Tubeless tire technology is gaining momentum among the road riding crowd. In an ongoing pool on RoadBikeReview, 54 percent of riders are interested in trying the fledgling set-up, with another 15 percent calling it a true game changer. On the manufacturing side, more and more wheel and tire makers are offering tubeless compatible products.
Advantages of running tubeless include the elimination of pinch flats, and a reduced chance of having your ride derailed by a puncture because you have sealant in your tires that can stop air leakage. Tubeless set-ups also allow you to run lower pressure, which can improve ride feel, lower rolling resistance, and improve traction and cornering grip.
If you do decide to go tubeless, make sure both your wheels and tires are tubeless compatible. Tubeless specific tire beads and rim bead hooks have slightly different shaping to enhance the interface between the two. When the time comes to set up your tubeless system, you'll need some tire sealant, tubeless valves, a floor pump, and a set of tire levers. Also depending on your wheels, you may need suitable rim tape. For more on the set-up process check out the video below from our friends at the Global Cycling Network.
Finally, here are a couple tricks worth noting. If you don't have a valve core remover like the one used in the video, a pair of pliers works fine. Just be gentle. Also, if you're having issues getting your tire bead to seat and the soap and water trick doesn't work, try first inflating your tire with a tube installed. Make sure to pump it up enough that you hear the bead seat, indicated by a pop. Once done, deflate and pull out the tube, making sure you only break the bead on one side. This way you'll have one bead already seated when you start the tubeless installation process, which can make the difference between success and failure. If this doesn't work, you may have to resort to using a compressor, or get your hands on the new Bontrager Flash Charger Pump.