RAGBRAI LI Route Announced on Jan. 27!

Tubless Tires

I know this might be a little off topic , I am considering converting to a tubeless tire system. I am hoping that some of you have experience with this and could give me the low down on does it work or what unexpected drawbacks.

Thank you

7 Replies

GeorgeKline, April 15, 2017 at 7:16 pm

Tubeless take a little more maintenance, with replacing the sealant every few months, but you also can carry a spare tube and use in case the tire just will not seal. I ride with a couple guys that claim the have not flatted in the 3 years they run tubeless.


mootsman, April 16, 2017 at 8:43 am

I’ve been tubeless for several years and I like them. I once went over 10,000 miles without a flat on them, just replacing worn tires before they got too thin. Although maybe don’t fall for the hype around wider tires. The chances of a puncture goes up with wider tires. Tubeless eliminate pinch flats. I went 25mm for a while which ended my 10,000+ mile streak with a string of punctures in only 3,000 miles. Luck no doubt played a role also.

Getting tubeless to seal on the rim has its tricks but they are reliable. #1) trick for getting it to seal initially, soak it in super hot water in the wash tube 1st to make the rubber more pliable. #2), brush the rim with soapy water before mounting. And #3) a pump like Bontraeger’s with a chamber you pump up 1st to release the air suddenly. Also ignore those that say you can’t use tire levers on them. Use some that are geared towards tubeless that have very thin ends on them.

The sealant only needs to be replaced if you ride in colder temps. Otherwise it lasts a long time.

The tube is needed only for on the road repairs but there is a new product that plugs a leak on the road without breaking the bead. I saw it on Velonews.com..


Cory Rood, April 17, 2017 at 5:10 pm

I guess i don’t get the appeal of tubeless on a road bike. there isn’t any weight savings that i’m aware of. if you have a puncture that doesn’t seal you’re either walking or dealing with the mess to install a tube. knock on wood i don’t get flats, maybe its because i run 700x32c’s. now on my fat bike where going tubeless saves over a pound of rotational mass i see the value. maybe i’m missing something?


BillSpriggs, April 17, 2017 at 7:37 pm

This will be my 4th RAGBRAI and I have yet to get a flat. I have always made sure to put new tires on the bike before I ship my bike to Iowa. I ride on 25mm Continental Gatorskins. My experience has been that the Ragbrai route is well manicured.


Csprint, April 17, 2017 at 8:49 pm

The appeal of road tubeless is the defense against punctures. Even if something gets through the tire, the sealant plugs the hole and you simply keep going. The lower pressures used can give a smoother ride with no pinching at that lower pressure (say, 95 psi or less).

I did Ragbrai in ’15 and ’16 on Dura-Ace tubeless with no flats.



mootsman, April 18, 2017 at 7:39 am

About the only punctures that don’t seal are the slashes from a big chunk of glass. Not a huge issue to deal with on the road. As with a tubed tire you need a boot to cover the slash and put in a tube. The only extra step is pouring out any left over sealant (if there is any). Plus if you get a basic (large) hole that doesn’t seal the new tubeless plugs are easy to use. I did get large hole puncture which would seal and then the air would blow out the seal. Usually though those would re-seal after letting out enough air to not blow out the seal. Mine did.

If you get a puncture that keeps opening up it also pays to check for a piece of glass stuck in the tire. It could be cutting the seal as it pushes further into the tire when you keep rolling. Make sure to roll the hole to the bottom after pulling out the glass to get it filled with sealant though.

After a ride it helps to check for holes that sealed, usually the tire will be a bit soft. There will be a little dark mark usually from the sealant where the hole is. If I see one I remove some of the tire from the rim, dry it well and patch it. Happens very rarely though but I’ve found a couple over time and patched them even though the sealant was working.


KenH, April 18, 2017 at 9:47 am

I rode the same pair of 38 mm tubed Vittoria touring tires for four RAGBRAI’s and around 10k miles. I got one flat, from a big chunk of glass. Actually, that flat gave me a second one right over the hole from the first one so I looked very carefully for a bit of glass still in the hole and finding none concluded that most likely abrasion from the rough edges of the hole had worn through the tube over time. So I patched the tire itself on the inside to protect the tube from the edges of the hole and had no further trouble. I’m now riding a new set of Vittorias.

So, I am guessing that if I were to put sealant in my tubes my tubed tires would be as flat free as your tubeless tires. They kinda are without the sealant and these particular tires I am running are famous for their efficiency, not puncture resistance. Remember, I run 38’s, I don’t get no pinch flats!!


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