirelli P Zeros a little too fragile for my rough local roads. Had 1 puncture that the sealant couldn't quite deal with, but 2x Dynaplugs in the hole got me rolling again.
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Old 01-21-22, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
But you need to pick your tyres and sealant carefully. I found those Pirelli P Zeros a little too fragile for my rough local roads. Had 1 puncture that the sealant couldn't quite deal with, but 2x Dynaplugs in the hole got me rolling again.
Which tires and sealants have you come to prefer?
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Old 01-21-22, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight
Which tires and sealants have you come to prefer?
I've had great results with Pirelli Cinturato Velo (32 mm). Grip is excellent in all conditions, reasonably fast, reasonably comfortable, long lasting and very puncture resistant. These are my first choice for everyday riding and big fondo events. I tried Pirelli P Zero Race TLR (30 mm) and they felt a little more supple and I presume a little faster (couldn't measure it), but also more fragile. I picked up 2 big cuts on these within a fairly short time and went back to Cinturatos for peace of mind. Our local roads are pretty rough though.

For sealant I've been using Muc-Off and it seems OK. It just about sealed the first big cut I got on the P Zeros, but the second one needed plugging. What I like about Muc-Off sealant is that it's not too messy (water based) and quite thick like double cream. Instead of sloshing around inside the tyre and pooling at the bottom when parked up, it coats the whole inside of the tyre with a layer of "cream". This also means that instead of spraying all over your bike when you get a puncture it tends to just bubble up at the surface. Also doesn't dry out too quickly like some e.g. original Stans. I've been using Muc-Off sealant on my mtbs for a few years now and rarely had to use a plug. Like most Muc-Off products it smells quite nice too!

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Old 01-29-22, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Ryan_M
Second question is choice of rim tape. Like the tires, there's lots of different options and proponents for any given brand from purpose specific tapes to anything from the hardware store so it seems it's completely noncritical so long as there's at least some kind of reasonable tape present. On my tubed tires I use 2 layers of kapton, it's cheap, I have it, and it's worked perfectly. On a new install I pump the tires to 80psi for a day or whatever just to prove all is good but actually run them at ~40psi (700x38 hybrid tires). Any reason I can't use the same tape for tubeless?
I have Kapton tape too but I didn't use it yet because I use PET tape. Both tapes are a bit the same but the PET tape is 2x stronger, but I'm riding my 25 mm tubeless roadbikes at 100 PSI, and can be used to make rims airtight for tubeless tires. Makes sure the largeur of the tape is at least 5 mm larger then the inner width of the rim.
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Old 01-30-22, 11:31 PM
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I run the P Zero Race TLR 30mm on my Domane with the Aeolus Pro 51 (23mm Internal) 62 PSI and 28mm on my Emonda with the Aeolus Pro 5's (21mm internal) 67 psi, and Orange Seal Endurance for my local roads and it has been great. I use the Bontrager rim strip in both wheelsets versus the tape and have had no issues mounting tires with just a floor pump. No flats in over 16 months since I went tubeless. I even got this monster of a nail in my Domane rear tire and I did not flat, and was able to ride another 7 miles to make it home. It was jammed in there good and needed a pair of pliers to pull out of the tire. I used a Dynaplug to seal it and have over 800 miles on the tire since, and no issues.

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Old 01-31-22, 07:36 AM
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You’ve probably gotten all the answers you need at this point but I’ll throw in a couple of thoughts. For credibility I’ve been riding tubeless road for about 7-8 years now and exclusively for probably 6. I’ve had at least 5 different wheelesets and tons of tires since I like to goof around.

For rim tape I’ve liked Stans for simplicity and ease, but my LBS owner friend just sold me on the DT and it’s really, really easy to put on and confidence building. To be fair though I’ve never had much of a problem with any tape save the Bontrager and that was probably due to being my first installs and twists. Generally my tape jobs have lasted at least two years without thinking about it. Like mentioned above though, make sure you get the right width.

Sealant, I’ve had the best success with Orange Seal, some say to stay away from the one labeled endurance but it seems like the only type of Orange available to me and I’ve never had any challenges. The Bontrager has also worked well when I used it. Both Stans and Magic Milk have really not been great for me.

I live in a desert climate, I add sealant to my tires about once during their lifecycle. Maybe I could do it a little more in the summer but I generally forget or don’t think of it until I realize that I’m losing a little more air in the tires than usual.

good luck and enjoy!
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Old 02-02-22, 01:21 PM
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Thanks everyone for the input! Got a quick question before I move forward... I got my stuff and am starting the build (whole new bike). I got the orange seal but am trying strapping tape. Yeah I know. I'd read others have used it and it worked out fine and it's $0.12/m instead of close to $3/m (CDN) so if it works, great!, if it doesn't at least I have some experience.

So I taped the rim and mounted the valve stem (muc off), as tight as I could go with my fingers. I mounted the tire which wasn't so bad compared to some of the horror stories I've read, I only needed a bit of help from a tire lever. I pumped up the tire with a floor pump but I didn't hear any pops from it seating like in every single video I've watched. It appears to be seated where it should be though. I deflated the tire and it stayed put, visually it didn't even look like it lost air. I pumped it up again to 70psi and after about 90 minutes the pressure dropped to 50psi so there is a small leak. I haven't added any sealant yet but I'm hopeful that will take care of it? Or should it be holding air longer than that on it's own? Just want to make sure all is as it should be before I move forward. Anything else I should be looking for?

Thanks!
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Old 02-02-22, 01:34 PM
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Is the witness line visible all of the way around?

How long it'll hold air without sealant is going to vary from tire to tire. Some tires are designed to be air-tight without sealant, others require sealant.
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Old 02-02-22, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi
I'd amend that answer by saying that it cleans easily from hard, smooth surfaces if you don't take too long to address it...
Yes, but the part I hated was trying to get it out of the nooks and crannies on, for instance, rear rim brakes. Ugh.
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Old 02-02-22, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Ryan_M
I pumped it up again to 70psi and after about 90 minutes the pressure dropped to 50psi so there is a small leak. I haven't added any sealant yet but I'm hopeful that will take care of it? Or should it be holding air longer than that on it's own? Just want to make sure all is as it should be before I move forward.
IME that's pretty typical. I've had tubeless tyres deflate faster than that before adding any sealant. I'm pretty sure my P-Zeros dropped down pretty quickly. After adding sealant there was a little bit of bubbling around the beads and then good to go. But they do typically still lose pressure over several days, so you have to check them before riding. Like for example if I set them at 70 psi, they might be down to 60 psi after a couple of days sitting in the garage. It's something you just get used to with tubeless tyres.
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Old 02-02-22, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Ryan_M
I pumped it up again to 70psi and after about 90 minutes the pressure dropped to 50psi
Normal. It will leak a lot less with sealant.
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