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16/07/2017 14:18:00

Words by Tony

The benefits of running tubeless tyres on your road or commuter bike

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Traditionally, there has been one practical tyre option for commuter cyclists; the clincher tyre. For road and track cyclists - where performance was at a premium - tubular tyres were the best option although this requires the tyre to be glued directly on to the rim – not a problem for professionals at the top level with a team of mechanics behind them!

So for commuting, training and longer sportive events running clincher setups is a no-brainer. In the event of a puncture, simply swap out the punctured inner tube while carefully examining the inner tube and tyre to identify what caused the puncture ensuring the inside of the clincher carcass is free from debris. But changing an inner tube can be a faff and not ideal on your daily commute.

The third way – Tubeless, speed, comfort, grip and puncture protection

Tubeless technology does away with an inner tube altogether in a similar way to cars where the rim of the wheel is designed for a tubeless tyre to seal around the wheel rim. However, unlike cars the bicycle tubeless tyre is filled with a sealant that is designed to rapidly seal a puncture.

A tubeless system gives the rider several benefits. Firstly, in an event of a puncture, there is no inner tube to pierce and with the exception of a large tear – a relatively infrequent event in our experience, the sealant will cover and seal the hole in the tyre. If the rider does experience a significant tear in the tyre, a normal inner can be fitted into the tyre allowing them to carry on with their journey. It is always worth carrying an inner tube with you to insert into the tyre should you experience a large enough tear.

A second benefit is that tubeless tyres can be run at lower pressures that leads to a more comfortable ride and more grip compared with a clincher wheel/tyre. For example, a 700 x 23 road tyre that would normally be inflated to 110 psi can run at 80 psi, a 700 x 38, a size that a hybrid is fitted with can run to as low as 60 psi. This means that the ride is a lot more comfortable allowing the tyre to absorb imperfections and bumps in the road as well as having the ability to seal puncture.

Finally, the lack on an inner tube also means there is generally less rotating weight, meaning a lighter overall wheel and tyre setup. Riders who run tubeless wheels will feel a lighter feel in the tyres that seem to glide as opposed to roll in comparison to a clincher tyre.

See this video by Cycling Weekly on the damage a tubeless tyre can take:

https://www.cyclingweekly.com/videos/cycling-tech/tubeless-tyres-tested-destruction?pid=308966

 

Tubeless wheels

Tubeless-compatible wheels are designed to provide an airtight seal when paired with tubeless tyres. A tubeless-ready wheel often does not have any spoke holes in the rim that improves the reliability of the wheel. Tubeless tyres also have a slightly reinforced butyl bead, this gives the tyre the strength needed and although slightly heavier than an equivalent clincher tyre, is lighter in total as no inner tube is needed.

Tyre choices & wheel choices - Example Tubeless wheel options (as of July 2017)

Below are some tyre and wheel choices currently available. The options listed are narrower rims, 23-24mm in width, however, wider versions for hybrid style bikes running up to 700x42c are also available.

 

Model

Rim / Disc

Weight (pair) without tape

Price

Discipline

Hope 20FIVE

Disc

1640g

£380.00

Road

Pacenti handbuilt wheels (contact Stows for more details)

Rim & Disc

1500g-1600g

£400-£550

Road

Fulcrum Racing 3 2-Way Fit Tubeless

Rim

1,595g

£599.00

Road

Fulcrum Racing Zero Competizione

Rim

1510g

£1199.00

Road

Example Tubeless tyres

Model

Sizes available

Price

Discipline

S-WORKS Turbo Road Tubeless

700 x 25, 700 x 28

£69.99

Road

Schwalbe Pro One RRP

Tyre 700x28

£66.99

Road

FAQs

1. Is it possible to convert a clincher tyre to a tubeless tyre?

We do not recommend using a standard clincher tyre to run a tubeless setup. This is because beads on standard tyres are not robust enough to contain the high air pressure and standard tyre will almost certainly come off.

2. What do I need to convert to tubeless?

A tubeless-ready or tubeless specific wheelset is required rather than a standard clincher rim. Tubeless-specific valves help create an airtight fit, while if the spoke holes are exposed on a tubeless-ready wheel then rim tape or a rim strip need to be installed

3. How easy to fit are tubeless tyres?

A downside of running a tubeless system that depends on tight seals and high pressures: difficulty of fitting. This is because the seal needs to be tight before pressure is exerted on the tyre, and this can make both installing and removing the tyre a trickier task than fitting a standard clincher. It can sometimes require an air compressor or CO2 inflator, rather than a conventional track pump, in order to get the tyre bead to fully seat. That is where Stows Cycles can help!

4. How Stows can help

We can advise on tubeless ready setups, source the wheels / tyres and setup your wheels / tyres for you.

5. How much does it cost?

Tubeless specific commuter, hybrid and road tyres start in the region of £60. Sealant, such as Orange sealant, costs approximately £9.99 for a 4 oz bottle that will be enough for x 4 road bike wheels or hybrids hybrids and 2-3 mountain bikes (650B / 29er). A pair of road tubeless ready wheels start at £380.

For more advice, guidance or information on setting up a tubeless ready wheel system on your bike please get in contact with us here at Stows Cycles, cycles@stows.co.uk, Tel: 01753 520 528

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