things they dont tell you about tubeless tyres

things they dont tell you about tubeless tyres – You’ve probably heard lots of good things said about tubeless tyres better puncture protection, comfort, rolling resistance and so on – but have you heard about the downsides? The tyres can be a pain to fit, sealant makes a mess everywhere and there are huge compatibility issues, as we explain below.

Tubeless might just be the best thing since the invention daihatsujakbar of the pneumatic tyre, or it might be a complete waste of time. The history of bicycle product development is littered with as many rubbish products as significant ones, but in our view tubeless tyres are a big step forward (you may beg to differ). Even so, as the technology stands today tubeless has its drawbacks – some of them are pretty well known, others less so.

things they dont tell you about tubeless tyres

No more punctures

Before we get into the downsides, let’s start with a positive. One of the key benefits of a tubeless tyre setup is a greatly reduced risk of puncturing. The liquid sealant inside is able to seal smaller holes caused by glass, flint or stones and plug the hole because it dries very quickly.

When you witness it happening firsthand and are able to continue riding without needing to replace the inner tube you’ll be convinced that this is the future.

but doesn’t plug all holes

That said, tubeless isn’t invincible and the sealant won’t seal all holes above a certain size, generally about 6mm, because it’s simply overwhelmed by the speed of the air rushing out. This means you might, in rare cases, find yourself with a flat tyre and sealant everywhere.

You still need to carry a spare tube

Yup, it’s advisable to carry a spare inner tube even though you’ve banished them from your wheels, just in the rare event that the sealant can’t plug a hole.

Installation issues – the tyre just won’t fit

This is the biggest problem with current tubeless tyres. Fitting a regular (non-tubless) clincher tyre and inner tube is mostly painless. At worst you might need a few tyre levers, but after that, a small pump will get the tyre inflated onto the rim. It takes about five minutes.

Some tubeless tyres, however, can take much more time to get fitted to the rims and involve much cursing. The problem is due to there being no one standard that all rim and tyre manufacturers adhere to. Also, because you need a very good seal with the tyre bead on the rim, it generally involves a very tight fit… in some cases so tight that you need multiple tyre levers. We’ve known people to give up, it can be that difficult.

When you’ve got the tyre onto the rim, it’s not all over. Nope, in some cases, you need a tubeless-specific pump, CO2 canister or compressor to deliver the big burst of air needed to pop the tyre up onto the beads.

There’s a difference between tubeless-ready and tubeless rims

You do need to be a little careful if you’re upgrading to a new wheelset when going tubeless as there is a difference between a tubeless-ready rim and one that is designed for tubeless-only tyres.

The difference can be found at the rim bed and specifically, where the tyre bead sits. Hookless rims (above) are designed for tubeless tyres (although you can still use them with an inner tube up to certain pressures; different brands offer different advice on this), and as the name suggests, they do not feature a hook on the rim.

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