“Who cares if you can run lower pressures, you can dent your rims more easily, especially when the pressure drops in your tyres without you realising, and then you have to buy a new rim or struggle to bead up your tyre or get them to seal up. Speaking of seal, if you burp pressure out of your front tyre at high speed, the seal on your bladder will probably burp too. I think a little bit of wee came out when it happened to me. Guess what you use if you do tear your tyre a little too much and the sealant can’t fix it? A tube, just in case you didn’t figure it out. Then guess where all that sealant goes when you put that tube into your torn tyre? Frame, rotors, hands, face…. Ends up looking like the end of a Jenna Jameson movie!”
A story about why you should run Tubeless
Your mate has just made their bike tubeless and is trying to explain to you that it’s all in the setup, and you need to try it because it has so many benefits. But what do they know? You tried it years ago, and it sucked. It burped all the time, never really sealed once you got a puncture and then put sealant everywhere when you put the tube into the wheel. Nope, you're not going to listen to them, what’s the point of not running tubes if you're just going to put one in when things go wrong?
You both head out for a ride at the local forest on your favourite track. It’s very technical and rough; perfect conditions for your mate to burp and ruin their tubeless setup. You look forward to the laughing and teasing. It feels good thinking you know everything and telling people “I told you so.” You start to think about an evil laugh you might use on them when things go wrong. Mooo hahaha!!
On the track you have some extra energy from the excitement of a chance to say “I told you so!” and you're really going for it through the corners. Except you’re not really catching your mate; in fact, he's pulling away from you. You push it a little harder through the next couple of corners and start to get a drift on, which causes you to smack straight into a baby skull (a rock about the size of a baby skull; don’t blame me, I didn’t come up with the name), puncturing your front tyre and flipping you over the handlebars.
As you pick yourself up and assess the damage, your mate starts to ramble on about how tubeless allows them to run slightly less pressure and combined with not having any tubes, it makes the tyre more pliable, which gives them more grip, which is good thing, especially through corners. “Shut up!” you think to yourself, it was just an unlucky crash. They would have punctured if they'd hit that baby skull and it would be you talking to them about the downsides of tubeless. You fix the puncture with a tube and get a move on.
After a few minutes you start to get back in the groove and feel good again. You're still keen to race your mate, even though they aren’t aware, and prove to them that tubeless isn’t that great; in fact it's a bit shit. But you still seem to be struggling to keep up with them again, not only through the corners but through the technical climb. It’s like they have more grip. “It can’t be” you think to yourself, “they must have been doing those super-secret morning spin classes without you knowing and have gotten fitter.”
You manage to catch up on a straighter downhill and you're riding your mate’s rear wheel really close; in fact a little too close. They yell back “Stop being a dick! You’re following me too close for this track!” “Moo haha (evil laugh)” you think to yourself. This is your chance to pressure them into a mistake, which you end up doing that very corner and make them go off track through some bushes. Except with you following so close you both end up crashing through the bushes.
Both of you have managed to fall off your bikes, but you still take a slight underhanded win from this. Your riding was fast enough to pressure your mate into a crash as well. As you push back out of the bushes, you notice that they're not that amused by your antics, probably because you caused them to crash. On the track you assess the damage again and notice that you can hear air escaping. You check both of your tyres and see that both of your wheels have thorns all through them. As you do this your mate lifts their bike up and gives their wheels a quick spin while giving the bike a quick shake. You hear the sound of sealant bubbling as it seals up around the thorns. Your mate looks at your two slowly leaking tyres and says with a knowing smile that they're going to catch up with you later; no point in your flat tyres ruining both of your rides.
What a dick! Just because you had some bad luck with your tubes, they think they can blow you off. You take a moment to eat a muesli bar and look for your puncture repair kit, when all of a sudden, Larry the Leaping Lion leaps out in front of you. Instead of thinking “Fuck, a lion!! I better get out of here.” You think “Goodness, I haven’t been to the zoo for ages. I really should make more of an effort. I really enjoy looking at the animals, especially Larry.” Well in the same manner in which you didn’t listen to your mate about the positives of tubeless, you weren’t really listening to the news this morning when they had reporten that Larry the Leaping Lion had escaped from the zoo and had been spotted in the nearby forest.
First problem you face right now is that you can’t escape using your bike since it has two flat tyres, so it won’t be that fast. Secondly, reminiscing about the old times at the zoo has given Larry a chance to size you up. And thirdly, Larry is hungry, very hungry! He's worn out from chasing people on bikes that don’t have flat tyres (probably running good tubeless setups) and you're looking like an easy lunch. As Larry does what he does best and leaps at you, you start to wonder if your downfall in life is that you know everything and never listen. Imagine if you'd listened to your mate about tubeless and all its benefits: the extra grip, the fact that pinch flats are eliminated and that thorns are a thing of the past. You may not be in this ridiculous position right now. Your final wish is that you didn’t know everything and that a lion attack wasn't quite such a painful and slow experience.