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  1. #1
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    What is disadvantage of tubeless?

    Hello all,

    I read a lot about converting to tubeless and I did not find any disadvantage for me... It sounds all too good to be true - and as we know it probably is

    The only 2 mentioned disadvantages were:
    Not easy to change tyres like with tubes. No disadvatage for me as I want to "set it and forget it" until the tyre needs replacement.
    Sealing is sometimes not easy. But I like to play with my summer bike over winter - and people said that all combinations of tyres and rims will seal at the end.

    On the other hand, the puncture protection seems to me unbelievable. I saw Stan's video running 20 times over "nail trail" wihout any presure loss. And the nails were really big... I believe that small thorns shoudl not be a problem - but large nails and many in the row???

    Thanks in advance to share your experience!

  2. #2
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    if you happen to slice a sidewall, or get a puncture that wont seal, installing a tube on the trail can be a bit messy.

    otherwise thats about the only downside i can think of.
    Juice

  3. #3
    Bad Case of the Mondays
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    I run tubeless on almost all of my bikes, and I'm a big fan for the most part. I have run through patches of hundreds of goathead stickers with no issue other than brief hissing and some sealant flying on my legs.

    The disadvantages to me are:

    1. Tire changes are more complicated
    2. You need to check sealant periodically, when you run out your flat protection ends.
    3. Residue - I use homebrew sealant and at times I have to scrape out all the old sealant, which is time consuming.

    But the benefits far outweigh the few disadvantages to me.

  4. #4
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    Price is a disadvantage if you buy UST or tubeless ready tires.

  5. #5
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    I use non ust time with non ust tires. Had my first burp/bead peel of the year last week. Works for me! If you use a folding tire, make sure to mount it with a tube overnight to help it form. It took me 2 hours to mount it without forming it.
    There's something about those long grueling climbs that gets my front end all stiff... And I'm not talking about lockout...

  6. #6
    no trees are safe
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    Burps, blown offs, harder to setup, requires periodical checking of the sealant level/ latex boogers, is more expensive. The ability to seal holes also depends on the tyre thickness and the type of sealant that you're using.

  7. #7
    Custom Wheelbuilder
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    Initial setup can be a bit finicky sometimes. Once you get past that though, they really are very advantageous. I haven't flatted in two seasons (knock on wood) and the only maintenance I've had to do is check my sealant levels once a season.
    If you have the $ to make the jump, you won't regret it.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by premeks View Post
    No disadvatage for me as I want to "set it and forget it" until the tyre needs replacement.
    It doesn't work like that. You always have to carry one or two spare tubes, a tire lever, and a patch kit, so a tubeless setup is heavier.

    I usually slice a sidewall or split a knob before the tire wears out. And installing a tube in a tire that has Stan's all over the inside of it is a real mess, so I always carry a rag too. All in all Stan's is a real hassle, but you don't get flats. In fact, I regularly find one inch thorns floating around in the Stan's inside my tires.

    The biggest disadvantage is getting Stan's sealant sprayed all over you. I set up my Stan's with a floor pump, and if you are interested in my procedure, search my posts.

  9. #9
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    Thanks to all! This was very helpful.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by happyriding View Post
    It doesn't work like that. You always have to carry one or two spare tubes, a tire lever, and a patch kit, so a tubeless setup is heavier.

    I usually slice a sidewall or split a knob before the tire wears out. And installing a tube in a tire that has Stan's all over the inside of it is a real mess, so I always carry a rag too. All in all Stan's is a real hassle, but you don't get flats. In fact, I regularly find one inch thorns floating around in the Stan's inside my tires.

    The biggest disadvantage is getting Stan's sealant sprayed all over you. I set up my Stan's with a floor pump, and if you are interested in my procedure, search my posts.
    I dont get this how can tubeless be heavier , if you're carrying minimum backup gear for both

    tube setup
    2 tubes in your tubed tyres + patches + levers

    tubeless
    0 tubes in tyres + 1 spare tube + patches + levers.

    Even if you're carring 2 tubes how can it be more, the weight of the Stans jizz is hardly much weight?

  11. #11
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    You don't have all those old tubes to make Art out of.

    That's all I got!

  12. #12
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    A couple of weeks ago I got my first bike with a tubeless setup. Yesterday I had a nice long hike after flatting the rear tire.

    I hit a rock pretty hard and put two small holes in the tire. The Stan's plugged the hole in the tread, but the hole near the bead at the rim wouldn't seal. I pulled the tire to insert my spare tube and found the previous owner had put the valve stem in so tightly that I could not remove it without pliers (which I don't carry) so I was unable to put the tube in.. Even though I had spare tubes, tire levers, patch kit, and tools, I was still stuck with a long hike.

    (FWIW, I did find that it is easier to ride on a flat tubeless tire than it is to ride on a flat traditional clincher mtb tire, so the paved part of the ride home wasn't too bad.)

    This being my only experience with tubeless, I am debating whether to get a new $50 tire and keep running it tubeless, or whether to pick up a handful of tubes for $15 and keep riding tubes in my mountain bikes like I have been for the past 26 years. Until I decide, that bike is now hanging in the garage while the other bikes continue to be ridden.

  13. #13
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    "Set and forget" seems to have 2 different stories here.

    A tubed tire gets pumped up, loses air, gets pumped up, loses air, ad nauseum.

    A tubeless tire gets pumped up, loses air, gets pumped up loses air, needs to get the sealant changed or replenished, gets pumped up, loses air, needs the boogers removed (or does it?), etc.

    Puncture-resistance is def. a bonus, traction is supposedly better, rolling resistance less... but I've seen many people running low pressure burp their tires then fiddle trying to get it to seal again on the trail and often dumping it all out and installing a tube anyway (after de-contaminating their brake rotors and everything else that got sealant on it).

    And really, if you are running low enough pressure that you worry about snakebite holes so you switched to tubeless, then your rims are probably taking a beating. I can't ride pressure that low. The tires are too unstable in the corners. I mean, what do the DHers run for sealant and pressure?

    I don't have a lot of thorns where I ride so I still run tubes. I guess if I was spending more time fixing flats and walking out of the woods than it would take me to set up and maintain tubeless (and switch tires for different conditions, etc.) then I would do it. But until that happens, the whole traction and rolling resistance and low pressure stuff seems trivial if not equal to tubes.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  14. #14
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    A year ago my new bike came with tubeless cool. Right? Not so cool for me. My first ride Burped out my air stuck in a tube and finished. Fiddled farted around with the sealant and thought I had it. Hit a race up near Porterville, CA. A lot of rock fields to get through. Two burp flats. Pain in my ass trying to change and put in tubes in the middle of a race. I would not have won by any means but not cool. I am 6' 2" at that time about 230. I was not running low pressure in my made for ust Mavic rims and tires, with stan's juice in it. I have been riding a long time and tubes have been tried and true. I switched back and nave had one flat this year. I run stans in my presta tubes. Works really will in goat head city down here by Bakersfield CA.
    Just my story. It sounds like there are also a lot of happy UST people out there.

  15. #15
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    Seems not all happy people with tubeless...

    I do not run really low pressure - typically 32 front/35 rear PSI. And I had very few problems with snake bites as I am not really fast downhill. The main reason for going tubeless is to avoid punctures. Seems like tubeless is not all that rosy...

    I will probably try first tyres with better protection for XC 29er, which are available now - but just few years ago, there were very little choice.

    Second, did anybody tried PU inner tubes? Based on tests, very light (58g for 29er!!) with superior puncture protection. I know they are really expensive - but if it helps, why not...

  16. #16
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    when running tubes i had my pressure set at 32psi front and rear. never had to worry about pinch flats at that pressure, but i wanted to run lower pressures for better traction climbing and in turns.
    tubeless i can run as low as 25psi (if i forget to check pressures before riding) but typically run about 27psi. the weight savings is also still there, the tube is rotating weight and sealant weighs less, i also did not change what was in my pack for spares, nothing more, nothing less.
    yes tire changes are messy, yes some rim/tire combos dont work as well as others causing burps.
    if you dont have any problems with pinch flats and you dont want to run lower air pressures, then there really is no need to switch over to tubeless.
    Juice

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by happyriding View Post
    It doesn't work like that. You always have to carry one or two spare tubes, a tire lever, and a patch kit, so a tubeless setup is heavier.

    I usually slice a sidewall or split a knob before the tire wears out. And installing a tube in a tire that has Stan's all over the inside of it is a real mess, so I always carry a rag too. All in all Stan's is a real hassle, but you don't get flats. In fact, I regularly find one inch thorns floating around in the Stan's inside my tires.

    The biggest disadvantage is getting Stan's sealant sprayed all over you. I set up my Stan's with a floor pump, and if you are interested in my procedure, search my posts.
    I've been riding tubeless for about 4 years now, and I've enver had sealant sprayed all over me, and never carry anything more than a CO2 inflator.

    It's never taken me more than 10 minutes to set up a tire, either. If it's a hassle, it's the either a bad tire/rim combo, or your technique.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    I've been riding tubeless for about 4 years now, and I've enver had sealant sprayed all over me, and never carry anything more than a CO2 inflator.

    It's never taken me more than 10 minutes to set up a tire, either. If it's a hassle, it's the either a bad tire/rim combo, or your technique.
    Nobody cares...........

  19. #19
    Just a flesh wound
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    I have not read any of the previous posts. So I will submit that after 3 months, you will have to add sealant. After 6 months you will have to add more sealant, but you should remove the latex hair ball living in your tire first. After that, start at the beginning.

    Oh yeah, I forgot one more thing. You will not be able to spend time over the soap stone sink trying to find the leak in your tube, while drinking beer. I miss that since going tubeless.
    My name is Chris and I ride a Prophet 650b with a Lefty.

  20. #20
    dwt
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    This is exactly like arguing flats vs. clipless. Some folks like and have success with tubeless, others don't. It comes down to personal choice and experience. For the record, I mostly ride clipless on 2 road bikes and 3 mtb's. Every tire is tubeless. I can be talked out of clipless on 1 or 2 of the mtb' s, but will always ride tubeless

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    Last edited by dwt; 10-26-2012 at 07:15 PM.
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  21. #21
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    I prefer tubes since I like experimenting with different tires that I catch on sale. Using tubeless makes it alot harder to setup. Maybe when I settle on the perfect tire I'll go tubeless.
    i ride bikes

  22. #22
    Give it a crank
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    The disadvantage of tubeless is it requires constant checks and tweaks, especially with ghetto tubeless. I've gone back to tubes after finding the right tubed setup that works as well as tubeless without the mess. I don't miss ghetto tubeless, but I'd still go back to tubeless with rims & tires made for tubeless.

  23. #23
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    I ride my mt bike for pleasure and training, not to race. That said, I also don't like riding a tank and enjoy and nice bit of kit. For years I ran slime in my tubes because central Kansas is loaded with goat head stickers and I was sick of flatting. Slime worked like a charm for years.

    Now I am living in China and still ride mt bike for pleasure and training. Currently I'm runnning Specialized tubes with sealant. I really, really don't ever want to be in a situation here where I'm miles from home with a flat I can't fix or get a local to help me fix (they all have patch kits for motorcycles, scooters and bike). But, I'm planning to switch to tubless this winter.

    To me the disadvantage of tubless is having to cleanout and re-install sealant every X months. I'm not sure what X is, but assume it is in the 4-12 month range. As for self sealing and hence no flats I've been like that for +10 years so that is no advantage for me.

  24. #24
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    The only disadvantage I am thinking is when the tire gets slashed. I had that experience with Mountain King (the older, non-folding version). Tire got an inch long slash where it meets the bead. Had to commute home, fortunately I wasn't that far (was biking to the trails when it happened).

    I've been using folding UST Mountain King II tires since then, mounted on Crest rims, and I have not experienced any issues so far. Accidentally rode over a beer bottle that someone had tossed in the trail (didn't see it, grass was high), and I heard the crunch of the bottle breaking under my tires. No hiss or anything. I checked my tires, no damage whatsoever.

    UST tires are heavy though, and if you're a weight weenie, that's a disadvantage I guess.

    I never went tubeless to save on weight. I did it to avoid getting flats.

    As for the mess, I just have a rag ready to grab. Not an issue for me.

  25. #25
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    Up to this point, I've opted to stick with tubes, as the advantages/disadvantages of tubeless over tubes are a wash in my mind. I have used Slime tubes to prevent thorn punctures; a constant reality when I lived in eastern Oregon, but haven't been an issue in Colorado. However, this discussion made me wonder, how long does the "Slime" in said tubes last before it becomes a latex booger? At that point, it would need to be replaced entirely. Cold this affect the decision to go tubeless for someone sitting on the fence (like me)?

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