Is It Worth Making Your Mountain Bike Tubeless?

Tubeless tyres have been taking both the mountain biking and road cycling industry by storm in recent years, promising massive benefits over traditional tyre setups. The amount of information out there and people’s opinions vary, which is why in this article we look at the reasons, including the pros and cons of converting your mountain bike to running tubeless tyres.

Although we are all fans of running tubeless tyres here at Westbrook Cycles, the topic is more complicated than simply running the system and never having a puncture again - so there are a few things to consider before deciding whether it is right for your or not.

Tubeless Tyres Benefits

Tubeless tyres have a number of advantages. Tubeless tyres almost completely eliminate pinch punctures, allowing you to run your tyre pressures much lower for increased grip. Puncture resistance is also greatly improved, with scrapes and thorn strikes usually not causing a puncture, as they can in non-tubeless tyres. Tubeless tyres also help make a bike lighter for those looking to save weight.

Tubeless Tyres Drawbacks

Tubeless tyres are more expensive to have, and more expensive to maintain. Tubeless tyres also do not eliminate the risk against puncture and damage, so a repair kit still needs to be carried. There are also drawbacks to running a lower tyre pressure setup which is allowed by tubeless tyres, and those running lower tyre pressures can find their rims at greater risk of damage from contact with the ground.

Tubeless Tyres Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to have Tubeless Tyres?

This depends on exactly what setup your bike currently has. If you have bought a new mountain bike which has tubeless compatible rims, tyres and new valve stems - you can complete a tubeless setup with just the sealant alone, which costs around £15. If you need to buy the valves, but have tubeless compatible tyres and rims, valves can be purchased for under £10.

Tubeless tyres can be purchased for around £40 per tyre, it only gets more expensive when you need to run tubeless rims.

How big a hole can Tubeless Tyres Seal?

This is one of the most difficult questions about tubeless tyres, and the answer varies so much depending upon the type of puncture that happens. The smallest of punctures can refuse to seal out in the field, and we have seen tyres which have been absolutely destroyed by thorns and holes in them work absolutely fine.

As a rule of thumb, thorn strikes seal really well - and small cuts and holes which are between 5-9mm can seal more often than not. Tubeless bungs are a great way to repair tubeless tyres which have had greater damage.

How often do I need to change Tubeless Tyre Sealant?

Different manufacturers will recommend different timeframes for changing tyre sealant in tubeless tyres. As a general rule of thumb, tubeless tyre sealant can last up to six months - but variations such as weather and heat will vary this, check regularly to ensure that you do not find a rock solid lump of sealant next time you get a puncture.