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What is a Tubeless Bike Tire? Answer Will Surprise You!

Written by Gary Johnson / Fact checked by Henry Speciale

what is a tubeless bike tire

What is a tubeless bike tire? Well, it’s exactly like the name suggests. They’re bike tires without tubes. That’s the gist of it, but there’s still more to know. Planning to switch to tubeless car tires?

Continue reading because we have all the bits and pieces of info you’ll need!

What Are Tubeless Bicycle Tires?


In detail, a tubeless bike tire functions like any other tire but is a pneumatic one requiring no tubes. As an alternative, it uses a tire casing and a bike tire sealant that seals any tiny leaks. This seal does the job of ensuring the tire’s impermeability.

It is specifically designed for the tire and rim to seal each other directly.

What do they look like? Well, just like any normal tire, they are in a U-shape appearance with wires or synthetic beads placed at their edges.

However, compared to traditional clinchers, the rim and tire beads have an interlocking profile that keeps each other sealed under pressure. Another difference is that, unlike typical tires, you can notice the sizing of the rim and the tire bead to be more precise.

How Do Tubeless Tires Work?

Well, for a tubeless wheel to work, the seal between the tires and rims holds all of it together, keeping the inner tubes perfectly airtight.

The beads of the tire are placed into the rim. The rim or the tire must not leak air, or else they won’t function smoothly or won’t function at all.

Tubeless bike tires pave the way for avoiding common biker problems. This is because tubeless tires are made extra permeable, and the rim and bed are perfectly airtight, making no room for air to escape.

Additionally, the sealant used in the process of making tubeless bike tires acts as a mode to repair holes.

Types of Tubeless Bicycle Tires


There are several categories of tubeless tires:

  • Full tubeless This design includes a layer of rubber at the sides of the tire that locks in all the air inside.
  • Tubeless-ready This type includes a specific bead shape that enables it to be intact with a tubeless-compatible rim. It’s lighter than a full tubeless tire as it also has a casing that saves weight with an additional sealant that keeps the tire’s air in check.
  • Universal System Tubeless It features a square-shaped lock on the bead for the rim. With this type, you can inflate tubeless bike tires. It can make the tire functional even without the sealant poured into the rubber coating. However, they are typically heavier than other tubeless tires.

Advantages and Disadvantages

If you’re thinking of making the switch to tubeless tires for bicycles, you should know that it always comes with both benefits and drawbacks.

Of course, it still depends on whether you should go for it. However, to hone your decision-making skills even better, here are some pros and cons you should know about.


  • Chances of deflation are low as compared to others.
  • More comfortable as there is lower tire pressure
  • More durable than other tires
  • Tubeless tires MTB specifically have enhanced and better traction for mountain bike rides
  • More lightweight than standard tires


  • Pricier than the usual tires
  • Takes time to fit the tires
  • Usually requires extra care, such as cleaning the sealant

Should I switch to tubeless?

In a battle of tubeless tires vs tubes, what gives tubeless tires an edge over regular tires with tubes? There can be a lot for that, but is it worth the switch?

To give you a straightforward answer, many users of tubeless tires say that switching to tubeless has been a great decision, so it is worth a shot!

  • It also reached more popularity among mountain bikes and gravel bikes, making it the ideal technology for those specific bicycles.
  • The average 700c tubeless tires can make your bike-riding sessions easier and smoother!

But of course, as we’ve discussed earlier, it’s no con-free option, and the disadvantages remain. But the benefits surely outweigh them, making it worth the investment for most.



Do I need special tires and rims to go tubeless?

Not necessarily. If you want to switch to tubeless tires, it’s still best that your tires and rims are “tubeless-ready” or simply compatible. However, it’s not as essential as you might think.

You can still go tubeless even with tires that aren’t tubeless-ready. It’s all dependent on the type of rim you have. But, of course, not all rims and tires are compatible. Suppose you have H Plus Son Archetype rims or gravel tires. In that case, they’re as good as tubeless-ready rims and are usually compatible.

How do I set up my tires tubeless?

To set up tubeless tires, the preparations you’ll need are:

  • Tubeless-friendly tires and rims
  • Tire levers
  • Tire sealant
  • Valve core removal tool
  • Tubeless rim tape
  • Rags or any cleaning product
  • Screwdriver
  • Floor pump or air compressor.

Steps to follow:

  1. First, remove the tires using your screwdriver by removing the rims.
  2. Stick the rim with tubeless tape and ensure everything is done properly to avoid air leakage. Also, ensure that the measure of the tape and rim match perfectly and overlap some of the tapes at the end. It is to make it as airtight as possible.
  3. Take your screwdriver and begin to insert the valves. Simply poke a hole into the valve hole and insert the new valve. Slide the O-ring and lock it in using the nut.
  4. Get your valve core removal tool and unscrew the valve core.
  5. Begin to install the tire. Align the tire in the proper direction and place the tread forward.
  6. Deflate the tire.
  7. Add the sealant. Around 2 to 3 ounces of sealant will do. You may use an injector or an applicator tip to place it into the valve core and begin to pour in the sealant. Once done, reinsert the valve core.
  8. Inflate the tire.

What happens when I puncture a tubeless tire?

Accidentally puncture your tubeless tire? Then your tire will lose air through the hole, and you won’t enjoy riding with a tire like that.

Luckily, with tubeless tires, the chances of a punctured tire are less likely. Although, it’s not impossible!

If something causes your tubeless tires to puncture, push the plug into the hole until it’s filled and sealed.

  • Pull out the installer and ensure that only a short amount of the plug can be seen, around 5-10 mm.
  • Hold the plug using your fingers, and then remove the installer.
  • Spin the tire and let the sealant coat it.

Is a tubeless bike tire better?

Regarding road cycling, yes, tubeless road bike tires are better. They are high-pressure, meaning there’s a less likely chance of pinch flats. There are also fewer problems for you since the chances of the rims blowing off are also less likely.

However, it still depends on one’s preference since tubeless tires come with a higher cost and usually need more attention and care.


So now you know what is a tubeless bike tire. Indeed, they are everywhere nowadays. Should you switch to tubeless tires? With the pros and cons discussed, you can make the right decision.

And while you’re doing that, why not help a friend to decide too? Please share this article with them and impart some knowledge that will last a lifetime for bike enthusiasts like you!

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