The Riding Gravel Forum
Register Calendar Latest Topics Chat
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment  
bobknh

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 758
Reply with quote  #1 
I'm a roadie at heart. Now, that I no longer race, I've switched to gravel riding. I still like to go fast, and push myself on occasion. As I switched over from pavement to gravel, I bought into the current belief in tubeless tire tech. After 3 years of gravel - my earlier years mostly on tubes, and my last year or so mostly tubeless, I've come to the conclusion that tubeless is fine; but for the type of riding I do - maintained unpaved roads (60-75%), and paved secondary roads, tubeless tech is overkill, and that I may be better off running non- tubeless ready tires with Challenge latex tubes, or light weight quality tubes from Schwalbe. I feel that the main advantage of tubeless is flat protection - puncture and pinch flats. But there are negative maintenance and performance issues with tubeless tech.
- Hassle installing tubeless tires.
- Tubeless ready tires use linings and extra rubber to be non-porous which adds weight and makes the tire side walls stiffer and non compliant. 
- Emergency repairs, if sealant fails, can be very difficult.
- Depending on climate and use, tubeless tires require fresh sealant on a regular basis. In my case, about every 3 months.

I'm currently running Schwalbe 40mm G-One Allround tubeless with Orange Seal Endurance sealant. They are good tires and I haven't really had any problems. But, they are considerably heavier than my old Compass Bon Jon's with Challenge latex tubes. Subjectively they feel sluggish compared to the Bon Jon's. While the G-One's bite better on loose gravel and dirt, they fee sluggish compared to the BJ's on hard pack and pavement. For my next set of tires, I'll be shopping around for a lighter weight 40mm gravel tire that I will run with tubes. Any suggestions?
0
chas

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 398
Reply with quote  #2 

1)      Yeah, it is a PITA

2)      Not always, but often.  Gravel tires can be heavy.

3)      I think repairs are impossible on some of my tires.  Schwalbe Tubless Easy is a nightmare for me to mount on some of my wheels (tight small bead diameter).  I can’t imagine any repair on the side of the road with these.  Tires with tubes are easy to change.

4)      Its really a problem for multiple tires and bikes.  They need to be rotated and used.  I’m just using tubless on one bike.

 

I like the lighter Maxis Rambler.  Can’t say I really notice a difference between these and the G-one, but they are a bit lighter.   Schwalbe does make some models in a lighter “Snake Skin” version for use with tubes.

0
owly

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 158
Reply with quote  #3 
I hear what you're saying. 

However I just couldn't go back to tubes due to the places I ride with the Compass tyres. 

How about a 650b wheelset with their 650b x 42 extralight offering? [biggrin]
0
Skldmark

Member
Registered:
Posts: 87
Reply with quote  #4 
@Bobknh, these days it seems you must find a tire/rim combo that mounts up good for you, and stick with it. Swapping tires and rims is more trial and error than it used to be.
0
Cmtgravel

Starter
Registered:
Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #5 
I'm with bobknh for all the reasons he listed.
0
bobknh

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 758
Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skldmark
@Bobknh, these days it seems you must find a tire/rim combo that mounts up good for you, and stick with it. Swapping tires and rims is more trial and error than it used to be.

Actually, all the combinations of tires and rims have worked reasonably well for gravel. But, gravel riding that I do, place unusual demands on my tires. Sometimes, I need a fast rolling tire for hard pack and pavement, sometimes a grippy tread for freshly graded dirt or sandy patches, sometimes sturdy side walls to resist damage on chunky gravel. The thing is, any, or all of these conditions can, and usually do, happen unpredictably. Finding an optimum tire for all of these demands is a challenge. I'll keep looking. So far, the best of the breed is the 40mm Gravel King SK, with a light weight tube. Surprisingly the GK SK is one of the least expensive, and works well either tubeless or with tubes. The one thing I haven't really needed is the flat protection of tubeless sealant. In fact, the only time sealant actually avoided a flat was when I hit some debris riding on pavement. The sealant did seal the small cut in the sidewall. If the tire had a tube, I probably would have had a flat. But, I could have easily repaired the flat and the sidewall with a boot. Compared to the hassle of maintaining tubeless and other performance issues, I feel that experience of an occasional flat is worth it for me.
0
Skldmark

Member
Registered:
Posts: 87
Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobknh

Actually, all the combinations of tires and rims have worked reasonably well for gravel. But, gravel riding that I do, place unusual demands on my tires. Sometimes, I need a fast rolling tire for hard pack and pavement, sometimes a grippy tread for freshly graded dirt or sandy patches, sometimes sturdy side walls to resist damage on chunky gravel. The thing is, any, or all of these conditions can, and usually do, happen unpredictably. Finding an optimum tire for all of these demands is a challenge. I'll keep looking. So far, the best of the breed is the 40mm Gravel King SK, with a light weight tube. Surprisingly the GK SK is one of the least expensive, and works well either tubeless or with tubes. The one thing I haven't really needed is the flat protection of tubeless sealant. In fact, the only time sealant actually avoided a flat was when I hit some debris riding on pavement. The sealant did seal the small cut in the sidewall. If the tire had a tube, I probably would have had a flat. But, I could have easily repaired the flat and the sidewall with a boot. Compared to the hassle of maintaining tubeless and other performance issues, I feel that experience of an occasional flat is worth it for me.

— I was saying that tire needs to be easy to mount to your particular rim so that you know if you do get a puncture on the road/trail it will not be more difficult to manage because of a difficult tire to get seated/beaded up. Tubes are easy to change but some of these new tire bead/rim bead combinations are troublesome.
0
bobknh

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 758
Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skldmark

— I was saying that tire needs to be easy to mount to your particular rim so that you know if you do get a puncture on the road/trail it will not be more difficult to manage because of a difficult tire to get seated/beaded up. Tubes are easy to change but some of these new tire bead/rim bead combinations are troublesome.

I agree with you about the lack of industry standards for rim and tire compatibility. I posted a link recently to a Velonews article by Lennard Zinn which highlighted this problem. The ERTO has a standards group for rims, and a separate group for tires. Unfortunately, no one is worrying about how well they play together. We suffer the consequences, along with broken finger nails and sore wrists. BTW, if you haven't tried them, the Schwalbe Tire levers are about the best I've tried over the years. They have this neat clip which allows you to hold the tire in place while finishing the last bit near the valve with a second lever. Also, I find the wide shape and narrow edge of the tool makes it easier to slip under and pry tight tire beads.
0
clarksonxc

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 127
Reply with quote  #9 
Not to pile on, but I'm with you.  For the same reason I've stuck with a 2x drive train all these years.  Tubeless solves a problem I just don't have with tubes.  I weigh 175, and run 40mm tires on 26i rims at 30psi over every kind of terrain with no flats.  Sometimes less than 30psi.  Will going tubeless and reducing the pressure to 25 or 20 result in appreciably better performance?  I am not so sure; at least not enough to make the conversion.
Plus, I like to switch tires a lot.  More than I should, at least.  I think it goes back to my running days, when I'd cycle through 4-5 pairs of racers/trainers per week.  It seemed to be easier on my feet and legs, but it also might have been all in my head.  Some others were doing it as well, I think they called it "shoe variegation" on LetsRun.
Glad to see I'm not alone!
0
bobknh

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 758
Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by clarksonxc
Not to pile on, but I'm with you.  For the same reason I've stuck with a 2x drive train all these years.  Tubeless solves a problem I just don't have with tubes.  I weigh 175, and run 40mm tires on 26i rims at 30psi over every kind of terrain with no flats.  Sometimes less than 30psi.  Will going tubeless and reducing the pressure to 25 or 20 result in appreciably better performance?  I am not so sure; at least not enough to make the conversion.
Plus, I like to switch tires a lot.  More than I should, at least.  I think it goes back to my running days, when I'd cycle through 4-5 pairs of racers/trainers per week.  It seemed to be easier on my feet and legs, but it also might have been all in my head.  Some others were doing it as well, I think they called it "shoe variegation" on LetsRun.
Glad to see I'm not alone!

Thanks for the post. Frankly, I thought I would get a wave of hate mail after this post. Almost a sin to suggest that tubes are OK. But, I'm happy that I'm not alone in questioning the need for tubeless. Not that tubeless is bad. It's just overkill for a lot of the recreational gravel riding that many of us do. I'll likely continue using tubeless technology. Especially, as my skills at unpaved riding continue to improve and I start to tackle more difficult back woods trails with ever wider tires. But for my every day rides on the dirt roads of rural NH, tubes are fine; and much less hassle.
0
drwelby

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 391
Reply with quote  #11 
You should run what works for you. If tubeless doesn't solve any of your problems, and in fact creates more problems, then don't bother.

Around here we have so many goathead thorns that tubeless is almost mandatory. I'd rather top off my sealant every two months instead of patching tubes every week.
0
welfkajsodif

Member
Registered:
Posts: 22
Reply with quote  #12 
I run tubeless because I can't tell that they're heavier and they also save me the hassle of changing a tire on a ride. 
0
Volsung

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 214
Reply with quote  #13 
I have an unused set of Resolutes in my garage because I don't want to deal with getting sealant on everything. Back when I ran tubes I'd change tires once a week just to change things up, but now I run the same tires all the time because I'm lazy.
0
bobknh

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 758
Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Volsung
I have an unused set of Resolutes in my garage because I don't want to deal with getting sealant on everything. Back when I ran tubes I'd change tires once a week just to change things up, but now I run the same tires all the time because I'm lazy.

Interesting. Something else I hadn't thought of. Removing and re-installing tubeless tires, while really not that difficult, is a lot more hassle than tires with tubes. Now that you mention it, there are several situations where I might do a tire swap with tubes; but avoid it with tubeless because of the hassle. Here are some examples:

- Swapping front and back tires to even wear.
- Swapping knobbies and smooth tires for different road condition.
- Traveling with one wheel set with different tires depending on conditions.
- To experiment with different tires, if so inclined.

Recently, I've been running Schwalbe 40mm G-Ones Allrounds tubeless for mixed gravel and pavement riding. I've noticed much more wear on the rear tire tread. The G-Ones have been installed for about 3 months and are due for a sealant refresh. Instead, I may skip the sealant refresh and swap front to back with tubes. Since most of the old sealant has dried, the job wont be too messy. Interesting to see if I notice any change in performance or reliability.

0
Skldmark

Member
Registered:
Posts: 87
Reply with quote  #15 
A good aspect of running tubes and freely changing tires on a whim is being able to use more trekking/road oriented tires that don’t wear as quickly (esp. on the rear), then you can have your choice gravel/cyclocross tires in good shape when you can most appreciate them.
0
moe53

Member
Registered:
Posts: 44
Reply with quote  #16 
Bob, I agree with your comments. I have been using Challenge Gravel Grinder Race series 120 tpi tires in 38c for years with Challenge latex tubes on Stan's Iron Cross rims with excellent results. I am also one who swaps tires occasionally. I save these good tires and tubes for "proper gravel rides". These are a non tubeless tire, I think they are about 385 grams, reasonably light and tough. I recently receives a defective one from Universal Cycles but they replaced it no questions asked. Some of the tread bubbled up when I inflated it. I am in New England also. I am very familiar with tubeless using it for mtb for 10 years which I find it works really well.
__________________
Enlightenment begins where the pavement ends. [idea]
0
bobknh

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 758
Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by moe53
Bob, I agree with your comments. I have been using Challenge Gravel Grinder Race series 120 tpi tires in 38c for years with Challenge latex tubes on Stan's Iron Cross rims with excellent results. I am also one who swaps tires occasionally. I save these good tires and tubes for "proper gravel rides". These are a non tubeless tire, I think they are about 385 grams, reasonably light and tough. I recently receives a defective one from Universal Cycles but they replaced it no questions asked. Some of the tread bubbled up when I inflated it. I am in New England also. I am very familiar with tubeless using it for mtb for 10 years which I find it works really well.

Hi Moe- I have the Challenge Gravel Race-not the tubeless ready version- on my short list to try out. I agree with you on the Challenge latex tubes. They are twice the price of butyl, but I had very good experience running them with my 35 mm Bon Jon's. You have to re-inflate the latex tubes daily -- but I do that anyway for all of my tires. I'll check out Universal Cycles -- BTD had them on sale this week for about the same price as the Gravel Kings. But the brown sidewall non-tubeless which I wanted, were out of stock.
0
Zurichman

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 774
Reply with quote  #18 
Funny you should mention about tires. I did the Funks Bottom gravel race yesterday at Little Prairie Ohio. The course had lots of large chunky gravel and for sure my Clement MSO xplor tubeless 40 mm weren't working for the ride. At one point in the race I was smokin on a downhill and the bike never stopped. I think I was going so fast that I was floating over the top of the stones/washboard ruts but I am  not sure. What I do know is I blew thru a stop sign and if a car was coming I would have been toast.

Kenda was the sponsor there. They have a smooth tread coming out in 4-6 weeks. He actually said the the Flintridge Pro was an upgrade of the Clement MSO xplor 

Flintridge Alluvinn

One of their reps there suggested putting the Flintridge Pro 40 mm on the front and the Flintridge Alluvinn 35 mm on the rear.


He also gave me a coupon for 25% off their website. One time use.

Thinking about trying it for sure. Any thoughts from anybody?


Thanks
Zman

__________________
If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
0
Skldmark

Member
Registered:
Posts: 87
Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurichman
Funny you should mention about tires. I did the Funks Bottom gravel race yesterday at Little Prairie Ohio. The course had lots of large chunky gravel and for sure my Clement MSO xplor tubeless 40 mm weren't working for the ride. At one point in the race I was smokin on a downhill and the bike never stopped. I think I was going so fast that I was floating over the top of the stones/washboard ruts but I am  not sure. What I do know is I blew thru a stop sign and if a car was coming I would have been toast.

Kenda was the sponsor there. They have a smooth tread coming out in 4-6 weeks. He actually said the the Flintridge Pro was an upgrade of the Clement MSO xplor 

Flintridge Alluvinn

One of their reps there suggested putting the Flintridge Pro 40 mm on the front and the Flintridge Alluvinn 35 mm on the rear.


He also gave me a coupon for 25% off their website. One time use.

Thinking about trying it for sure. Any thoughts from anybody?


Thanks
Zman


I say try those new Kenda tires—but this time have someone standing by the stop 🛑 sign at the bottom of the hill waving their arms.
0
chas

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 398
Reply with quote  #20 
Yeah, gravel bike requires 2.5 sets of wheels for me.  The problem is that they all need to be rotated regularly if they are tubless.  With a garage full of bikes, I can only afford a couple of wheelsets tubless for the hassle.

That said, I did rotate my tubeless tires this weekend.  Using skinnystrippers keeps everything intact, so it is as easy as changing a tube tire (sealant is sealed in the tire).  My ramblers came off an on my DT Swiss wheels easy as pie.  My G-Ones on the other hand - I can't even mount them on the rims I'm trying to use.  I want to use them with tubes, but I can't get them on without levers, and the levers tear up the tubes.  Nothing worse than sweating to get a tire on a rim for 30 minutes, just to find out I have a hole in my tube.    Ergo, a good tire/wheel combo is important, and kind of hit or miss...
0
chas

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 398
Reply with quote  #21 

To feed my tire fetish, I use both tubed and tubeless.

The gravel tires are set up tubeless because I can run low pressures without getting a pinch flat.

But for my road tires, lately I have been running tubed on the front.  I almost never get a flat in the front, and they are super easy to change anyway.  I can swap tires in a few minutes, go ultra light, moderate or more extreme with weight, tread, speed, traction, cush….

Something like a Maxis rambler really lets me take advantage of the light weight possibilities of running tubeless, but realistically many gravel tubeless tires have the tube built into the tire so there is no weight savings (I’m looking at you Schwalbe).

0
Skldmark

Member
Registered:
Posts: 87
Reply with quote  #22 
i just mounted 2 WTB Riddler 700/37 on 2-3 different non-TR rims w/tubes. They seemed ok going on but required soaping the bead, 75psi, letting them sit, and working the bead with padded channel-lock pliers to get the final bit of bead to pop up. Since I have spare wheels for just such experimenting I went ahead and put them on rear wheels to get some mileage out of them. But most likely won’t take these into the boonies.
—of course you could ride home with the bead causing a flat-spot if necessary to repair while on a ride.
0
TiGeo

Member
Registered:
Posts: 62
Reply with quote  #23 
It certainly make swapping tires easier and as you say, if you aren't riding anything really gnarly, your'e probalby fine with tubes.  For me, it's all about the no pinch flats at v. low pressures that make tubeless my go-to...ain't no way I'd be running 23-25 psi with tubes...I would have pinch flatted twice on today's ride!  I have tubes in my road bike and have had exactly one flat tire in 4 years on that bike.
0
bwepps

Member
Registered:
Posts: 32
Reply with quote  #24 
Honestly I believe that tubeless vs. tubed can be conditional just like running different tires based on the conditions.  

When I did the 2017 Dirty Kanza I ran tubeless with 700x40 (43) Gravel King SK's.  I experienced zero flats for the 207 mile beating.  At the first really sketchy downhill that was covered with sharp flintrock the bottom looked like a grenade had gone off.  It was peeps that we running tubes.  There were flats everywhere and I heard of one poor soul that had 5 flats by the halfway point.  After that race I was sold on tubeless for my gravel bike.  In higher tire pressure situations I'm not as convinced to tubeless merits, but I have witnessed orange seal (the best sealant IMHO) work it's magic many times.  

Flats are also usually a by-product of running the wrong tire pressure.  There are many people that still way over inflate their tires.
0
bobknh

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 758
Reply with quote  #25 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwepps
Honestly I believe that tubeless vs. tubed can be conditional just like running different tires based on the conditions.  

When I did the 2017 Dirty Kanza I ran tubeless with 700x40 (43) Gravel King SK's.  I experienced zero flats for the 207 mile beating.  At the first really sketchy downhill that was covered with sharp flintrock the bottom looked like a grenade had gone off.  It was peeps that we running tubes.  There were flats everywhere and I heard of one poor soul that had 5 flats by the halfway point.  After that race I was sold on tubeless for my gravel bike.  In higher tire pressure situations I'm not as convinced to tubeless merits, but I have witnessed orange seal (the best sealant IMHO) work it's magic many times.  

Flats are also usually a by-product of running the wrong tire pressure.  There are many people that still way over inflate their tires.

I totally agree with your comment. Tubes are great, and much less hassle for the less challenging routes I usually ride -- but no question -- the flint hills of the DK demand the flat protection of tubeless. Even at that, some very experienced gravel riders had flats at the DK - even with their tubeless set ups. 
0
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.