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Win a Muc-Off tubeless mega bundle and pressure washer kit

23 Mar 2021

Reap the rewards to be had by switching to tubeless tyres with Muc-off

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Counterintuitive though it may sound, fixing a tubeless tyre is actually easier and faster than repairing a puncture on a clincher tyre thanks to tools such as Muc-Off’s Stealth Tubeless Puncture Plug (£34.99) and Puncture Plug Repair Kit (£12.99).

The idea is the same as for car tyres: a rubber plug, sometimes called a gummy or worm, is pushed from the outside of the tyre through the hole, then drawn out again.

The tool it’s loaded into functions like a big sewing needle, leaving the plug lodged in the puncture, whereupon a combination of the plug material and sealant creates a chemical bond to seal it.

Get to a puncture like this in time and your tyre won’t even go fully flat, and best of all you don’t even have to remove the tyre, unlike having to change a punctured tube inside a clincher tyre.

There are also safety advantages. A tubeless puncture deflates the tyre slowly, while clincher tyres often deflate rapidly as the tube inside effectively bursts like a balloon because the butyl rubber of the tube is under tension when inflated.

Latex inner tubes do solve this issue to a degree thanks to latex’s tendency to stretch and deform around objects, but even then a fully flat tubeless tyre is much more likely to stay on the rim than a fully flat clincher.

That’s because tubeless tyres have a more positive fit than clinchers, meaning they can ‘run flat’ in a way clinchers can’t. Of course we’re not advocating you rely on being able to cycle home on a flat tubeless tyre, but it is yet another reason why tubeless is the future.

Mark our words, you’ll see plenty of pros at the Classics riding tubeless. It’s faster, it’s lighter, it’s vastly less puncture-prone and it’s also safer. What’s not to like?

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Tubeless mythbusting

Don’t let these common misconceptions prevent you from reaping the rewards to be had by switching to tubeless tyres.

Myth #1: There’s no point in tubeless

Yes, say the sceptics, tubeless tyres help you avoid punctures, but how often do you really puncture on clinchers anyway? OK, they add, pinch flats are an issue that tubeless solves for gravel bikes, but who’s pinch-flatting on a road bike unless they live in the Arenberg Trench?

All this is to miss the point. You need to think like-for-like performance: a 25mm tubeless Schwalbe Pro One TLE, for example, weighs 245g to a Pro One clincher’s 235g. Or Vittoria Corsa 2.0: tubeless 290g; clincher 255g.

So clinchers are lighter? Ah, but you’re forgetting the tubes. The average inner tube weighs around 70g, versus around 30g for the sealant in a tubeless tyre. The latest hookless tubeless wheels are also often lighter than their clincher counterparts.

However the real kicker is speed. According to independent lab tests, the fastest-rolling tyre in the world is the tubeless Vittoria Corsa Speed 2.0 TLR, followed by three more tubeless tyres. Doing away with tubes means energy is no longer lost to heat from clincher tyre and tube rubbing together as the tyre rolls and flexes.

Myth #2: Tubeless is a faff

Once upon a time this may have been true. When tubeless tech first came along, in order to achieve the tightest – and so presumed the safest – fit, wheel manufacturers went as large in diameter as possible while tyre manufacturers went as small in diameter. The results were unnecessarily tight, customers swore and tyre levers snapped.

Today the dialogue between wheel and tyre manufacturers has vastly improved this situation, and most tubeless wheel-tyre combos are as easy to mount – and to inflate – as clincher tyres. Gone are the days of compressors or special pumps – a track pump is all you’ll need to seat a modern tubeless tyre.

Yes, there’s still sealant to get into a tyre, but thanks to valves with removable cores such as those pictured here from Muc-Off (£24,99 pair), along with the clever bottle top designs of the Muc-Off Tubeless Sealant range (from £8.99), sealant can be squirted into a tyre without a single drop spilt. Then for clean-up operations, Muc-Off’s Glue and Sealant Remover (£7.99) easily disperses dried-on sealant.

Myth #3: Tubeless tyres puncture anyway

It’s true, tubeless tyres aren’t entirely puncture-proof. But the majority of punctures – those up to around 2mm wide – will ‘heal’ themselves almost instantaneously thanks to the sealant. For anything larger, a tubeless plug (see box below) will fix the hole.

Sadly there is a point where not even a plug will work, but in such cases – hey presto – your tubeless tyre becomes a clincher as you insert a tube, and perhaps even a makeshift tyre boot – that gel wrapper or fiver should do. OK, at this stage things are a tad messy, but the trade-off is all the other times your tubeless punctured, self-sealed and you didn’t have to stop.

Plus at any rate, if a new tube and boot won’t fix your tubeless tyre, neither would it have fixed your clincher tyre, so you’re no worse off.

But your tubeless tyre is then either just a clincher or fit for the bin, right? Not so fast. Perhaps sealant or a plug couldn’t fix that hole roadside, but remove the tyre when you get home and it can often be repaired using a tubeless patch or even, for smaller holes, classic vulcanising rubber patches. It’s win, win, win.

To stand a chance to win a Muc-Off tubeless mega-bundle and pressure washer kit, simply answer the following question:

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