Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Beginners Guide To Road Tubeless Supplies

Road Tubeless is a new phenomenon, and the vast majority of cyclists really don't have any experience with it, let alone the necessary equipment.   Here is what you need to get started:

Bare Minimum

If your wheelset is not road tubeless compatible, you do not need to buy a new one.   It is very easy to convert your existing wheelset to tubeless.    It is not a big commitment as it will always be possible to run conventional clinchers on a tubeless compatible or converted pair of wheels.

To start off with you will need the following:

2 Tubeless Valves from Stan's  @ $8.00 each

1 Roll of 21mm Rim Tape from Stan's @$11.25

2 Tubeless Tires Such as The Hutchinson Fusion 3, which can be found for as little as $49.99

2 Tubes of Sealant @ $2.95 each

Total Price: $130 plus shipping

So for less than $150 you can make a major upgrade to your road bike

Intermediate Level:

The more you ride, the better off you will be with a pint or even a quart of sealant, as you will need to add sealant every time you repair or replace your tires, or every three or four months as the sealant dries up.

To inject the sealant with minimal leakage, you should get a valve core remover and a tire sealant applicator.

Purchasing these accessories will set you back another $45 -$55 dollars, but it will be cheaper in the long run as you will be buying fluid in bulk and conserving it.

Advanced Level:

Once you are hooked on tubeless, you might as well go all the way and get your own air compressor.  Some people can inflate tubeless tires with their bike pump,while others visit the local gas station or bike shop for a quick shot of air.  Having a compressor ensures that you will always be able to inflate even the most stubborn tubeless tires without having to go to your local bike shop.

Ultimately, no home shop is complete without a compressor.   I used to think a compressor would cost hundreds of dollars, but I have been fortunate to find incredibly inexpensive ones at Harbor Freight Tools.    There you can find a suitable compressor for $60.00 or less if you find a good sale or a coupon (check the last few pages of any magazine with a predominantly male readership).   

The great thing is that your compressor will be useful for all sorts of tasks around the house besides seating  and inflating bicycle tires.   I have already used mine to blow out my lawn sprinkler system for winter, clean dust out of my computer and keyboard, operate an impact wrench to change the wheels on my car, and even to blow up balloons!   In fact, it may be the most fun tool I own.

So for about $300 total you can go all the way.   When you are sitting on the side of the road trying to change a flat, that money seems like a small price to pay to be tube and flat free for a long, long time.


  1. great blog, thanks.

    Do you always run sealant? Does it affect the ride quality? Do you think it makes roadside repairs more difficult?

    Have you tried any kind besides Stan's.

  2. I love these questions, keep them coming. Here are the answers:

  3. I have a set of race wheels that are also my training wheels. I do, however, have training tires and racing tires -- but I use the same wheels.

    Is it feasible for me to go tubeless, since I like to use the same wheels but I keep changing tires? I know some might advise that I just get cheap training wheels (and put the training tires on them), but I like my wheels (Enve), and the Enve guys told me their wheels are tough enough for daily use, have a 5 year warranty, and would be a pity if not used often...