Road Tubeless Tires: the available options for 2013

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.

hutchinson atom road tubeless tire review

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

hutchinson fusion 3 road tubeless tire review

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

hutchinson intensive road tubeless tire review

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

bontrager TLR road tubeless tire review

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

schwalbe ultremo road tubeless tire review

 

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

Maxxis Padrone Road Tubeless tire review

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.

  • I-MAX
  • 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.

IRC Tires Road Tubeless tire reviewThe 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.

Formula Pro X Guard road tubeless tire review

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.

IRC road tubeless RBCC tires

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.

IRC Tires Formula Tubeless Pro tire review

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 road tubeless roubaix endurance tire review

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!

           

7 thoughts on “Road Tubeless Tires: the available options for 2013”

  1. Thanks for the research. I’m new to road tubeless running a 29er on a recumbent for long endurance rides. I’m focusing on weight, durability and ease of tire change. Your review is tremendous and from your advice and tread pattern, I believe the right choice for me is the specialized 25c. thanks again for posting.

  2. Thanks for the article which was helpful. Now sharing my experience. I purchased Easton EA90 road tubeless disc wheelset. Working with LBS mechanic here in Salida, Colorado, we tried several tubeless-ready and not tubeless-ready cyclocross and road tires, none were satisfactory at high-pressure until we tried Hutchison. Recently completed tubeless setup of the (pricey) Hutchison Fusion 3 tubeless. Rating: excellent
    Observations:
    1) Hutchison Fusion 3 was far and away the easiest to set up of all tires we’ve tried
    2) Hutchison Fusion 3 was easy to get onto the rim for us – no soap, gloves, or levers were used.
    3) Using removable core and 80 psi compressor, both wheels sealed up with Stans on the first try. Inflated to 120 PSI with floor pump, zero leaks.. amazed. No loss of pressure after riding, nor overnight. Extremely pleased with this.
    4) Ride quality? Love ’em. grippy on cornering, surprisingly cushioned / comfortable even on 120 psi.
    5) My feeling is, road tubeless tires only make sense if they have a huge flat prevention advantage over tube clinchers, while performing at the same level or better. Haven’t tried all the other tubeless available, but Fusion 3 delivers. Any tubeless tire which requires fiddling / frequent reflation is a fool’s bargain, right?
    6) We wish we find a cyclocross tire >40mm that seals up on the EA90 rims. Currently, I’m running Mavic 700c m719 with Continental 42mm XKing Cyclocross tubeless setup with excellent results. However, we have not been able to get ANY CX tire of that width to seal on the EA90 rim width. 🙁

    1. Which other road tubeless tires did you try that you didn’t like as much?

      I just bought the new Specialized Roubaix road tubeless tires and should get them this week. They didn’t have them at my local shop, so I ordered them directly from Specialized.

      Lars

    2. @grantdoug, what rims? I put Hutch 3’s on Shamal rims and broke two tire irons and pinch 2 tubes out in the middle of nowhere. Had to hitch to the nearest bike shop, that replaced it with Specialized Roubaix.

  3. I’ve been using the IRC Roadlite 25c tires for nearly a year, and put them on my wife’s bike ( since I got tired of fixing her frequent flat tires ). They are excellent – fast, great grip !

    1. Did you mount it on a tubeless specific rim?

      I’ve heard that it can be dangerous to mount a road tubeless tire on a rim that isn’t specifically designed for road tubeless, because unlike low pressure mountain bike tires, road tires are very high pressure and will blow right off the rim.

      But I’ve also heard that certain rims have grooves that hold them, even if they are not tubeless specific.

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