Bicycle tires can be a complex subject. There are three main types of bicycle tires on the market: clincher, tubeless, and tubular.
Each has its advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will talk about the pros and cons of tubeless.
The entire rim of a tubeless tire must be airtight and the rim requires special tubeless tape. Additionally, tubeless rims and tires must be reinforced to secure the tire to the rim. Riders will also need to install tubeless sealant in their tires to prevent most punctures.
(1) Protection against punctures. One of the main benefits of tubeless tires is the reduction in punctures through the use of tubeless sealants. The sealant will fill small cuts in the tire. With an inner tube, small pieces of flint, glass, and thorns can stick to the tire (especially in wet conditions) and get inside the tire to reach the inner tube and puncture the tire.
(2) Lower rolling resistance. One of the biggest trends in road and gravel riding is wider tires for a comfortable ride and grip. Wider tires and lower tire pressures allow the tires to smooth out rough roads, and softer means more comfort and faster rolling. Just a decade ago, 23c width bicycle tires were the norm; 25c tires were considered wide, and there are now high-performance road tires in 32c widths and up. Even some Grand Tour riders will forgo tubulars for the marginal gain of tubeless tires. Disc brakes also allow endurance road bikes to mount 35mm tires in performance road bike frames. Additionally, tubeless tires enhance the benefit of having more rubber on the ground. This allows the tire to use lower tire pressures than a narrower tire, and the rider can then use lower pressures on gravel and achieve greater comfort without the risk of a puncture.
(3) Tubeless tires are cheaper. Most full carbon fiber tubeless wheel systems are less expensive than clincher wheel systems. Cost savings come from a more streamlined manufacturing process, as there is no need to create a lip on the rim to secure the tire to the rim.
(1) The adjustment is relatively complicated. You will need more expertise and skills to mount hookless or hookless tubeless tires. After a while, in a tubeless system, the tubeless sealant dries and the rider must remove the tire and remove the dried sealant from the rim and tire. Additionally, you need to install tubeless tape, which should be tightly stretched over the rim to make the rim airtight. Additionally, tubeless hook-on tires are known to be difficult to mount on the rim as the rubber must be stronger to hold the tire on the rim and can be very difficult and will require a compressor to hold the tire on the rim. To complicate matters further, after a while the sealant inside the tire will dry out and the tire will need more sealant. The valve core must be removed and sealant added. The sealant must be removed from the tires within a year, which can create a sticky mess. On the other hand, tires require inner tube tires and rim tape.
(2) Tubeless tires are more expensive than clincher tires. Indeed, most current models are in the high-end range. Therefore, the rubber compound of tubeless tires is better than that of clincher tires. As tubeless tires become more popular, expect prices to drop with the introduction of budget versions. For now, though, expect to pay more for a tubeless setup. Additionally, you should invest in a tubeless bike pump to save on tire installation costs at the bike store. Rim tape and valves are also required during installation, and in terms of ongoing costs, tubeless tire sealant needs to be replenished regularly.