We asked: Tubeless tyres – yes or no?
Alexander Steurer, tubeless rider right from the get-go, answers all the important questions surrounding the hotly debated topic of tubeless tyres. Find out more!
9 questions – 9 expert answers
A hotly debated topic: tubeless tyres. Some love them and would never want to go without them anymore, others swear by the standard tube system. Clearly: Both options have their pros and cons. There’s no right or wrong in this case.
However, we’ve asked someone who should know best: Alexander Steurer is a tubeless rider right from the get-go. He’s convinced that if you use them correctly, the benefits of tubeless tyres outweigh their drawbacks.
In addition, Alex shows in a how-to video how to assemble tubeless tyres fast and easy.
1. What are tubeless tyres?
Alex: Tubeless tyres have a special design that ensures airtightness even without the additional tube. In the case of a tubeless system, a sealant is used for this purpose. It serves as a “liquid tube” and quickly seals the affected spot in case of a puncture. It’s a technology that has been used for cars and motorcycles for a long time already.
2. What are the pros and cons of “riding without tubes”?
Alex: One of the benefits is less rolling resistance because the flexing action of the tube is not an issue anymore. Additionally, tubeless tyres are lower in weight, and they’re very puncture-resistant: In case of small defects (for instance, punctures caused by thornes), the liquid sealant instantly closes the hole, and you can continue riding. Pinch flats or snakebite punctures won’t happen either, because there is no tube that can be pinched.
One of the drawbacks is the somewhat finicky and time-intense initial installation, especially if the tyre isn’t tubeless-ready. In case of larger defects, the sealant can leak from the tyre and stain the bike or the rider. The sealant should also be topped off or replaced every three to four months because it can harden inside the tyre after a while.
3. For which bikes would you recommend tubeless tyres?
Alex: Mountain bikes, trekking bikes or road bikes – generally speaking, tubeless tyres are great for any kind of bike. If you would like to take advantage of their benefits and you can live with the drawbacks, you should give tubeless tyres a try.
4. Can tubeless tyres be retrofitted on all Simplon bikes?
Alex: Yes, every Simplon bike is tubeless-compatible. However, it also depends on the manufacturer of the wheels. The Schwalbe DT Swiss wheels used in our range are all tubeless-ready. This makes retrofitting tubeless tyres very easy.
5. Are all rims tubeless-compatible?
Alex: In principle, tubeless tyres can be installed on any kind of rim, even older models. However, there’s an increased safety risk because older rims oftentimes don’t have raised, flattened shoulders and special flat sections on either side which hold the tyre bead in place. This makes it more likely that air rapidly gets pushed out – making the tyre “burp” – under heavy cornering loads and in case of hard impacts. However, most of the newer rims are very tubeless-friendly. They can be sealed with special self-adhesive rim tape.
6. Can tubeless tyres be used with tubes as well?
Alex: Yes. In case of larger defects, when the sealant cannot sufficiently seal the puncture, you can remove the tubeless valve and insert a tube. Just like when you’re using a conventional system.
7. What’s Easy Fit?
Alex: Easy Fit is a special liquid which you can use during initial installation. It seals the tyre faster which helps with seating it. Alternatively, you can also use soap suds for this.
8. How much weight does going tubeless save you?
Alex: That entirely depends on the components used. There are several very good and lightweight aluminium valves that reduce the system’s weight even more. Usually, you should be able to save up to 50 grams per wheel.
9. What should you look out for when purchasing tubeless tyres?
Alex: The wheels should be tubeless-ready. What’s more, you should only get high-quality rim tape, valves and sealant. At Simplon, we use Doc Blue by Schwalbe as a sealant, for instance.