BEGINNERS GUIDE TO GOING TUBELESS

Shaun George BOTS Guides, Tips & Tricks

How many times have you found yourself helpless out on the road, because you’ve encountered a flat and forgot to carry a spare tube or a repair kit? Probably more times than you’d like to admit (If you cycle regularly that is…). If you’ve been following the cycling scene closely, you would’ve noticed the trend of going tubeless has caught on. Tubeless technology isn’t new really technology, it is something that has been carried over from the world of automobiles and motorbikes decades back. The recent trend began with hardcore mountain bikers especially downhill riders running tubeless setups – Almost any bike can be made tubeless if you’ve got the right wheel setup.

The setup is simpler on MTB’s as most rims just need to be taped in order to be sealed and airtight. An easier but more expensive way to go tubeless would be to invest in a tubeless-ready rim and tire. You would be required to invest in special tubeless-ready tires that help hold the sealant within the tire – these tires can also hold in air without the need for sealant. Tubeless tires also offer the ability to run lower air pressure for a better grip and more comfortable ride, they’re much more resistant to flats, and the tire is less likely to separate from the rim if you do encounter a flat. But that all comes at a cost: Tubeless systems can be the heaviest of the three – clinchers, tubulars and tubeless clinchers. (especially for mountain biking). 

However, it has been observed that many tires (even non-tubeless ones) have the capability to hold air without leakages. Check with your tire manufacturer to be 100% sure.

WHY GO TUBELESS?

Credits- GMBN

Going tubeless is considered to be a major advantage these days as it’s a lot less bothersome and requires practically no attention from the rider. Punctures are sealed up almost instantly with minimal loss of air. Roadies usually stay away from this setup because of the added weight it brings.

In the case of clinchers with an inner tube in place, there’s a level of friction between the tube and the tire that it’s pushing against, removing that tube takes away this friction, reducing overall rolling resistance.”

Mountain bikes, on the other hand, ride over the really rough stuff and are in constant risk of a puncture. Going tubeless takes care of that. Another major reason for going tubless on MTB’s is the fact that you can run lower tire pressures with than with the inclusion of a tube. This helps riders get a little bit more traction when they push their bikes to the limit.

SHOULD I GO TUBELESS?

Going tubeless is really up to a rider’s preference. If you ride trails often then it would be financially effective and can be looked at as a “necessity”. This doesn’t mean you can’t go tubeless if you’re a road cyclist or an urban commuter.

ADVANTAGES

  • You no longer need to be worried about flats on your next trip out on the road or the trails.
  • Holes are plugged instantaneously.
  • Eliminate Pinch Flats
  • Sidewall damage can be plugged to a certain extent.
  • It can run lower tire pressures (especially important for MTB’s).
  • Less friction than in tires with tubes.
  • Lower rolling resistance.

DISADVANTAGES

  • Relatively expensive setup.
  • Investment in additional parts.
  • Not the most popular setup.

Road bikes will definitely need a specialized set of rims and tires for this setup because taping the rims is not ideal as road rims are narrower and hold much higher tire pressures which only tubeless-ready rims would be able to handle. With an MTB you may just get away with being able to use non-tubeless ready rims and taping them up or using a conversion kit.

urban commuters and road bikes are faced with multiple hazards such as nails, broken glass, thorns and other protruding sharp objects which cause punctures. Having a tubeless setup on your bike makes your bike tire nearly indestructible; be it nails or glass, you’re highly unlikely to have punctures when tubeless. It’s great for people who just can’t be bothered with fixing punctures on the go or are on a long ride and are more prone to experiencing flats.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

It’s fairly simple. The whole system relies on an airtight fit and internal air pressure to prevent leakages. As the name suggests, there is no tube in between the tire and the rim. Instead, there is a liquid called tire sealant that usually consists of tiny fibers that instantly gush out of the hole in the tire in case of a puncture. The fibers bond and together plug the hole without a fuss. The tire’s internal pressure helps push the sealant out fast enough and with enough pressure to prevent any major loss of air.

COMPONENTS REQUIRED TO GO TUBELESS

  1. Tubeless-ready tires
  2. Tubeless-ready rims
  3. Tire sealant
  4. Tubeless tire valve

SUMMARY

Going tubeless is a great idea for riders taking the road less traveled. There are still quite a few road cyclists that believe in the good old fashioned tubed setup. Like most technological advances in the world of bicycles, adoption, implementation, and acceptance always take time. we feel that the advantages of going tubeless outweigh the disadvantages. Performance is greatly increased and at the same time, you get the added benefit of not having to worry about punctures.

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