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Photo: Ben Delaney / Roll Massif

Tech Podcast: Tubeless testing for Paris-Roubaix

Take a trip to the hell of the north to hear about Edvald Boasson Hagen and Michael Gogl from NTT Pro Cycling as they experiment with tubeless tires.

It wasn’t that long ago that the transition to disc brakes faced its hurdles in the pro peloton. Now they are widely accepted. Tubeless tires now get their turn to convince the pros — and many pro cyclists have already been convinced.

Neil Shirley, from Enve Wheels, joins tech editor Dan Cavallari on the Tech Podcast to recount his recent trip to France to help NTT Pro Cycling riders find the optimal tire/rim combination for the spring classics. Since tubeless tires are faster than both tubulars and tubed tires, it stands to reason the pros would want to be on them. But with reliability problems in the past, as well as the difficulties associated with installation and removal, it’s only recently that tubeless tires have gained traction, so to speak, among the pro ranks.

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Shirley spent time with Edvald Boasson Hagen and Michael Gogl as they rode the Paris-Roubaix cobbled sectors. The idea was to get the riders accustomed to tubeless tires and find the right combination to counter P-R’s brutal cobbles and the smoother pavement miles in between. By the end of the experience, EBH mused out loud why the team didn’t ride tubeless all the time. A fine question indeed.

Cavallari and Shirley also talk about what makes tubeless tires faster than tubed and tubular tires, as well as some of the reasoning behind the “wider is faster” phenomenon. The tire’s contact patch factors into both lowering rolling resistance and increasing cornering traction and stability. Is it time for the pros (and you) to embrace road tubeless? Listen to find out!