As the name suggests, tubeless tyre technology for bicycles does away with inner tubes and functions much like the tyre and rim of a modern car.
For mid-range to mountain range bikes, tubeless Hankook Tyres Mansfield is now the standard option, and it’s also getting more and more popular for road bikes.
This article covers the fundamentals of tubeless, and we also offer separate guidance on how to set up tubes for road tyres and mountain bikes.
Don’t forget to read our guides to the best gravel tyres, best mountain bike tyres, and best tubeless road tyres.
We also have comprehensive guides to touring bike tyre pressure and trail bike tyre pressure if you want to optimize your tyre setup for pace, comfort, grip, and puncture protection.
A Tubeless Tyre Is What? How Do Tubeless Tyres Function?
A tubeless tyre resembles a typical tube-type clincher tyre but does not require an inner tube. After being “seated” (the process of popping the beads into place), the tubeless tyre creates a tight seal with the rim.
On the rim, a valve that looks exactly like the one on an inner tube is installed.
The tyre and rim must fit tightly for the system to function because neither component can leak air.
Any small leaks can be stopped by injecting sealant through the valve or pouring it into the tyre. Small punctures sustained while riding will be repaired by this sealant, which remains liquid inside the tyre.
It is important to distinguish between tubeless and tubular tyres. They are still broadly used in road cycling and cyclocross, but high-performance clinchers have largely taken their place in other sports.
Benefits of Tubeless Tyres
The main benefit of tubeless tyres over conventional clincher tyres with inner tubes is the ability to run them at low loads without the danger of pinch flats.
A pinch flat happens when your tyre strikes an obstruction (like a stone or the edge of a pothole) and changes shape to the point where the inner tube is compressed against the rim. This causes a double puncture in the distinctive “snake bite” fashion.
A tubeless setup makes it possible to benefit from lower tyre pressures because there is no internal tube to trap and sealant in the tyre to repair minor punctures.
These include increased comfort as well as perhaps increased grip and speed, though it can be difficult to generalize because of how closely tyre pressure and performance are related.
Additionally, tubeless tyres might be faster than a comparable tubed setup due to lower rolling resistance, but it’s difficult to generalize because there are many factors at play, and it depends on exactly what you mean by an apples-to-apples comparison.
However, there is general agreement that tubeless tyres roll quicker than tubulars, and this is encouraging professional road racers to gradually adopt tubeless.
For mountain bikes and small stones, the benefits of tubeless tyres are fairly obvious, but for use on roads, the situation is more complicated; many riders believe the complexity is not good enough to justify the advantages.
Cons of Tubeless Tyres
Inherently more difficult to set up and maintain than inner tubes, tubeless tyres are more expensive than non-tubeless tyres, and you must constantly repurchase sealant.
Some tubeless tyres are simple to install and can be inflated with a standard pump. This isn’t always the case, though, and some tyres require a special tubeless inflator or compressor to seat or are difficult to mount.
Sealant gradually tends to dry and needs to be replaced on a regular basis, usually every few months.
Additionally, tubeless tyres require more frequent inflation than tubed tyres, so it’s a good idea to check your tyre pressure before each ride.
Are Special Tyres and Rims Required for Tubeless Riding?
Tubeless necessitates both tyres and rims made especially for the job for the best and most secure results. To thwart blow-off under stress and to stop air loss, tubeless tyres have sealed casings and stretch-resistant beads.
While rim designs can vary, they typically have a central channel to facilitate tyre fitting and humps to keep the tyre beads firmly in place. In order to help with tyre retention, the large percentage also have bead hooks, though hookless rim models are also popular and some brands assert that these have an advantage.
Running basic tube-type clincher tyres and/or basic clincher rims tubeless was once quite common in the mountain bike community, as well as cyclocross and gravel to some extent.
There isn’t much of an incentive to do this now that proper tubeless tyres and rims are available on the market, though. Homebrew setups produce a wide range of results, and neither is it the simplest or most secure choice.
On a road bike Car Tyres Mansfield, you must never attempt to replace a standard tube-type rim or run a non-tubeless tyre tubeless. This is risky due to the higher road pressures being used, and failure could have serious repercussions.