Last winter I wrote post about Schwalbe X-One tubeless tyres – fantastic cyclocross tires which I used in tubeless. After that, I decided to try tubeless also on road. Because why not? I read a lot of articles, opinions and reviews of tubeless in road bike and want to check this. There are a lot of potential advantages, but what about disadvantages? Let’s start with Schwalbe Pro One tubeless road tires mini-review.
Why Schwalbe Pro One?
First question is – why I decided to use Schwalbe Pro One? One – because I used Schwable tubeless before and it was very nice. Second, because this tyre has a lot of great reviews: low weight, speed and with low rolling resistance. And finally, because I can order them fast in one of my favorites shops. There are several other tubeless ready road tyres, but would have to wait for shipping from abroad.
Mounting was quick and simply, similar to X-Ones tyres. I just use stationary pump and prepared rims – DT Swiss R460 with Stan No Tube’s special tape. I also used polish sealant “Trezado” (about 40 ml per tyre) and DT valves. Everything was ok – I sealed both wheels without any issues. After three months I add some sealant, but there is no issues. I also did not have any punctures in this time… but I still carry spare tube, because I can’t “trust” tubeless system in long rides. Maybe it’s bad approach… Continental Grand Prix 4000S II with tubes were also very good and without punctures, but I need more time to change this and be sure.
Pressure and speed
Pressure in road tyres are very important and sometimes very “strange” matter. A lot of people say: use as high pressure as possible because of lower rolling resistance. It’s true, but only on aerodynamic tunnels and tests, not on real life and roads in different condition – very solid tyre will bouncing on holes which will cause a loss of energy. With wider tires, we can use lower pressure without higher rolling resistance (according to last tests). It’s why I decided to use 28c tires. But pressure on tubeless is different. Official Schwalbe documentation says, that I should use something between 55 and 95 PSI. Not too big on road, yep?
In last months I experimented with pressure. First, I used something from upper limit – 85-90 PSI. With that pressure, tyres were very similar to Continental Grand Prix 4000S II which I used before – fast, but maybe too hard. When I decided to try lower and use pressure calculator for my weight. Now I use 50 PSI on front, and 75 PSI on rear tyre. Much lower and… it’s much better! Rolling resistance is very similar, but riding is more comfortable for me. Holes, level crossings etc. – it’s much simpler and faster now. It’s very important lesson for me: lower pressure may be much better. And with tubeless, there is no risk for snake damage.
Disadvantages and conclusion
Disadvantages? Yes, of course, because nothing is perfect. Tubeless tyres are more expensive. Difference is not big – compared to Continental Grand Prix 4000S II for example – but exists. Second thing, tyre is not only one cost. We must have tubeless-compatible rims, we must use special tape, special valves and also buy sealant. Then, merge all these things and seal, it can be difficult (or it will be additional cost in service).
Next thing – tubeless tyres will be heavier. Maybe difference is not big, but can be important for pro riders. There is not only difference in tires weight, but also because of sealant, additional 20-40 grams per tyre. Last, we should – not have to, but should, take spare tube on long rides. Tubeless and sealant will help on small damages, but not on heavier. I still can’t trust tubeless and still carry something for unforeseen cases. But.. maybe it’s only matter of time. Now I can recommend tubeless on road. It should be nice investition in future.