Understanding tubeless

During the course of trying to follow the nexie thread I struggled with trying to understand this whole business of tubeless tires. I kept asking myself certain questions about tubeless like what is this, how do you do it and why do it in The first place. I’m my search i came across this:
Tube Vs Tubeless Bike Tires: Pros and Cons - Where The Road Forks
Thisn may Help those of you that like me need some basic education. Personally I do not see a true benefit for me and the type of riding I do so would probably never go that route.

I would be interested in reading some pros and cons from the unicyclist perspective. Maybe frm different Rider perspectives : road, muni, trials.


I haven’t tried tubeless yet, but the big reason I’m curious to try it on my muni are foam inserts. I heard some interesting things about how they change the damping characteristics of a tire, and since tires are our only “suspension”, I think that might be a big benefit.
Plus protection against pinch flats, which isn’t much issue in the softer terrain I ride most of the time, but on rocky alpine trails, it can be.

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I use a Vittoria air liner tire insert. That kind of tire insert will exponentially increase the “fat tire” effect: you get dampening super power during downhill; on a trail you’ll ride over roots and rocks without UPD, but it will require you ride faster to compensate the increased drag. The worse cons is when climbing… the increased rotational mass will tax your legs.
So it is great to make a skinny tire ride like a fat one.

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:heavy_plus_sign: less rolling resistance
:heavy_plus_sign: more grip
:heavy_plus_sign: (almost) no more flats by pinches or punctures
:heavy_minus_sign: slightly more complicated to set up
:heavy_minus_sign: (and for some rims and tyres considerably more complicated or impossible to set up reliably)
:heavy_minus_sign: slightly harder and often messier to take off tyre or swap tyre

Road: same as for muni, although puncture protection and grip might be less of an issue for this type of riding. Running 36er tyres tubeless is nice but kind of experimental.

Trials: I don’t know, but I’d guess
:heavy_minus_sign: high lateral forces might be a problem, especially considering…
:heavy_minus_sign: typical rims and tyres are made to be run with tubes
:heavy_minus_sign: …and apparently tubeless isn’t popular at all among b*ke trials riders.

You also get slightly decreased rotating weight by almost a tube’s weight. :balance_scale: Most often decreased weight is considered an advantage.

Using a split tube instead of “regular” tubeless adds that bit of weight, but provides you an easier and more reliable setup for rims and tyres that otherwise don’t work that well.

And then there are also foam tyre inserts and dual chamber systems, which are a different story.

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I’ve read that the weight saving are often illusory. That when you figure out the extra weight of the sealant and rim tape/ghetto liner that weight savings are often very little.


I have the same question on weight savings.

There was supposed to be weight savings? I missed out on that!

You can reduce rotating weight by about half a tube or roughly 100g. :balance_scale:

Of course it depends a lot on what tube you compare it to. If your reference is a downhill tube, then maybe 200g. … If you don’t do a plain tubeless setup, but instead use a split tube, you are about even. Thick foam or a dual chamber setup unsurprisingly weigh more.

Details: You use some kind of rim tape either way. No need for extra thick layered taping unless you have some difficult tyre or rim. No tube, just a valve. Instead of the tube’s rubber you have sealant, which should be less than half a tube’s weight.

If you happen to be a weight weenie, you might be able to cheaply save some grams here. If you aren’t, all the better for you. :wink:

Regarding anything “ghetto” tubeless. I like to avoid this wording.

First it’s a bit ambiguous, non-descriptive and sometimes there are misunderstandings.

Second it doesn’t make sense. Modern tubeless tyre setups have no ties to segregated Jewish quarters of cities of the past. Contemporary black ghettos of the US are not exactly know for tinkering with tubeless MTB tyres. :man_facepalming:t6: On the contrary, people and communities of lower socioeconomic status are effectively abstaining from the mountainb*king scene.

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To my understanding, the #1 benefit of tubeless tires might be summed up very well in 1,000 words or less, by the attached photo. :grin:

These thorns will go through the sole of your shoe, the tire of an ATV (all-terrain vehicle), or a unicycle tire like a hot knife through butter. :flushed:

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Wow, I’m glad I don’t have those to contend with where I ride.

Forget about tubeless, what do you wear so you don’t get eaten alive by that bush when you fall on one?


I tried to convert my 36 to tubeless using a Stan’s kit back in the day (pre 2010 sometime). I never could get it to seal, even down at the bike shop. Fast forward to 2018 and I bought a bike (crazy, eh?) I rode that bike almost 11,000km through South America in 2019 and had no flats, no issues, same tires the whole way, including 2000km of super rough rocky dirt roads/trails. When I took them off, there were some interesting pieces of wood and metal inside the tires, completely surrounded by sealant. I still haven’t converted my 24, 26, 29 or either 36, but for biking, man do I love tubeless. In 25,000km on that new bike, I’ve never had a puncture I couldn’t ride home from.


Ride with caution and stay away from huge carnivorous plants on your rides!

That was a very interesting video, I had no idea that sheeps were being eaten alive by plants!