A few tyre/tubeless q's

So having upgraded my wheels (to some Bontrager Aeolus pro 37) , I’m currently debating whether or not to go tubeless (again), and if so, to what tyre?

I’ll start by saying my default position is Conti GP5000 clinchers (with tubes).

I have run tubeless before and have enjoyed them, but one catastrophic flat where I had to call in the cavalry has made me wary, especially as (Covid permitting) I’ll be doing a few sportives next year (including the Tour of Flanders, not that i can sit that happening atm).

What are people’s views on TLE vs tubed, and what are people running for good all-round performance?

The tyres will be going on a Madone SLR, which is going to be my ‘good’ bike, i.e. not used in the depths of winter (unless it’s an unusually dry and warm day) nor in awful weather.

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I have just gone tubeless for the first time, They are much smoother ride on rougher surface. It might be the semi deep carbon wheels but were fast by 4 minutes over my 50mile route.
I am wary of tubeless being a newbie to them. So i carry a tyre boot to deal with really big faults. I also carry a spare inner tube which you can still fit, it will mean removing the Tubeless valve, i carry the mini tool for doing that too. I got the Conti 5000GP’s tubless and were a breeze to fit.

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Started with tubeless on new Rose x-lite 6 in 2019 - GP5000TL. This is my “best” bike and used summer only. Done about 10,000km. Replacement tyres fitted at about 7,500km. I have had one puncture that I found when I got home (large thorn in edge of treaded section of tyre). Pulled it out and the sealant stuff did its job.

They are 700x28 and I run them at 65 psi. Comfortable, grippy and roll well. No problems :grinning:

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Tubeless convert here. I use the Vittoria Corsa G2.0 tires (NOT the “Corsa Speed” tires, nor the “Corsa Control” tires.

I use a 25mm in front, and a 28mm in back. Had a tubeless set up from May - October and rode them for over 1500 miles without incident. The GP5000 get a lot of love on here, but I find them a bit too stiff. I’ve always loved the feel of the Victoria road tire with a tubeless setup. My second choice would be Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tire.

On my very last ride of the year on my road bike (I ride my gravel bike with 38s setup tubeless in the winter, btw) … about a month ago … I took a direct hit from an inch long nail (picture below) on the 25mm front tire inflated to 72psi — and this is when the tires had over 1500 miles in them. I rotated the puncture to the bottom, pulled out the nail, and it sealed up while losing less than 3 psi. Couldn’t recommend them highly enough.

Also, put them on my wife’s bike because she doesn’t know how to change a flat, nor does she really want to learn. Best decision I’ve ever made.

Ride with confidence🤘

Chicago road shrapnel:

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I’ve battled issues with road tubeless for awhile now and I think I’ve got it under control.

Use tire plugs as an absolute last resort. They suck for road tires and are at best a temporary fix. If a puncture is too big to seal, patch the tires from the inside (bring gloves). Both glued and glueless patches will work. Doesn’t need to be perfect, because the sealant will seal any tiny gaps. Also, patches are permanent fixes and will generally last the life of the tire.

Also maintain the valve stem area. I periodically swap out the valve core and if necessary, retape the 2 inch area where the valve stem is seated. Again, doesn’t need to be perfect, because… sealant.

I’ve used both Conti GP5000s and Specialized S-works Turbos. The latter are a little bit easier to get on and off the rim.

I won’t be going back to tubes. I like the confidence of knowing that I can flat 10 times in a ride and make it home with full tire pressure.

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Tire plugs have been good to me this year to handle holes that don’t seal on their own. I used it twice this year and those tires are still going strong. 1 was a huge slit that insta-flatted was never going to seal, and the other was a slow leak from a well/over-worn tire. I’d still be out riding on them if it weren’t freezing outside. It’s given me the confidence to ditch the spare-tube from my seat-pack.

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Touch wood I never have to use it but in addition to tyre plugs I also carry a spare tube.

The one time I used a plug on my own bike I got another 30 odd miles at 17mph.

The other time I used a plug was to fix a mates tubeless disk and he did 21min 10 :+1:

I quite like the sounds of that EF foam insert as another safety belt :wink:


For tire plugs, I recommend the following, especially these:

use CO2 and you’ll have the lightest and most compact repair kit you can find.

Ran tubeless for more than 2 years I think I have decided on the following:

  • I always make sure I have tire sealant, I am super super anal about this, I have it on my calendar to top it up every 3 months with 60 ml of sealant. Either orange seal or Stans Tire Sealant. If the tire punctures and its noticeable, I will top up just in case - about 30 ml.

  • I don’t carry tubes, if the plug fails, its time to call a cab.

  • It is a massive pain in the butt to repair tubeless if you have to remove the tire so that’s why I follow the steps above.

  • if you are replacing the tires, change the rim tape as well, if something is wrong, its the rim tape, if air is leaking, its the rim tape, it could be the valve but im pretty sure its the rim tape, bottom line, if in doubt as to why your tubeless tire is not inflating, change the rim tape first, then troubleshoot any issues after that.

I love my tubeless tires as its one less thing to worry about, I don’t worry about small tiny punctures and I roll over everything with less worry. dropping my PSI to 50 front and 60 psi back has improved comfort immensely.

Also, its been proven that wider is better, I’d recommend a 28C tire or if you are adventurous the 32C continental GP5000. you could be giving up slightly on aerodynamics but I wouldn’t be surprised if the ride is exceptional with a 32C.

If you want additional puncture protection, the pirelli cinturato velo TLR would be a better choice but it will be slower.

Hope it helps.

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Others have pretty well covered it here - GP5000 TL is a good choice, carry plugs, etc… I’ll add my 2 cents…

While I’m personally a road tubeless fan, I do recognize that it’s not for everyone. If you’ll be doing some potentially cobbled events (Flanders sportive, etc), it’s kind of a no-brainer to put up with any hassles that come with tubeless, especially considering you already have wheels that are compatible. The hassles are minimal nowadays, anyway, as manufacturers are getting closer to a ‘standard.’ (though from what I hear an official standard is still a ways off).

For plugs, I’ve used Dynaplug in the past, but have recently switched to Effeto Marriposa’s system that takes the place of a bar end plug (or can go in BB spindle on 24mm cranks). They’re relatively inexpensive, and the placement makes for quick access. I’ve been able to jam a plug into a tire so quickly after getting the puncture that I didn’t need to hit it with supplemental air. With my old dynaplug system, it meant digging around in the jersey pocket, camelbak or seat bag, meaning more air had been lost.

You mentioned not riding the bike in foul weather; I wouldn’t worry about tubeless tires holding you back there. I imagine you’re more worried about the rest of the bike, but do at least know that there is nothing about a tubeless tire that makes it worse for mucky weather. You could pretty easily argue the opposite, in that the ability to drop pressure a bit more can help. If you’re riding in super cold temps, be aware that some sealants will freeze up and become snow around +10F (-12C).

I am a road tubeless convert but It has come with a lot of trial and error. Here are a few recommendations based on my experience:

  • I would only recommend tubeless for 28mm or above. You need a high volume of air otherwise your tyre will sometimes be useless after a puncture, even if it seals.

  • It is better to run a little more air in the tyre than is otherwise optimal. That way, you’ll have enough air left in the tyre to keep going, even if you get a puncture.

  • Use a standard valve with a removable core, nothing fancy. I used a non-standard valve once and it looked cool, but was not very functional.

  • Tubeless tyres can be very difficult to get on, so be ready for that, and carry two tyre levers.

  • Unless you plan to save them for something like hill climbs or TTs, use an all-round race/performance tyre, like GP5000s. I tried Corsa speed tyres once and immediately trashed them in a race.

  • Squirt sealant didn’t work for me. I recommend something popular like Stan’s.

Also, how did your tubeless setup fail catastrophically? Catastrophic failures should be less common than with tubed clinchers, if set up correctly.

Thanks for all the replies; looks like tubeless is the way to go.

@evrevzbcm the catastrophic failure was a big hole which happened on a fast descent. I suspect the speed of the wheel’s rotation forced a lot of the sealant out - see the pic

I wasn’t carrying a spare tube (my fault) and the worm wouldn’t hold for some reason.

Edit: just to be clear, the surface on which the picture was taken is NOT where I was riding! It’s a farmer’s track off the road; there was no pavement where I flatted so it was the nearest available safe place.

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Make sure your sealant has particles for sealing bigger holes. Stan’s race sealant for example has a lot, and works well.

They don’t recommend injecting it through the valve, I guess because it is easy for the particles to clog it up, but that’s how I do it.

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I almost gave up on tubeless two years ago after a series of gradual deflations, then catastrophic un-seating of the tyre at a small bump, like a cat eye. The last day of my LEJOG was saved by a spare tube but it was almost the final straw. Then I realised what the problem was, the sealant, Finishline was awful. Advertised as never dries out but never dries solid around a hole either. I switched back to Stans/Joe’s and bike shops have put in Continental and Muc off and Ive never had a problem since. Glad I stuck with it, it was a total godsend during my chemo. Not having to fix p’tures with my weak numb fingers/body, that would go more numb when it started to cool. The ability to run lower more comfortable pressure too, particularly with a constantly bruised wrist from the catheter. The performance boost was great too :+1:


I think tubeless has a lot to offer (and I don’t mind the weekly pressure top up that lots of people seem to moan about); my only real issue was the prospect of a ride-ending failure that I couldn’t fix at the roadside (see earlier pic :man_facepalming:).

But I think a decent set of plugs and a couple of CO2s should reduce the chances of a complete write-off to very low, though.

I’ll probably stick with GP5000s, though if I could get something a little cheaper with 90% of the performance, that would be cool…

Reminds me of a medication I was on once. Seeing my slight concern, the doc said it had ‘no side effects in most people’. Well, he wasn’t lying; it had no effects of any sort on me, side or intended!

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If you do use CO2, remember to let all the air out and use a normal pump when you get home. It is supposed to extend the life of your sealant.

Lots of sealants react with CO2 and turn into a solid gunk! Check the label on the bottle/tin. If you have used CO2 as a “top up” when needed after a plug insert it is worth checking whether you still have any sealant left as liquid when you get home.

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