Road tubeless experiences

I’ve had polarised tubeless experiences. First attempt was a Conti 5000 on a tubeless ready wheel, and it was a massive PITA. Tightest tire/rim combo I’ve ever had, tried every trick I’ve learned in the 3 decades or more since I first changed a tire as a kid, and it still took me 2 hours, a lot of cursing and a broken tire lever before it was on. I dread the day that thing punctures…

More recently bought a set of hookless Zipp 303 S. Paired up with the Schwalbe Pro Ones. Worked like a dream. Tires went on easily with no need to use levers, seated at first attempt with a high pressure pump, sealed well and holding pressure with the recommended 30ml. Still experimenting with different psi, I’m 80kg and the tires are 30mm, have taken them down to 50psi and they still roll well, think 60 is about the sweet spot for that setup and the local roads which aren’t great.

From my N=1 and reading up on this stuff, it seems like tubeless ready is still a bit of a crapshoot where some combos work well and others (like mine) are a nightmare. But the rims and tires that align with the updated ETRTO standards offer a much more consistently good experience. Just need more manufacturers like Continental to get on board.


On a side note, what’s your thoughts so far on the 303s? They seem like great value for money.

Really happy with them. Haven’t got a lot of miles on them yet but have already put them through a good variety of fast group rides, hilly rides and rides in gusty winds. First impressions are excellent - ease of setup already mentioned above. They’re light, they’re fast, they seem well built. Ride quality on rough surfaces and stability through fast corners is excellent, though that’s down to the tire as much if not more than the wheel. They look good which is always important!

I think for the price they’re great value, especially with the lifetime warranty Zipp are now offering. I’ve owned half a dozen sets of different carbon or carbon-alloy wheels over the years from various brands and in various depths from ~30mm climbing wheels through to Zipp 808s for TTing. So have a reasonable frame of reference to compare to.


I think they have had a running change. My second set of GP5000TLs went on easier (by hand) and sealed better on my rims.

Mavic Cosmic UST and Conti 5000TLs = Satan’s Combo
Contis sent back to retailer.


I have a pair of the 5000TL and have the exact same issue on both a set of Bontrager wheels and November wheels. So much so I decided it was just easier to run 5000 clinchers since I don’t get enough punctures to justify the added hassle and expense of TL.

I was able to install 25x622 5000 TL on Enve 5.6 disc wheels, and even install a tube roadside after a big gash, but then trying to reinstall was almost impossible (and I know all the tricks!).

Just bought 32x622 5000 TLs for my new Bontrager Aeolus 3V wheels (25mm internal, 32 external) and :pray: its an easy install.

1 Like

I essentially swore off Continental tires years ago. They are just made insanely small on the bead diameter.

I think I went tubeless 5 years ago. It was when I got a disc for the TT bike. I had no problems with that so when my road bike wheels were out two years later I got a pair of Tubeless Hunts and ran them for a year no problem. Then on hindsight I made a stupid mistake and switched to Finish line, never dry out sealant. It doesn’t dry out in a p’ture hole either. With Finish Line you’d p’ture and continuously lose air slowly until you hit a small bump (like a cat eye) and the tyre would become unseated. I almost gave up on tubeless until I realised it was the sealant at fault.
After I sorted it I unfortunately found out I needed chemotherapy which destroyed my finger nerves and wrecked my finger strength. Not having to change tyres during that year and the ability to run them at low pressures as my wrist was constantly bruised by the chemo needle was a blessing. So much so that in the middle of it I bought new tubeless winter wheels which were surprisingly easy to set up. I am now seeing the rolling benefit of them now I am fit again. I have also hit massive potholes in a chain gang, etc carried on without loss of performance and got home to find that whilst I have lost pressure, its not been a ride ending p’ture.

I’ve had Joe’s, Stans, Continental and Muc Off and never had a problem with any just Finish line, avoid it, sounds good but is useless :-1:


I have 45mm gravel tyres on my bike pumped to 35 PSI.
When I was washing my bike I noticed a thorn in the tyre not much thicker than a needle. I pulled it out and faced the hole downwards, sealant sprayed out and showed no signs of slowing down. I put my finger on it and stuck a plug through the hole.

Does the tyre have to be spinning for the sealant to work, or should it still work by having the hole facing down with the sealant coming out?

Regards GG

It doesn’t have to be spinning IME. Quite a few times at home I’ve pumped my tyres up and that 10psi of extra pressure opens a hole and I’ve just rotated the wheel round so the sealant fills it. Maybe your hole was a fraction too big and it’d take a lot of sealant or a plug was needed.

1 Like

Ok thanks. Few people suggested it needs to be spinning, so I wasn’t sure.

The hole seemed tiny! Who knows where it went wrong, but I certainly certainly thought the sealant would fill a bigger hole!


also depends on the sealant. Stan’s race sealant opened up again at pressures over 50psi in my 25mm race tires. Replaced with Orange sealant and all is fine in the deep dark woods.


This is not what I wanted to read just after ordering another bottle of Stans Race sealant :thinking:

I started using Stans Race last year on road tyres and I haven’t had any significant issues. Only time i had to resort to an inner tube on a ride was when I ran my rear tyre way too thin and it ejected a small piece of it’s tread when I ran way too fast into a pothole. My wheel/tyre combos have been easy to unmount and mount. Most of the time I can do it just with a floor pump.

In any case, road bike alloy wheelset got it’s sealant replenished about a month ago after sitting unused during the winter. The early spring road conditions here are notorious for causing punctures due to the leftover “sand” (more like fine crushed rocks) that is used to combat road ice during the winter. The bike paths and sides of the road are covered in it. In any case, the 30mm WTB Exposures worked without any issues or drama.

Now the roads are mostly cleaned up and it’s starting to get warm. I replenished the sealant on the carbon wheelset (with Pro One Addix 25mm tyres) last weekend and did two rides. I lost a little bit of pressure on one ride, but that seemed to be fixed by tightening one of the valve cores. I had replaced it earlier and probably didn’t tighten it enough.

Almost halfway through the spring wheelset and tyre extravaganza now… The town bike, touring bike and mountain bike are still running studded tyres that need to be replaced with summer tyres…

Dropping PSI weekly to get adjusted to not bumping around. 205 6 ft stalky build.

Now at 90 front 100 back. Did a 100 miles with an unplanned time trial after my wife crashed and went unconscious. Ambulance arrived took her 45 miles north. Being from out of state I had to TT in a torrential downpour 20 miles with slippery roads and wooden bridges. Glad I was at a lower psi than my previous 110 back 100 front.

Grateful for 2 years of trainer road to have the fitness at mile 80 to gun it to the car. Then gun it in the car yo the ER.

My wife landed hard and went unconscious. I NEVER want to see that again, no matter how many times it replays in my head. 7 seconds of no response is 0 seconds too long.

she has a concussion and bruised face and road rashes legs. She wants to ride the hilly group ride Saturday. I have convinced her not too.

Look. Everyone does what they can to enjoy cycling. Be it a race or event etc. tech is important but needs small adjustments and tweaks based on personal rider comfort.

My fitness meant I got to my wife earlier rather than later regardless of weight and psi. I’ll never be 150 lbs. and don’t care. I am fit and fast with years of skills. That all mattered Saturday April 24.


Glad to hear that she is fine, but after a concussion there is usually a recommendation from doctors of resting from any streneous activity a week or two. Got this info last time I crashed and hit my head hard (broke my beloved evade-II :frowning: ).
I’m looking a switching to tubeless when I get a new set of wheels, at 95kg I get flats to often while commuting.

For me, the jury is out on road tubeless. The higher air pressure and lower air volume means it doesn’t work as well for road tyres as it does with mtb ones, and I still have some concerns about being stranded in the event of a catastrophic failure. Recent threads on a few forums about certain tyres coming off certain tubeless wheels also make me wonder if safety standards are quite where they should be.

It’s an appealing concept, and I’m sure works well for most users, but I suspect I’ll be sticking with clinchers on road for the moment.

After buying my new steed this year (BMC Time Machine) I finally got around to ordering my second/race wheelset for it. I wound up going tubeless since they were out of the tubulars. This will be the first set I’ve ever owned or used after riding for…many years.
I’m having my team mechanic install and prep them for me, which takes the headache away, but I’ve never actually lived with them. Anyone have any tips for me? I’m sure there’s a long forum post about them somewhere, but I’m just looking for a few quick anecdotes and tips from people who use them regularly.
Keep in mind the set will only be raced, and I have another set of clinchers, so the whole ‘hassle to replace’ thing is irrelevant in a race situation.
PS-I will post a pic of the finished product this week when they are all done.

1 Like

Make sure your sealant hasn’t evaporated

1 Like

I saw that, but it said 2019 on the search bar so I assumed that was a dead topic. Go ahead and merge if it’s still active and you think it’s best :slight_smile: