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Are UST/tubeless wheels worth the hype?

By Ian - Posted on 02 April 2007

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

I'm thinking about building a new set of wheels for my MTB, because, well, I like building wheels. More sensibly, my old cheapies are getting knocked out of true regularly and I'm sick of tweaking them.

I'm having a little trouble deciding whether to go for UST or tubed rims. As far as I can tell, the advantages of UST are:
- no pinchflats (increased risk of rim damage)
- can run lower pressure (increased risk of air 'burp' and tyre squirm when cornering)
- reduced weight due to no tubes/rim tape (increased weight of rim and tyre)
- improved 'ride quality'

There also seem to be some significant disadvantages:
- more difficult maintenance/repair (tyre must be pressurised to seal, tighter rim/tyre join)
- less choice of tyres
- I don't know how to lace a UST rim right now (though I'm sure ten minutes with Google will fix that)

Tubeless setups are also less likely to puncture due to the sealant, though you can put sealant into tubes anyway so I'm not considering this a pro or con. I don't regularly ride anything thorny.

For me... improved puncture/pinchflat protection isn't something that excites me, since I puncture approximately never (OK, one every 1000km MTB, one every 2000km road). The weight savings appear to be negligible.

So - does anyone have any preferences? Any reasons why my next set of wheels *must* be tubeless? Or should I be a techno-grouch and build a singlespeed with V-brakes and tubes?


Think we've had this before in Recomended tyre pressure?.

The conclusion was... erm... inconclusive? Eye-wink

I like the sound of 'em though - but that means nothing! Eye-wink


- Puctures are almost a distant memory if you get the pressure/sealant right
- They're lighter
- You get a better ride due to lower pressure possibilities
- If you do puncture it's only a matter of sticking a tube in, same as if you had non UST wheels

The one drawback is it's a bit annoying to get the tyres seated on the rims till you get used to the technique, but once you get it it's easy.

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