Watch: Tubes VS Tubeless – Real-Life Weight Comparison

What we’re going to do today is only going to take a couple of minutes. What I have here is a wheel off my brand new Orange P7 RS. The vast majority of people with this bike will be running it tubeless, but of course it ships with tubes. During storage and shipping, sealant has the opportunity to clump, so all manufacturers to my knowledge ship tubeless ready bikes this way. The question is, how much weight do you save by pulling those tubes out and pouring in some sealant? Well today, we’re going to weigh this wheel, pull out the tubes, seal it up, and weigh it again. Very simple.

Set up stock with an inner tube, we’re coming in at 2.655 Kilograms. Let’s weigh it again just in case. Time to rip these tubes out, throw in some valve stems, and seal her up. Now of course, I could make this calculation by weighing the tube and the sealant, but this is more fun, and probably more realistic.

Weight reduction is only a secondary benefit of tubeless. The reason I do it is because I tend to run low tire pressure and get a lot of pinch flats. Tubeless has virtually eliminated that problem. Another harder to measure benefit of tubeless is efficiency and ride quality. Friction between the tube and the tire creates heat, which is energy lost. Without that extra rubber there, it just feels better.

The benefits of going tubeless are so numerous that some riders are religiously opposed to inner tubes, but I’m not part of that crowd. If you ride casually, or run higher pressure, I think inner tubes are less of a hassle. You can leave your bike in the shed for months at a time and pump it right back up. If your tire is less than perfect, it’ll still hold air. You can take it on and off with tire levers without worrying about messing up the bead. Finally, for a beginner just learning how to work on a bike it’s easier to set up. So to each his own. All my mountain bikes are tubeless ready.

But today we’re just here to talk about the weight savings, so let’s weigh this sucker again and check our results. 2.51 Kilograms. So that’s a weight reduction of 145 grams per wheel. That’s 290 grams or about 10 ounces or a little over half a pound. If you are one to count grams, then this would be no brainer. What do you guys think? Is this more than you thought? Less? If it weren’t for flat protection do you think going tubeless would be worth it purely on the weight savings? I want to know what you think. Thanks for riding with me today and I’ll see you next time.

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