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  • Tubeless on a road bike, worth it?
  • Premier Icon Bazz
    Free Member

    I’m in the process of building up a new road bike, new wheels will be tubeless ready. This is all new to me, first new bike and wheels in around 10 years, the technology was in it’s infancy back then and made sense for mountain bikes, less pressure = more grip no pinch flats, win win. But even then a couple of people i ride with who adopted it drifted back to tubes just because they found it less bother overall.

    These days it’s every where it seems, but for a non racing leisure roadie is it worth the bother or stick to tubes?

    Premier Icon scaredypants
    Full Member

    ask a few local roadies how often they get punctures with tubes

    it’s only worth it if that number is high, IMO (as it is round my way)

    Premier Icon n0b0dy0ftheg0at
    Free Member

    I could definitely see the benefit if I regularly rode outdoors during bitter temps, especially on rough roads/lanes, I imagine trying to change tubes or repair a tube in freezing temps could be a nightmare once you take your thick winter gloves off for some dexterity.

    Premier Icon joebristol
    Full Member

    I’ve wondered this a few times as I’m tubeless on mtb – but then I very rarely get punctures on my road bike. Since I went Conti GP4000’s I’m not sure I’ve even had one puncture tbh – and I can’t even remember when I bought them so it must be a while ago

    Premier Icon Vortexracing
    Full Member

    IMHO yes, absolutely. Been tubeless on both winter/CX/Gravel bike and best road bike for nearly 6 years and would not go back to tubes at all.

    Premier Icon dickyhepburn
    Free Member

    Mmmm…
    Longtime tubeless mtb user here. Few observations about road tubeless – tyre choice is limited, they can be a REAL pain to mount, you need to use a sealant with more bits in (Stans Race) as the tyres have a lower volume than mtb so it’s a short window for sealant to plug the hole. Works well for thorns etc, but not for things >4mm. When that happens it’s a pain – Putting anchovies into a road tyre doesn’t seem to last unless it’s a sidewall puncture, the Stans arrow things rarely hold and the patches for the inside of the tyre only work when it’s dry (ie. not by the roadside and not when there’s sealant everywhere). So you still need to carry a tube, and getting that on can be a real pain (see earlier).
    I think Stans race into a tube is a good medium for puncture reduction (obvs more weight etc) but again almost impossible to patch a tube roadside with sealant everywhere, but I seem to get fewer punctures than friends who don’t use sealant on the same rides.
    Waffly way of saying it’s no way near as good as it is in a mountain bike 👍

    Premier Icon trailwagger
    Free Member

    Definitely worth it if you are using larger volume tyres at lower pressures I am running 32mm at 60 psi. If your tyres are smaller then you will need more pressure, and more pressure means its harder for a puncture to seal.

    Premier Icon Sandwich
    Full Member

    As long as I keep the sealant topped up with fresh it’s all good stuff for road and CX/Gravel bikes. Big cut’s on the road bike usually mean call the sag wagon as I’ve never got them to seal or repair at the roadside. That being said I have also ridden away from home on road tubeless with no problem.

    Home has a problem with flints on the road due to water run-off and tubed marathon plus have a problem with flint too.

    Being able to run lower pressures (80psi tops road, 60 CX/gravel) is a boon for all day comfort too.

    Premier Icon Aidy
    Free Member

    tubeless definitely worth it imo. I reckon noticeably less rolling resistance, and much improved puncture resistance.

    Premier Icon Flaperon
    Free Member

    Definitely.

    Premier Icon ransos
    Free Member

    Big cut’s on the road bike usually mean call the sag wagon as I’ve never got them to seal or repair at the roadside.

    Tyre boot and spare tube in that situation. It’s happened to me once and I was able to finish the ride after fitting a tube.

    I don’t puncture on the road very often, but I was certainly grateful for tubeless on a wet night ride.

    Premier Icon escrs
    Free Member

    Been running road tubeless for a couple of years now

    Has been great most of the time, had a few punctures that i hadn’t realised had happened till got i home and saw small sealant marks on the tyre

    One of the main downsides to road tubeless is if you get a puncture that is too big for the sealant to seal you get sprayed with said sealant which then can stain your nice expensive lycra

    Some companies do a sealant stain remover (Caffélatex Remover)

    Premier Icon Daffy
    Full Member

    Been running tubeless road for 6 years and 30000km. 2 punctures in that time. One must’ve punctured right near the office and the hole wasn’t in a position for the gunk to fix it when stationary. The other was a good 5mm gash in the tyre. Fixed the latter by the roadside using an anchovy – never even had to remove the wheel. Prior to this I must’ve been getting 10+ punctures per year – at least 1 per month.

    The newest generation of tubeless tyres also feel much better. back to back comparison of a tubed vs tubeless bike on the same wheels and tyres is a real eye opener.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Full Member

    I run it, but it’s not the no-brainer it is for off-road. Just depends how many punctures you typically get – some roadies go 1000s of miles without a flat out on the open road. If you’re more urban riding and flatting on the reg, though, then you should switch.

    It can be harder to set up IME, less forgiving of a sub-optimal taping, some tyres are mega tight – things like that. I’ve never had a problem with a new mountain bike tyre going up tubeless going back years and years, but had a few battles with road set-ups.

    You have the wheels so you should try it. But if it’s a load of hassle or you don’t like it for some reason then don’t think you’re missing out on some killer tech as far as road goes.

    Premier Icon oldnpastit
    Full Member

    I went for several years with it being pretty good, zero punctures for ages, or could be fixed by just reinflating.

    Recently I’ve been getting unsealable holes, but I think the tyres (Giant girvain (sp?)) are just worn out.

    If you ding the rim by riding into a pothole, tubeless really won’t work at all.

    Not had a problem fitting or removing, so when it *has* failed, I’ve just put in a tube.

    Premier Icon 13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    For a summer roads only bike I would argue no, I was already running a tyre/tube setup which has been proven to be lighter and faster than the equivalent tubeless setup (Continental GP4000 clincher and latex tube vs. GP5000 TL tubeless) and rarely if ever punctured.

    Winter bike is currently ‘winter’ tyres (some OEM Specialized puncture proof jobbies) with latex tubes. They actually feel great and survived Hawthorne season, so I can’t bring myself to change them just yet. Would consider some Pirelli Cinturatos tubeless as they sound pretty bombproof and would allow lower pressures for the dubious icy/cold days.

    I even went a whole summer of (at times) fast and rocky gravel riding with 40mm tyres and latex tubes and saw no reason to go tubeless until Hawthorne cutting season started, then it was a no brainer…

    Premier Icon mrlebowski
    Free Member

    Been running tubeless here over 18mths now. Setup is Mavic rims & tyres with stans race. No issues with inflating nor staying up. They have puncture twice (F&R) that I’ve had to fix with plugs – no big deal & seem to be holding fine. The pluses are extra comfort (15-20 less psi & more grip). Not sure I’ve found a downside yet..

    Premier Icon jonba
    Free Member

    I get maybe one puncture a year with tubes around here. Put in some decent mileage and racing.

    On the mountain bike I was getting thorn punctures every other ride so it made it a no brainer. I’ve yet to be convinced to try it on my road bike. Tubes work well enough and I know that I can easily fix any problem I encounter. I’ve seen a few people struggle with tubeless. Removing tyres to put a tube in or dealing with a cut that wouldn’t seal.

    Premier Icon wobbliscott
    Full Member

    The jury’s out for me. I didn’t suffer alot of punctures with tubes but it is a PITA when you do so have converted to see how I get on. I’ve switched to tubeless but not had a puncture yet…that I know of. I’m running about 15psi lower tyre pressures for same width tyre, but am not really feeling much of a difference in comfort as the tubuless tyre feels so much stiffer comparing GP4000 to GP5000TR. Maybe if you went up a tyre width or two with lower pressures you might feel a significant difference in comfort.

    Also experience form MTB’ing is that tubules is not puncture proof…so you will get a puncture that doesn’t seal eventually, it’s inevitable so you need to be carrying around not only a spare tube or two but some method to plug a hole that doesn’t seal because the last thing you want to be doing is to be taking a tubules tyre off at the road side. It took me the thick end of 30 mins to get the tyre on in the comfort of my garage the fit is so tight I think I’d just not attempt it on a dark and rainy roadside and just call the mrs to come and pick me up…I’d have no chance. OK you might find a tubules ready wheel set and tyre combo where this is not a problem, but I haven’t got the budget or time to buy several tyres to fit and see which combo works best. My GP4000’w went on fine on my wheel set but the GP5000TR are tight as hell.

    So upsides are that in all likelihood some punctures will seal. However some wont and you can use a plug kit to seal, and in some cases you’ll still need to bung in a tube.

    Reduced tyre pressures may or may not be a benefit as far as your are concerned.

    I’ll stick with it until such time my tyres need replacing or I get a puncture and see if it seals or if my plug kit works. If the plug kit doesn’t work then I see no benefit and will go back to tubes.

    Premier Icon steve_b77
    Free Member

    I’ve ran big road tyres tubeless, and by big I mean 32mm slicks and they were very good, lowish pressures and not a puncture in sight.

    I tried it on my fast road bike with 28mm GP5000TL’s on DT carbon wheels, and to be fair I wasn’t impressed, possibly down to the tyres being fragile to say the least and an absolute bitch to get on and off the rim.

    I had one side wall fail totally (Wiggle replaced it under warranty) and another puncture after riding through a patch of gravel, took me bloody ages to get the tyre off and get a tube in as the side wall (again) was sliced.

    Over the period I ran tubeless (about 1500km), if I compare the ride stats to non-tubeless (Vittoria Rubino Pro and conti Race Ultra tubes) there is absolutely no realty world difference in average speed, average HR or perceived effort at all.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Full Member

    I’ve run tubeless for a couple of years. 28c Schwalbe Pro One tyres on Prime wheels (CRC own-brand). No issues with mounting them, they stay inflated well and the one puncture I did get (rear) I just put a tube in. The problem is that there’s no real point in converting the rear back to tubeless, the tyre has a nick in it that’s too small to bother with an anchovy but too big to seal properly and frankly the hassle of it isn’t worth it. So now I have a road bike running tubeless front and tubed rear.

    I will swap it back to tubeless when i get a new rear tyre though.

    Premier Icon r8jimbob88
    Free Member

    I’ve been tubeless on the road for a few years now. Mostly because I’m a sucker for silly low pressures so I tend to get away with it and punctures are sealed ok (i’ve used a couple of Dynaplugs though).

    Premier Icon anagallis_arvensis
    Full Member

    I’ve run tubeless on my winter bike for 2 years. First ride and

    Been good since then, I wouldnt upgrade to tubeless but when I getting new wheels they are likely tubeless so might as well do it.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Full Member

    I converted my new Cube to tubeless just before Christmas. Fulcrum wheels, apparently they have only been tested with Schwalbe Pro One so I got some of those. Also got Stan’s Race on the advice of a colleague running the same tyres. I taped the rim, first time I’d done it since I use strips on my MTBs. This was the hardest part. The tyre went up immediately, in about three pumps. Easiest tubeless I’ve ever done.

    I am using 28c, whereas before I was using 23c on my old bike, but I went from 100psi to 65psi which as you’d expect is a massive improvement, and I’m no slower.

    I think people have issues when they pump them up too hard. My mate used to run 120psi all the time (he only weighs 74kg) and pumped his tubeless up the same. And of course the first puncture didn’t seal. But now he runs sensible pressures and loves it. It’s not really about puncture resistance, more feel and rolling resistance.

    Premier Icon Sandwich
    Full Member

    @ransos With my contacts in and it being dark, that wasn’t going to happen! I can just about manage in daylight (and have) but at night it’s usually a cold wait at the side of the road while herself gets to me!

    Premier Icon finephilly
    Free Member

    I don’t see the point of tubeless on the road. Not likely to get punctures outside of hedge cutting season, it’s no lighter and you wouldn’t want to run snakebite-pressure anyway.

    Premier Icon mrmo
    Free Member

    for big tyres maybe, for small tyres I wouldn’t bother. Too many stories of tight tyres and struggling to fit on the side of the road when a puncture hasn’t sealed

    Premier Icon 13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    you wouldn’t want to run snakebite-pressure anyway.

    The worst tubeless failures I’ve seen are people pinch flatting their tyres! Seen it more than once now so I’m being very careful with how low I go on my gravel and CX tyres…

    Premier Icon pdw
    Free Member

    It’s nope from me, and I’m very happy with tubeless for CX and MTB.

    I very rarely get punctures, and can swap a tube pretty quickly. My road tubeless experience is limited to a riding buddy who tried it. He got a puncture, we stopped, tried a tyre worm, made it half a mile before it failed again. Stopped a second time and stuck a tube in. Would have been quicker and less messy with a simple tube swap.

    There’s no need to run snakebike-risking pressures on the road, so much of the benefit of tubeless is gone anyway.

    I also couldn’t be bothered with keeping the sealant topped up. I’m sure I’ve had tubes that have gone several years without being changed.

    Premier Icon ransos
    Free Member

    My road tubeless experience is limited to a riding buddy who tried it.

    I’ve been running tubeless for five years, and last summer I converted my second road bike (as it was having new wheels). In all that time I’ve only had one puncture that wouldn’t self-seal, needing an anchovy. It’s been fine since.

    I wouldn’t go back.

    Premier Icon Bazz
    Free Member

    Thanks everyone, plenty of food for thought. It will be a summer only bike and punctures don’t exactly plague me (that’s me stuffed for tomorrow!)

    Wheels are going to be Hunt’s and tyres will either be Schwalbe or Conti’s. I may have to look into tyre weights and latex tubes next.

    Premier Icon claudie
    Full Member

    I’ve done about 12k miles now and tried 4 different brands. I’ve settled on conti 5000 25mm and I’m running them 72/78 psi front/rear. Used anchovies a few times with no problems and have just left them in with no other repairs, putting an achovy in so quick, don’t even need to take the wheel off. Fast, comfortable and good puncture resistance. The only thing I would check is that your rims are truely tubeless in that the bead locks into the rim and stays there with zero pressure. My rovals say they are tubeless compatible but the beads drop off with no pressure. My wife’s JRA wheels don’t do this.

    Premier Icon branes
    Full Member

    I’ve been running 32mm Hutchison Sectors on my winter road bike, they’ve been easier than some MTB tyres to live with. I’ve even picked up a couple of rim dings on the back which don’t seem to have affected the seal.

    I generally run them at 40-ish PSI though, I’m still slightly reticent to go tubeless on my the summer road bike 25c at higher pressures – the aforementioned Conti 4/5000s seem to go 1000s of miles without punctures in the summer. I finally got one in the latest rear when it had worn close to the canvas after 5000 or so miles, which is exusable imo.

    Premier Icon 13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    I may have to look into tyre weights and latex tubes next.

    It was the road.cc review of the GP5000 tubeless tyre which referenced a German magazine test which in turn showed the non-tubeless GP5000 to be marginally lower rolling resistance and weight. There was virtually nothing in it but was justification enough to stick with the ‘simplicity’ of tubes for me.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Full Member

    Wheels are going to be Hunt’s and tyres will either be Schwalbe or Conti’s. I may have to look into tyre weights and latex tubes next.

    Go for Schwalbe.

    Conti quality control is woeful. Somehow they seem to be the tyre of choice – ask on a forum what road tyres and everyone will be banging on about Conti. IME they’re a bastard tight fit on most rims and of extremely variable quality.

    Years ago when still running tubes I bought a load of Conti tubes on CRC, mostly just to make the price up to a point where I could use a discount voucher. Every single one of the tubes failed – not punctures just tubes splitting. I’ve worked as a guide on several events and tours and far and away the most problems are Conti tyres. Part of it is because they are popular; loads of people use them therefore the law of averages says that a puncture etc is likely to be on a Conti but by the time I’d fixed the 18th Conti that law of averages was beginning to wear thin.

    Premier Icon augustuswindsock
    Full Member

    I’m more tempted to go for some of the new aerothane(?) tubes for my winter roadie that runs old school skinnier wheels, if I had a more recent model with the wider tyres I’d be more inclined to go tubeless.
    Caveat, when i say winter roadie, i don’t actually own a ‘summer’ roadie!!!

    Premier Icon boblo
    Free Member

    I run tubed road and will be going tubeless a go for gravel.

    My winter bike has 28c tubed tyres and I run them at 75/80 psi. They’re pretty light and I can’t see the point in going over to tubeless as I’ve seen some of the hassle my friends have had. I don’t get that many punctures and a quick tube swap and squirt of CO2 has you on your way again rather than faffing like a fish fetishist/porn swallower/bondage freak…

    Gravel will go over to tubeless primarily for traction as I’ll run lower pressures than at present which are ~45/50 psi. Hither too (what a phrase…) I’ve run tubes with Stan’s jizz in them for the best/worst of all worlds. Few punctures but not really low pressures. I was sold on tubeless watching a chum find traction where I could find none. Same gearing/tyres/technique etc.

    So road, no. Gravel, I’ll give it a go though on that sample trip above, another chum had to borrow a spare tube as his tubeless set up committed Hari Kari…

    Premier Icon eddiebaby
    Full Member

    Due to sealant buildup on a Presta core I had a slow leak that I didn’t check on before a ride. Tire ended up low and as I had bent the valve core at some point my mini CO2 head didn’t release properly so I had to push the bike home 3 miles (the HORROR!!!!!!).
    As the tire had completely deflated I popped it off the rim to clean out the mud and crap that had accrued during the walk of shame.
    Through the tyre carcass I found 12 thorns of assortend lengths. All capable if drawinf blood. 2 did.
    So yes. Tubeless for me. Swalbe Road one thingies at 25MM.
    The SS has Conti 5000II and has not let me down.
    Both set up a year ago. Local commuting and ‘gravel’ and Berkshire Ridgeway riding.

    Premier Icon nowad
    Free Member

    Yes but mix your sealant properly. I use hunt wheels and currently GP5000. Stans and a small amount of OKO agricultural sealant for the fibre in it. Generally without some fibre behind it you wont seal a hole with 90 psi behind it.
    Worse case it will spit some fluid at you until it seals.
    Been a tyre fitter for 33 years so I guess I should know what to do.

    Premier Icon Sandwich
    Full Member

    IME they’re a bastard tight fit on most rims and of extremely variable quality.

    Conversely my gravel tyres are Conti Terra Speed. Went on tubeless ok and up with the track pump when new. 2300km on and they are baggy as a wizard’s sleeve. 5 wraps of tape to re-seal the front after a puncture and it took 3 weeks before it would hold above 3 bar overnight.

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