Tubeless Wheels

A pair of tubeless wheels

Tubeless tyres must be be the slowest- burn tech innovation in cycling history. Incredibly, it was last decade that French tyre brand Hutchinson began producing tubeless tyres for the road and yet only now has this idea gained enough traction for wheel manufacturers to noticeably start making compatible products.

By removing the friction between the inner tube and the tyre, a tubeless wheel spins faster plus the threat of pinch punctures-caused by inner tubes getting ‘pinched’ between the rim of the wheel and the road –is all but eliminated.

So upgrading to tubeless wheels is a bit of a no-brainer, especially as they’re also compatible with regular clincher tyres so you don’t need to sling your existing rubber.

What makes tubeless rims different?

With no inner tube to hold the air both the inside of the tyre and the rim need to be airtight-that means either a sealed rim, with no spoke holes (as in Mavic’s UST wheels), or a rim tape that seals the holes.

Keeping air in is only part of the conundrum. Getting the tyre to seal is where the real art and science is to rim design. The internal profile needs to provide a seat for the tyre be ad to sit in while being fitted and keep it firmly against the hook without letting air out, so the profile is very specific -some standard clinchers can be converted to tubeless but it’s not advised.

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