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  1. #1
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    PROS vs CONS TUBELESS

    Looking for some help from those of you with experience.
    Agressive rider, 185lbs, Pac.NW, all mountain.

    Is tubeless better than good ol' tubes? When is it better, and when is it not.

  2. #2
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    jbone, this topic has been covered extensively, and there is a plethora of information on this subject within this site alone. Don't be surprised if you get less than sincere replies on your post.
    That being said, go tubeless!
    The unexamined life is not worth living - Socrates
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  3. #3
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    For me the advantages are no more flats from punctures.

    The disadvantage for me are weight. I run heavy UST tires for their tougher side walls & 4oz of Slime & Stan's mix per tire. I have to run this combo in my area or I'd be hiking the back after every ride.

  4. #4
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    Awesome topic. No one's ever asked before.

    I dont know why I run tubeless. The tubeless fairy just broke into my garage one night and set my bike up.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli View Post
    Awesome topic. No one's ever asked before.

    I dont know why I run tubeless. The tubeless fairy just broke into my garage one night and set my bike up.
    Tubeless Fairy never comes to Canada.

    I've tried tubeless, but didn't care much for it. I never get flats while running tubes, and I run 28-30psi. I just found it PITA to mount a tire while trying not to spill sealant, and after taking off and putting back on tires couple of times, I just went back to tubes.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli View Post
    Awesome topic. No one's ever asked before.

    I dont know why I run tubeless. The tubeless fairy just broke into my garage one night and set my bike up.
    I'm sure this topic has been beaten to death and beyond but some of us are new to it and I guess I'd rather view a fresh thread than dig up a tired old one.


    I've tried tubeless, but didn't care much for it. I never get flats while running tubes, and I run 28-30psi. I just found it PITA to mount a tire while trying not to spill sealant, and after taking off and putting back on tires couple of times, I just went back to tubes.
    4nbstd- if you're not being sarcastic then my experiences match yours. I know there are many advantages to tubeless, but there are a few advantages to tubed that I can see. Just trying to weigh it out.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    4nbstd- if you're not being sarcastic then my experiences match yours. I know there are many advantages to tubeless, but there are a few advantages to tubed that I can see. Just trying to weigh it out.
    Not sarcastic at all. Another factor that pushed me back to tube was that I'm 220 lb on rigid with plenty of air time, and I was constantly worried about burping, I couldn't enjoy riding as much.
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  8. #8
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    I went Tubeless long ago when the only option was the Stan's conversion strips, and have never looked back. In my opinion, the improvement in traction, especially in rocks and roots, is significant. Part of it is being able to run 25-30 psi and not worry about pinch flats, but I think the tire is more supple and conforms to the trail better at any given pressure Tubeless vs tubed, which in turn gives better control.
    No pinch flats and resistance to thorns are an added benefit. I noticed the top of this thorn barely sticking up between knobs after a ride. I had no idea when I got the puncture (sealed around the turn instantly). I left it for several weeks and ride at least 3-4 times with it in. I finally opened the tire to help get it out and couldn't believe how long it was sticking in there. Try riding with that with a tube! I pulled it out, reset the bead, inflated the tire, and the hole sealed quickly.
    I've only had to their a tube in while on the trail once in 6 years of riding Tubeless. :thumbup:

    Excuse the bad pics. Second one shows the thorn from the inside of the tire...



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  9. #9
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    Just do it

  10. #10
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    I'm running tubeless front and a tube in the rear tire. Best of both worlds!

    (What actually happened was I got a sidewall cut in the rear tire, so I stuck a tube in it, and I have just left it that way.)

    Tubeless pros:
    - Fewer flats (at least for me)
    - Can run lower pressures without pinch-flats

    Tubeless cons:
    - Some risk of 'burping' air (depends on tire/rim combo)
    - A pain, and messy, if you like to change tires often
    - Fixing a flat on the trail is messy
    - Sealant can gunk up valves, causing them to fail (happened to me)
    - Still need to carry a spare tube, and should carry a spare valve as well

  11. #11
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    My opinion.

    I switched to tubeless on my 29er this year along with standard Maxxis Ardent tires.

    Disadvantages: NONE

    Advantages: When it's wet, I can run 18-22psi and get traction. I havn't had a flat or air loss this year and I've ridden on over 100 rides.

    Paul
    “People fear death even more than pain. It's strange that they fear death. Life hurts a lot more than death." JM

  12. #12
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    In 2011 I had literally one flat all year with tubes. So, I never felt the need for tubeless. Fast forward to today, I'm picking up my new tubless wheelset today. Not sure if it's bad luck or what but after one flate in the last year and a half, I've had 4 in the last month. So, I'm making the switch and see what happens.

  13. #13
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    Why use tubes?

    After a short flat infested mtb ride in the Sonoran Desert mid 2000's I went Stan's rim-strip upgrade and eventually to Flows and I can't find a reason to ever go back to a tube set-up.
    Why? I hate flats and I haven't ever had to walk back running tubeless.
    Go off trail, run over a cholla cluster, hear it slam into the shock brace and then feel it smash into your shin and hear the ppssffft, ppssffft and then the seal and you'll be happy.
    At the end of the ride, you can see a couple of cholla thorns sticking out of your tire...leave them alone and you can go riding the next day and...repeat.
    I did once run over a huge thorn and made the stupid mistake of pulling it out when my tire had low and old fluid. It still sealed and I had to add air, but I rode home.

    Ask anyone who's run tubeless for a year to show you the inside of their tire when they take it off for whatever reason.
    When I switched out my Exiwolf's for the Big Apples, there were no less than 40 thorns sticking through to the inside of the tire. Think of that happening with a tube.

    The trick is having a good tubeless rim/tire bead seal and keeping up the fluid. Not a big deal for me.

    Now I'm living in Seattle and I'm running the 622-60 Big Apples tubeless with about 35 psi and they are doing great.
    Maybe no need to run tubeless in this urban assault type of riding, but I hate tubes and I ride mostly off the beaten path.

    I keep meaning to carry a tube, but never have yet...

  14. #14
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    gotta do it...

    In the future
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    STRAVA: Enabling dorks everywhere to get trails shut down... all for the sake of a race on the internet.

  15. #15
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    Tubeless is faster...because you can run lower pressures and lower pressure is definitely faster over rough surfaces. Tubless is more durable, and you will get way less flats. Tubeless offers a smoother ride, because of the lower pressure.

    If you have a good set-up made for tubeless, it will never burp. The only con for me is that if you like to switch tires frequently, it is more of a pain in the butt. Otherwise, tubeless is better in every way, and the difference is significant.

    I no longer carry an extra tube with me unless I am way in the backcountry because flats are now so rare with my tubeless set-up. I do run tough tires though with sidewalls made for tubeless that are difficult to cut.

    All that said lots of guys still like tubes and run them, and they will get on here and talk about the virtues of tubes.

  16. #16
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    I had a load of problems getting my punctures to seal tubeless until I dropped Stans sealant and made my own.

    Also I lost over 100 grams going tubeless and traction is much better at lower pressure.
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  17. #17
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    Love running tubeless. I pre-burped my rims to help seal them. Once I did that, little to no air loss after 4 months. Maine trails are full of roots and granite. Still carry tubes. Guess I am paranoid.

    Setup is Bontrager mustang OSB with Bontrager strips and IRD Fire XC Pro. Stan's goo.

    No Cons so far. I do not change tires until they are shot.

    Took a few attempts to get them setup perfectly but that was mainly due to LBS supplying wrong Stans strips and then supplying wrong Bontrager strips. I eventually ordered what I needed direct from Bontrager and all is set.

  18. #18
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    What I never understood is the low presure thing. I mean I understand it but everyone talks about how they want stiff rims, stiff frame and then you run super low presure and, to me, the back end feels all squirrely. LIke a wet noodle. If I get under 30psi it feels like my backend is fishtailing. Just a preference thing I guess.

  19. #19
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    I run lower pressure tubed than tubeless anyway.

    Go tubeless if you get lots of punctures from thorns.

    In the early 2000's there were advantages , with the latest generation high volume tires most other benefits are now redundant.

  20. #20
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    I run tubes on my 29er and regularly run between 18 and 23 psi. I'm about 185 lbs and ride in New England. I rarely flat (maybe 2 or 3 times per year). Tubes work for me. Try out tubeless if you're interested and decide what works for you.

  21. #21
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    Last year I was riding along and ran over something embedded in a mud puddle and double flatted. For whatever reason I hadn't gotten around to converting these new tires, I was immediately attacked by a swarm of mosquitos that were relentless while trying to swap tubes. Picture a cursing screaming madman running around holding a wheel, tube, tire levers, hand pump, and flailing my arms all at the same time. I swore after that I wouldn't ride again until those tires were converted. This comical scenario alone should be enough to convince you.

    On vacation last year to Myrtle Beach I brought my roadie (there are no trails in mb), I noticed at the beginning of the trip there was a sliver of metal embedded in one of my tubeless tires. I almost pulled it out, but not having the necessary tools to re-seat the beads I changed my mind and decided to gamble and see if it would hold out. Well, even after riding 300 miles on that trip it did, and when I got home and pulled it out with needlenose pliers, it sealed instantly anyway. Since I swapped tubeless on my road bike I have yet to flat, not once in two years.

    All of my serious bikes are tubeless, from the roadie to the downhill bike. Even with too low air pressure and banging the rims in hairy rock gardens, I may on rare occasion burp but never blow out. The only flats I've gotten in the recent past were from a rock tearing a big gash in the sidewall, and another tire getting a knob torn off and a big hole in the casing, I couldn't even use those tires with tubes if I wanted to.

    Yeah, it takes some effort, and some tire/rim combos can be difficult to seal, but there's only been two tires over the 10 years I've been doing it that I could never get to seat. After you've done it a couple times you get pretty good at it. In fact I just finished an hour ago converting my newest bike, the whole process took about 1.5 hours start to finish, from deflating the tubes to two airtight converted tires ready to ride. It's well worth the effort.
    Last edited by masterofnone; 09-18-2012 at 05:51 PM.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lenny7 View Post
    What I never understood is the low presure thing. I mean I understand it but everyone talks about how they want stiff rims, stiff frame and then you run super low presure and, to me, the back end feels all squirrely. LIke a wet noodle. If I get under 30psi it feels like my backend is fishtailing. Just a preference thing I guess.
    Thank God someone finally said it! I thought I was the only one on this planet who thought running a mostly flat tire felt like walking around with a schmeer of poop in your chamois....

  23. #23
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    So what really are the benefits of running tubeless. I have never run my wheels/tire tubeless so I can't speak from personal experience. I always assumed there was a weight loss gain? I can see that with UST tires on a UST wheel where you don't need the sealant but then you lose the puncture "proof" capabilities.

    I used to push the limits of the air pressure on my HT and got a few pinch flats. Didn't take long for me to figure out that anything below 27 PSI would be risky. I also realized that one of the reasons I was wanting to run the low PSI was to smooth out my ride.

    Fast forward, I ride a FS now and am totally fine with running around 30 PSI, haven't had a single flat. Knocks on wood. Running that PSI on the the tires I am using seems to allow plenty of contact. Some tires seem to want more. I definitely don't want a squirrely ride because of low pressure.

    So what are the real advantages?

    1. I can totally see the puncture "proofness" if you ride where there are a lot of thorns etc. Rocks are the biggest tire foe in the Pisgah, so that isn't all that important to me.

    2. Any weight loss gain? Maybe with a UST tire and no sealant?

    3. Lower tire pressure. Mmmmkay, not sold. I seem to hook up just fine and rarely slip.

    What am I missing. I could totally be wrong and be missing something.

    Looking for a new wheel set and seriously considering WTB's I19s. Part for losing some weight and part for maybe losing some weight running them tubeless with no sealant. You can do that right with ust tires on ust rims?
    Last edited by mattnmtns; 09-18-2012 at 07:02 PM.

  24. #24
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    For me the increased flat prevention is the biggest reason. There is some rotational weight to lose by tossing the tube, I don't use ust tires, most are boat anchors, regular tires work just fine. My tire pressures are only slightly lower, about 5 to 7 lbs less. I have read that the tire conforms to the trail better without a tube. I guess if you think that a tube conforms to the tire like an extra layer in the carcass, stiffening up more like a downhill tire with extra plies it makes sense. Whether or not this is true or not I don't know, but I can tell you my bikes feel noticeably smoother and with better traction once I yank the tubes out.

  25. #25
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    I was a hold-out for a long time. Rode Flows with tubes. Since converting, I would have a hard time going back to tubes just based on trail feel alone. The bike just seems to handle better with tubeless. Additionally as a hardtail rider, the 25 psi increases the comfort big time.

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