In what can only be described as good news for mountain bike inner tube manufacturers, 38% of the respondents to a recent Singletracks survey of 4,000+ riders say they still aren’t running tubeless tires. If you’re part of the 38% and don’t have a legitimate reason for not going tubeless–for example, a tire sealant allergy or a dad who owns an inner tube factory–here are a few articles to get you up to speed on what you’re missing.

# Comments

  • Hunter411

    My last front tire had 1,617 miles on it. Not one flat until my sidewall finally got slashed. My last rear tire had 872 miles on it, same thing no flat until the sidewall got slashed.
    I would never go back to tubes. Too each his own, but I don’t think anyone can get these types of mileage on tubes without a flat, especially if you have goat heads around your area like I do.

  • Bubblehead10MM

    I don’t know how I lived b4 tubeless. but my old wheels just didn’t set up tubeless. that’s the pits, and low end bikes tend to be that way, so that could explain the why any one still uses tubes.

  • Jared13

    I think it depends a lot on where you’re riding,what type of bike you’re on, and/or how often you ride. In Montana, a large majority of the regular riders I met were running tubeless. In Michigan, tubeless doesn’t have such a “stranglehold” on the regular riders. Fewer sharp rocks/cacti, and more dirt would be contributing factors if I had to guess as to why. If they’re running a fat bike, I’ve found even more are running tubes. I’m not sure if that’s due to set up hassles or what.

  • sgniwder99

    I find the number of if-you-haven’t-adopted-this-or-that-technology-you’re-doing-it-wrong type “articles” on this website quite odd. Nothing encourages your readership to respond to your polls like the possibility of being openly mocked on the website if they answer in a way you guys don’t approve of.

    • Jeff Barber

      Sorry you feel that way sgniwder99. Our intent isn’t to mock people, just to inform them that there are newer, better options out there that a lot of other riders are using and enjoying. Heck, I still don’t own a dropper seat post myself!

    • Hunter411

      It’s hard to believe you don’t own a dropper post Jeff. It’s the bey upgrade you can make imho. All my friends that for one day the same.

    • Hunter411

      Can’t edit. All my friends say the same thing after adding a dropper post.

  • Alvin Mullen

    Bike came with tubes, after a year, about 800 miles, haven’t had a flat, haven’t switched.

  • Ron Callahan

    I running tubes on two of my geared mountain bikes and tubeless on my SS. I’ve also run tubeless on a road bike in the past. The wheels for the SS were the first that really came the least bit close to being tubeless compatible among my mountain bikes and the experience of setting it up was not all that great. That said, the rear holds air really well, and while the front loses air more quickly, I’ve been able to ride it at really low pressures without it rolling off. So, maybe I’ll try it on my main MTB and see how it goes someday.

    I have to say, doing tubeless on my road bike (once I got the Hutchinson tires on the wheels) was much easier. No taping, easy valve adapters, minimal sealant – set and forget.

    To conclude, I’m really not surprised by the 38% number. The cycling industry continues to be shocked that people are still riding hardtails as well. I have three of them. None of my bikes are FS. Why? I can build two REALLY nice hardtails for the price of one FS. Also, it just suits the terrain around here pretty well.

  • sissypants

    I always ran tubes. 2 weeks ago I switched over to tubeless and took my Snowshoe XL out for a ride setup tubeless on carbon 80mm rims on a full-suspension fatty. Within the first 50 miles I slashed the sidewall and had to throw in a tube. The front tire was still running tubeless, but another 20 miles later I slashed the sidewall and also had to throw in a tube. Was this just bad luck in the gnarly hills of Vermont, or are Snowshoe XLs just not meant to be ridden on anything but fluffy powder?

    • azdb

      Sissypants……..bad luck. Don’t know anything about your tire and bike, but I went tubeless maybe 5 years ago, have not had a flat since. In dry AZ sharp rocks etc…..not one slash or puncture while riding. But I am sure the plus tire thickness different. I am still amazed at the whole tubeless thing, works for me….

    • mongwolf

      sissypants, when I first went tubeless, I had a similar issue. I had my worst crash ever slashing a sidewall of a front tire on a small jump at a very high speed. The tire was a Specialized tire with a “control” casing. I moved up to a “grid” casing (thicker casing) and have never had another problem.

  • ericshell

    Well….For me its dollars and cents. The 2017 GT bike I bought had tube tires. It will cost me roughly $550 to upgrade. Ill keep my tubes thank you

  • drcbrath

    My greatest trouble setting up tubeless has been leaking around the valve stem. The rim center channel makes it difficult for the valve base to plug the rim stem hole; especially on my Spank Oozy wheels with the patented Ooh-bah bead bed. So out of simple frustration with a leaky rear wheel setup I am now running half tubeless.

  • 29ersrolling

    My Maxis Ardent tires were tubeless ready and I was getting flats all the time here in So Cal.
    My LBS recommended tubeless and said they could do it for $60.
    That was months ago and have not had a flat yet (knocks on wood)
    I think it was well worth it because new tubes are $10 a pop plus the time to fix them on trail Etc..
    Also lower pressure is a nice option to have.

  • onefastfattie

    Looking into the DIY method right now. I had a tube let go of the valve stem over night in the garage (second time that has happened on this bike. Old tubes?) I was under the impression that I needed new “tubeless ready” tires to do it so I have been slacking. Now, thanks to the singletracks archive of awesome information, I will be attempting the turn over a new leaf and lead a tubeless life.

  • Alvin Mullen

    This article popped back to the top of the news feed, so let me comment again. I still have not switched to tubeless, and it just has not made sense to me as I have had very few flats in the last 3 years. Also after doing a bit of checking, it seems that Stan’s no tube rim strip (56g), 2oz of Stans per tire (62g), and the tubless stems (7g)(total 125g) , weigh almost as much as a Maxxis Ultra light tube (145g). If you are using heavier tape, or having to use multiple wraps of rim tape, it may actually weigh more than a light weight tube.

    Of course when riding with tubless you still need to carry a tube just in case. When riding with tubes you can usually get by with carrying a patch kit, much smaller and easier to carry. Although my new bike doesn’t have enough room to carry a decent size water bottle, and now I always wear a hydration back pack with plenty of room to carry a tube, so that is no longer a real reason for me.

    Now there are tapes you can use that weight much less, 1mil Kapton is around 5g a wrap, (usually takes two wraps and it is still cheaper) if you have good tubeless ready rims. So if you feel you need to go tubeless, or just want to, take the time to search the various MTB forums (almost certainly someone else has already figured it out) and get the most out of your conversion. When I finally convert, eventually I will get there, I’m planning to get the most out of it.

    • rasband

      Weight isn’t my reason for running tubeless, it’s primarily the small puncture resistance and the lower pressure required to gain traction. I can shed that weight off my person!

      You’re definitely right about the extra gear requirements – I got a “strap” to attach a tube and tools to my bike so I can run the crack sack for hydration and keep that weight/bulk lower on the bike than myself.

  • Plusbike Nerd

    If you ride where you seldom get thorn (goathead) or other minor flats and you have Narrow tires, going tubeless doesn’t help much because you don’t save much weight. However if you have many thorns and you ride a Plus or Fat tires, the weight savings can be significant. Plus and Fat tubes are heavy! I ride tubeless and I have goatheads. It is not uncommon that I mount a tire and ride it until it is worn out without once having to fix a flat. However, there is a learning curve on how to mount tubeless tires and fixing large non-sealing punctures (think Bacon). In addition, I wouldn’t convert any tire to tubeless if it is not specificly labeled Tubeless-Ready by the manufacturer. I don’t think that tube or tubeless would make any difference on whether sidewall tears would occur.

  • julian_coe@hotmail.com

    I went tubeless two years ago having previously had reasonable success with slime tubes. The whole set up was simple and cheap just requiring valves,tape and sealent as the existing tyres were ready to go. I have recently had to plug a couple of holes that the sealent would only partly seal. Both were no doubt the work of razor sharp downland flints being more like small tares than the usual round hawthorn holes. Also the tyre is getting to the end of it’s life but I was hoping it would see the summer out! Now changed from Stans to Finish Line as I found the sealent dried out after three months. Apparently Finish Line doesn’t but too early to confirm yet.

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