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Tubeless - finally had a proper puncture.

Messed up and contemplating an oncoming car didn't notice a chuck of collapsed road edge and gave myself a pinch puncture on the front wheel.

The small tear was just on the rim, too big to self-seal and I thought about a plug but I realised that the side wall was not going to get pressed into place and then I realised the kit was in my other bike (also clearance isn't good on the Defy so last attempt with a cheap plugging kit on this bike was a failure).

Tyre had been on for 18 months. Came off rim without problems (Conti sealant - Schwalbe 1s glue to the rims, which might be the Schwalbe sealant aka Stan's, I believe). I carry pliers so no trouble removing the valve. The Conti popped off the rim with a couple of tyre levers. Last year's sealant still sloshing around happily. Inner tube popped in, gas inflated up, tyres popped onto the rim and got home.

Experience no worse than tubed tyre.

I've been procrastinating over replacing the worn out rear anyway so time to go up to 28s (sitting there waiting since last year) from the 25s.

If you're new please join in and if you have questions pop them below and the forum regulars will answer as best we can.

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28 comments

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Xenophon2 | 3 months ago
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I have one bike that doubles for commuting and gravel.  My commute is just under 45 km/day, 5 days a week.  I don't usually surpass that weekly total during the weekend.  

The commute is 85% tarmac, 15% hardpack.  I experimented with tubeless tires but after a couple of leaks that didn't seal, faff with sealant and 'real gravel' tires whose rubber simply seemed to melt away, I threw the towel.

Went to conti contact plus in 42 mm, with a conti tube in 'm.  No leaks, no slow pressure loss, no punctures, no faff.  Low rolling resistance, decent grip except on mud.  I top up with air maybe once every two weeks vs twice a week when i was riding tubeless.

Yeah, they're heavy and feel a bit wooden.  But peace of mind is also worth something.  Unless you do 'real' gravel riding (whatever it is) or ride competitively, I just don't see the added value of tubeless anymore.  It's become just another 'solution' pushed by the industry.

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cyclingtips16 | 3 months ago
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If you do need to get tyres on and off, i've found tyre glider seriously speeds up the process

https://rehook.bike/products/rehook-tyre-glider-no-more-tyre-levers

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IanMSpencer replied to cyclingtips16 | 3 months ago
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cyclingtips16 wrote:

If you do need to get tyres on and off, i've found tyre glider seriously speeds up the process

https://rehook.bike/products/rehook-tyre-glider-no-more-tyre-levers

Had a quite impressive roadside demo of one of those a few weeks ago - blink and you miss it! It may still depend on rim design because another member of our club was vocally bitter about his experience with one (but it may have also been a different design).

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pablo | 5 months ago
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Tubeless has a learning curve I like it but I can understand why people don't. My experience is generally small punctures that self-seal or turn into slow punctures that need patching when I can be bothered. Punctures tend to pickup a lot when they go thin unsurprisingly! Although I did wear through one to the carcus by mistake and it never punctured ever. On my best bike I've run pro ones and now GP5000. I run low pressures and just find the ride improvements worth the occasional faff. Pro ones ride far better than the GP's and will be going back to them when the GP's die. Pro ones easy to fit and service so happy about any road side issue. GP's were a nightmare but have since been serviced and easy to get off. Very concerned about some Goodyear ones I have on another bike they were the worst tyre to mount I have ever experienced used all the tricks and nearly gave up.

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ooblyboo | 5 months ago
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I absolutely hate tubeless for road, sorry. I have had to pick my wife up three times in one summer because she had tubeless punctures that wouldn't seal and then couldn't get the tyre off the rim, let alone back on. The frame got covered in sealant and even specialist cleaner hasn't got some of the spots off.

And I have been on two recent club rides where other riders have suffered big sidewall tears that wouldn't seal, couldn't be plugged and had to be repaired with a boot and a tube - plus lots of mess.

Road tubeless always feels like a solution in search of a problem. Gravel or MTB is different, granted.

I have tubeless on my gravel bike and it works. But I still find they leak air even more than a latex tube would.

Personally, on my summer bike I prefer latex tubes for lower rolling resistance, combined with butyl spares.

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Hirsute replied to ooblyboo | 5 months ago
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Sounds like the narrow width, high pressure problem.
I guess someone is working on a sealant more suitable for higher pressures.

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huntswheelers | 5 months ago
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Tubeless will become more popular over time, especially with frequent cyclists.... leisure once in a while types might was well keep tubes. I run Tubeless on Gravel and Road bikes and as I see many in the workshop with sealant that has "failed" or "disappeared" I started using Joe's Eco as a trial. Now the failed and disappeared sealant customers have used a latex based and most have had the sealant "soak" into the carcass and some have gone "hard" inside the tyre too. Back to the Eco sealant trial and all has been well, even when a spoke broke in one of the wheels. On removal of the tyre, it cleaned up like new with no trace that sealant had been in the tyre....save for the 9 thorns. Since then I have used that sealant with customer tyres and had no complaints at all. I guess there are tyres and tyres....and sealants & sealants.   Ride Safe everyone

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Rendel Harris replied to huntswheelers | 5 months ago
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huntswheelers wrote:

Tubeless will become more popular over time, especially with frequent cyclists.... leisure once in a while types might was well keep tubes.

Well, I'm on roughly 8,000kms a year at the moment on three bikes,  so not exactly a leisure once in a while type, with my Schwalbe Duranos (28mms on the road bike) and Marathons (35mms on the gravel and 32mms on the commuter) I've had one puncture in a year (a huge staple from a building site that I think would have blown out anything) so I don't feel the need to switch, personally, tubed still works great for me.

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levestane replied to huntswheelers | 5 months ago
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huntswheelers wrote:

... frequent cyclists.... leisure once in a while types ..

It would be interesting to see if frequent cyclists such as commuters, couriers, food delivery riders, school run cyclists etc., etc are tubeless as opposed to those cycling for leisure in their spare time.

 

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HoldingOn replied to levestane | 5 months ago
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I pretty much only commute - I prefer to go for a run at the weekend.

I don't run tubeless, but I do use anti-puncture tyres. Tried using "normal" tyres for a while, but after three punctures in one day, I couldn't take it any more.

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andystow replied to HoldingOn | 5 months ago
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A bit over half my cycling is commuting, with 90 miles a week being the work commute. I have one bicycle set up tubeless and running lovely light René Herse tyres. No regrets. I do occasionally get slow leaks that require me to top up the tyres every day or two, but that's less frustrating than having a ride interrupted by a puncture, especially having to repair one in the pouring rain, or freezing weather, or oppressive heat.

On the tubeless tyres, I'm now at over 14,000 miles / 23,000 km and twice have needed to use a plug to get going during a ride. I've never had to remove the wheel or install a tube. This is close to an order of magnitude better than my general experience with tubes.

I have been impressed with the puncture resistance of the Bontrager tyres that came on the Trek District I bought this year, right now at 2200 miles / 3500 km with no punctures. However, they are quite slow rolling with a woodenly harsh ride, so I plan to convert that bike to tubeless and install some Gravel Kings or G-Ones when they finally do me the favour of wearing out. The Trek is intended to be my "just works every time" commuting and pub bike, with its belt drive, internal hub, mudguards, and generator lighting.

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quiff replied to andystow | 5 months ago
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andystow wrote:

I have been impressed with the puncture resistance of the Bontrager tyres that came on the Trek District I bought this year, right now at 2200 miles / 3500 km with no punctures. However, they are quite slow rolling with a woodenly harsh ride... The Trek is intended to be my "just works every time" commuting and pub bike

This weekend I rode my "just works every time" / "lock up and leave" bike for the first time in years (no longer commuting) - Genesis Day One single speed with Marathon Plus. I'd forgotten how much I like it - helped in no small part by being my only bike with a near-silent freewheel. I know others find the tyres lifeless, and I'm sure I'd notice a difference if I put some sportier rubber on, but they work for me (possibly mitigated by the steel frame) and there's something very satisfying about knowing they're virtually bombproof. I've only ever had one puncture with them - a six inch nail that gave an entry and exit wound. And I still finished that commute.    

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Carbon cycle replied to huntswheelers | 3 months ago
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huntswheelers wrote:

...save for the 9 thorns

that's definitely the best thing about tubeless - all the thorns you find when you change the tyres that would have caused a puncture on an inner tube but you didn't even notice. 

in 12000km across 3 bikes I've had only one puncture that didn't seal and that was a pothole that put a dent in the rim and a 1cm rip in the sidewall. On a cyclocross tyre. 

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ktache | 5 months ago
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I have waited an entire year for these to be released, thing is the one hole in the tyre I could have used them on, was a bit dead, the rubber was doing the cracking thing.

https://www.highonbikes.com/collections/tyre-spares/products/lezyne-tube...

Might never use them, hopefully not, still haven't used the Hutchinson MTB tubeless repair kit. 

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ktache replied to ktache | 5 months ago
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Arrived today. A masterpiece of cardboard packaging, and 2 tubes of glue, which is nice, seeing that super glue seems to dry out almost the moment it is opened.

And 2 pieces of very rough "sandpaper"

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Judge dreadful | 5 months ago
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I use a tubeless set up, on my best bike. Because I find that it makes the ride, and performance of the bike much more enjoyable for me. However, I fully expect to have to treat it as I would, if riding with a conventional clincher / tube set up. I carry a spare tube, levers and gas / a mini pump. I've had to sort a puncture or two, that have defeated sealant, and worming, over the years, and learned the hard way ( 5 mile hike in cycling shoes / cleats with an unrideable bikes ) not to chance riding without the normal supplies.

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Steve K | 5 months ago
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As a recent tubeless convert I had a very satisfying moment earlier this week.  I heard a sharp "psst" of air and felt a tiny spurt of sealant hit my leg (too little to even see afterwards).  And then I just carried on with no noticeable loss of air pressure at all.

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ktache replied to Steve K | 5 months ago
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Self satisfied smile?

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peted76 | 6 months ago
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Good to hear Ian, tubeless set up correctly just works. 

FWIW.. if your sealant is still viable from last year.. I'd guess you probably put in an awful lot of sealant. I use approx 40ml per tyre and check it about every three/four months with a small pipe attached to a big syringe (if it's brown and clear it's gone off, if it's milky it's good). 

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hawkinspeter replied to peted76 | 6 months ago
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peted76 wrote:

Good to hear Ian, tubeless set up correctly just works. 

FWIW.. if your sealant is still viable from last year.. I'd guess you probably put in an awful lot of sealant. I use approx 40ml per tyre and check it about every three/four months with a small pipe attached to a big syringe (if it's brown and clear it's gone off, if it's milky it's good). 

I was surprised by that too. I don't know about sealant going brown, but I find it tends to disappear rather than "go off". Maybe it depends on how many unseen tiny puncture that you get or permeability of the tyres. A three monthly top up of sealant works for me to ensure that there's approx 40ml per tyre.

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IanMSpencer replied to hawkinspeter | 6 months ago
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Having deinstalled the tyres, front had a good lining of dried sealant and I'd guess 20-30ml fluid which looked ok. Rear sealant was really just a puddle of water with a good lining. I think the original Conti 5000TL(?) were in principle able to be ridden without sealant as they had a self-sealing layer which I believe they dropped for the current version. Rather than faffing, last time I topped up, October I think, I just stuck in 30ml each tyre on the basis I hadn't done it since about March. Bike lives in a cool garage, no extremes. I carry a pouch of sealant with me on the basis that my sealant might have gone off, leaked or been expelled in a bad puncture. I have a super-small plug kit but for some reason it lives in my other bike, when it should live in my phone pouch.

My principle is minimum effort rather than optimised cycling!

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hawkinspeter replied to IanMSpencer | 6 months ago
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I use CaffeLatex and I assume that if it's liquid that it's still good.

However, a couple of weeks back, I was riding back from the office (just over 20 miles) and got a front puncture after a couple of minutes. It started spraying a small amount of sealant around and then seemed to seal, then after a bumpy bit of road, it started spraying again. I carried on riding, hoping that it would last the journey and attempted to help it seal by pushing my finger against the hole when I was stopped at traffic lights. Got back into Bristol with my front tyre at about 10 psi which makes for interesting handling with 28mm tyres.

Maybe next time, I'll actually stop and attempt to fix it as I too carry spare sealant which might have helped.

(The front tyre was quite old and I'd planned on replacing it, so when I did, I found a small bit of stone embedded in the tyre which must have prevented the sealant from working properly)

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IanMSpencer replied to hawkinspeter | 6 months ago
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Sometimes the sealant just needs a little peace and quiet and a helping hand to help it seal. I think normally, the offending item that causes a puncture is best left in place - certainly for thorns as they soon get rubbed down, though I guess glass splinters are going to just worm around and do more damage.

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hawkinspeter replied to IanMSpencer | 6 months ago
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IanMSpencer wrote:

Sometimes the sealant just needs a little peace and quiet and a helping hand to help it seal. I think normally, the offending item that causes a puncture is best left in place - certainly for thorns as they soon get rubbed down, though I guess glass splinters are going to just worm around and do more damage.

Sometimes the sealant needs to shut the hell up and get on it with its job. I hate it when there's a bit of sealant flying off the front tyre each revolution. You just know that at some point the sealant's going to run out and in the meantime it's just spraying over your shoes.

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Xenophon2 replied to hawkinspeter | 3 months ago
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It was an experience akin to yours, with the notable difference that my front tire didn't seal and that a correctly installed 'worm' was pushed out 2 miles down the path, leaving me with no option but to walk 5 km to the nearest road and dial roadside assistance (thanking my good stars for having renewed that) that pushed me off tubeless.

If nothing goes wrong, one starts thinking that tubeless is great and  learns to live with tires that melt like Florida icicles.  Then inevitably something happens and you're left with an unholy mess and are still royally s*****d if you're not carrying the tube and pump that tubeless was supposed to render obsolete.....

The only thing I regret with my present bombproof tubed setup is that the tires feel 'dead'.

 

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Flintshire Boy | 6 months ago
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.

Air-liners is the way to go!

.

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mark1a | 6 months ago
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Good news all in then. You might be able to go down on the pressure with the wider tyres, I've put 30mm tubeless on my "comfort" bike (Vaaru MPA) and have them at 65psi, it makes quite a (good) difference. 

 

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IanMSpencer replied to mark1a | 6 months ago
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I was riding my 25s at 65 on the front, which may indeed be the reason why I pinch punctured, but I've been doing that for the last 2 seasons. I'll probably start off at 65F/70R and see how we go.

New tyres Giant Gavia Course 0 on without levers and rear tyre on with just a track pump. Front reluctant to inflate which I suspect was packaging kinks so needed CO2 (I did calculate how many CO2 canisters it would take before it was economical to get a super-inflator and decided to stick with CO2). The tyres had a comprehensive installation leaflet with all the tips and tricks I've picked up over the years, including leaving them overnight with an inner tube if they are being uncooperative.

Even better, I'd already booked a trip to the tip, so got rid of the old tyres too. Rear tyre was beyond wear marks but not down to canvas. Front was holed where a repair wasn't going to be safe and about 2/3 worn with the rubber looking quite scabby and cracked with hints of canvas elsewhere near the rim (perhaps running too soft?).

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