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Tubeless on road bikes??

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Tubeless on road bikes??

Old 01-23-24, 09:44 PM
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I'm a tubeless fan. Though I only run it in my main bike I use most of the time. Since I ride the other bikes much less often (months can go by), I use tubes in those because the sealant would just dry out between uses. I also accept the performance hit when I do run tubes since I need to use heavy tire liners, else I suspect I'd get a flat about every other ride. Lots of goat heads where I live.

I can understand if someone has several bikes they use regularly, that trying to keep up with sealant in all of those might be too much work.

I haven't had to plug or add air/CO2 on the road, to a tubeless tire in several years. Used to be about once a year before that. Not sure why, probably just random chance.

I do carry a TPU tube with me just in case I have some major failure. I've never needed to use an emergency tube with a tubeless tire setup. I could easily justify not carrying one at the risk of maybe, someday, once having to phone a friend. But it only costs me a few ounces of weight and I have down-tube storage for it, so it really has no impact when I ride.

For me, tubeless maintenance just means adding a little sealant about every 6 weeks and at the same time, cleaning out any sealant that might be plugging up the valve core. Just takes a few minutes total. Current tires of choice (GP 5000 STR) mount easily on the several sets of rims I use them on. But if I were on the side of the road, the only reason I would have pulled a tubeless tire off the rim was to put in a tube, so re-seating the tire would not be an issue.

Tubes or tubeless are not mutually exclusive, except within the same tire. Each approach has its merits and I use the approach that works best for me on my specific bikes and situations.
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Old 01-23-24, 10:49 PM
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I do the same. My road and mtb are both tubeless but my rain bike (fendered) and when I get the Orbea off the trainer for the summer are both tubed. All run Conti GP5000s. Have to agree that maintaining 4 bikes with sealant would be a PITA, but two is far more manageable. Each bike has an underseat bag with full tire repair kit. Tubes in all, just in case.
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Old 01-24-24, 06:00 AM
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I've been running tubeless on seven bikes for about five years now. All of my bikes are disc brake. I own two road bikes, they have the same wheels on them and I run 28mm GP5K S-TRs on the hooked rims with 21mm internal widths. I have two other all-road/gravel bikes that both have hookless rims, both with 25mm internal widths and one with 32s the other with 40s.

Tubeless positives:
1. Ability to run lower pressures. I weigh 170 and run 62 psi on 28s and about 45 on 32s on the road. The ability to run these pressures is frankly game changing IMO: better comfort, better grip, fast rolling etc.
2. Fewer punctures. I rarely flat anyway but I (whisper this) haven't flatted a tubeless setup in a manner that required me to put a tube in on any bike in five years. I have had to plug tires twice, both times with Dynaplugs. That worked.

​​​​Tubeless negatives:
1. Unless you get the right tools, setup can be a pain. I really recommend a 6 gal compressor and a presta inflator, such a setup will make blowing beads on rims far easier. You can get a setup like this for maybe $150. You also need sealant (which is outrageously priced), real tubeless tape (using non-tubeless-specific tape is a gamble), valves etc. Tubeless tape kinda sucks unless you warm it up before applying (both of my road wheelsets have solid rim beds, which is the way to go IMO). You need some way to inject the sealant through the valve (popping a bead is a pain, I use small bottles to inject into the valves). I really recommend GP5K S-TRs, but they are very expensive. Getting all of this stuff means that the setup costs are high.
2. You need to relearn how to maintain tires. Mounting a tubless tire is tricky until you've done it a few times and figured out what process works for you. You need to refill the sealant periodically and judging when you need to do so is more art than science. Also, every rim/tire combo varies in how well it works... It's kind of a pain.

Overall, the positives outweigh the negatives for me. Basically, once you get the tires setup tubeless is great. IMO, the single best improvement in recent road bike tech.
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Old 01-24-24, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
15 minutes is quite a leisurely repair pace. I had my roadside repair time down to 4 minutes. I had to be quick, because the group would never stop for me, so I had to chase after the repair.

I flatted near the bottom of Old La Honda, but the group just rolled by. I fixed the puncture and chased hard, catching back up to the group before they reached the summit. They were surprised.
Yup. The guy was a PITA to be honest. He kept on being dropped hills after hills and it took him forever to change his flat. His tire was so old it was dried out, almost flaking.
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Old 01-24-24, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Hiro11
I've been running tubeless on seven bikes for about five years now. All of my bikes are disc brake. I own two road bikes, they have the same wheels on them and I run 28mm GP5K S-TRs on the hooked rims with 21mm internal widths. I have two other all-road/gravel bikes that both have hookless rims, both with 25mm internal widths and one with 32s the other with 40s.

Tubeless positives:
1. Ability to run lower pressures. I weigh 170 and run 62 psi on 28s and about 45 on 32s on the road. The ability to run these pressures is frankly game changing IMO: better comfort, better grip, fast rolling etc.
2. Fewer punctures. I rarely flat anyway but I (whisper this) haven't flatted a tubeless setup in a manner that required me to put a tube in on any bike in five years. I have had to plug tires twice, both times with Dynaplugs. That worked.

​​​​Tubeless negatives:
1. Unless you get the right tools, setup can be a pain. I really recommend a 6 gal compressor and a presta inflator, such a setup will make blowing beads on rims far easier. You can get a setup like this for maybe $150. You also need sealant (which is outrageously priced), real tubeless tape (using non-tubeless-specific tape is a gamble), valves etc. Tubeless tape kinda sucks unless you warm it up before applying (both of my road wheelsets have solid rim beds, which is the way to go IMO). You need some way to inject the sealant through the valve (popping a bead is a pain, I use small bottles to inject into the valves). I really recommend GP5K S-TRs, but they are very expensive. Getting all of this stuff means that the setup costs are high.
2. You need to relearn how to maintain tires. Mounting a tubless tire is tricky until you've done it a few times and figured out what process works for you. You need to refill the sealant periodically and judging when you need to do so is more art than science. Also, every rim/tire combo varies in how well it works... It's kind of a pain.

Overall, the positives outweigh the negatives for me. Basically, once you get the tires setup tubeless is great. IMO, the single best improvement in recent road bike tech.
I've always been able to sit and inflate my tubeless tire with a floor pump, but I did hear stories about people not able to inflate them without a compressor though. I think it's due to older rims not being ''fully'' TL compatible and cheaper TL tires.
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Old 01-24-24, 08:01 AM
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I get by with a track pump with a 160psi reservoir but that was about $150 anyway

I have managed to develop a technique that allows me to put sealant in with a 25mm road tyre half on and then finish installing it without a mess and without having to remove the valve core or clog up the valve. 5 minutes to install one now, was fighting the old 5000TLs for more than an hour to begin with
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Old 01-24-24, 08:15 AM
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Yeah, GP5K are known to be a pain in the butt to install. That's one of the reason why I don't use them. Schwalbe has always been nice to me . No need for a tubeless pump with a built-in compressor; pumping suffices.
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Old 01-24-24, 08:48 AM
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I've been running Pirellis with little seating problems.
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Old 01-24-24, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by eduskator
I've always been able to sit and inflate my tubeless tire with a floor pump, but I did hear stories about people not able to inflate them without a compressor though. I think it's due to older rims not being ''fully'' TL compatible and cheaper TL tires.
I used to use Specialize Roubaix Pro 2Bliss tires, not a cheap tubeless tire, and on modern rims. For me these tires were almost impossible to get on or off, or to seat. They were so tight they just stayed in the channel on the rims. To get them to seat I would install a tube to seat the tire, then of course pop one side off to pull the tube out, and even then it required an Airshot setup to reliably get it to seat.

Sometimes it would take many efforts in the shop, spread out over days to get the things on or off. Needed to give my hands a rest between sessions. I don't recall the details but I think to pop the bead to remove a tire, I developed a system involving some boards, a large socket head and some leveraging technique. I stuck with those tires way longer than I should have. For me the GP5000's have been very easy to get on and off. But of course it is a combination tire and rim issue.
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Old 01-24-24, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by eduskator
Yeah, GP5K are known to be a pain in the butt to install. That's one of the reason why I don't use them. Schwalbe has always been nice to me . No need for a tubeless pump with a built-in compressor; pumping suffices.
as long as air doesn’t easily escape around the edges of the tyre, yes. I’ve found it likes to do so and besides, the reservoir thing is fun when you throw the dial
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Old 01-24-24, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
I do the same. My road and mtb are both tubeless but my rain bike (fendered) and when I get the Orbea off the trainer for the summer are both tubed. All run Conti GP5000s. Have to agree that maintaining 4 bikes with sealant would be a PITA, but two is far more manageable. Each bike has an underseat bag with full tire repair kit. Tubes in all, just in case.
What's a PITA about topping off sealant? Let out pressure, remove valve core, squeeze in some sealant, replace core, pump tire - done. It takes a few minutes. Worst case is having to re-seat the tire with a compressor or cannister, which isn't that big a deal, either. IME, the tires re-inflate just fine with just a floor pump most of the time.
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Old 01-24-24, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by eduskator
I've always been able to sit and inflate my tubeless tire with a floor pump, but I did hear stories about people not able to inflate them without a compressor though. I think it's due to older rims not being ''fully'' TL compatible and cheaper TL tires.
I've found it's sometimes just manufacturing variances in the tires. When installing 2 new tires on the same bike, it's not uncommon for me to get one that seats just fine with just a floor pump, and the other needing a cannister boost. I don't use cheap tires, and I've had the same situation on both brand-new and older wheels.
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Old 01-24-24, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
What's a PITA about topping off sealant? Let out pressure, remove valve core, squeeze in some sealant, replace core, pump tire - done. It takes a few minutes. Worst case is having to re-seat the tire with a compressor or cannister, which isn't that big a deal, either. IME, the tires re-inflate just fine with just a floor pump most of the time.
Not going to do it on 4 bikes. You can be my guest though.

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Old 01-24-24, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
Not going to do it on 4 bikes. You can be my guest though.

You see, shaming doesn’t work. In fact it never works. <-Life lesson
I wasn't intending to shame you. I apologize if it came across that way. Your comment about it being a PITA just struck me odd because I don't find it to be much of a burden in the realm of bike maintenance (I have 4 bikes with tubeless tires). That said, I also enjoy working on my bikes. I understand that not every one feels that way.
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Old 01-24-24, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
I wasn't intending to shame you. I apologize if it came across that way. Your comment about it being a PITA just struck me odd because I don't find it to be much of a burden in the realm of bike maintenance (I have 4 bikes with tubeless tires). That said, I also enjoy working on my bikes. I understand that not every one feels that way.
Yup, it's just part of the routine. After checking (and topping off, if necessary) the sealant in a set of tires, I tell my iPhone to remind me to check again in a month. When the reminder pops up, I check 'em.

Did it on one of my bikes a couple days ago -- took about five mins, and that included using my booster pump to re-seat the rear tire.
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Old 01-25-24, 02:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
Yup, it's just part of the routine. After checking (and topping off, if necessary) the sealant in a set of tires, I tell my iPhone to remind me to check again in a month. When the reminder pops up, I check 'em.

Did it on one of my bikes a couple days ago -- took about five mins, and that included using my booster pump to re-seat the rear tire.
Out of interest - how do you check it? I just tend to go with gut feel / how long it’s been but it feels very unscientific.
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Old 01-25-24, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
I wasn't intending to shame you. I apologize if it came across that way. Your comment about it being a PITA just struck me odd because I don't find it to be much of a burden in the realm of bike maintenance (I have 4 bikes with tubeless tires). That said, I also enjoy working on my bikes. I understand that not every one feels that way.
You're right. It's not a PITA at all. The guy doesn't want to check and maintain 4 bikes on tubeless setup, but he's willing to change 4 tubes. No further comments
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Old 01-25-24, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by choddo
Out of interest - how do you check it? I just tend to go with gut feel / how long it’s been but it feels very unscientific.
On my end, I used to unseat a small section of the sidewall (4-5'') and visually inspect the sealant inside. I found that the Muc-Off will last a full season without drying off so I don't do it anymore. Instead, I add 1oz of sealant half way through the season, just in case.
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Old 01-25-24, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by eduskator
On my end, I used to unseat a small section of the sidewall (4-5'') and visually inspect the sealant inside. I found that the Muc-Off will last a full season without drying off so I don't do it anymore. Instead, I add 1oz of sealant half way through the season, just in case.
Yeah, I also found that Muc-Off doesn't dry out all year. I refresh it in Spring and add a little top up mid-season before my key events and that's it.
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Old 01-25-24, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by choddo
Out of interest - how do you check it? I just tend to go with gut feel / how long it’s been but it feels very unscientific.
I remove the valve core and use the dipstick that comes with a bottle of Orange Seal. I do find it worthwhile to check regularly, as the refill intervals vary according to the weather, the number of punctures I've gotten (and often don't realize I've gotten, if the sealant works immediately), etc.
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Old 01-25-24, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
I remove the valve core and use the dipstick that comes with a bottle of Orange Seal. I do find it worthwhile to check regularly, as the refill intervals vary according to the weather, the number of punctures I've gotten (and often don't realize I've gotten, if the sealant works immediately), etc.
This ^^^

My gravel bike tends to get the most action. Mostly because I've been experimenting with different tires, but also because it gets a top-off before each event, which has been every 3-4 months. Now that I'm thinking about it, it's probably time to check my other bikes.
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Old 01-25-24, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
I remove the valve core and use the dipstick that comes with a bottle of Orange Seal. I do find it worthwhile to check regularly, as the refill intervals vary according to the weather, the number of punctures I've gotten (and often don't realize I've gotten, if the sealant works immediately), etc.
Ha, very neat
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Old 01-25-24, 05:13 PM
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For me its a solution looking for a problem. I don't mind tubes or running 80 PSI on 25's. Also I don't get that many flats and ride plenty? Maybe im just lucky.

MTB - been running tubeless for many years. Can seat every combo ive tried with a regular floor pump. I also tried some specific tire/rim combos (for road) a while back that pissed me the hell off. I hear things have come a long way. But I don't really care to try.
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Old 01-25-24, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by TMonk
Also I don't get that many flats and ride plenty? Maybe im just lucky.
Luckier than me for sure. Transformational for me. Out on a fun ride it’s one thing but on a commute in the wet, I don’t want to be messing with tubes.
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Old 01-25-24, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by choddo
Out of interest - how do you check it? I just tend to go with gut feel / how long it’s been but it feels very unscientific.
I too, remove the core and use a dipstick. In my case I took some piano wire and filed it flat on each side and roughed it up. Pretty much just a micro version of a car engine dipstick. If you pay attention to how much you original put in, and tested the dipstick, you'll have an idea what low or high is.
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