Over the past few years there has been a lot of discussion about the pros and cons of using tubeless tyres on the road.
Buzz Performance‘s head coach Amelia has been riding them for a few years now and so far is really impressed.
If you are thinking about making the change, have done some research and are like many others, still sitting on the fence, then read on, this post may just convince you to make the change. But first things first, let us recap for you the the pros and cons of tubeless vs clincher types, just to save you time if you haven’t dived into your own research:

Clinchers (tubes):

Pros

  • Relatively easy to fit and change when you have a flat if you have practiced this before
  • Huge choice in brand, size, grip and quality

Cons

  • Friction between tube and tyre can increase roll resistance
  • Prone to a range of punctures

Tubeless:

Pros

  • Thicker tyre walls, less punctures and increased durability
  • Less roll resistance
  • You can run lower tyre pressure for the same roll resistance and performance, but better handling and comfort
  • You get wider rims, so more contact with the road and better performance

Cons

  • New wheels may be required to upgrade to tubeless
  • Limited choice if tyres, although more brands are now making tubeless road tyres
  • Can be messy
  • Lack of universal standards
  • Can be difficult to install
  • Still need to carry a tube incase sealant doesn’t seal hole
  • Sealant can dry out after a period of time and also become sticky
  • Need to replace sealant every 2 to 3 months

To summarise the above, we can safely say that tubeless tyres offer better all-round performance and less punctures than the clincher tyres, but also present a number of issues that may or may not be deal breakers for you, when considering which type of tyre to go for.

Buzz Performance has recently been approached by Jon Dredge, one of the founders of TY Bike Products to assist the company with testing their tyre sealant product Tyre Yogurt. Unlike most tyre sealants, Tyre Yogurt is not latex based and does not dry, seperate or clump. It makes a physical seal to block holes with millions and millions of tiny fibres (the same ones used in car tyre manufacture and bullet proof vests)

Tyre Yogurt contains ingredients that feature in sealants with a proven track record in the industrial, commercial and military sectors. These ingredients are blended with other ingredients to make a sealant specific for bike tyres.
In the past we have found that tubeless tyres have been great until they puncture and that’s where the fun begins. We have had few punctures but when they do happen the effectiveness of the sealant has been inconsistent. Obviously the size of the hole, the nature of the puncture and the quality and condition of the sealant will play a role, however, the process for repairing the tyres to dates has been hit and miss and often messy.

Jon has demonstrated how Tyre Yogurt works and demonstrated some test that he had completed on the tyres which to be honest blew my mind. At one stage I saw Jon drill a 4mm drill bit into a tyre with 100psi, the tyre sealed and held to 80psi so was rideable without any further air required!!!! That’s impressive. Now it’s time to test Tyre Yogurt out on the road, which is what we’re doing.

If things go well TY Bike Products may have helped to eliminate a number of the cons for using tubeless tyres:

  • Tyre Yogurt is not messy, doesn’t dry up, can be reused, is water washable and contains no latex or ammonia
  • If Tyre Yogurt is as effective in the field as it is in the workshop then it eliminates the need to carry a spare tube with you.
  • Type Yogurt does not get sticky or dry up and does not need to be replaced every 2 to 3 months
  • It is also worth noting that Continental have just released a new tubeless tyre the Conti 5000’s, as the popularity of tubeless tyres grows so will the variety of tyres on the market.

Jon has also offered the following tips to assist when installing a new tubeless tyre:

  • Unpack the tyre the day before and leave in the warm place
  • Remove the core of the valve using the specific tool, pliers or a small spanner
  • If reusing a the ensure you clean out the chunks of dried up sealant which may be present in the tyre
  • Fit the tyre as normal using soapy water on the tyre bead
  • If you have access to one, use a compressor to force air into the tyre allowing it to bead to pop into the rim
  • Add 60 – 70ml of Tyre Yogurt to each of the tyres and inflate as normal
  • Ensure the tyres are beaded evening around the rim, if not deflate use more soapy water around the rim and inflate again

Pro Tips:

  • Inflating a tube inside the tyre and leaving it overnight is a great way to prepare the tyre for installation.
  • Shake and bounce the tyre to allow Tyre Yogurt to spread along the bead and sidewall, this will continue to happen when the bike is ridden.

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