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Totally switching to tubeless for road

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Totally switching to tubeless for road

Old 06-06-24, 07:37 AM
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Totally switching to tubeless for road

For a while I have been switching back and forth between tubeless and TPU on different wheelsets but decided recently to jump fully into tubeless and run both my road bikes tubeless. My previous experiences with tubeless really went without incidents besides when I forgot to refill the fluid on one set for 9+ months and flatted and when I tried topping off fluid on a different set it kind of got everywhere, otherwise tubeless has just worked in that most flats that I would have gotten with a tube simply don't happen or aren't noticeable. Now tubeless is more expensive in terms of tires and more finicky in terms of setting up and maintaining but when I am actually riding I just get to ride without having the overall fear I will need to wrestle around putting in a spare tube on the side of the road, plus speed wise tubeless has been just as fast while being more supple. IMO tubeless in 2024 is the new disc brakes and I think a debate we are going to have for the next 5+ years until eventually every stock bike comes setup standard with tubeless. I think tubeless tires have become light enough that the 60g between a GP5000 28mm and GP5000 S TR is a bit meaningless.


I think between tubeless clincher tires getting better, better sealant, and pretty much all new wheels coming tubeless ready we are entering the golden age of tubeless at least clincher wheelsets. As per hookless I am still very anti hookless


Interested to see if anyone has fully gone tubeless or why people are still holding out.
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Old 06-06-24, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Jrasero
Interested to see if anyone has fully gone tubeless or why people are still holding out.
I am still holding out because in all the years that I've been riding with other cyclists who do use tubeless -- and as an avid/active cycle club member, that means I've been riding with numerous other cyclists who do use tubeless ever since it first became commercially available -- I have only ever seen the advantage of tubeless once.

One time in all the roadside flats on group rides have I ever seen the rider stop, rotate their wheel a few times to distribute the sealant near the puncture, wait ~30-60 seconds, hit it with a shot of CO2, and be ready to go. Just like the manufacturer's advertised. Once.

Every other time -- we're talking well over a dozen different instances -- there was some issue with the sealant, or with seating the bead, or with the valve, and it took much longer to get back to riding than it would have with a conventional clincher tire using an inner tube. Plus the rider invariably wound up covered in sticky sealant...as did, often, the cyclist riding behind them when the flat occurred. Every. Other. Time.

I simply don't see any advantage, and I've empirically seen lots of disadvantages. No thanks.
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Old 06-06-24, 07:55 AM
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Jrasero your post is compelling and I may have to try it again in the not so distant future. I tried it a few years ago with a couple of different wheelsets/tire combos and it freaking sucked - either impossible to install (too tight) or too loose, even with a blast of CO2 at home (I do not yet own a compressor). For me, I don't flat that often and I don't feel a real need to go below 80 PSI in coastal San Diego (145 lb rider) so admittedly I didn't pursue it too fervently.

Also, I'm not sure if I'm into the "wrestling a tube on the side of the road" hyperbole. I mean, it's not that hard??? Can be done in a few minutes fairly calmly. Maybe that's just me. TL;DR, I don't have flat tire problems so for me it's a solution looking for a problem. Although again, I may try it again in the future since I assume things have gotten a bit more streamlined with installation and offerings. I have been riding tubeless MTB for 15 or so years so I do know how great it is when functioning properly. I've been able to seat every MTB tubeless combination I've tried with a floor pump.
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Old 06-06-24, 07:57 AM
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I don't doubt your experiences but I think with tubeless the beauty is in what you don't see because unlike a tube where you get a shard of glass that punctures and you instantly loose pressure , you might not ever notice this on a tubeless setup unless you were inspecting your tire after each ride or dismounted the tire.

IMO tubeless works flawless until it doesn't and then that's when you get the visual ques something is wrong, but anecdotally one season riding fully tubeless on my Aethos I haven't had to do anything besides top off and add air like normal. A full season on my other race bike I have flatted five times already, now one of those was really a TPU defect more than puncturing but even so 4 punctures has meant 4 times where I have to stop a group ride and wrestle around with a tire and tube for 15-25 minutes.
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Old 06-06-24, 07:59 AM
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Wrestling around a tire and tube for 20 minutes sounds like a gross exaggeration
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Old 06-06-24, 08:10 AM
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My experience: I was extremely skeptical about tubeless. But, about 5 yrs ago I saw an incredible deal on Mavic Ksyrium UST w/Yksion tire. So, because I was skeptical, I bought a rear wheel/tire combo. Mounted it on my CAAD 12. Went out for a ride and was stunned at how comfortable and quick it felt. So, I bought the front as well. Really liked it so I bought wheel sets for my two other road bikes and my wife's Canyon Ultimate. Ultimately, we had 5 bikes w/ Mavic USTs. That was 5 yrs ago. FWIW, when it comes to maintenance I'm terribly lazy. So, each wheel gets resealed at the beginning of the season. That's it. In 5 yrs we have had zero flats. None. Bottom line: I am converted and totally happy.
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Old 06-06-24, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by TMonk
Wrestling around a tire and tube for 20 minutes sounds like a gross exaggeration
Some people are better at putting on tires than others but I only use GP5000 and S TR which have a much tighter bead. I think it's not just getting the tire on and off per se but also having to stop, unload my saddle bag fumble around and get the wheel off and panic to find my levers and manually inspect the tire for any debris and possible boot it, then at bare min we are looking a 15 minutes for me, now you might be able to do this quicker but for me and my anxiety of having to do this, I much rather go tubeless and maybe I have to spin the tire to reseal, or use a plug, or very worse just use a spare TPU tube, but as you noticed that's like three possible stages while while a tube it's either flat or not
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Old 06-06-24, 08:25 AM
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I went tubeless on my road bikes last year, I'm happy with the results so far. Based on past experiences, I likely would've had a couple flats with clinchers, during that time. No flats on road tubeless so far...goat heads aren't an issue anymore. I did have one puncture that self-sealed during the ride, but then developed into a slow leak in the following days. I threw a Dynaplug in it, and it's been good ever since. The only reason I knew it punctured during the ride, was I heard the whoosh of air for about 1/2 a second and had a few droplets of sealant on the seat tube afterwards. I didn't even top the tire off during the ride.
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Old 06-06-24, 08:55 AM
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Went tubeless road a month ago, so a few hundred miles now. I can run less air (70-80), so ride quality is even better. I’m using GP5000 S TR in a 28mm. On my Bontrager Aeolus 37 rims they actually measure 30mm. No issues to date, I think it’s a good idea after every ride to give the tires a quick spin and watch for punctures. I went tubeless as it’s generally a PITA to deal with a flat in tubed tires with a tubeless rim, while in the field. Getting beads back on the rim is an issue. Thus having sealant deal with a potential puncture seems easier. So far no issues, but then I would rarely flat in tires with tubes, mostly as I used 5000 clinchers, so a good flat resistant tire anyway,
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Old 06-06-24, 08:59 AM
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I’ve been fully road tubeless for 10 years, and I agree things are better now than they have ever been before! There’s more selection, top quality, and greater compatibility between rims and tires. I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to say we’re in the dawn of a golden age.

I have four road bikes rollin’ tubeless on the regular, with one doing occasional duty, and while I feel like it gets to be a lot sometimes, I’m also fully geared up to deal with it, and in addition to having an air compressor and a quality inflator head, I keep stock of rim tape and sealant like I used to keep stock of tubes and patches. And other than start of season sealant top up, I don’t have any additional maintenance. In fact, for my commuter/ute, I don’t even top up sealant regularly since the very porous Rene Herse tires let me know when they need sealant because they start leaking down, so that’s when I add it, like maybe twice a year.

I have had the catastrophic problems out on the road where I couldn’t get a reliable seal, or had to put in a tube, or couldn’t get the tire off, but that’s going back several years now, and as I say compatibility has gotten better. I’ve never had to use a plug since I’ve carried them in the past 5 years or so; I don’t even carry plugs anymore, really.

So yeah, road tubeless has been good to me, and I plan to stick with it.
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Old 06-06-24, 09:21 AM
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Not really necessary for me because punctures are rare and I do not ride long distances. Conti GP5000 + RideNow 36g TPU tubes have been serving me well and are great, performance-wise. But then again, I might just be a Luddite since I also greatly enjoy riding my 50 yr old steel frame bike with 22mm latex tubed sew-ups.
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Old 06-06-24, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob Ross
I am still holding out because in all the years that I've been riding with other cyclists who do use tubeless -- and as an avid/active cycle club member, that means I've been riding with numerous other cyclists who do use tubeless ever since it first became commercially available -- I have only ever seen the advantage of tubeless once.

One time in all the roadside flats on group rides have I ever seen the rider stop, rotate their wheel a few times to distribute the sealant near the puncture, wait ~30-60 seconds, hit it with a shot of CO2, and be ready to go. Just like the manufacturer's advertised. Once.

Every other time -- we're talking well over a dozen different instances -- there was some issue with the sealant, or with seating the bead, or with the valve, and it took much longer to get back to riding than it would have with a conventional clincher tire using an inner tube. Plus the rider invariably wound up covered in sticky sealant...as did, often, the cyclist riding behind them when the flat occurred. Every. Other. Time.

I simply don't see any advantage, and I've empirically seen lots of disadvantages. No thanks.
You haven't seen the advantages because they are largely invisible: when tubeless works, small punctures just seal up before any noticeable air loss occurs. It happens a lot.
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Old 06-06-24, 10:03 AM
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All my bikes are now tubeless, except my Copenhagen Wheel outfitted Langster single-speed. I will never consider returning unless some new tech surpasses it over the next few years. As stated before, on these never-ending tubeless threads, Along with my regular rides and commuting, I tour tubeless, which has paid off in spades. The only thing worse than riding dead, lifeless tires such as Gaterskins, Marathons or their ilk is repairing a puncture on a fully loaded touring bike on a rainy day. This is not the place to change minds, however, unless you have given tubeless an extended try, judging it based on a few dated anecdotes should be seen as just that. I started with 27" tires, tubulars, 700C from narrow BITD to wide, and now, tubeless is definitely the way to go.

Last edited by Atlas Shrugged; 06-06-24 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 06-06-24, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
You haven't seen the advantages because they are largely invisible: when tubeless works, small punctures just seal up before any noticeable air loss occurs. It happens a lot.
​​​​​​Quoting myself because, after writing this post, I went outside to wash my gravel bike -- we went through a big mud bog towards the end of last night's group ride. After washing off the dried mud, I found a bunch of sealant stuck to the backside of the seat tube, which indicates that my rear tire punctured before the mud bog. So, after spending an extra minute or so washing off the sealant, I checked the psi in the rear tire; it was exactly where I had set it prior to the ride.
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Old 06-06-24, 10:45 AM
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I bought a new bike set up tubeless over six years ago and alternated riding it and my older tubed tire bike. Over the last few years, I’ve been riding the tubeless bike more and more and the tubed bike less and less. Between the smoother ride and almost no flats, tubeless wins hands down. In these 6+ years I’ve had to stop and put in a tube to get home just once, when a tire got a nasty slice. Otherwise small glass, wire and goat head punctures just seal as I ride. I’ve had a few occasions where the punture was too big for the sealant to handle alone, I carry a DynaPlug which makes for a quick repair. Now I’ve bought another bike, tubeless of course, and my tubed bike is sadly relegated to the trainer.
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Old 06-06-24, 10:58 AM
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In thinking about this more, I think there's some labor analysis that could go into a rider's choice of tubed vs tubeless. Without any sort of quantitative analysis, and some simplification, I think the more that a rider rides the open road, the more tubeless makes sense.

Tubed is more of a "per event" cost, where you have to spend some labor on each flat, which naturally will happen with increased frequency relative to tubeless. Whereas tubeless has more sunk/fixed cost in properly configuring the wheels. That becomes minimized as miles go up.

I've always been a rider of multiple disciplines, so while I may spend the most time on the road bike, some of you guys put in a lot more road bike miles than I do. I have an 8 month old at home too so my Zwift fraction has gone from like 25% to more like 75%. Tubeless road just doesn't make sense for me since I don't put in enough road miles to greatly benefit from it. But if I did - I'd consider it more. And I've had phases of being primarily out on the road, when the technology was premature or non existent.
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Old 06-06-24, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Jrasero
Interested to see if anyone has fully gone tubeless or why people are still holding out.
I use tubeless on my gravel bike. I dont use tubeless on my road bikes because...

- I dont ride them all frequently enough to want to bother with topping off or knowing what level sealant is at in each.
- I dont get enough punctures each year to feel motivated to switch.
- I dont want to spend money on new tubeless wheels.
- I like more psi than I would be allowed to use for tubeless(even with hooks) if I bought a new carbon rim wheelset. I wouldnt even be allowed to use narrower than a 30mm tire due to recommended psi, which is fine. The psi I would want to use with 32mm tires is higher than whats recommended and higher than rim brands allow.


If I got flats all the time, or my road bikes logged more miles than they do now, then I might be motivated to buy some hooked tubeless carbon rims without eyelet holes and make the move. I still wouldnt like having to ride at a lower psi than I like, but that would outweigh my lack of flats.
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Old 06-06-24, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by jimincalif
I bought a new bike set up tubeless over six years ago and alternated riding it and my older tubed tire bike. Over the last few years, Iíve been riding the tubeless bike more and more and the tubed bike less and less. Between the smoother ride and almost no flats, tubeless wins hands down. In these 6+ years Iíve had to stop and put in a tube to get home just once, when a tire got a nasty slice. Otherwise small glass, wire and goat head punctures just seal as I ride. Iíve had a few occasions where the punture was too big for the sealant to handle alone, I carry a DynaPlug which makes for a quick repair. Now Iíve bought another bike, tubeless of course, and my tubed bike is sadly relegated to the trainer.
You like the Dynaplugs? I just got one of the Minis. Hopefully will not have to use it but comes with 5 plugs, a knife, and an airstopper in a pretty tiny package
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Old 06-06-24, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by TMonk
Wrestling around a tire and tube for 20 minutes sounds like a gross exaggeration
I have been a witness. The rider couldn't get the leak plugged. Dismounted the tire after quite a struggle. By now, the interior of the tire was covered with thick sealant. Then getting the tube in there and the remount, again quite a struggle. 3 of us watched while one of us helped. Yes, I'd guess 20'. The flatter had gump all over his hands. I flatted a few days ago, GP5000 tires, 23mm, hadn't flatted in years, hit a rock concealed by grass. Love those tires. My wife and I have toured our tandem on GP5000 32mm. No flats.

I think a lot depends on where one rides, what the locality does in terms of road care, sweeping, etc., and how good one is at looking 50' ahead.
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Old 06-06-24, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
I have been a witness. The rider couldn't get the leak plugged. Dismounted the tire after quite a struggle. By now, the interior of the tire was covered with thick sealant. Then getting the tube in there and the remount, again quite a struggle. 3 of us watched while one of us helped. Yes, I'd guess 20'. The flatter had gump all over his hands. I flatted a few days ago, GP5000 tires, 23mm, hadn't flatted in years, hit a rock concealed by grass. Love those tires. My wife and I have toured our tandem on GP5000 32mm. No flats.

I think a lot depends on where one rides, what the locality does in terms of road care, sweeping, etc., and how good one is at looking 50' ahead.
The initial comment was in the context of replacing a flat from a tubed tire with a spare tube. That should not take 20 minutes. Unless I'm misinterpreting that.
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Old 06-06-24, 12:31 PM
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My bikes are all tubeless, hookless and require no rim tape. I use orange seal endurance sealant. Over several years, I've had one double puncture from a large staple that required some CO2 to bring the pressure up and several punctures that were so small that a little sealant on the seat tube was the only way I knew it happened.

My latest experiment is wider tires. I've been using 28/30, but just replaced a worn 30 with a Pirelli P-Zero Road TLR in 35mm. If I leave the 28 on the front, I'll use 55psi front and 47 rear.
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Old 06-06-24, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob Ross
I am still holding out because in all the years that I've been riding with other cyclists who do use tubeless -- and as an avid/active cycle club member, that means I've been riding with numerous other cyclists who do use tubeless ever since it first became commercially available -- I have only ever seen the advantage of tubeless once.

One time in all the roadside flats on group rides have I ever seen the rider stop, rotate their wheel a few times to distribute the sealant near the puncture, wait ~30-60 seconds, hit it with a shot of CO2, and be ready to go. Just like the manufacturer's advertised. Once.

Every other time -- we're talking well over a dozen different instances -- there was some issue with the sealant, or with seating the bead, or with the valve, and it took much longer to get back to riding than it would have with a conventional clincher tire using an inner tube. Plus the rider invariably wound up covered in sticky sealant...as did, often, the cyclist riding behind them when the flat occurred. Every. Other. Time.

I simply don't see any advantage, and I've empirically seen lots of disadvantages. No thanks.
Someone else already said this, but I'm saying it again. This is a case of selection bias. You are comparing to the rare times a tubeless setup fails rather than, what I have no doubt is many times, it worked without you knowing it. Often your riding buddy using tubeless didn't know it either during the ride.

I've only been riding about 5 years. But I have 20,000+ miles of road riding, all tubeless. Not once have I needed to remove a tire and use a tube. Maybe 5 times I've had to plug a tire and top off with CO2. Installing a plug is certainly much faster than replacing a tube. Probably ~30 times I've completed a ride and found dried sealant on my seat tube or on the fork. This is from a larger puncture that took a bit of time to seal. But still went unnoticed while riding. And quite often with these leaks, there has been very little to no measurable air loss.

If I have to stop and spin the wheel to get it to seal, it means it needs a plug. The wheels are spinning while I'm riding. If it doesn't seal while riding, it's not going to seal because I stop and spin the wheel. Of course, if you notice it quickly and stop fast, it may not have sealed yet. Therefore, it might happen to seal if you spin the wheel.

Also, I don't ride on pristine roads. Plenty of broken glass and goat heads galore.

As for setup hassle, I suppose it is more than tubes. But I mount a tire easier as I'm not dealing with a tube. An extra step to seat the tire with my compressor. Takes me a few minutes to squirt some sealant though the valve stem and install the valve core. Air up, and I'm done. All done within my air conditioned shop. Every 6 weeks or so, I remove the valve core, I check the sealant level with a little dip stick, add a 1/2 oz or whatever it needs. Takes just a few minutes for both wheels.

Now, maybe total time with tubeless is similar to, or even a bit more, than messing with tubes and flats. But it is not excessive and 99% of my time dealing with tubeless is in my shop, at my leisure.

There are plenty of people running tubes who obviously don't have a problem they feel the need to solve. I've had enough serious leaks that sealed that I suspect I'd have dealt with a few dozen flats or more by now. I prefer a bit more tubeless hassle in my shop over tube replacement on the side of the road.
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Old 06-06-24, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by TMonk
The initial comment was in the context of replacing a flat from a tubed tire with a spare tube. That should not take 20 minutes. Unless I'm misinterpreting that.
Why are you so hung up on personal time when it comes to an individual's ability to change a tire? You just shared you are a father to a newborn and how that has affected your outdoor riding but I am not on here telling you that's not an excuse and you should be riding more, since your ability to make time to ride is exactly that, your ability. Point being I know plenty people who take a while to change a tire and even know some really great riders who couldn't replace a tire period. If it takes me 20 minutes or some person 50 minutes that's not really the point, but the fact that there is an alternative setup that somewhat alleviates this struggle all together.
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Old 06-06-24, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Jrasero
Point being I know plenty people who take a while to change a tire and even know some really great riders who couldn't replace a tire period. If it takes me 20 minutes or some person 50 minutes that's not really the point, but the fact that there is an alternative setup that somewhat alleviates this struggle all together.
Oh its just more time than I think it should take, totally fine if you disagree. Also I respect your decision to ride tubeless, for the record. As I tried to indicate in a prior post, ya the more you ride out on the road, the more it makes sense IMO.

This does bring up an interesting question - how much time does it take for the average experienced roadie to change a flat on a tubed tire. That is a critical piece to the equation in the value in tubeless. Along with your mileage, as the time it takes a rider to change a routine flat goes up, tubeless makes more and more sense.

EDIT: I also only brought it up again b/c Carbonfiberboy misconstrued my post. Don't mean to harp on it.
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Last edited by TMonk; 06-06-24 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 06-06-24, 02:32 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Mtracer
Someone else already said this, but I'm saying it again. This is a case of selection bias. You are comparing to the rare times a tubeless setup fails rather than, what I have no doubt is many times, it worked without you knowing it. Often your riding buddy using tubeless didn't know it either during the ride.
I don't disagree...but likewise, we also don't know how many times our buddies riding conventional tubed clinchers survived a puncture without necessitating a roadside repair. I know I've often gotten home from a ride, inspected my tires, found a thorn or glass shard and thought "Wow, this could have caused a flat, it's amazing I was able to get home without incident!" But I don't know how many of those instances I've survived without even noticing.

So what would be presumably more valuable would be a comparison between miles ridden without noticed incident for Tubed vs Tubeless. E.g., how many months/miles has someone ridden without a flat on clinchers, versus that same time period/distance with tubeless?

But I know all we can really get is anecdotal answers.

And since I don't get so many flats over X thousand miles or X dozen months that I'm actively thinking "I need to find a better solution" it winds up being more illustrative to note what the differences are when an incident (puncture) does occur, and noticeably.
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