Road Tubeless Explained
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What does ROAD TUBELESS mean?
Well, simply put, it is a tire and rim system that doesn't require a tube. The rim and tire bead are specifically designed to join together to form an airtight seal, with the valve stem secured into the rim to form an airtight seal, as well. Then, liquid sealant is normally added through the valve to help prevent punctures. The sealant coats the inside of the tire and will actually seal a lot of small punctures. It won’t seal two millimeter cut, but many times, it will seal a tiny hole and you’ll never know. Those tiny pieces of wire that wreak havoc on tubes? They are not an issue with tubeless, because the sealant does it’s job and just seals the hole.
Any tubeless tire system can be used with tubes, but a non-tubeless system can not be converted into tubeless. So, if you are buying new wheels, you’d be silly not to purchase tubeless ready wheels.
Why would you want to go road tubeless?
They roll faster. They offer better ride quality because of lower tire pressures. And pinch flats, or snake bites, are virtually eliminated. are all reasons to go tubeless.
We won’t get into the physics of the reduced rolling resistance, but you can Google that and read a myriad of articles explaining it better than we ever could. Just trust us, they aren’t any slower.
With newer frame and wheel designs taking advantage of the benefits of increased tire volume (23mm vs 28mm is almost a 20% increase in volume), you can now run lower tire pressures, which really increases the comfort factor 110 psi vs 75 psi is what we see most people adjust to.
However, with a tube and if the pressure drops that much, you run the risk of a pinch flat, or snake bite. Removing the tube solves that. You can still pinch flat a tubeless tire, but chances are that if you do, you’ve probably hit something so hard that the flat is going to be the last thing you care about.
Can I still get a flat?
Yes, you can still get a flat, and eventually you will. Put a big enough hole in anything, and the air will get out. Flats are just a reality in cycling, but with a properly installed tubeless setup, your chances of a flat are GREATLY REDUCED.
Ideally, the sealant that is coating the inside of the tire will rush to where the hole is and seal it. If the sealant is unable to seal the hole, it at least prevents most sudden deflations, and gets you to a stop in control. From there, you simply fix it like you would a normal flat, but with one extra step of removing the tubeless valve stem. After that, you just install a tube and ride it like a normal tire. If the tire is still good, you can leave the tube in there for as long as you want. You’ll need to bump up your tire pressure and it will add a little weight, but there is no immediate rush to get the tube out of there.
Curious about road tubeless, now?
Come in and receive 20% off all in-stock road tubeless tires and find out what the hype is all about. With all of our staff now riding road tubeless daily, it’s something we really believe in, and we’d love to see you become a believer, too.