Mountain Bike Suspension Parts & Maintenance : Tubeless Mountain Bike Tires

Mountain Bike Suspension Parts & Maintenance : Tubeless Mountain Bike Tires


To go along side with the advances in our
riding abilities brought on by really high performance suspension, we’ve had another
really great innovation in the mountain bike industry in the last five to six years, which
is tubeless tires. So, just like the tires you have on your automobile, which don’t have
a tube inside of them — they just have a sealed tire that holds air — we now have
tubeless bike tires. And what these tubeless tires allow us to do, is they allow us to
have basically a more reliable — to a certain extent — and more supple and efficient ride.
So here is a tubeless rim. You can see there’s no holes or anything inside of it for air
to leak out or anything like that. So it’s a very efficient little structure. It’s got
a valve stem built in, where you put the air in. And then every manufacturer pretty much
offers both tubed and tubed-type tires. The drawbacks of tubeless — because there have
to be drawbacks or else I wouldn’t be talking about this — is the fact that it is somewhat
more reliable. You can have problems with tubeless tires that you can have with a tubed
tire, and there’s these added disadvantages. So this big old downhill tire’s been setup
tubeless. You can tell because there’s a bunch of Latex inside of it. What people do is they
add a couple cap fulls of like a Latex mold builder or tire sealant — there’s a couple
companies out there that sell it — that allow you to seal any sort of punctures that you
might get. Because I mean — a nail or thorn or whatever can still go right through the
sidewall of one of these tires, rendering it unable to hold air. Another problem that
you can have with tubeless tires, is that if you’re an aggressive rider, an extreme
cornering force can push the bead off the rim — what we call burping the tire, and
that can let out air. Another disadvantage is that a tubeless tire — for XC use —
a tubeless tire is going to be heavier than a tubed-type tire, because you need extra
casing and enforcement, both for the — this has to be some sort of layer of plastic or
butal rubber inside — that keeps it from being porous. And then you need a little bit
more stiffness in the sidewall because you don’t have a tube in it. So, it’s a little
bit heavier, but you take away the weight of the tube, and you’re pretty much on par.