Cycling - Gear/Equipment

Cycling Gear: Tube vs Tubeless Bike Tires - Everything You Need to Know

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Are you planning to replace the worn-out tires of your bike and thereby wondering whether it will be a wise decision to go for the tubeless bike tires? Unlike the normal tires which have a separate tube within the interior side, tubeless tires don’t have any inner tube and hence firmly sits on the rim that has an inbuilt sealed valve to prevent the escape of air.

Choosing bike tires can certainly be a very stressful job for many people because one needs to consider various factors such road grip, cornering grip, durability, tubeless cycle tires price, etc. Even though each of the different types of tires available in the market has its own pros and cons but it will certainly be wise for you to choose a specific one that will enable you to experience a safe and comfortable ride. If you are still wondering whether to upgrade from normal tires to tubeless tire then it will certainly be wise for you to read the further lines in order to get rid of this stressful situation in a smart way.

Invention of Tubeless Bike Tires

The tubeless bike tires have been manufactured using the latest technology and are nowadays not just only found in the mountain bikes but even come fitted in commuter bikes. In the case of tubeless tires, there is an inner liner which is an integral part of the tire and a valve that has been permanently mounted to the rim. In other words, the tubeless bike tires are somewhat similar to that of a normal tire but the only difference is that it doesn’t have an inner tube and is also durable than the later one. The rim and the tubeless bike tire acts as a sealant and thereby helps in retaining the air within in a proper way.

According to a limited lab test, it has been found that the tubeless bike tires manufactured by some of the reputed brands have lower rolling resistance compared to that of standard tires. In other words, lower rolling resistance will ultimately help in reduction of the loss of energy while the tire starts rolling on the road at a specific speed. 

tubeless bike tires
Tubeless bike tires (source)

Let's now pedal down to know the advantages and disadvantages of tubeless tires.

Advantages of Installing Tubeless Bike Tires

  • Tubeless Bike Tires are Light in Weight

This is certainly one of the major advantages that you will be able to experience after installing best tubeless road tires. Since these tires are lighter in weight, you will certainly do not have to put more amount of energy and thereby enjoy a comfortable ride. 

  • No Need to Worry about Tire Getting Flat

The tubeless bike tires are not just only thicker but also come fitted with a unique technology which prevents it from getting flat once it gets punctured. Most of the continental tubeless road tires that are available in the market are filled with a liquid sealant that immediately starts oozing out as soon the tire gets punctured and further dries up to seal the specific hole effectively. This will prevent further leakage of air and as a result, you will be able to ride for a longer distance. 

  • Air Leakage is Rare

Since the inner wall of the best tubeless road tires has a rubber coating, the air inside starts leaking at a very slow pace and thereby you will get enough time to repair it in an easier way.

  • Enjoy a Better Grip on Road

This is one of the vital reasons due to which most of the professional cycling enthusiasts prefer installing tubeless bike tires. These tires have been specially designed to work at a low pressure and hence, you will not just only be able to experience a comfortable ride but also enjoy a better grip on the road. Less amount of air pressure will enable the tire tread to have more amount of contact with the road surface and thereby you will be able to enjoy a better grip on the road.

Disadvantages of Installing Tubeless Bike Tires

  • Maintenance of Tubeless Tires is Difficult

This is one of the major problems that you may face after installing tubeless mountain bike tire. If your tire gets punctured for any reasons then you certainly have to face lots of problems while removing and even reinstalling the stiff beads on the rim. Besides this, you also need to get the service of an expert for repairing the punctures, re-installing the tubeless bike tire and even refilling fresh sealant if the older one is unable to seal a hole when the tire gets punctured on the go.

  • Tubeless Tires are Expensive

If you have a cheap budget then it will be wise for you to think again before installing tubeless tires because these tires are not available at a cheap rate. Since different types of components are used while installing a mountain bike tire, the tubeless tires price is certainly more than that of the normal tires. 

  • Limited Options Available

This is also one of the major drawbacks of tubeless bike tires over the amateur tubes. According to a survey, it has been found that currently there are only 10 tires and 25 tubeless wheels available in the market and hence, installing a wrong rim or tire will ultimately lead to blowing up of the tubeless bike tires.

Fundamentals on Tube Tires

Before the innovation of tubeless bike tires, most of the bicycles came fitted with tube tires. As the name suggests, the tube type tires have three major components such as the tire, a rubber tube with a valve and the rim. In the case of a tube tire when a person pumps air the inner tube gets inflated and ultimately gives the specific shape to the tire. The tube tires are available in different size and thereby it will always be wise to choose a specific one according to the size of your cycle tire. 

Pros of Tube Tires or Standard Tires

  • The initial cost of this tire is less.
  • Since the tire is made of soft material, it offers better road grip.
  • No issue regarding loss of air pressure.

Cons of Tube Tires

  • This tire is susceptible to getting punctured easily when it comes in contact with sharp objects.
  • The tube tires get flat within a short period of time once the air starts leaking.
  • The valve of the tube sometimes gets damaged and needs replacement.
  • Even though repairing a flat tube tire is easy but you always need to carry a spare tube or patch kit with you.
tube tires
Traditional tube tires 

Tips for Mounting Tubeless Tires

Below are discussed about some of the major tips that will help you in installing or mounting continental tubeless road tires in an easier way.

Tip #1 Check the Valve

Before starting the tubeless bike tires installation process, it will certainly be wise for you to check whether the valve is properly attached to the rim of your bicycle. 

Tip #2 Look for the Arrows that Indicate Wheel Rotation

Make sure to consider this tip to install the tubeless bike tire in a proper manner. You must check the arrows that have been printed on the side walls as it will help you to become aware of the direction in which the wheel will rotate. 

Tip #3 Take Immense Care while Installing the Bead

Make sure to take an utmost level of care while installing the bead on the specific rim with the help of metal levers as improper use may lead to damage of the tire bead and further result to a leakage in the tubeless tire. You can use soapy water for installing the tire bead onto the rim in an easier way. 

Tip #4 Use a Compressor for Placing the Bead on the Rim

It will always be wise for you to use a compressor for the inflating the tubeless bike tires in order to ensure that the bead sits on the rim without any sort of stress. 

Tip #5 Use a Tube to Ensure that the Bead Sits in Place

If you are facing difficulty in placing the tire bead on the rim then ensure to insert a tube inside and keep it inflated overnight. This will help the tubeless bike tire to get its original shape and even ensure that the tire bead seats on the rim in a proper manner. 

Tip #6 Remove Valve Core for Easy Installation of Bead

Ensure to remove the valve core as it will help you in installing the tubeless tire on the rim in a convenient way. You must fit the valve properly before inflating the tubeless tire to prevent air leakage.

mounting tubeless tires on bike
Mounting tubeless tires (source)

Different Ways to go Tubeless

Below are discussed about some of the major ways by which you can easily go tubeless and thereby enjoy a comfortable and safe ride.

- Get the Recommended UST Tires 

This is certainly one of the easiest ways to go tubeless. Make sure to get the Universal System Tubeless tires and wheels or you can also check out the brands that offer Tubeless Compatible tires and wheels. Besides this, you may also need to buy a valve and sealant for installing the tire bead on the rim in a proper way. 

- Convert Your Present System or Non-Tubeless tire to Tubeless 

Regardless of what tire and wheels your bike come fitted with, you can easily convert them to run tubeless by just buying a tubeless conversion kit. If you have a tight budget then it will be wise to buy the different types of components that are also available individually at a nominal rate and thereby enjoy the unique benefits of tubeless bike tires even in a standard tire.

Bottom Line

The above tubeless MTB tires pros and cons will certainly help you in deciding whether it will be a wise decision to go tubeless or run on amateur tubes. Both the tires have its own pros and cons and hence, it will always be wise for you to choose a specific type of tire according to your budget and requirement. Please feel free to share any other information related to tubeless bike tires and standard tires which can help cycling enthusiasts in choosing the best option.

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