Myth 7: Tubeless Tires Roll Faster

“A tire set up tubeless won’t be faster than a lightweight inner tube, but also not significantly slower. The simple fact is that a tube, especially a lightweight one, is extremely supple and adds very little resistance. The sealant required to run a supple tire tubeless will cancel out the gains from eliminating the tube.”

Off The Beaten Path

When tubeless tires first became popular on mountain bikes, it was their resistance to pinch flats (above) that made them popular. Off-road, there are few nails or broken bottles that can cause punctures (and even those usually will be pushed into the soft ground rather than puncture the tire), but rims can bottom out on sharp rocks and other obstacles. So much so, in fact, that top mountain bike racers used to race on tubular tires – because tubular rims make pinch flats less likely. Eliminating tubes did the same, and while you still could ‘burp’ the tire, in general, tubeless allowed running lower pressures with fewer problems.

Many also believed that tubeless tires were faster. It made sense: an inner tube, even a thin one, added a membrane that flexed and absorbed energy. A tire without a tube had to be faster, even if only by a small amount! One big…

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