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 (http://bontrager.com/model/11063) 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??
Tubeless clinchers are better than tubed clinchers and are inevitable for road bikes. They ride better than tubed tires and if you use sealant they have nearly zero flats except for cuts over 1/4 inch long. I have had one flat in two years with my Hutchinson Fusion 3 tubeless tires using Stans sealant and that was because I ran over a very large piece of broken glass and put a half inch cut into the tire.
And contrary to the sage wisdom of people on this forum (who obviously have never tried the sealants like Stans in the past five or six years), the newer sealants like Stans or F’ast Aire, etc. are not “Slime” and easily wash out with WATER. In fact, Stan’s needs to be topped off every couple of months as it slowly evaporates – just depends on how hot the weather is. And it is easy to put in – just make sure your valves have removable cores.
I carry a tube. You can just throw a tube into the tire if you have a cut. All the tubeless clincher tires can be run full time with a tube if you wanted although there would be no reason for it.
And you can ride them at about 10 to 30 psi lower than you usually ride your clincher tubed tires – which has been proven to have less rolling resistance than tubed clinchers.
So why have tubes hung around? Money. The big boys in tires (Mavic,Continental and Michelin) would rather sell you a tubed tire (which lasts same mileage as tubeless clinchers) and a bunch of tubes. They make more money. But all those guys finally had to give in on mountain bike tires and it will happen probably in 2013 for road bikes.
Why 2013? Well, after Interbike last week, we now have had added several more wheels with tubeless ready rims. So now we have Campagnolo and Shimano and Stans and about six other wheel manufacturers making tubeless ready wheels. We now have Hutchinson tubeless clincher tires and Specialized and Maxxiis, etc.
I should add to the prior post that there are a few tires out there like the Bontrager TLR’s which are not, per se, “tubeless clinchers.” They do run without tubes but only if you get the Bontrager rim strip. I’m sure they are good tires but just check with your LBS to make sure of what you are getting.
Bontrager did just introduce a new tubeless clincher tire this month which does not need a rim strip (and not even sealant – although it is silly not to use sealant, which prevents flats) but only if you run it on a rim that is designed to accept tubeless clinchers such as the Campagnolo 2 Way Fit wheels, the Shimano rims designated at tubeless clincher rims, Stans rims, etc. That Bontrager tire (and the Hutchinson tubeless clincher tires, etc.) generally WILL RUN on “regular clincher rim” but you usually have to use a rim strip, etc. My suggestion is to go to YouTube (or to the Stans NoTubes website) and Stans has some good videos on how to mount a tubeless clincher tire like the Hutchinson Fusion 3 tubeless clincher tire on a “regular” clincher rim.
I just don’t see an advantage with tubeless for your average rider. You need special rims or the added weight of special rim tape. You have to add sealant adding more weight. The tubeless tires cost more than twice as much as training tires and tubes. While I’m glade to see the technology being developed. Some day it might be standard equipment. But that day is not here yet. A good quality wheel with standard clinchers and tube. Is dependable and very safe with proper maintenance. I rarely flat. I have never gotten a flat in 10 years riding RAGBRAI. For a ride like RAGBRAI. You want dependable equipment. With common and/or standard parts. If you do have a failure. The on route shops will no doubt have standard replacement parts. If you have unusual parts or uncommon parts. Your out of luck. Unless the shop makes a special parts run to their home shop. That is if they carry that item at all. For new riders I highly suggest keeping the exotic bikes at home. Bring a sports tour bike built with standard parts.
Wow! Great info. ~ Thanks!!
I wouldn’t have considered tubeless except I received a TLR wheel as a warranty replacement. I use Conti GP4000’s, so the price increase for tubeless tires is only about $20. As a ‘tourer’ and not a ‘racer’, the reliability (no flats) and flexibility to add a tube if the tire gets a slice is attractive.
I’ve got (3) Conti’s on the shelf, so I’ll probably use them up before switching.
The other question: My other wheel has the ‘paired spokes’, and about 15,000 miles (touring with my 190 pounds on them). It looks fine and is true; Should I consider replacing it with a new Bontrager Race TLR to match the other one?
Sorry Tony, but you are just plain wrong. Come out from under your shell and smell the sealant.
The technology is here. Insofar as I can tell, only wheelbarrows and road bikes still use tubed tires as their primary type of tire. Mountain bikers started converting years ago. As I said – and countless others in the bike press have said – it has just been MONEY that has held up the big boys (Michelin, Continental, etc.) since they want to sell you tubes and not just tires.
More on technology. The rolling resistance of tubeless clinchers is lower than tubed clinchers. Don’t believe me? Go on the internet – you can pull up a dozen or so articles (L. Zinn at Velonews, and on and on) who explain why. You can run them at about 80 to 90 psi where you normally run a tubed clincher at 100 to 120. The “rate of deflection” of a tubed clincher is higher than a tubeless clincher (in English – the tubed clincher at higher psi “bounces higher” on any road surface and, accordingly, loses traction more that the tubeless clincher).
And, lo and behold, the tubeless clincher at a lower psi yields a more comfortable ride that the rock hard, 120 psi tubed clincher or the 160 psi sew ups the pros use.
Prices? I can find, any day of the week, Hutchinson Fusion 3 tubeless clinchers for $50 or less, apiece. Yeah, they list them at $90 in some stores but have you looked on Ebay lately? Or on one of the emails from the national chain stores’ incessant emails? As cheap or cheaper than the premium tubed tires I was in the habit of buying. And when the big boys start selling, you’ll see prices plummet further.
Weight? The weight of my Hutchinson Fusion 3’s (with sealant) is less than the Conti 4000’s with tubes that I used to use (and Hutchinson makes two tubeless clinchers lighter than the Fusion 3).
The lower priced wheelsets with tubeless ready rims are now readily available and – as I said in my earlier post and as L. Zinn, et al have said in the press – 2013 looks to be the year when the floodgates open for the wheel and tire manufacturers to finally jump on the road tubeless bandwagon. Yeah, you may (or may not, depending on the rim) need a rim strip if you want to “convert” a “regular” traditional rimmed wheel. I did it for several years with Mavic CXP 33’s. Easy as pie.
And why on earth would you refrain from adding two ounces (yeah – you would be Lance’s – two lousy ounces) of sealant to your wheels? It’s great not having flats! And I’ve already told you that most tubeless tires with sealant are still lighter than tubed tires, roll better than tubed tires, and get less flats less than tubed tires. Why, on earth would you not switch????
I have Stans tubeless rims on my custom steel frame bike. However, I’ve been using Continental (with tubes) tires. My next set of tires will be tubeless! Iceman has convinced me about tubeless tires & bohemia beer, not necessarily in that order, LOL!!!!!
Satman: Follow up question: How do you know when the sealant has ‘dried-up’?(I know ~ I know: When I get a flat or take the tire off and look . . .)
You can also shake the tire (while still mounted on the wheel)and if you listen carefully, sometimes you can hear it. But more often than not, there’s still some in there whether you hear it or not.
You’ll have to get in a routine. I live in a really hot climate so I check my tires about once a month and I top them off every two months whether they need it or not. I use valves with removable cores, so it’s easy to just take a two ounce bottle of Stan’s sealant and squirt it in after I let the air out of the tire and remove the valve core. That means you don’t have to dismount and remount the tire.
After the third topping off (which, counting the time you originally mounted the tires and added sealant for the first time, is the fourth time you added sealant), I run the tire for another two months and after that, if I think the tires are still good for another thousand or so miles, I dismount the tires and get a garden hose and wash the tire out although there’s usually nothing much in there. But I really don’t know why I do that – would be just as easy not to do it and would not really affect the performance of the tires EXCEPT that I usually run my fingers along the inside of the tire and sometimes find some thorns or small bits of metal or glass in the tires that were sealed by the sealant and never were really going to cause you to flat in the future if you run sealant. But that does bring up a point and that is that most tubeless clincher tires don’t actually need the sealant when used with tubeless clincher rims but the sealant is the added luxury of knowing you just are not going to flat unless you put a really big cut on the tire.
One last thing. The folks at Stan’s NoTubes (who make Stans Sealant) indicate that most sealants, even after they have completely evaporated from inside the tire, have left a protective film on the inside of the tire walls which, when you put in more sealant, keeps the tire from absorbing more sealant and therefore keeping more of the sealant available to fill any puncture that might occur.
Michrider: I have Stans tubeless rims on my custom steel frame bike. However, I’ve been using Continental (with tubes) tires. My next set of tires will be tubeless! Iceman has convinced me about tubeless tires & bohemia beer, not necessarily in that order, LOL!!!!!
Why would anyone need convincing? Do you run tubes in your auto tires? In your motorcycle tires? Come on. I would really recommend – for purposes of knowing good techniques for mounting tubeless tires – that you go to the Stans NoTubes website. They have a bunch of videos (mostly mountain bikes) and a couple of them address the proper – and easiest – methods for mounting tubeless clinchers on road bikes. I have Stans Alpha 340 rims which Colorado Cyclist built for me with Campy hubs. Watch the Mounting Alpha’s video. Easy to do.
And Bohemia comes first, then tubeless. I could, if I had to, actually get along without tubeless tires but the Bohemia? I don’t think so.
Tony: I just don’t see an advantage with tubeless for your average rider. You need special rims or the added weight of special rim tape. You have to add sealant adding more weight. The tubeless tires cost more than twice as much as training tires and tubes. While I’m glade to see the technology being developed. Some day it might be standard equipment. But that day is not here yet. A good quality wheel with standard clinchers and tube. Is dependable and very safe with proper maintenance. I rarely flat. I have never gotten a flat in 10 years riding RAGBRAI. For a ride like RAGBRAI. You want dependable equipment. With common and/or standard parts. If you do have a failure. The on route shops will no doubt have standard replacement parts. If you have unusual parts or uncommon parts. Your out of luck. Unless the shop makes a special parts run to their home shop. That is if they carry that item at all. For new riders I highly suggest keeping the exotic bikes at home. Bring a sports tour bike built with standard parts.
Oh yes, Tony, another error on your part. The sealant in the tubeless clinchers will likely mean you never will have a flat on a ride like RAGBRAI but if you do, throw in a tube. Or do you think a tube is some new, strange and hard to get piece of equipment? I keep a tube in my saddle bag for that very reason in case I cut my tire so widely that the sealant cannot seal the 1/2 inch or longer cut. All you have to do is pull the valve out of the wheel (remember, the valve is not attached to a tube) and then put in the tube (which has its own valve) and pump it up and you are on your way. I ran that tube for about a week when I cut my tire but you could go back to tubes full time if you wanted to (although I cannot imagine why you would do that).