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Road Tubeless Tires Coming

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So, apparently tubeless tires for road bikes are now a reality.  Since I don’t race road bikes, nor do I run tubeless on my mountain bike, this may be old news and I just don’t know it.  But here’s what I don’t understand…how can you run lower pressure and get decreased rolling resistance?

From Hutchinson’s recent PR email:  “…tests from our customers show a 30% decrease in rolling resistance, incredible flat resistance, and the ability to ride at much lower pressures than normal, resulting in significant increases in comfort and speed.”

Comfort, yes.  Speed?  We’ll see, as they’ll be demoing a bunch of bikes this week with their tires. A lot of brands seem to be on board, as referenced in the rest of their email:

“Shimano, Campagnolo, Fulcrum, Roval, and A-Class have already created Road Tubeless wheelsets, and bike companies including Orbea, Ridley, Ibis, Independent Fabrications, Rocky Mountain, DeSalvo, Van Dessel, Time, Marin, and more will be displaying bikes and/or providing them for test rides at the Outdoor Demo and indoor show that feature Road Tubeless wheels and tires.”

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15 years ago

Road tubeless really is here. The pros have been using it on their race bikes. I think it’ll come into more use as more people realize how useful it can be.

For the rolling resistance, I think they’re going on a few things. If the tire is lighter in comparison to the tubular tire or whatever tire they’re comparing to, then you get less sprung weight, therefore less rolling resistance. With tubulars, if the glue comes undone a little and that part of the tube comes apart a little, there’s a little rolling resistance there, so with road tubeless – less resistance. Also, the tires of a road tubeless bike have a decent sidewall so maybe there’s a little less there. But I think the 30% from Hutchinson probably comes from just a lighter tire. That’s my guess.

So if it’s got comfort, speed, resistance to flats, improved cornering with lower pressures, it all should be a good thing right?

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