The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

Tubeless 'clincher' wheels/tires

Trek has replaced my rear wheel three times since 2007. The original paired spokes design developed spider cracks around the spoke nuts each time. This time, the replacement is their new Race TLR wheel ( with evenly spaced spokes ~ Hopefully it holds-up; It’s a pretty low-end wheel.
Apparently a tubeless ‘clincher’ tire can be used with this wheel. Does it make sense to go that way? Should I change the front wheel??

85 Replies

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mootsman, May 3, 2013 at 10:39 am


I just put in my 1st batch of sealant into my tubeless Shamals. Usually a tire looses pressure in a few days but not these. I’m so sold on tubeless. I’m converting my girlfriend’s bike because she rides only 1-2 times a week and refuses to learn how to fix a flat. Got the Hutch Inversions for her. She also doesn;t like pumping up tires. I’ll never have to be concerned about her getting a flat again. The tires have so much more structure to them she could get one of those big slash flats and still ride home.

Thanks again for all the advise. I’m converting all except 1 set of wheels which I’ll use to use up my stock of tires that need tubes. Then convert that set also.

mootsman (its May 3rd and I’m still watching snow come down outside)


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Iceman, May 3, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Well, you ought to carry a tube and some CO2. No sealant – and I prefer Stans but most of them are good – will seal a cut in your tire over about 1/4 inch in length although I’ve found they usually will get you home even after that. But you can put a tube in the tire, inflate it and go on forever. The sealant will seal virtually any nail, wire, thorn or small glass puncture. It’s always amusing to have a rider next to you hear you run over something and the sealant takes about 2 tire revolutions to seal (loses maybe 10 pounds of air) and then gawk when you keep going on tires that ought to be going flat.

I have taken to writing down (especially in the summer) how often I add the Stans to my tires – I ride in Texas so in hot weather a 2 oz. bottle of Stans sealant will last at least 2 months (and slowly evaporate) and then I add another 2 oz. to each tire.

Again, remember one thing. Be careful airing up a tubeless tire with a CO2 cartridge if there is sealant in the tire. Using CO2 in a tube is fine but for a tubeless with sealant, the CO2 is cold and can cause the sealant to coagulate. Just put the valve in the 12 o’clock position and let the sealant run down to the bottom of the tire. About a minute later, again having kept the valve in the 12 o’clock position, air it up with the CO2 so that the sealant is as far away from the valve as possible and you’ll be fine. There are other sealant (like Hutchinson F’ast Air, I think)that come in aerosol cans and they have no troubles like that. But I like Stans – very easy to clean with water and seems to seal bigger cuts than most other sealants.


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mootsman, May 4, 2013 at 8:38 am


Yup, I have Stan’s sealant in. I learned my lesson about not pumping up a tire in the 6 o’clock position when I pulled the pump head off and promptly got sprayed with sealant (in the face)…..

I did get some hutch sealant because the Inversion tires on the website warned not to use any other sealant with the Inversions. I have Fusions on my 2 road bikes with Stan’s sealant as there was no such warning for Fusions.

Its more humid in the warm months up north so I suspect I will not need to refill the sealant in the tires as often as in Texas. CO2 I only use fixing a flat. I use a regular floor pump otherwise.


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Iceman, May 6, 2013 at 11:16 am


The Hutchinson sealant (F’astaire) is ok but does not seal punctures and cuts as large as Stans will seal. The “warning” on the Hutchinson tires to only use the F’astaire product is now just marketing by Hutchinson. Stan’s and a few other sealants used to have a trace of ammonia – they do not now – that potentially could harm a tire over a prolonged period of time and that is where the warning started with Hutchinson. To be fair, I have not tried some of the newer sealants on the market (i.e., Specialized, the “new” Slime which I am told is not the mess it used to be, etc.) just because I have been so pleased with Stans. I did try Caffelatex and found it to be about the same as the older F’astair but not as good as Stans.

The F’astaire product – I think this is correct – does not stay in the tire as a liquid like Stans does. Instead, it exists as a “foam” which seals punctures ok but has a harder time sealing longer cuts. The guys who make Stans say they tried that at first but were dissatisfied and went back to a liquid.

Some bikers run clincher tubeless tires with dedicated clincher tubeless rims (like Stans Alpha 340 or 400 rims or Dura Ace rims or Campy two way rims) and use NO sealant if the tires hold air (and, like an auto tubeless tire, it usually will) but they carry around the F’astaire in case they flat (the F’astaire looks like a minature “Fix a Flat” container and will fit in your under saddle bag).


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David, May 6, 2013 at 12:41 pm

I haven’t had any issues with Stan’s sealant. I have Alpha 340 rims with Fusion 3 tires and have only used Stan’s sealant. Was riding down in DC and was forced through some glass (better than weaving into traffic) and looked down and saw a poof of white but kept going and made it back to Baltimore. Have over 5000 miles on that rear tire since then. It is getting kind of beat up now so it will have to be replaced soon. But it has served me well in plenty of city street and more fast RR track crossings than any other wheel/tire combo I have used before.

I (and everyone with tubeless) should always carry a spare tube, patches and boot (or having something that will make a good boot) just like you would with normal clinchers.


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Iceman, May 6, 2013 at 2:30 pm

I have never tried patching a tubeless but I’m about to try it. This morning I ran over a broken liquor bottle (too dark to see it in the morning). Normally it takes one or two revolutions of the wheel and the Stans seals the puncture. This took about four revolutions so I knew it was a signicant cut or else the Stans would just suffice and I would not bother with it. Still, this was almost a cut too long to seal so I think I’ll just patch it to be on the safe side. As luck would have it, it was a brand new Hutchinson Fusion 3 tire on its second outing.


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Iceman, May 6, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Follow up to my prior post on patching a tubeless clincher. I’m taking the easy way out and using the Hutchinson “Rep’Air Patch Kit.” You have to clean the interior of the tire where the patch will be applied. I use Stans sealant which washed away with water and then use a little brake fluid to clean the surface further. Then put on the patch and leave it overnight to cure.

I am told you can use regular tube patches instead but the preferred procedure is NOT to rough up the tire surface – like you do with a tube – where the patch will go. And you do need the tire glue which, I’m guessing, is different that glue you use for a tube patch? Why chance it – just use the Rep’Air Patch kit or something similar but specifically made for tire patching.


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trknight, May 7, 2013 at 5:55 am

An alternative to going tubeless as suggested by a local bike shop in my area….

Tubeless road tires are usually about 300 grams (700×23) and more expensive than “tubed” tires which, for a good quality tire weigh about 200 grams. To protect against flats, get lightweight tubes that weigh 75-85 grams (not the superlight that weigh about 50 grams, too fragile) with removable cores and put sealant in the tubes. This LBS suggests using Protect Air Max from Hutchison and indicated it doesn’t dry out like the Stans sealant. The big advantage is, compared to using tubeless tires with sealant, you can be weight neutral or even a little lighter. The owner of this LBS has had customers do this with great success and he has done it himself for about a year without a flat (and we have a lot of goat heads in our area). Another advantage is the savings from not having to change anything out other than the tubes.

I was convinced enough I felt it was worth a try and have done this on a friend’s and my bikes. We switched to lighter tubes, added sealant and took out the tire liners we had in for flat protection (actually ended up a few grams lighter even with adding sealant). So far, after several hundred miles, combined, no flats.


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Iceman, May 7, 2013 at 7:00 am

I’ve tried both Stans and Hutchinson’s sealant in tubes (actually in my wife’s bike tubes) as she was/is intimidated by the thought of tubeless (why? don’t know?). Ok but not great. I spoke with factory reps from Hutchinson and also from Stan’s. Problem is that all tubes move – a little, but enough – inside the tire. If whatever punctured your tire and tube stays in the tire, it continues to punch into the tube again and again. A clean “in and out” puncture will usually work.

It you do this, you will be limited to tubes with valve cores which are removable so that installation of sealant is easier.

Again – my personal bias – is that Stans is better. The Hutchinson product does last longer but does not seal large holes like the Stans.

Bottom line- I think it helps to put Stans or Hutchinson sealant in tubes but not much. Stans’s says flatly not to waste your money doing it. Hutchinson is won’t comment publicly . In the interest of objectivity – Hutchinson sells tube tires and tubeless so maybe they want to sell some more sealant to people using tubes – who knows?


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Iceman, May 7, 2013 at 8:53 am

In my prior post, I forgot to mention that I first had the idea of putting sealant in the tubes of my wife’s bike after Colorado Cyclists guys said they do it all the time (that was four years ago). She has had some flats anyway but not as many.


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Iceman, May 7, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Per my last post, got a few PM’s asking how to put the sealant into the tubes. Put the tube into your tire first, mount the tire and then air it a little, then deflate. Remove the valve core from the tube stem with a core tool (lots of shops sell them; maybe $5 – makes it easy to remove and to tighten when replacing). With the valve core out of the tube, I prefer to use one of those 2 oz. bottles of Stans to inject the sealant directly or you can get an injector (basically a big syringe; looks like a big turkey baster) with screw on tube (screws onto the valve from which you removed the core). Put maybe 1 to 2 oz’s into the tube of whatever sealant you are using.


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Iceman, May 8, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Something was brought to my attention today regarding tubeless clinchers that might need clarifying and originates with mountain bikers who use tubeless clincher tires extensively. When you read or buy anything regarding tubeless clincher tires (road or mountain), there is “true tubeless” and a “tubeless ready.”

True tubeless tires (clinchers – not glued tubular)- in the mountain bike world are called “UST” (Universal System Tires). They tend to be relatively heavier tires as they are designed – like an auto tire – with a thicker sidewall and don’t necessarily need sealant to hold air and run tubeless. A “tubeless ready tire” is lighter due to thinner sidewalls and tends to need sealant to ensure the air does not escape.

Similarly, a true “tubeless rim” has sealed (i.e., unexposed) spoke nipples whereas a “tubeless ready” rim and wheel need – generally – sealant as they have thinner sidewalls and are lighter.

I don’t remember seeing all those mtb designations for road tubeless tires but you get the idea in case you buy anything. Shimano’s Dura Ace wheels have sealed rims such that you just mount the tire, put in the sealany and take off. For all of Stan’s rims, you have to put yellow mylar tape over the holes so it is technically a tubeless ready rim.

Most road riders tend to use a non-UST kind of tires and either type of rim does fine.


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Iceman, May 11, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Patched tubeless Hutchinson tire works fine. Did 70 on it today.


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mootsman, May 12, 2013 at 6:52 am

Had my 1st ride with tibless Friday. The lower tire pressure does take a slight edga off the raod vibration and the rolling resistance was great.

Someone above had mentioned using sealant with tubes. It would work but I think the tubes would “use” a certain amount of sealant right away to seal the tube. Tubes need to be pumped up every day or 2 because the lose air. You might have to put sealant in a little more frequently.

I think the best use for tubless is going to be converting my girlfriend’s bike to tubeless. She is a maybe 2 time a week recreational rider who would ride home on a flat before she’d ever try and fix one. I got some Inversion tires for her so she should be nearly bullet proof.


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Iceman, May 12, 2013 at 9:54 am

Mootsman – I have two sets on wheels, one with Inversions and one with Fusion 3’s (all tubeless). She will do fine with the Inversions although they are not quite as fast as the Fusion 3’s. That’s why I wish Michelin and Continental would come into the road tubeless marker soon – more choices.

You are right about tubes with sealant using more sealant than tubeless tires. Reason – see earlier post – is that if a thorn, wire, piece of glass, etc. stays in the tire, a tubeless wheel will seal around it but a tube – which “moves” inside the tire will continue to puncture over and over, thereby allowing more sealant out into the space between the tire and tube.


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