The topic of tubeless tires (whether to switch, and if it’s worth the time and the money to go tubeless) has been a big point of debate in the cycling community for the past few years. But does anyone really know for sure which tires are better? Some riders swear by tubeless tires and some say it’s a waste of time -- It’s impossible to know who’s right. Let's take a look at the details and leading opinions on bicycle tires to learn more.
Conventional Bicycle Tire Models:
Before the new tubeless systems entered the picture, cyclists traditionally only had two main types of tire-wheel setups to choose from: clincher and tubular. Here’s a little rundown.
The clincher tire is the traditional, standard tire used for most bicycles. It is called a clincher because the wire bundles in the tire bead keep the tire from expanding with pressure, essentially allowing it to “clinch” to the rim and preventing it from coming off.
In a tubular tire, the tire is actually sewn directly onto the tube, after which the tire is glued onto a specialized rim. Tubular tires are used primarily by professional road racers because of their performance qualities in cornering and run-flat capabilities. A tubular tire will not come off of a rim, even in the event of a flat tire. This allows a racer to safely exit the track, or even ride along slowly before their repair team arrives.
Unfortunately, a tubular tire is much more difficult to repair than your average clincher. While small punctures can be handled with a tire repair sealant, a larger gash will require the entire tire to be replaced.
What Does “Tubeless” Mean?
Unlike the setup you would see in a standard clincher tire, the tubeless tire system comes with no inner tube. This type of tubeless system has been used in car tires for decades, so it’s no wonder that as road and mountain biking become more competitive, the tire systems have begun to evolve as well.
In the tubeless system, the tire and the rim are designed in a way that when they are fitted together, they function to provide an airtight seal. So, rather than thinking of the tires and the wheels as separate parts, think of the tubeless setup as an all-inclusive wheel-tire system. This airtight fit comes as a result of a shoulder that is designed into the inner rim, creating a recess that allows for the tire bead to sit in the rim much more securely than would be found in the regular clincher wheels.
So, Should You Switch?
It’s honestly up to you and your riding preferences. Experts claim that top tubeless tires can outpace clinchers, and yet other’s claim the exact opposite. But it is clear that the movement toward tubeless tires is certainly growing. In our next blog post, we will explore the benefits and pitfalls to setting up, maintaining and riding with a tubeless tire system. The best advice we can give you is to not be afraid to try something new. Ride on!
The clock is ticking to finish (or perhaps start?) your Christmas shopping! Do you have someone on your gift list who loves to bike? Don’t fret, we have the perfect gift ideas to please every bicyclist, including the commuter, road warrior, mountain trail enthusiast, family of bicyclists, and every rider in between. Below is a list of our favorite (and most popular) bike gifts:
CO2 inflators are some of the (literally) coolest bike products currently on the market. Featuring controllable inflation technology, lightweight design and compatibility with a variety of CO2 sizes and valve stems, Genuine Innovations has a CO2 inflator to fit every bicyclist.
The new AirChuck+ features the same lightweight, push-to-inflate technology as its predecessor, in a more ergonomic design that keeps your hand off the cartridge. Available in silver or blue, this American beauty is easy to use and fully controllable. Who says you can’t get back on the trail quickly and look good while doing it?
Comfortable to hold and built to last, riders also love the Ultraflate Plus CO2 inflator. Featuring trigger-controlled inflation technology, the Ultraflate is a lightweight cupped inflator with sturdy construction and extremely reliable inflation performance.
Don’t forget the CO2! Before placing your inflators under the tree, be sure to throw in some additional CO2 cartridges. CO2 comes in a variety of sizes (16 gram, 20 gram and 25 gram), as well as non-threaded or threaded styles, so be sure to match your inflator to the right type of CO2.
Tools & Accessories
Tubeless Tackle Kit
Pair your CO2 inflator with the ultimate tubeless tire repair tool. Compact and versatile, this self-contained tire repair kit comes with repair plugs, Presta core valves and integrated valve core removal and plugger tools, all packaged in an alloy weatherproof storage capsule. Never get stuck on the side of the trail again!
Side of Bacon
Don’t forget the refill! Our top selling Side of Bacon rope plugs pair perfectly with our Tubeless Tackle Kit to keep your loved ones’ wheels in motion (eggs and toast not included).
Tubeless Premium Sealant
Giving to a tubeless rider? You can guarantee that they need a dependable tubeless sealant. Slime’s new Tubeless Premium Sealant is the next generation in sealant advancements. Protecting tires from tears and slits, the sealant is uniquely engineered to be CO2 compatible and evenly disperse from bead to bead for consistent, wider coverage. Simply stated, the tubeless sealant stays liquid longer, seals faster and extends the lifespan of your tires.
Presta/Schrader Valve Tool
With a Schrader core remover on one end and a Presta remover on the other, you can’t go wrong with this zinc alloy valve core remover tool. This great Slime stocking stuffer threads apart in the middle and contains two Presta cores with a rubber O-ring for a watertight closure.
Aluminum Presta Valve Stems
Give a little bling this Christmas! These green anodized aluminum valve stems from Slime feature a conical grommet for solid valve hole contact and a tighter air seal. Available as a 2-pack, these Presta valve stems are sized 44mm in length and include a removable valve core for versatility among different rim types.
Unsure what your bicyclist needs or loves? Don’t worry, you can never go wrong with a Slime gift card or Genuine Innovations gift card! Available in a range of amounts, from $10 to $100, you can let your spouse, family member, friend or co-worker pick out their own favorite bike accessories.
Happy gifting everyone!
The real view from the field.