Tubeless Tires: the call-a-friend solution to flats?

Regarding tubeless tires / wheels (TLTs):
There are lots of posts here about the pros and cons of TLTs, but most seem to avoid a key issue: changing a flat tire on the road (i.e. while riding).

There seems to be a general acceptance among TLT riders that when it comes to changing a flat tire, TLTs are just too difficult. It’s better to call someone to come and get you.

I hear TLT riders say: “I just call my wife/ buddy/ uber to come get me.”

I guess they don’t ride very far? I mean, say you are out on a three hour ride and you get a puncture. Do you really expect your friend to drop everything and drive 25 miles to come pick you up (while you wait for an hour on the roadside)?

If you were on clinchers, you could fix a puncture flat in 10 minutes and be on your way without inconveniencing someone else. Or having to wait while your muscles go cold and tight. Or on a mountain trail far from a car-accessible road. NO FUN.

So are TLTs only for short-distance riders? Or is everyone now calling a friend/ spouse to pick them up when they get a flat?

No, all rides, especially remote ones. Just carry a tube and be self sufficient.

Sure it’s messier, but it’s not that hard. Particularly for MTB.

Running tubes sucks on the MTB.

I was thinking the other day, the ultimate weight weenie set up is to go tubless with a nice sealant that doesn’t clump too badly, let the tubeless sealant evaporate and then you have the ultimate weight saving set up. Just have to carry tubes, and/or Vittoria pitstop or similar with some plugs.


For sure with MTB. But for road, tubeless tires can be really hard to mount.

Just put a tube in if that happens(after you’ve tried a plug)


I carry a spare tube. After I changed my road bike’s sealant though (Fall of 2018), touch wood I’ve never needed it, but before with dodgy sealant (Finishline) I used the spare tube a few times and with the supposedly dreaded 5000TL’s it was never a problem getting tyres on or off.

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For gravel, I run inserts and carry plugs. My new addition for long days out is to carry some more sealant as well, that and plugs will take care of most issues. The inserts mean I’m still riding if all else fails.

For road, I carry plugs and a tube. Last resort is the tube, messy but gives you options.

The only tubeless tyres I don’t think I could take off at the side of the road was the GP5000TL, that tyre was utterly ridiculous.

Road tubeless users seem resistant to using plugs and default to trying to stick a tube in the tire for any puncture that doesn’t seal, instead of plugging.

Plugs can be less reliable at higher pressures but IMO it’s a lot better to plug the tire and ride home at 50psi in your 25s or 28s than it is to sit on the side of the road waiting for a ride. Or better yet, just use Stans and the Stans Dart, it’s the most reliable plug-type I’ve used for road tubeless.


From what I’m hearing, you guys have no problem putting a tube in a tubeless tire on the road. I’m still riding clinchers bc I thought tubeless were a struggle to mount / unmount, and also hard to pump up.

Not my road experience. I carry plugs, with a tube as backup. CO2 cartridges for air. So far, I’ve only needed plugs. That’s what I’ve seen most often.


I’m not sure that’s true. Everyone I know who rides tubeless carries a tube and or plugs in case of flat. I’ve put in a tube on the side of the road and it was no big deal.

Making mountains out of molehills.


The CAN BE a struggle, but IME, once you’ve had a tire mounted for a while, they’re not that much harder than normal clinchers to remove. Just carry good tire levers (I prefer Pedros) in your kit.


The key is to use more sealant than recommended in the rear and carry dynaplugs.


Been tubeless on my road bike since 2018 and haven’t carried an inner tube on a ride since then. Just carry a little pouch of spare sealant, plugs and Co2 cartridges. Only been a couple of times where I’ve had to abandon a ride (luckily near a train station) so I’ve just got myself home.

Have used GP5000 TL & STR’s and can get them on and off the rims by hand so never had an issue with this either.

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Just threw a tube the other day for a hole that didn’t seal. Hardest / most time-consuming part was inflating it using a pocket pump. /shrug.

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Dyna-plugs, co2, pump, tubes, boot.

The roll of the dice with tubes as your bailout is the real possibility of thorns, glass, wire, that are sealed , but still sharp enough to puncture a tube. So more sealant and plugs.

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Just limp home on the run flat tire liner. Probably not going to get the tire off in the field. Which is bad. But damn confidence inspiring as in “ no way it this sucker rolling off under any circumstance “



I’ve been running tubeless for 18 months now and have yet to have a flat on the road - touch wood - I’m running Vittoria Rubino 28mm. I do always carry a tube, but I just have this feeling that there will come a day with sleet that I’m at the side of the road cursing. Normal tyre levers have always served well enough in the past, even with fairly tight Conti GP 4Seasons (clincher), though I’m thinking of something like the Rehook Tyre Glider ( I’ve also heard good things about this type of thing ( - not sure what to call it), but that’s getting a bit bulky for the tool bag/back pocket.

Re CO2 as some have mentioned, is this not meant to cause sealant to solidify with the temperature shock when it goes in?

IMHO, if you have tyres you can’t get on and off at the side of the road then you shouldn’t be riding them. How do people get them on and off at home? Or do all these “phone a friend” types just get their LBS to fix all their flats?

Mounting a tyre, especially tubeless, is 90% technique and 10% tools. I’ve used Tacx cheapie levers for years (I have 9 in various places, after 15 years they’re still going strong). I recently got a pair of Challenge tyre pliers, they’re great for mounting a brand new tyre - Challenge HTLRs are a particular challenge, pun intended - but once it’s got a couple of rides in it’s no problem with levers.


There are several sealants that are CO2-compatible, check the label.

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One of the reasons I went for airliners was the ride flat capability. I have been racing, but went on a club spin the other week and punctured - I headed for home but the dynaplug(s) (it took two) held the 30km+ home. Enough I regretted turning and missing the coffee stop. If the worst came to the worst I could’ve rolled home on the airliners.