Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday discussion — Road tubeless

Long ago, long before I knew anything about anything relating to bikes (one could question whether I know anything right now, actually), I rode a pair of Dura-Ace tubeless wheels.

They were the 7801-SL version, and I took advantage of a RAGBRAI demo to give them a shot. I was pretty much hooked instantly. Fast and stiff and light. And smooth — so, so smooth.

Fast forward to the winter, when I bought a slightly used pair from a teammate. I set them up tubeless and raced them the next summer and into 2009. One wheel was destroyed in the Lincoln crash, while the other remained unscathed (it now serves as a training wheel).

I spent the rest of 2009 and all of this season on standard clinchers. They were just fine, but I really like road tubeless.

My current bike has Dura-Ace tubeless wheels once again — the 7850 C24 TU model. It's fast and smooth and light. And there are more tire choices available each season. They're loaded with Caffe Latex (but no glitter, Rafal) and have the Bontrager R4 tubeless tire (aka the Hutchinson Atom).

My stance: Road tubeless is going to be huge within two years. It makes too much sense not to be.

Your stance: In the comments. Go!


munsoned said...

I sure hope it will be. As soon as a rim maker figures out how to sell just rims for tubeless, I'm all in.

But until then, I'm perfectly happy running tubes a little on the low side and occasionally pinch flatting. My guess is the comfort is about the same.

mathguy said...

It will take longer than 2 years. Until they start using them as original equipment on more bikes, or a lot less expensive options become available, people will stick with tubes, since investing in a whole new wheel set system is expensive.

Personally, I'd like to switch, but I can run fatter tires (25s on the road bike, bigger on the cross bike) and be comfortable. I like using the 25s for racing-not much weight gain, and better cornering.

RD said...

they won't be a big deal until companies will offer more tubeless tires

bryan said...

mike - you can buy Ultegra rims. Moreover, with your ep privileges you can buy Ultegra wheels.

randy - $650 for an Ultegra wheelset is too much?

RD - I count five different tubeless tires available.

RD said...

yeah 5 is not enough this was the case with MTB as well not until everyone started making tubeless tires did they become popular...

Mike Miles said...

Okay here is my take. I think road tubeless is neat. Its great you can run lower pressures and all that but 5 tire choices is not a plethora. You really are stuck with Hutchinson or Specialized.

Randy, you can easily convert Ksyriums to tubeless or a lot of other rims with a NoTubes kit so you're not out a lot of money but then its back to tires. You are limited that's the truth don't skin it another way. You need more manufacturers selling tubeless tires.

Two years ago people said in two years road tubeless will be everywhere. Since that time how many new wheelsets have come on the market? 3 or 4? Its not enough to take notice of.

You need Mavic, Bontrager, and other wheel manufacturers to start offering the wheels, but I'm sure that Mavic has some principle against it since it was Shimano/Hutchinson that started the project.

You could always run tubulars with sealant and carry a spare under the saddle. Consider that you'll get the ride quality of the tubeless and if the sealant can't fix a puncture it might have been too bad to patch anyways.

Mike Miles said...

RD, I disagree with that. Tubeless mtb tires were pretty popular when the original Hutchinson tires were released back in 1999.

RD said...

i guess i meant for 29er tires but then again 5 years ago selection of 29er tires isn't what it is today

Mike Miles said...

Okay, I'll concede that. You know I know nothing of 29ers.

I can tell you stories about taking 2 people to put Pythons on Race Modified wheelsets though back when I was younger.

Also I forgot...I think a Vittoria Open Corsa with a latex tube rides better than Hutch tubeless tires, but that may just be that Ksyriums are stiffer and I prefer the way they ride? You could pinch flat that combo though.