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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am very new into this sport and I hear all this talk about tubeless and I understand what it means, but what are the pros and cons? How does lower tire pressure help/hurt you? I really just have very little knowledge in this and am trying to learn more to help benefit my each and every ride.

Thanks!
 

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i heart singletrack
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sparkman10 said:
I am very new into this sport and I hear all this talk about tubeless and I understand what it means, but what are the pros and cons? How does lower tire pressure help/hurt you? I really just have very little knowledge in this and am trying to learn more to help benefit my each and every ride.

Thanks!
Great questions. You've alluded to one of the great benefits of tubeless, which is the ability to run lower pressure without the risk of pinch flatting, but for me, other benefits have included a decreased incidence of flat tires overall (due to the active sealing of the sealant used) and better traction courtesy of an enhanced ability of the tire casing to conform to the ground. I feel that tubeless tires also feel like they roll faster than tubed, which is something that is debated by some riders, and isn't really measurable, but I'd swear it's true.

Primary negatives are really only the learning curve involved in figuring out how to deal with setting up and running tires/wheels tubeless. You also will occasionally have to refresh the sealant in your tires, as it eventually dries, or gets blown out. I'd say I have to do that about once every 4-6 months on each bike. Oh, and it can be a bit messy (due to the sealant in the tire) if you do end up with a flat and have to pull the valve stem and install a tube, but it's easy to do.

From my experience however, the negatives totally outweigh the positives, and I've enjoyed my most flat-free years of riding since converting to tubeless about eight years ago. I recommend it 100 percent.
 

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now or later

My experience with tube or not, is it is a big pain(sometimes) when you set it up. Set it up good at home and get hardly any flats on the trail. If you are in thorn/goathead land it is almost mandatory....that's my two cents....Jefe
 

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sparkman10 said:
I am very new into this sport and I hear all this talk about tubeless and I understand what it means, but what are the pros and cons? How does lower tire pressure help/hurt you? I really just have very little knowledge in this and am trying to learn more to help benefit my each and every ride.

Thanks!
If you already use low pressures, rarely pinch flat and do not have thorns (puncture flats), there is no reason to use tubeless tires.
 

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Rider and Wrench
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mgersib pretty much covered it- once you get past the initial set-up and become a bit more familiar with it, there is no down side for most riders.

At first I was skeptical, after all why would I want to deal with a sloppy mess "if" I did end up with a flat out on the trail... and still have to carry a tube around "just in case"... My first ride tubeless on a 26" bike a few years back was one of the first flats I had gotten in quite a while and here is this white goo shooting out of a little hole in my tire... it would not seal up it just kept spraying out as I added air! I would like to chalk it up to faulty sealant or the like but it was probably user error (me). I did not shake the stuff as well as I should have and ended up with no large particles to fill any slightly bigger holes and all liquid...

Since then it has been easy, many rim/tire combos allow me to do a tire swap with a floor pump in no time- I rigged up a "bike" hook threaded into a piece of ~1.5-2" round dowel and it fits right in to my bike stand so I can hang a tire from it and easily air it up, fill/remove sealant etc.. with minimal mess and headache. I also have a syringe with a hose to suck ([email protected]'s sells them online) out the remaining goo and reuse it if it is fresh-

Ride wise I was not overly flat prone before but now not even the occasional pinch flat- I am not out looking to run the Lowest pressure possible but it seems like my 29ers already allow a bit lower pressures than most of my past 26" bikes add in tubeless and 20-25 psi up front and 22-28 psi out back is very realistic without causing a squirmy feel (this obviously depends on the actual tires you run) I find that most tires seem to "feel" much better, conforming to the trail easier and offering more traction (not just because of the lower pressure but the actual carcass seems to be more pliable without the tube pressing against it)... all un-measurable mind you so maybe it is in my head?

If you do it, which many will recommend, just don't get frustrated if things seem a bit complicated at first, give it some time and you will be looking back wondering why you waited so long in the first place.
 

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i heart singletrack
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knottshore said:
...If you do it, which many will recommend, just don't get frustrated if things seem a bit complicated at first, give it some time and you will be looking back wondering why you waited so long in the first place.
Very well said! I absolutely feel the same way. I had someone tell me recently that they were afraid to go into the backcountry running tubeless, and I kind of got a laugh out of it, because I've gotten to the point where I'm actually afraid to go into the backcountry on a bike NOT set up tubeless! It's been that solid in its reliability for me, now that I've figured out how to work with it.

Tubeless is one of those things that is so good, but since there is that initial learning curve, many don't ever try it. But persistence pays, and for those who are persistent, life is good.
 

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shiggy said:
If you already use low pressures, rarely pinch flat and do not have thorns (puncture flats), there is no reason to use tubeless tires.
Best advice I've heard on NOT to go tubeless, which I've considered on a few occasions. I generally run 20-26 psi with no worries, front and back. I weigh nearly 180 all geared up, have always run tubes, and have had few flats here along the East Coast.

However: I wonder if it is not worth the savings in weight?
 

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After months of annoying seepage problems, blown tires, Latex Margaritas, compressor purchases, messy tire swaps, and lots and lots and lots of soapy water, I've gotten used to the tubeless system. Now I love it! Really!!! hahahahahahahahah............
 

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Tubeless, ideally with a stans rim or another tubeless ready rim design. It takes a little getting used to like mgersib and others have mentioned, but it's worth it. My favorite benefits are nearly banishing flats in general, better traction, and more compliant ride due to the tire conforming around objects on the trail.

The only time I wouldn't recommend tubeless is when someone really doesn't ride a bike that often. In that case replacing sealant just isn't worth it since it'll likely dry up every 4-6 months. That's not to say the tires won't work while the sealant is dried up, as I've run non-tubeless tires tubeless on stans rims without any sealant remaining for months... I just wouldn't recommend it in case of punctures.
 

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If you live where there are lots of thorns then tubeless is a life saver. With a tubed tire, one goat head thorn means that you're fixing a flat. With tubeless I've had 20-30 thorns in a tire and not needed to replace anything.

The only downside of tubeless is for those that like to swap tires regularly. With tubes, a tire swap is easy. With tubeless and can be messy.
 

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foxtrot said:
Best advice I've heard on NOT to go tubeless, which I've considered on a few occasions. I generally run 20-26 psi with no worries, front and back.
Shiggy said "tubeless tires" not "NOT go tubeless". I think he is alluding to the ability to set up regular tires without tubes. I run a Racing Ralph and a Small Block 8, both regular casing in a tubeless setup.

I have all the advantages of being able to run low pressures, not pinch flat,have better traction etc WITHOUT the weight penalty of a true "tubeless" tire.

The can take a while to seal up but once up ad running they work great for me. For the record though, I am a skinny bugger at 150 lbs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I feel i have learned a lot here. Now the main thing I know I need to do tubeless or not is lose some air pressure. I am running at 40 and now i know why I can get a little loose in the corners. This is something I am going to research more and maybe take a crack soon. I have pretty fast tires on my bike but I would rather have some grip to go along with that. Thanks for all the advice! Everyone on here is extremely helpfull in getting us rookies in line!
 

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One thing I could add is that new and old riders alike don't like removing wheels and tyres on a ride, or even before or after a ride. If you use a minimum amount of sealant and a removeable valve core, you may never have to remove the tyre until it's replaced unless it is cut as opposed to a normal puncture.

I use a small amount of sealant. Once it is dry, I only have to remove the valve core, bung in some goop, rotate the puncture downward and air up with CO2. I could also drop a little super glue on the hole if I wanted. I even take some old sidewall, a needle and nylon thread and a couple of those little teardrop two part epoxy tabs for a just in case side wall cut as I am determined to never use a tube again and do not carry them.

My little repair kit is still unused and is small and light. Don't hesitate, it's an easier way for everyone.
 

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driver bob said:
Shiggy said "tubeless tires" not "NOT go tubeless". I think he is alluding to the ability to set up regular tires without tubes.
That would definitely NOT be what Shiggy is alluding to.:nono: :lol: :lol:

He is the biggest naysayer of any kind of non-factory tubeless system that there is out there. Well, he may be a close second to Chas Martel.;) But at least he does not assail everyone with those f&@king retarded "face palm" pictures every time someone asks about any form of tubeless other than "UST":rolleyes:

But he is still in denial that people can run their own tubeless systems reliably without having Mavic build it for them and hold their hands the whole time.

As far as the OP's question, I would venture a guess that Texas may present some thorn challenges for him depending on what area of the state he lives and rides at. For myself, here in Tucson I can't even imagine riding with tubes again.:nono: I have taken off tires and counted 27 spines sticking in them, and God knows how many others went in and came out. I would guess I would have had 40 flats on just that one tire!! Now double that amount counting the other tire, and imagine changing 80 flats!! No freaking way!!!!!!!

If you live in Oregon, like I used to, I can see tubes. But for areas with cactus and thorns tubes make no sense at all.

And if you use common sense and do a little research, you can indeed run other methods other than UST tubeless reliably. I have had excellent results with Stan's strips, and even more so with plain old split 20" tube ghetto tubeless, as long as I use tires with reasonable sidewalls in the rocks.

Now I am using Stan's flow rims, and so far it has performed perfectly, with no burps. The biggest advice I would give is make sure that whatever setup you use will seal at the bead without sealant!! Sealant should be for sealing the tire pores, and plugging punctures, NOT for sealing the bead!! If your bead interface(whatever it may be) can't stand on it's own, I would not trust it. Using a regular tire on a UST rim comes to mind here. I use a split tube when using a standard tire on UST rims, and this makes the seal, not the sealant.
 

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Tubeless is the shiz! Low pressure without pinch flats, better traction, and puncture protection. If you have any common sense it's a breeze to set up. Some rims may require an air compressor to seat the bead, if you don't have one go to the gas station. I would recommend the gorilla tape method with homemade sealant. Way cheaper than a Stans kit and you get enough brew to last for quite some time.
 

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driver bob said:
Shiggy said "tubeless tires" not "NOT go tubeless". I think he is alluding to the ability to set up regular tires without tubes. I run a Racing Ralph and a Small Block 8, both regular casing in a tubeless setup.

I have all the advantages of being able to run low pressures, not pinch flat,have better traction etc WITHOUT the weight penalty of a true "tubeless" tire.

The can take a while to seal up but once up ad running they work great for me. For the record though, I am a skinny bugger at 150 lbs.
No, that is not at all what I mean. I do not recommend using ANY standard tires and/or rims without inner tubes. PERIOD!

DYI tubeless conversions and true tubeless/tubeless ready are different. I use the latter (and inner tubes), have tried the former.

UST/tubeless ready is a breeze to setup.
DIY conversions are a crap shoot.

With conversions I needed to use higher pressure than I did in the same tires with inner tubes to keep them from squirming. They lost air faster, and for no good reason. Take much more time and energy to mount. Messy to fix or change tires. I do not even use sealant in tubeless ready tires if I do not have to.

If your riding area does not have thorns, there is no reason to use a sealant. Conversions require sealant to work at all.

If you do not get pinch flats, UST tires can prevent some of them. Run the same pressures in converted tires and you will still bottom out the tire and risk flatting because you cut the casing instead of the inner tube. Plus you will have destroyed the tire.
 

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mgersib said:
Very well said! I absolutely feel the same way. I had someone tell me recently that they were afraid to go into the backcountry running tubeless, and I kind of got a laugh out of it, because I've gotten to the point where I'm actually afraid to go into the backcountry on a bike NOT set up tubeless! It's been that solid in its reliability for me, now that I've figured out how to work with it.
The entire state of Nebraska is backcountry. I won't drive a car or ride a bike that's not set up tubeless in that state.:p

BB
 
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