Tubeless for gravel - does it make sense?

Especially for light weight issues concerning cyclocross / touring bikes & parts.

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by lukasamd

Hello, I use my CX bike also as gravel bike - replaced Schwalbe X-One Evo to Panaracer GravelKing SK 700x35c last time and can't seal these tires using trezado sealant (before any issues with Schwalbe X-One). Don't know why, maybe to low pressure in first seal Rims are ok - DT460 with two layers of stans tape. I used tubes and it works fine. According to panaracer website, SK 35c whould be tubeless compatible.

I'm not heavy rider - about 74 kg (~163 lb) and I wonder if it makes sense... Yes, with tubless I can use lower pressure, but with that weight... 40-50 PSI is really ok and without punctures. Also - with or without tubeless, I always MUST take a backup tube... So I think tubeless may be not great always - for MTB race, yes of course! But for general riding... not sure.

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by Marin

It makes sense because unlike for road riding, pinch flats are common on gravel, and tubeless helps. Yes, you have to carry a tube (I do), and Malcolm will be along any minute to explain tubeless repair kits, which I have no experience with yet.

by Weenie

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by lukasamd

Hm.. ok, so I must consider this.
But what about seal GravelKings SK? Should I use other sealant?

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by mattr

Have you scrubbed the inside of the tyre?
I find getting rid of the release agent helps with some tyres. (Especially Conti, they use the slippiest substance known to man as a release agent.....)

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by Marin

I had no problem sealing 650b Gravelking SK 48s. They seated and held air immediately, and never lost air once I put some Orange Seal in.

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by wheelsONfire

Orange seal is the best sealant if you actually get a puncture.

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by bm0p700f

Caarry tyre worms thin ones and thick ones to fix punctures that wont seal and leave your tubes at home.

If you cant get the tyre to seal try more tape as the tyre maybe too loos a fit. Also if the tyre does not lock into place and remain seated with zero pressure use a different tyre.

Use soapy water and no sealant to get the fitting right. The deflate inject selant and re inflate.

Tubeless makes sense for road and off road. I used to have to carry 2, 3 or 4 tubes in my back paocket and got stranded more than once. I have never been stranded on tubeless tyres. Because the tubeless repair kit is so light there is a weight saving over using tubes also back pocket space is freed for food or something else.

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by stuh

I've been running tubeless 28c Schwalbe Pro One tires tubeless all winter. Now in spring and doing more gravel and fireroads as well as basic park laps and road riding. I think its a really versitale tire. I run 100psi on the road and ~60psi off road.

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by jfranci3

Mount the GK tubed for a while, then go tubeless. The tire will conform to the rim hook. I've had good luck with my GK on Stan's Grail rims w/ Orange seal.

As far as pressures, those are likely too high for that tire size and your rim.

Otherwise, tubeless makes a whole lot of sense on proper gravel and softer surfaces where you want to run lower pressures.

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by lukasamd

I made this again today - cleanup tires, cleanup rims... and seal without sealant without problems - added after that.
But... I'm still not sure it's "safe" and ok. Used before on MTB, used last time with Schwalbe X-One and now used on road wheelset with Schwalbe Pro One - it's ok, but I think I still should carry backup tube. 

BTW. Tested on 30 PSI front / ~35 PSI rear - maybe more comfort, but difference is not significant. Traction is worse - tires have the tendency to "swim", is not stable. 

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by IrrelevantD

Saw this post over at BF, opted to stay away from it there as tubeless is one of those polarizing subjets.

Personally I use my Crockett on graven and have a pair of 33c Spec Trigger Pro 2Bliss and 38c GravelKing SK TLRs. I used the 33's when it's wet, 38's when it's dry (mud clearance issues). I run both tubeless and have had no issues with either. I've been running tubless on the road for nearly 10 years and switched exclusively to tubeless about 7-8 years ago. Between my road and CX bike I have 5 sets of wheels, all setup tubeless.

I do cary a pump and tire plugs (bacon strips, worms, etc), but I no longer cary spare tubes. If I get a puncture that doesn't seal up in 5-10 seconds, I stop, put a plug and a little more air in it, and go about my business.

Is the initial setup a bit more of a pain in the ass and a little messier? Yes. But I also spend about a 10th of the time with a tire off the rim (including time spent replacing tires) and maybe 1% of the time stopped out on the road/trail due to punctures. Back in the early days, cost was an issue, but there are so many options out now that you can find decent tubelesss tires for about the same cost of a good clincher and a couple of tubes, making the cost issue a wash. As for sealant, my current favorite is Stan's Race Day. But everyone likes something different, I tried a lot of them before I settled on that.

So if you couldn't tell, I'm a big proponent of tubeless.
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by AJS914

It seems like with tubeless you have to achieve the right combination of rim and tire for it to be successfull and user friendly.

I use a Crux as my gravel bike. I installed Clement MSO Xplor tires on a set of Stan's Iron Cross rims. The tires went on easy. I was able to get them to seal with soap and water and pop on the bead lock by over-inflating with my track pump. After, it was easy to fill up with sealant and go ride.

I've been lucky and don't seem to have gotten a flat so far. At least, I haven't noticed sealant leaking out. I'm also confident to know that I can't get the tires on/off by hand so if I needed a tube on the road it will be an easy job.

Overall I think I've been lucky on all fronts so far. I didn't pick any of the components based on tubeless compatibility.

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by emotive

I set up some Compass Bon Jon pass tubeless. Took a couple of tries to get them to seal. Had to shake the Stans Notubes sealant around to get it to seal. Rode them for 2000km now. I got a double puncture in the sidewalls on a gravel ride, but didn't notice, as the sealant did it's job. I only realised when I was home and washing the bike. I scrubbed the sidewalls and disturbed the seal, and found the holes. Added 30ml extra sealant and they've been great since.

Upside is I didn't lose any ride time repairing the punctures.

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by CBJ

Yes, there are a lot of little things that helps getting tires to seal. As mentioned mounting them first so the get formed to the rim is good and really making sure the the sealant is moved around the tire.

Also when you got it working be sure to keep check of tire pressure before rides and don't be affraid to go lower then you think is good. I have the same tire in 38mm and I have run way to high pressure to begin with.

by Weenie

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by lukasamd

Last few days:

1. Changed from Gravelkings to Schwalbe X-One's - preparing bike to race... a looot of issues with seal.. worked, but after few hours
2. Race day: fine... but about 2 km to finish front tyre gave up -> I know, I rode MTB-specific race (with a lot of roots and small stones), but it wasn't great, and I had not tube... result: I ran with bike to finish
3. Yesterday and today: I tried to seal again with Gravelkings. First wheel - no issues. Second... damm... I tried three times - cleanup rim, use sealant, use compressor etc.. and nothing (but a lot of mess).

In result, I used tube and it JUST WORKS.
I decided to gie up and go back to tubes in my both wheelsets (one for gravel, second for road).
It may be good, but for MTB.

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