Road Gear

Tech Podcast: Has road tubeless finally arrived?

Road tubeless has had a bumpy road to acceptance. Has it finally gained enough traction to become the future of road bike spec?

While tubeless tires have long reigned supreme in the mountain bike world, they have had a harder time gaining traction — forgive the pun — on road bikes. That has changed only recently, as more and more bikes come stock with tubeless-ready tires and rims.

Road tubeless certainly offers many advantages, from flat protection to weight savings. But early on in the road tubeless timeline, problems with reliability plagued the system, as riders found it far too easy to burp tires and lose air pressure. Further, tire construction had not yet progressed to a point where eliminating the tube actually resulted in weight savings.

That has all changed, as rim and tire manufacturers have gotten on the same page to create better systems that save weight, mount up more easily, and create some consistency across brands. Road tubeless works; the question is, are consumers ready for it? That’s largely a question of whether riders can get past that early reputation. But as more pro riders take tubeless tires to the racecourse, the tide seems to be turning.

Has road tubeless finally arrived? Ken Avery would know; he has been involved in the design process of countless tires, both road and mountain, for Vittoria Tires and other companies before that. Does Ken think road tubeless has shrugged off its reputation as unreliable? What’s different about the road tubeless tires of today that makes them better than earlier iterations?

Give this week’s tech pod a listen to find out:

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If you have questions about this episode of the VeloNews Tech Podcast, or if you have a recommendation for a topic you would like us to cover on a future episode, let us know! You can reach tech editor Dan Cavallari via email, Twitter, or Instagram.