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Tubeless Tyres

Questions and Answers:

How do they work?
Tubeless tyres work by sealing the spoke well of the rim, either with a specially designed rim and spokes, or with a butyl/plastic strip. The valve is either a separate item sealed with an 'O' ring or part of the rim strip. The tyre is also air tight, this can be done either by adding rubber to the tyre material, or more commonly by coating the inside of the casing with Butyl rubber.

Specialized Tubeless Tyres 
(called 2Bliss get it?)

Are they worth the extra cash?
Yes, but not if you can't afford to replace them as often as your old standard tyres. Worn tyres (especially the front) will always make you crash.

What's the best thing about them?
You can run lower pressures without getting pinch punctures, this gives improved grip/control.

So are they really a revolution?
If you need more grip, yes. You could run lower pressures with your inner tube system, which much enhances grip, but pinch flats will kill your ride. These tyres are
well suited to the aggressive XC or freerider, because if you ride fast on rocks you need more grip and less flats.

Do they puncture?
Yes but not nearly as often as standard tyres.

Can I mend them?
Yes, they are coated with Butyl rubber inside (the same rubber as inner tubes) so they can be patched with a standard puncture kit. It's also possible to fit a standard inner tube inside them as a 'get you home' fix.

Do I need special tools to fit them?
No, in fact they should be fitted and removed with your fingers. However, some are easier to install with a high pressure air supply e.g. Stan's tubeless. Weedy mini-pumps need not apply. If you can't get one inflated on the trail, you're better off slipping in an old fashioned inner tube to get you home.

Are they heavier than normal tyres?
Yes, but remember to subtract the weight of your standard inner tube, this makes them lighter than the standard combination in some cases. e.g. Specialized UST Pro Team Control 2.0 = 780g : Specialized Team Control Pro 610g plus Specialized tube (180g) = 790g so there's really nothing in it.

Can I fit them to my existing standard wheels?
Maxxis have developed a system which allows the use of tubeless tyres with existing wheel-sets. A rubber liner seals the wheel spoke well. Expect this to add some weight to your wheel/tyre combination. Stan's Tubeless Tyre System also allows the use of standard tyres on your existing wheelset. Look out for a review on MTB Britain soon. Here now at Stan's Tubeless. See also the inventors web site http://www.notubes.com/

Do they ride like normal tyres?
Yes, but with lower rolling resistance.

Do Mavic make a separate rim so that I can build up my own wheels?
News just in is that Mavic are set to release a seperate rim and spoke set similar to their Cross Roc wheels, price yet to be announced.

Do they leak and if so how much?
Yes, it depends on the tyre/rim combination and set-up. But in any case expect to need a track pump to check your pressure before you ride.

Could I run tubeless at one end only?
Yes, the front would make sense if you're trying to gain more control. You could convert just the rear, if this is where you commonly pinch puncture. To do this you would need to choose a system that will sell front and rear separately.

How much do the Mavic UST (Universal System for Tubeless) wheels cost?
Around 450 for the Cross Max version. Look out for a more affordable (Crossride?) version soon. Update 20th August - The Crossroc is available now RRP is 97 front 118 rear.

Weren't the Specialized 2Bliss tyres recalled?
Yes, but that was last year, the new stock does not have this fault.

What's the availibility of tubeless tyres in the UK at the moment?  
Tubeless tyres are thin on the ground at the moment. Hopefully this will change by the late Summer...

What exactly is 'Stan's Tubeless Tire and Rim System'?  
Stan's System seals standard rims and standard tyres so that they can be used without an inner tube. It consists of tapes to seal the spoke holes in the rim well, a valve stem that bolts on to the rim valve opening and sealing solution to plug small holes and seal the tyre. For loads of opinions on the system, go to MTBR.com and use the search to find posts on 'Stan tubeless'. See Stan's tubeless review

Stan's Tire & Rim Sealant Kit - Full test here!

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