Advice sought on Road Tubeless

After four months of waiting, last Thursday was new bike day for me.

The bike is an Enigma Etape (Enigma Etape – Enigma Bikes) which has come with Hunt 4 Season All Road wheels and 32mm Continental GP5000 tubeless tires.

So far I’ve done less than 200KM on it but am very pleased with the bike overall which I think will be everything I was hoping for in an endurance road bike. Hopefully there will be time for some longer rides this weekend and I can get a proper feel for it.

My only concern with the bike is a nagging doubt that the tubless setup will turn out to be an act of folly - reading various comments has led me to start questioning if it’s just a matter of time before I have some terrible stuck at the roadside experience and end up switching back to tubes. At the moment I’m running the tires at around 65psi with no issues and plan to try lower pressures over the next couple of weeks - the SRAM pressure calculator is suggesting 61 rear and 57 front

Really interested to know peoples experience of running road tubeless. Is it just an inevitable disaster waiting to happen? Or, being more positive, as long as I keep an eye on the tyre condition and stay on top of topping up the sealant does the system actually work, especially with 32mm (i.e. wide) tyres, and I’m worrying about nothing?

Also any thoughts good or otherwise on brand of sealant are most welcome. I’m drawn to giving this stuff a try which seems well reviewed for road use:

Thanks for all thoughts and advice!

Have never run tubeless on the road - and not to be a downer - but coincidentally saw this article in last week’s Cycling Weekly:


1 Like

I run tubeless on my gravel bike with perfect success. I HAVE run tubeless on my road bike and it was a disaster. I have done everything right and I know what I’m doing with tubeless. But on the road bike… it’s a no from me. I almost never puncture anyway and when I do, it’s catastrophic…i.e. no tubeless setup will save it.

I do have a mate who has run his road bike tubeless for years. Like me, never an issue, until it’s an issue.

My preference is to limit the amount of grime I’m dealing with thus tubes are my preference. Sealant isn’t fun when one resorts to a tube.


I have used the hunt all season for several years with 28mm tubeless on my BMC roadmachine. Used to use schwalbe Pro one but found them susceptible to punctures especially on country roads after hedge cutting. Doc blue sealant always worked and despite losing bit of pressure always made it home on long rides. I now use conti 5000 tubeless and love them.

Recently got new set of 44ud carbon spoke hunt wheels and had no hesitation putting 28mm conti 5000tubeless on them. Did the 170mile way of the roses a couple of Saturday’s ago over very mixed terrain. Rough roads, cycle tracks, farmers tracks etc and had no problems at all. I do carry a dynaplug plus an inner tube as back up just in case.

You have a nice set up so rest assured if you follow the guidelines for sealant top up you should have no problems. Hope that helps

1 Like

After a year or so of trying various tubeless set ups I have returned to inner tubes. Whilst towards the end of the period I had a good long run with no issues, I rode in fear of a ride-ending puncture (particularly because that set of tyres took a sustained 2-man assault with fairy liquid to get onto the rims in the first place). Whilst this may be biased by the toupee fallacy, I had several catastrophic failures across a few brands, but can only once recall the tyre sealing itself (getting home and spotting sealant sprayed up the frame).

One thing strongly in your favour is that you are running 32 mm, whereas I was on 25 mm, therefore you can get away with running them at much lower pressure. To my mind this could be key. My view is that at higher pressures the sealant is not very effective, and the risk of large splits/ tears is greater.

I think I would minded to go with tubeless for 32 mm, provided I was confident I could pop the tyre off by the side of the road and put in a tube as a last resort. However, ultimately you need to decide what is less palatable for you: more frequent but straightforward punctures, or rare punctures that may be difficult to resolve.


I run tubeless on my bike, at the moment I’m running 38mm Pathfinders on Campag Shamal rims as a mixed use wheel, both on and off-road.
Most of the guys I ride road with, though, are running tubeless. Most commonly using 28mm Vittoria Corsas (a group mechanic tends to mean lots of commonality in components). I know there are Scribe, Hunt and Campagnolo rims in the group too. No problems with anyone that I am aware of so far and we cover quite a lot of miles between us.

I’m waiting on a freehub to come in before setting up some Hunt Limitless 60s on Corsa 25s as tubeless too.

1 Like

I’d never admit to my mates but I almost 100% agree with this article. Until about a month ago I was having great success with tubeless, telling everyone how awesome they were and then I had an absolute horror ride which mentally scarred me so badly I didn’t ride that bike for the next three weeks. I still have tubeless set up on that bike but once I wear through the current tyres I’ll be switching back to tubes. The only thing I haven’t found is the limited life - I’ve been getting at least 5000km from Schwalbe Pro Ones.

My main worry is finding a tyre that will seat on the rim with just a hand pump. As pointed out in the article, while you can get a tube in a tubeless tyre if you need to, getting the tyre to seat properly is not guaranteed. I have had punctures from the bead pinching the tube and also from stray pieces of the tubeless sealant cutting the tube.

I’d still use tubeless in a race where replacing a tube would mean dropping out as I have found the Stans race sealant and also tubeless plugs to work in some situations.

1 Like

After getting a Sidewall Tear in my trusty GP4000 SII I made the switch to the brand new GP 5000 TL 25mm at my LBS for the acclaimed lower rolling resistance. The self repair was a bonus for me but I never had real problems with punctures on my roadbike.

It was the first time ever I was unable to get a Tire onto my Reynolds Strike Disc Tubeless Wheelset.
I read up on the Internet and several people also failed installation with this specific Wheelset.
Because I was going into my summer holiday I went to my LBS which needed two people to forcefully get it on.
In the holidays I noticed it was running uneven and they damaged the side of the carcass of the tire while putting it on creating a slight bulge.
Thankfully the LBS changed the GP5000 for free but I was unable to ever get the first or second Tire to hold the air longer than a few days and I had to inflate before every ride.
I spent a lot of time cleaning, changing valves, reapplying the rimtape since the factory application was quite shoddy but had no success. Even with my air compressor it was extremely hard to get the tire seated again and the LBS also had some problems with that.

I gave up after wasting a lot of time and money because it never held the air very long and I knew I would be absolutely unable to fix a problem on the road where I needed to insert a tube. I would be unable to get the tire of and on again by myself. With a buddy this may be possible. Getting off the Valve may also be quite hard since I needed pliers to get mine off again. With cold fingers on the road this may be another problem. Seating the tire with a hand-pump should at least be possible thanks to the inserted tube if you don’t pinch it.

Now I switched to Schwalbe Aerothan SV20E three months ago and up until now I’m enjoying low rolling resistance almost on par with tubeless and latex, holding the air like butys and no mess like with tubeless. But I take along a butyl replacement (still have some stock) because I don’t trust the PU patches. Because of this my wish for tubeless tires with my current road-bike is gone.

If you have a good rim and tyre combo and trust a roadside repair getting a tube in I think you should do fine with tubeless.
My rims were one of the first road-bike disc tubeless ones and the design and specifications have improved over time that my problems should no longer be valid for a up to date new generation rim + tire combo.
Your wider 32mm tires should also be in your favor and you should just try it out.
I wish you the best of luck!

1 Like

This could be a kiss-of-death post but I’m approaching 5000km on tubeless on two bikes.

One wheelset (my summer bike) is a custom built set with Hutchinson Fusion 5 11Storm Performance in 28mm. I didn’t even need levers to get the tyres on and they seated with an ancient track pump. The other wheelset is Mavic Aksium UST with the Yksion tyres (made by Hutchinson AFAIK) - these are on my winter / hack bike and I’ve bashed that down some silly routes for pure slick tyres (sand/gravel/mud tracks). For both I target about 75 psi.

I’ve spotted the odd “puncture” during a ride when I’ve seen sealant spraying out the tyre but no show stoppers that needed mid-ride fixing. My longest ride last year was ~240km. About 100km in I couldn’t figure out why the water spray coming off my front wheel was going off at a strange angle. I stopped and found a small hole - over the next few KMs I noticed the sealant would, erm, seal but then open up again. I kept an eye on it for the rest of the ride but never put more air in it. I checked the pressure again once home and found the front was down to around 35 psi. Can’t say I noticed any change in handling or rolling speed (I even set a new Strava PB by almost a minute over a 9km segment).

On the next few rides I noticed the same hole would repeat the un-seal/seal cycle. I tried some flexible Super Glue which worked for a bit but then gave up. In the end I splashed out on a Dynaplug Racer kit and stuck a small worm in the hole. No trouble at all since.


That’s interesting. I’m new to tubeless, I run them on my TT bike, I found a small cut pre race yet day which went through the same cycle of sealing and opening a couple of times leaving me with 30psi by the finish. At least it wasn’t game over and I set a new course PB! I’ve ordered some plugs to make sure the fix is permanent should it open again.

1 Like

I have been riding tubeless for 4 years now. I have only changed 1 tire.It had heavy wear when a seat post bag dropped on to it . It had one puncture which was a sidewall split, and I lost confidence in it. It went flat before it sealed, I put a bit of air in and it rode well on very low pressure to get me home. The replacement was a pig to seat, so I took it to LBS .The mechanic fitted another layer of of rim tape and fitted the tire without a hitch.superglue or tire worms would have sorted the problem out had the sidewall split been worse, but luckily I did not need them

1 Like

I have not used tubeless tires on my bicycle but do on my motorcycles and I change those tires myself. I set the beads with an air compressor. Wouldn’t that be the way to do it for a tubeless bicycle tire too? Remove the little valve with a valve tool, blast it with air and bang, bang the bead is set. Put the valve back in and inflate the tire.


1 Like

Thank you everyone for your replies. It’s really helpful. Overall the “mood of the room” is feeling quite positive.

@CPT_A - Yes, I had seen that article and it was one of the things that was making me concerned!

@DameLisa - Interesting that you have success on the gravel bike - presumably wider tyres and/or tougher casing?

@Winterswim - I saw when you posted your 170miler on the riding outdoor thread and I can imagine what some of the roads would have been like so this is very positive. I already have some plugs in my saddle bag (plus inner tube & pump). I’ll just make a recurring diary note to check on the state of the sealant.

@orange_badger - I think you’ve hit the nail on the head in terms of my thinking. Swapping a tube at the side of the road is inconvenient but has never been an issue for me to date, a flat tyre that ends up with me having to phone for backup and get picked up is a big no no in my eyes!

@Jon - This sounds very positive and the fact I’m on 32s should be even better. I hope the Corsa 25s work well for you

@PeterG - Thanks for the comments. I feel your pain! As @DameLisa say, no issue until it’s an issue :frowning: I can understand why you’re going back.

@Thomas - What a nightmare. Yes, Aerothan in the tyre and stadard butyl in the saddlebag is a good option and could well be what I’m doing this time next year

@Harpoon, @Alistair_Brown alchurch - This is sounding encouraging!

NormtheChelseaboy - I think the issue is most cyclists don’t own an air compressor!

Managed to get 60km of trouble free riding in today including a large patch of broken glass that I didn’t notice until too late, that plus these comments mean I’m feeling a lot happier. I’ll continue to experiment with tyre pressure and make sure I regularly check on the sealant but I’ll stick with the tubeless setup for the time being and see how things work out.

I know if I hadn’t taken the tubeless option I would think I was missing out, so I really should give the setup a chance at least for the life of these tyres. As and when they wear out I’ll probably try going to latex or aerothan tubes and see how much of a real life difference I actually notice! I know any tyre can fail in an unrepairable way but in my mind an endurance bike should be set up in a way that minimises the chances of not being able to repair things at the side of the road, and perhaps that’s actually the answer to my own question?

(sorry for not putting an @ in front of everyone’s name - I hit a limit of 10)


Life without an air compressor is incomprehensible.



Life without an air compressor is depressing.


The road bike tubeless was running the first gen Shwalbe 1. It was utterly £#&@. Impossible to seat. Imposs to change on my own. Punctured if you sneezed near it. I heard a lot of similar feedback from others about that tyre. It was set up on DTSwiss rims. I suspect Shwalbe have changed their tyres somehow as I hear good feedback now.

If I go back to tubeless on the road bike, I’d likely try Vittoria Corsas. They’re my favourite tyre and easy to fit by hand and seat. However not as durable as say a Vittoria Rubino Pro which is my tyre of choice for most purposes. Durable, reliable and reasonable rolling resistance. I get about 5,000km out of my Rubinos and 2,000km out of my Corsas. The Rubinos are MUCH harder to fit to my rims than the Corsas. Note they’re all tubeless, I just run them with tubes.

The gravel bike is running 2" wide WTB tyres with a softer casing. I use Stands sealant and carry a dynaplug which I’ve never used. Not aware of any holes ever. The tyres are WTB Ventures and I run them at a range of pressures. 50-60 for tarmac and down to 28-35 for riding the really gnarly stuff (big rocks and roots). The tyres are on Hunt rims…not their gravel rims, these are assymetric ones developed specifically for Bombtrack bikes so they’re not available to buy as standalones. The biggest issue setting them up was finding a valve to cope with the assymetric rims. Once I had that sorted, they’ve been an absolute dream. Currently about 2,000km of gnarly wear on them and they’re showing zero signs of wear. No punctures yet either.

I’ve done about 30,000km in the last few years and had…3 punctures/flats. One was a valve finally giving up the ghost and detaching from the tube on the Rubinos. One was on the Corsas when I rode through a pile of tacks some aggro anti bike nasty person threw in the bike lane. The 3rd was on the Shwalbes and was a continuous awful dark period of constant flats on near brand new tyres…all punctures from literally nothing on a swept, smooth, separated bike path. :woman_shrugging:


@DameLisa Thanks for the extra info. Makes sense why tubeless has worked so well on the gravel bike. Kiss of death to say it, but the bike that preceded the Etape had about 3,000 puncture free miles on a pair of 23mm Michelin Lithion. Not the fastest tyre but certainly reliable. That’s a lot of the reason why I’m pretty ambivalent about the advantages of tubeless given the potential hassles.

I’ll look at the Rubino Pros although I’m quite drawn to trying Pirelli P-Zero. Unless the Conti’s are a disaster maybe the next set of tyres should be as you say, tubeless but setup with tubes then I can easily switch to no tubes and sealant if I want to get a true comparison.

Thanks again everyone for your input - it’s really appreciated and I feel a lot happier and more confident with the current setup.

1 Like

I am in the process of converting to tubeless. I’ve started with my front wheel. What a pain and so frustrating not to be able to air up my tire! I’ve got everything in place. But my tire pump has no flash mode and there are no gas stations with decent air compressors in Chicago. They all have those crappy pay ones that barely emit any air.

I have a similar compressor in my car’s trunk that finally got the tire to seat, then I twisted the valve stem when unscrewing the nozzle. All the air leaked out and the tire unseated! Argh!

I ordered an Airshot tubeless tire inflator and will give this one more try, but I’m just thinking at this point, what happens if I flat on the side of the road?


I’ve had success running tubeless Giant and Pirelli tyres. My Giant Defy originally came with 28 mm own-brand tyres and they were pretty decent. I ran them all last season with no punctures (and our roads are crappy). This season I changed to Pirelli Cinturato Velo 32 mm and those are bombproof tyres. They were tricky to seat on the rims (had to use a boost pump) but otherwise no issues. I run Muc-off sealant, which seems fine, but I don’t think it’s been put to the test yet other than sealing the beads - there was a little bubbling of sealant around the beads when first mounted, nothing since. I also have a set of Pirelli P-Zero Race tyres to try, but haven’t mounted them yet.

For puncture repair I carry a Dynaplug and spare tube. Haven’t needed either yet.

I’ve been running tubeless on my mountain bikes for years without issues, but I know road tubeless is more in its infancy and therefore more likely to be hit or miss depending on tyre/rim combos used.


This is my exact thought. Thanks all guys sharing their experiences and wisdom in this thread.have been watching with so much interest! As a lightweight lady with not much upper body strength, patching/replacing a tube is daunting enough.
In rural areas with spotty cell network coverage, I am thinking there is no way I’ll invest in this, this decade at least.
My deciding questions are always:
How much time does it take to install /maintain? And
Could I reliably fix it myself on the side of the road, even in bear/wolf Country?