Tubeless....should I go for it? Are they worth it?

Maybe Im a bit late to the tubeless party…Im riding clinchers. Would you advise going to tubeless for race wheels?
What are the main benefits? Less punctures? Less repair kit to carry? Faster? Is that all right and are they worth the change?


Worth a read of this

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Some factors:

  • not noticeable quicker than a good clincher/latex set up
  • a ballache to set up/change tyres etc (you need a different pump that blasts air in for one)
  • you will get less punctures (no pinch flats, small ones will seal)
  • if you do get one, however, you are in a world of trouble.

I went tubeless, then back to clinchers


25mm & below then clinchers & latex tubes for racing.

28mm & above then tubeless is a good option.

28mm + for gravel or off road then tubeless is a no brainier.


What Doka says


A man with the strongest thumbs known to man and his own bike shop isnt convinced.

He had 3? Wheels in the back were he couldn’t get tubeless to seat ( you in a race tottering about in cleats with an aero helmet on have no chance.)

He says they have improved but “ not quite there yet” he agrees with. Several on here in that if you have a bad one in a race especially as a triathlete ?! Your… doomed.

That said two local guys rode tubeless/ discs in the soaking wet Bolton IM 2021? And excelled in the rain,

I’m of dinosaur mentality & am sticking with clinchers for now.

The reason is that I figure with any technology, there is a learning period. Often you learn by trial and error, and then eventually you master it.

I dread to think how many clincher + inner tube punctures I have repaired in 30+ years of riding, got to be in the several hundreds. But there’s a lot of experience there. Only twice have I had to bail on a ride and get a train or taxi home, and both times I learned a lesson which means it’s unlikely to happen again (#1 was riding on a knackered 650c tyre that failed irreparably, #2 was riding with 1 spare inner tube but no patches/glue kit & getting 2 punctures).

All of this means I now know I can mend a clincher + inner tube puncture pretty swiftly, 5 minutes and we’re back on the road again with the new tube, or worst case 15 if I get a second puncture and need to find a pinprick hole and glue a patch on it. But with tubeless there is just that whole unknown angle. Would I be able to get to work if punctured? Would I be OK at night or in a rainstorm? Personally, it would need to take some really massive advantages to make me want to learn a new set of skills, and go through the painful novice / rookie error stages.


take a view from a MTB users POV who has been using tubeless without any issues for a number of years - both latex and specific tubeless rim.

Using latex is fine but can be a PITA to set up if you have difficulty blasting air in during the set up process. But if you do puncture and the latex doesn’t do the mend (e.g. a rip rather than a simple prick puncture) then you can still slap a tube in and carry on assuming you’re carrying one! Have had to do this a couple of time with MTB tyres.

But I now have tubeless rims so tyres sit much better without the need for latex and so far, not punctured at all.


How so? Surely just like everyone running tubes you carry a spare tube & if you get a puncture that doesn’t seal then other than having to remove the valve it’s exactly the same.


Just two bikes
Both rear punctures both times the athletes couldn’t get the tube in a TL tyre, he did say some of the clearances on early gp 5000 tyres were very very tight add gunk going everywere and some people are just not very good at mending punctures ( I’d put myself in that bracket) neither finished there races, one was Lakesman full I think

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Well, as I said above I don’t think tubless is a good idea on a tri bike probably running 25 or 23mm tyres.

Tubeless comes in to its own on 28mm + tyres and bigger tyres are easier to fit & remove.

I’ve worn out 2 sets of 28mm & 32mm GP5000’s tubless tyres and run 40mm tyres on the gravel & I’ve never knowingly had a single puncture.


I rode my mates giant tcr? From the cafe to the end of the reservoir ( people who have done IMUK will know this well) 1k ? Ish
It’s a crappy bit of road for sure.

He had super wide carbon rims hunt? 30 mm gp 5000”s TL
60 rear and 50? Front psi

The difference in ride was astounding he had those worm things, a tiny tube, and a co2 canister … that’s it.

I’m a huge convert to bigger tyres at my age/ speed comfort is king, I’m pretty focused on hyrox st the Mon but I’m missing riding a bike in and out side now.

Hope your going well your story is still an inspiration to us all, I’ve even used it talking to prisoners who are keen to get into fitness but think they have “ no chance” and “ life’s against them”

I didn’t use your real name obviously !


Cheers Mungo, I have my fair share of downs & challenges but generally moving forward in a positive way at least on the sporting front. Had a mini meltdown at work recently, more stress than I could handle but met with my boss last week we’ve agreed a route forward. Then Monday the MiL passed away unexpectedly and the missus is obviously devastated, I think my job right now is just to be a human punch bag.


Thanks all. Appreciate the comments. You’ve helped to confirm my current thinking to stick with trusty clinchers.


My thoughts are very similar to @fruit_thief, I’m good at changing inner tubes, there’s not much that can go wrong except having 3 punctures.

I had a split tyre a few years ago but always carry a boot and that got me to the nearest railway station.
The only other disaster I had was when a valve stem kept coming loose when removing a screw on pump. I had to be rescued once and a second time stopped at a farm and taped the pump tube to a spoke after inflating.
Went back to a push fit pump after that (I believe it’s a Conti issue so don’t use their inner tubes any more).

It was interesting listening to @Matthew_Spooner on his tubeless experience in TCR. For that kind of event (as @Doka said) tubeless makes sense … especially if it’s too hot for patches to stick.

It’s given me pause for thought as I plan my own six day trip. I’ll certainly encounter many shitty road surfaces around Wales but I don’t think that’s enough to tip me away from clinchers


Tyre inserts :white_check_mark:
I rode 15km home on one, after I gashed the sidewall and lost my spares bottle the other week.

That was on 42mm gravel tyres.

Got a few road bike tubeless.
I’d go in fully, but it’s a slow process of waiting for wheels to wear out :joy:


Good rule of thumb however I’ve got 25s on my race bike but they have bloated to 28s so I consider them 28s.

The problem with 25s & lower is that if you puncture the inflated pressure is so high that your sealant is likely to be fired out at such a rate that larger holes might not be sealed.

My 25s - or 28s as I call them :smile: - suffered a pinch puncture which initially sealed but would “puncture” again if I hit a rough bit before again sealing. Those tyres were a bit of a bastard to put on & I was dreading taking off to put a patch on but having been on for a few miles they were much easier to re-seat.

Sean Conway was running tubeless 28s - I think - & only had 2 punctures that he knew of over 11,000+ miles.


This is it for me :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

First thing you know of it, is when you get home and the chain stay is sprayed in latex (or fork, or seattube etc)


I cannot speak highly enough for Continental GP5000 ATR 32mm these roll really nicely at 60-70psi, are really puncture resistant snd great off road. Tubeless road tyres have really come of age with this type, its fantastic