Cyclists: tubeless pros and cons?

I just discovered my new wheels are tubeless ready...and make a fast flat fix impossible. Never considered tubeless before...but if I already have the wheels? What are your experiences?


  • helen_goldthorpe
    helen_goldthorpe Posts: 340 Member
    I've had nothing but good experiences with tubeless so far - but I suspect that when one fails it will fail catastrophically! I run tubeless on three of my bikes at the moment (good road bike (2 years old), winter road bike/commuter (18 months old) and cross bike (older, but I bought new tubeless wheels for it this winter)) and other than topping up sealant occasionally and pumping them up from time to time I've never had to do anything else.
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,967 Member
    Three years of road tubeless with 28 mm tires. In that time I've had 2 flats. I'm sure I've had many more small punctures from broken glass with, but that's what sealant is for and it works well.

    The tires are difficult to get on and off the rim, bit how much depends on the discussion tires and rims. You probably need a compressor to seat them properly. Roadside repair is more difficult.

    The tires are more expensive, and there aren't as many tubeless tires. IRCs are excellent. Pro Ones are great rolling tires but the sidewalls cut very easily.

    Orange Seal works better than Stan's at road pressures. If you're on 23 mm tires at 100 psi and puncture, the air pressure will spray a lot of sealant before it has a chance to do its job.
  • amandaeve
    amandaeve Posts: 720 Member
    Why do people go tubeless? For fewer flats? Better performance? Something different?

    Do you have to carry a pump, seal, rim Jack and tire tools with you? Does that take up more space than a spare tube and patches?

    The new bike has 28mm at 80psi tires, I'd probably stay with that, so sounds like I'm better there.
  • helen_goldthorpe
    helen_goldthorpe Posts: 340 Member
    My first was because it came set up like that, then I realised I quite enjoyed not getting punctures so started converting my other bikes. I run it with 25mm, 32mm and 38mm tyres.

    I have got a spray of sealant on my legs in the past in a group ride when someone punctured and it sprayed everywhere while sealing.

    I carry a pump, a tubeless kit (little plugs that you push in) and tyre levers and a spare tube just in case. I've never had to use them so far.
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,967 Member
    You can run less air pressure tubeless without getting pinch flats because there's no tube to pinch. That makes the ride more comfortable, and gives you more traction when you corner. There tends to be less rolling resistance unless you're on latex tubes and the very best clinchers.

    Sealant is a mix of water and latex, the water evaporates over time and you need to top the sealant off every six months or so. Unless you pay a shop to do it, you need a valve core remover tool.

    I bet a lot of people try it because their wheels support it and they want to see what it's about. A lot like it and stick with it. The bigger your tires are the more likely you are to have a good experience. I'm on 28s and don't plan to go back.
  • jjpptt2
    jjpptt2 Posts: 5,653 Member
    edited February 2020
    Road or mountain?

    Mountain allows for lower pressure, which = more traction. Road, I believe, is primary for reliability and comfort at lower tire pressure. But I only run my mtn bike tubeless, so take it for what it's worth.
  • jhanleybrown
    jhanleybrown Posts: 240 Member
    Road and gravel rider here.

    Of six in my riding group, two got tubeless and of those one switched back. If you do get a flat, hard to fix and a huge mess. Out of 6, we maybe get 2 flats per year during spring summer?

    So not worth it IMO.

    That said 100% went from 23s to 25s and noing back.
  • canthony3505
    canthony3505 Posts: 35 Member
    I've been using road tubeless for nearly a year and I'm sold on it. Roadside repairs are a pain, but they are much more infrequent than with tubes. The ride is more comfortable and I feel more "planted" and stable on 28 tires run about 80psi.
    The only real problem I've run into is having the sealant dry out quicker than expected and thus not having tiny punctures seal properly.
    I'm not sure I would have made the switch on my own, but like you my new wheels came ready so I went for it. I've been pleased.
  • BrianSharpe
    BrianSharpe Posts: 9,191 Member
    I went tubeless two years more out of curiousity than anything else (I found a deal on Mavic rims & tires that was too tempting to pass up) and found that I really liked riding the lower pressure and that, presumably due to the lower rolling resistance, my race times improved. I still use my Continental Gatorskins for commuting....