It’s been a question long debated. Finally, the Baroudeurs have discussed this at length, and we have some proven expereience to share with you:
Charlie: Latex tubes – what’s the downside? Do they puncture more easily? Hard to fit? More expensive? Cheers!
Joshua: quite a bit pricier and I’ve actually heard that they are more puncture resistant because they are supple enough to morph around a sharp object rather than being pierced. But butyl tubes hold air longer so you’ll have to get into the habit of pumping up your bike more often.
Rob: I’ve found that if you’re riding all day then you might expect a 10% pressure loss by the end of the ride. I generally use them in the summer months but plan to try them out this winter (in north wales) to see how they go. I’ve not experienced any more punctures than butyl tubes. One big consideration is how sensitive they are to heat – I have rim brakes but I’m relatively light weight. Continental’s supersonic butyl tubes might be a better choice if you’re concerned about that.
Charlie: Cool – thanks for advice everyone! I think I’ll give them a go! I’ll be running discs so tempted shouldn’t be an issue.
Rob: Oh and I carry butyl spares in case of puncture 🙂
Tobias: If you are looking for similar gains and less puncture, tubeless is the answer, I haven’t had a puncture in a year. Oh and the added comfort of riding on air is so good.
Jesse: Once you go tubeless, you’ll never go back.
Tobias: You’ll be faster, too
Charlie: haha I keep hearing this….
Jesse Finch Gnehm: I held out for years. Wish I had switched sooner.
Karolis: I’ve been on tubeless for 3 years now. Ignoring the technical and setting up aspect of it (easy with a bit of experience) the ride comfort is just much better. Especially good on long and hard rides, as tyres with lower pressure do not shake and bounce you as much.
Catherine: Have had a mixed experience with road tubeless, just by way of balance. Very hard to seat initially. Also hard to deal with and messy if you get a roadside puncture that doesn’t reseal!
I have actually gone back to clinchers unless there’s some hope of being rescued.
Karolis: True in some specific tyre/wheel combinations. I’ve been running Hunts and DT Swiss wheels with Hutchinson Fusion 11 Storm and Schwalbe Pro Ones. I guess I could do lessons learned how to fix them at a road side.
Steve: Just to weigh in, I agree with Catherine. Have always used clinchers and don’t plan to run tubeless as I have seen more people who have experienced issues with tubeless than with clinchers. And btw, Alaphilippe won stage 2 in 2020 with clinchers…is this a change to the tubeless trend?
Nick: My experience too – like them but can be temperamental.
Tobias: The tyre wheel combination is what makes the difference, the WTB exposure I run on my Hunts wouldn’t seal at all on the standard rims that came with the bike that were advertised as TL ready, with the Hunts it took 2 minutes to set up, I enjoyed that experience so much I was disappointed when it was finished.
Hunts are designed to be tubeless so that goes a long way, especially in the ease of setting them up. And don’t do the noob mistake I did and try to set up non TL as TL, that will only result in loads of foam and soft tyres.
The offer still stands, happy to run a TL workshop, I can do set up and Karolis can do roadside puncture fixing and Jesse can throw in his experience as well.
Karolis: The new Zipp 303 are tubeless only. Most new high end bikes are coming with 40/50 mm deep and quite wide tubeless ready wheels. I think its here to stay until further development. The SPecialized looks suspicious, becasuse the rim bed shape is like that of a tubeless rim. Something somewhjere went wrong for them so brand the wheel as non-tubeless.
Tom: I have the benefit or misfortune of running tube at front; tubeless at the back (don’t ask). Had multiple teething problems on tubeless, but I do love the way that it feels when it is working, much smoother and has healed up multiple times after punctures mid ride. That said, I have had a couple that were unplugable, the mess of putting a tube in is horrible. Currently running two tubes, but just bought tubeless for my sins.
Karolis: I even have a tubless rim tape if I remember correctly from what I heard on NErd Alert podcast.
Jesse: @Steve – Add up just Lowell’s punctures this year and compare that to the total Tubeless punctures you have seen ever.
Tyson: It was about time we went back to the great tubeless debate.
:: Associated post: Tubeless, Part 1