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/ Tubeless set up for road/gravel

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TobyA on 09 Sep 2018

Hello cyclists. Is there anyone out there who is riding a road/gravel/CX bike tubeless? I'm interested in whether people who commute on their bikes find tubeless is any advantage.

I very recently got a new commuter/do-everything bike from the Boardman ADV range to replace my great but aging CX. The new one comes with tubeless ready rims and tyres. I, after only a bit of fettling, managed to set my mountain bike tyres up tubeless a couple of years ago and have on the whole been very happy with it, so can do the new ones myself. But my mountain bike's tyres are mainly used getting smashed off and squeezed between rocks on the Peak districts finest rocky bridleways. My commute is on gravel paths as well as road and occasionally I go along slightly rougher bridleways, but nothing like what I regularly ride on my MTB.

Obviously tubeless is lighter and you don't get pinch flats. But on my old commuter I've used Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres (on my second pair) for ten years and I know I've had only two punctures in now I think about 15 000 kms of riding. Plus even riding tubeless I still I need to have a spare tube with me anyway just in case of a flat so you're not saving on that weight. I'm wondering whether to keep the new fancy tyres for any future bikepacking adventures and the like and just stick the Marathons on with tubes for weekly grind of commuting?

MonkeyPuzzle - on 09 Sep 2018
In reply to TobyA:

For me the benefits of tubeless are comfort and traction from being able to run lower pressures without pinching. Confidence in corners is so much greater with oodles of extra grip and my arse is noticeably less sore after a long ride. Apart from needing to top up with air more regularly I only see benefits over running tubes.

thepodge on 09 Sep 2018
In reply to TobyA:

I've no interest in tubeless being lighter, me trying harder makes more difference in that department. 

I run tubeless on road, gravel, mountain and commuter because it let's me do all my tyre maintenance in the warm, at home instead of in the cold and wet by the side of the road. 

TobyA on 09 Sep 2018
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

Thanks! And that's on road or gravel/CX bike is it?

I hadn't really thought that much about comfort particularly with regard to my old CX, I had 32 mm tyres on it mainly and they were fine in that regard, particularly for my 40 minute each way commutes, but I've also done some all day rides on it - about 175 kms, a lot of it on gravel/dirt - without any serious discomfort. But then riding to work this week on the new bike with its tyres - 38mm Schwalbe G-One Speed, I did think "hmm, these already seem comfier even with tubes in" so I imagine tubeless at a lower pressure it would be even smoother.

Its weird, even having ridden my mountain bike with its big 650b+ tyres (3 inch I think) for a couple of years, I still can't quite shake the feeling that for riding on road you need firm tyres! In my head I expect that cornering on road with soft tyres would be worryingly squirmy, although I'm sure its not in reality!

MonkeyPuzzle - on 09 Sep 2018
In reply to TobyA:

Yep, road/gravel riding.

I'm running the G-Ones in 35mm flavour at about 40psi. Really compliant, but not squirmy at all and roll really fast. I know what you mean about it feeling wrong to have soft tyres on a road bike - I reckon I could run even lower pressures though and still not see any negatives.

Hugo First - on 09 Sep 2018
In reply to TobyA:

Hi Toby,

I run tubeless on all my road bikes & cx bikes, but have kept running tubes on my commuter hack.

Two simple reasons for me:

My schwalbe land cruisers seem virtually p#*©ture proof, having one as far as I remember in 1000s of kms.

Second, more importantly, is I can't really be bothered topping up pressure every morning as all valves seems particularly leaky. A bit lazy, but when it comes to jumping on the iron in the cold, dark winter, I just want to be on my way.

nniff - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to TobyA:

I've got one road bike with tubes and one without.  I was pretty much convinced that the tubeless tyres were more trouble than they were worth until this summer when I went cycling for two weeks in the same place as I did last year, which convinced me that they were more trouble.   Last year, every day was a fiasco of taking tyres off, trying to patch them and getting sealant everywhere and me and the bike being covered in sealant on every ride.  This year, with tubes - nothing at all.  All this in an area where the roads are far from pristine and where regular heavy showers wash all manner of stuff over the roads.

Tubeless were Schwalbe Pro One.  Tubes - Michelin Pro 4 service course.  The former are about twice the price of the latter

The Schwalbe tyres are horrible in the wet.  Michelin Pro 4 - all round stars.

A friend got some new tubeless tyres and ran them at lower pressures and got a pinch flat for his trouble - straight through the side wall.

The bike with tubeless tyres is currently in bits, courtesy of a hit and run driver whom I shall see in court on 28 Dec.  When it gets put back together, I don't think that I can be bothered to put sealant in it.  As it stands, both tyres are flat, so both tyres have got to come off, all needs to be cleaned up, refilled and all that palaver.  It's really not worth it.  I'll just put tubes in it and be done with it until the Schwalbes are worn and I can put come proper tyres back on.

I don't think tubeless can cope with the higher pressures of road riding.  If it were that good, all the pros would have sealant in their tubs, but they don't.  And CO2 is a waste of time with them - if the hole is big enough to need reinflation, then your CO2 will come whistling out through the hole anyway - and that seems to be most holes.  As for sealing the small holes - maybe they does, but if so they puncture at a rate that is off the scale compared to Michelin Pro4.

 

 

ChrisJD on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to nniff:

Looks like you've have a bad experience.

Going tubeless takes a bit of effort to learn a new way of doing stuff.  But you've got to want to change, else you'll hate it. 

I run tubeless on three different bikes, inc a CX.  Couldn't contemplate going back to tubes. 

Post edited at 12:17
GrahamD - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to TobyA:

MrsD's new road bike is tubeless and its been more trouble than it was worth.  Couldn't get front tyre to seal properly (neither could LBS) and ended up on holiday putting an inner tube in !

Neil Williams - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to TobyA:

I've long used Schwalbe Marathon Plus (the Plus are worth the bit extra over the regular Marathons which sometimes let small thorns through) and cannot imagine that I would consider ever purchasing another brand/model of tyre for road/cycle path use unless they stopped doing them.  I ride the MK Redways on which there's lots of broken glass and thorns and never get punctures until they are worn well beyond the point when I should have already got round to replacing them.

If you're happy with them stick with them - I am.

Post edited at 15:27
the sheep - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to Neil Williams:

Another vote for Marathon Plus, they really are bomb proof. Cant remember the last time i had a puncture and chucked the last pair away as they were worn out without letting me down

TobyA on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to Neil Williams:

The only thing is that currently the Marathon Pluses are on the old bike and the new bike came with the G Ones. Not that changing them over is a massive job but just because the new bike is tubeless ready, I sort of felt I should give it go!

Thanks for everyone's experience. It's interesting that it seems quite polarised - more love or hate, not much indifferent either way!

wilkie14c - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to TobyA:

I’m running Hutchinson Fusion 5 in 25mm on H-Plus Son Archetype rims. They were very easy to fit and I was expecting a nightmare after reading everyone’s tubeless woes. I run them at 90 rear and 80 front and they are very comfy compared to tyres with tubes.

Stans rim tape and fluid.

They hold pressure well and I’m really happy with them.

Neil Williams - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to TobyA:

FWIW I've never tried tubeless, I'm just very much in favour of the Schwalbe!

jpicksley - on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to TobyA:

I run tubeless on a gravel bike and for off-road I think it's worth the effort for the obvious reasons (running a lower psi and avoiding pinch punctures which are the main cause of the punctures I've had off road). I found it a bit of a faff but once setup they've been fine.

For on-road (different bike) I don't think it's worth the effort as I get about 2 punctures a year, if that, and I'm riding most days.

I guess it depends on the off-road sections you're on for your commute. Gravel paths don't sound like they'd be likely to cause many punctures. Forestry roads at speed cause a lot of pinch punctures, which is what I do when I go off road.

I've no experience of tubeless on a mountain bike as I don't have a mountain bike.

thepodge on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to TobyA:

If you are having to pump up tubeless daily and having to strip and clean the whole tyre / wheel combo every time you want to refill the tyre then you've got it set up wrong. The sealant is there to seal holes, if all holes are sealed then there's no reason to be pumping the tyre up. 

I've not used one of my bikes for over 18 months and its still holding pretty much the same pressure it was when I put it away, my more frequently used bikes get topped up (through the valve, no need to remove and clean the tyre) every 6 months or so. 

I've run tubeless as low as 14psi and as high as 90psi in tyres from 32c to 2.4", only a selection of which are official tubeless ready tyres, in fact my 32c Panaracer Gravel kings aren't recommended to be run tubeless but were probably the easiest to set up. 

My LBS have always taped my rims and set up one set of tyres, the rest of the tyres have been set up with a combination of work's compressor and / or my ex-fire extinguisher inflator. 

I've not done it myself but a guy I know says he can patch a tubeless tyre with anchovies faster and more reliably than replacing a tube. 

GrahamD - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to thepodge:

MrsD's brand new bike has tubeless and the wheel has been re-sealed by the LBS a couple of times, with just about everything changed from its out the box state.  Despite that, it loses noticeably more pressure overnight than my normal inner tube set up.

I'm certainly not chomping at the bit to "upgrade" any time soon.

thepodge on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

Its not an upgrade, its an alternative & if you can measure the loss of pressure over night then I'd be looking for a new LBS because something clearly isn't right. 

GrahamD - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to thepodge:

Hence "upgrade" rather than upgrade.  Something clearly isn't great with that particular set up and I don't think its the LBS.  She isn't the only person I know who has less than overwhelming experience of tubeless road tyres.

MonkeyPuzzle - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

Admittedly (I say this as a fan of tubeless), some tyre-rim combos work better than others.

nufkin - on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to TobyA:

>  It's interesting that it seems quite polarised - more love or hate, not much indifferent either way!

Business as usual on UKC

nniff - on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

> Admittedly (I say this as a fan of tubeless), some tyre-rim combos work better than others.

That may well be the case - I've got Schwalbe 1 on Stan's Alpha rims and they pop off the rims if the pressure is too low - and you'll not get them back on again without a fizzy pop bottle full of air.  Ditto for Hunt wheels and the same tyres, but not quite so bad. 

In other words, your little rubber worm is not going to save you at the side of the road if you lose all your air.

Deleted bagger - on 13 Sep 2018
In reply to TobyA:

Out on a club run yesterday one of the guys had a tubeless tyre fail. Looked like a problem with the rim, possible dent, leading loss of seal. Fortunately someone had an innertube which fitted.


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