If you are passionate about motoring and tires, you know that there are various theories about the best tire for wheels. Here are our opinions on this.
If you are here, it means that you too, have experienced the misfortune of having a hole in the wheels of the bike at least once in your life. You may not know it, but what happens is not so much that the rubber remains on the ground, but that the inner tube is damaged.
Over the years, numerous methods have been tried to avoid these unpleasant situations, but a real solution is practically impossible to find. However, as early as the last century, industrial technology has come up with new systems, including tubeless. Let’s see what it is.
What is the inner tube?
Every self-respecting bicycle or car lover has had to deal with or hear what is called an inner tube. His invention dates back to 1888, when a certain Dunlop, to facilitate his son on the tricycle, thought of joining several layers of rubber and filling them with compressed air, unwittingly creating the first tire with this air system.
The idea proved successful and made possible the subsequent evolution of the tires as we know them now. So, in a nutshell, the inner tube is nothing more than a space between the various layers of a tire, in which compressed air is stored, allowing a light, safe and fairly easy driving.
The tubeless tires
The inner tube was a sensational invention, but a new technology called “tubeless” began to spread from the middle of the last century. If for the first years this new system was limited only to the automotive world, after the patent of some French companies, the idea also interested the bicycle manufacturers.
Among the main revolutions made to the tires, there is that of having eliminated the inner tube, making the rubber waterproof and therefore even more difficult to create holes.
The entire system has been designed on two main components: the wheel rim, made with a different profile that allows a greater seal, and a cover dedicated to the type of rubber used.
Looking at the sealing channel of the tubeless tire, you will notice the presence of two lateral bands that run along with the whole wheel, whose purpose is to keep the tire firm and keep its position.
Tubeless tires are far more rigid than those with an inner tube because they have to maintain composure without the help of internal pressure.
Although almost all modern bicycles are designed to accommodate this type of tire, don’t despair if you still need to use inner tube tires.
In this regard, there are numerous compressors ( check here the list of the best offers) sold online that can be right for you, as they are easily transportable.
If the first ascertained use of this type of bicycle wheels was in 1999, technological development has never stopped. In particular, the companies that have obtained the patent for this new product have designed a sort of hybrid technology called “tubeless ready”.
The latter consists of rims and tires, which combine the characteristics already known with even more rigid covers, but without the impermeability to the outside air that other products boast.
For this reason, it is recommended to occlude any holes with rubber or latex, sealing and increasing the performance of this system.
Advantages and disadvantages
Without the necessary premises, you are wondering what the concrete advantages and disadvantages of such a technology are. What immediately catches the eye, right from the first use, is that tubeless tires do not risk puncturing.
Furthermore, in the absence of an inner tube, which otherwise would make it difficult to ride on more particular bikes such as the Mountain Bike, the flexible system of the tire allows you to ride even on more rough terrain.
Since this type of tires will tend to deform without suffering cuts on the surface, greater safety and good mileage on any road surface are evident. But everything cannot be perfect, between the latex and the tubeless rims, the weight of the tires is greater than the standards.
This could create many annoyances for those who are used to using lighter vehicles and therefore, to turn the wheels with less force. Also, keep in mind that the latex injected into the tubeless tires will tend to dry out and make the wheel-less balanced over the years and uses.
But the most inconvenient aspect of the new system is the eventual trailing that leads to the escape of the tire from the rim lips.
From standard to tubeless
If you do not own a bike with a tubeless system already incorporated, you can still make a change and then switch from standard to tubeless. The options can be four: buy a tubeless bike directly, rims convertible into tubeless-ready, tires defined as UST or TR, or buy two tires to add to the rims of any bike and that can be easily eliminated if you are not at your ease.
Choosing the third option means buying items with the developed technology already incorporated. This could be the fastest and best solution because of the impermeability to air, but it is a patent that only a few companies have in hand.
By opting instead for the last option, then that of converting normal rims, it will be necessary to purchase a special kit and follow simple steps, such as sealing the inner rim of the rim, carried out first with tape and then with latex.
Compared to the other options, the price, in this case, is almost small, considering that a basic kit costs a few euros and that also will allow you to return to the original system.
On the other hand, it must be taken into account that, with the lack of the lateral parts, it is much easier for tubeless tires to come out of the housing.
The main occasions when tubeless is effective
Before making any purchase, you must know which types of activities it is recommended to use tubeless technology. Usually, it is precisely the manufacturers that push their use.
Even motorbikes or bikes can enjoy the benefits of this latest technology. In particular, they are recommended for sports such as road cycling, cycle tourism and all those activities in which dirt roads with flat asphalt alternate.
For example, among cyclists, it is now a common thought to use this type of tire even on urban stretches, by the nonexistent possibility of foraging the wheel, pinching, or all those unpleasant situations that, those who travel on tires with inner tube, must endure.