The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

Using Tubeless Tires for the Ride

What are your thoughts about using tubeless tires for the ride?

6 Replies

Derek Fye, July 5, 2019 at 7:29 am

I know people that always run tubeless. With all the pinch flats I’ve been getting lately, I’m strongly considering always running tubeless.

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mootsman, July 5, 2019 at 8:59 am

I have been running all tubeless for many years including the year of the 1st gravel loop. Tubeless are great in that they eliminate pinch flats which I’d guess would be the #1 cause of flats on gravel. I’ve gone as much as 14,000 miles without a flat on tubeless (changing out worn out tires of course).

I’ve used tubeless on RAGBRAI since 2013.

The only trouble I had was when I first went to 25s. The particular tire manufacturer just made their 23s wider but instead of making the center section wider, they made it wider at the beads. So I was running partially on the sidewalls which caused lots of flats back in 2014/15. About as many flats as I;d get on tubed tires in a typical year. I went back to 23s for a time which stopped the flats. The manufacturer has since re-designed the 25s to be wider in the mid section and the flats stopped on the 25s also.

The only use I have for tubes now is to carry along in case I get a flat on a tubed tire which is usually from a large cut. So I need to boot the tire also. And I when time allows I patch the tire on the inside to stop the cut in the casing from expanding and then going tubeless again. But cut tires really should be replaced long term.

This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  mootsman.

This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  mootsman.

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mootsman, July 5, 2019 at 9:09 am

Oh, and if yo go tubeless make sure your rims were designed to be tubeless compatible. Some non-tubeless rims will hold air after putting on tubeless rim strip but not reliably. So never depend on a rim that was not designed as tubeless. They could “burp” out air of fail completely.

This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  mootsman.

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mootsman, July 5, 2019 at 9:13 am

My initial reply meant to say “in case I get a flat on a tubeless tire (not tubed tire).

#1307429

Tom Weber, July 5, 2019 at 9:21 pm

Carry tubes in case of large puncture that won’t seal. And you’ll have a sloppy mess with all the liquid latex if that happens. I would only do tubeless with 31+ and 80 psi or less. Just not a good combo with smaller and higher pressure. I had a little metal slice in my 31 tubeless and I was done. Would not seal and I was a mile walk from home, so rather than deal with liquid latex mess I walked.

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David, July 7, 2019 at 5:54 am

I have been using tubeless on my last 7 RAGBRAIs. They are great, no more pinch flats, minor punctures auto-seal, more air volume for the same size tire which increases comfort. If you happen to have been riding hard, poor handling tires like Gatorskins to reduce punctures then the switch to road tubeless will be night and day.

The reality with tubeless is that initially, you will have a few things to get used to generally and then specifically with your wheel/tire combo. The available options have vastly improved since I started so isn’t as bad.

I do have one suggestion for easily dealing with punctures on tubeless without inserting a tube.
If you go tubeless get yourself a Dynaplug Pill. It can easily plug most punctures you would get while riding. A lot of times tubeless leaks, if they don’t seal, are not fast, so you often could avoid adding air. In a race scenario, I could fix most punctures faster than the support car could get a wheel to you.

This is one of the few cycling products that has exceeded all my expectations. I was skeptical it would be easy to use, but now having used it a few times in real life I can say it is easy to get the plug into the tire. It plugged every hole and the pill has everything you need to pick the object out and cut off the tail of the rubber plug. At this point on road riding, I can only remember one puncture it wouldn’t have fixed, which involved a 16 penny nail that went through my tire, bent off my rim, out the side wall, was hooked through and nearly ripped my brake off…

http://www.dynaplug.com/pill.html

I still carry a spare tube and 2 tire boots. I can’t imagine a situation where the tube would be useful that won’t also involve serious boot support needed for the tire.

If you are a weight weeny that doesn’t like the idea of carrying around a spare tube and you have the $$ for an expensive spare. Check out https://www.tubolito.com/en/ You can get a spare that will take up 1/3 of the space and weight of a normal tube.

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