I’m about to purchase a new set of Dura Ace wheels that are road tubeless compatible, which gives me the option of riding with standard road clinchers and tubes, or riding with road tubeless tires and sealant.
I am a latecomer to tubeless in general, just having discovered it in 2012 and using it on my 29er mountain bike, and on my cyclocross bike. I haven’t suffered a single flat with either bike, although I did suffer through a little bit of burping air loss with the cyclocross bike when I was trying to determine how low of a pressure that I could run. Once I stopped going too low on the pressure, it has worked flawlessly for me.
One of the first things I have noticed with tubeless tires in general is that your choices get pretty limited. With mountain bikes, you have a lot of options, because that’s where tubeless got big first. With cyclocross, the number of options starts to narrow. And with road tubeless, you are SERIOUSLY limited in choices for tires.
The worst part, to me, is that most of the road tubeless tires only come as a 700 x 23 option, while I greatly prefer a 700 x 25 tire. I understand that you can run road tubeless at 85 to 95 pounds and get a fairly comfortable ride that way. But I really like having the extra little bit of rubber on the road. Only a few manufacturers currently offer 700 x 25 options that I could find, and I have heard complaints that the Hutchinson “25” actually just measures 23.5.
As long as I did all the research, I figured I might as well share it with everyone else who is looking into tire options for road tubeless.
If I have left anything out, or if you have opinions and feedback about any of these tires, please leave a comment and share!
Hutchinson Road Tubeless Tires
Hutchinson is the current leader in road tubeless, with more experience and more models than anyone else. They currently make three different road tubeless tires. The Atom, the Fusion 3, and the Intensive.
The Hutchinson Atom tire is the racing road tubeless model. It is the lightest tire that they make, at 270 grams. It only comes in 700 x 23.
- Single compound for lightweight performance
- Slick type competition profile delivers a very fast tire
- Slick competition tread
- Performance 127 tpi casing
- Carbon beads provide ride flat safety
The Hutchinson Fusion 3 is slightly heavier, at 290 grams. It also only comes in a 700 x 23 option. It is designed to wear a little better than the “competition only” Atom tire, so it should theoretically last longer.
- Competition slick profile
- Triple Compound: Excellent compromise between output/grip/longevity
- 127 TPI
- Carbon beads for maximum safety
The Hutchinson Intensive is the “heavy duty” tire of the three road tubeless options, and the only one that comes with a choice of 700 x 23 or a wider 700 x 25. It weighs 320 grams in the 700 x 25 option.
- Thermoplastic Reinforced compound for maxiumum wear
- Slick competition tread
- Performance 127 tpi casing
- Carbon beads for ride flat safety
Bontrager Road Tubeless
New to the road tubeless tire market in 2012 or 2013 is Bontrager, with the introduction of their TLR tire, which stands for Tubeless Ready Road. It is available in a 700 x 23, and also a 700 x 25. I found a review of the tire on the Slow Twitch site, which was positive. I could not find the weight on it.
- TubeLess Ready (TLR) Road tires increase ride comfort and reduce fatigue
- TLR Road tires improve cornering traction
- TLR Road tires remove the fear of pinch flats due to the lack of tubes
- Integrated sub-tread puncture protection (Hard-Case Lite)
- Light and supple casing provides low rolling resistance
- Optimized for use with Bontrager TLR Sealant
- Covered by Bontrager’s Unconditional Performance Guarantee
Schwalbe Road Tubeless
New for 2013 is Schwalbe’s first tire in the road tubeless category. It’s a tubeless version of their Ultremo tire. It comes in one size, 700 x 23. But it comes in several color options, if colors are important to you. This is the tire that I would have loved to go with in a 700 x 25, but alas, not this year. Weight is reported as 295 grams, with a pressure range of 85 to 130 psi.
Maxxis Road Tubeless
This is one that I had never heard of, although it has been around for a while. The Maxxis Padrone road tubeless tire comes in 700 x 23 only, at 295 grams.
- Silkworm Puncture Protection
- High-strength carbon fiber bead
- Dual Compound Tubeless Technology
IRC Tires Road Tubeless
IRC Tires is a brand that I was not familiar with, and they have just come out with four different new road tubeless tire models for 2013. These tires are made in Japan.
The Roadlite model is the heaviest model, with the thickest tread. It comes in both a 700 x 23 and a 700 x 25 size. They weigh 310 and 345 grams, respectively. The 700 x 23 model comes in red, white, and black. The larger one in black only.
The Formula Pro with X-Guard belt is the puncture resistant racing tire. It comes in a 310 grams, and only comes in 700 x 23.
The Formula Pro Tubeless RBCC tire tries to find a balance between light weight, grip, and wearability. It weighs 290 grams, and comes in 700 x 23 only. It comes in gray and red options.
The Formula Pro Tubeless Light is the lightest tire in their lineup, and one of the lightest road tubeless tires on the market, at 240 grams. Save it for race day!
Specialized Road Tubeless Tires
Specialized only makes one road tubeless tire, and it’s a 700 x 23 or 700 x 25 “endurance” road tire called the Roubaix Road Tubeless. It’s in the normal range of road tubeless tire weights at 295 grams, so I’m not sure why they call it endurance. This is a tire I will consider training on, if I can find it available anywhere.
In the end, I’m probably going to choose between the Bontrager and the Specialized tire, and go with a 700 x 25.
Did I miss anything? Have you ridden any of these tires? Leave a comment!