Tires for Mountain Biking: Is Tubeless the Better Solution?

Mountain biking is simple, right? Get on a bike and go. But the enjoyment you’ll get out of your ride relies on the quality of your bike, including your tires. Today, we’re talking about tube and tubeless tires. Check out our review below to get the most out of your MTB bike and enjoy the ride.

What the Experts Say

We talked with pro mountain biker and YouTube extraordinaire, Skills with Phil, and Stephane Roc, pro cross-country cyclist and bike tech master. Tubeless is the obvious choice. We agree that tubeless tires  makes for a better-quality ride. For serious mountain bikers, tubeless is a no-brainer.

Phil mentions that anyone just starting out "shouldn't worry too much, but [he] thinks once you start really getting into the sport that's when you might want to start thinking about transitioning over to tubeless." For those who only ride a couple times a year it doesn't make fiscal sense.

Before you throw money at a brand-new tire setup, make your decision based off your riding plans. You could also head out to a local bicycle shop such as California Bicycle and meet with an expert to help you get the most bike for your buck.

Tire Pressure

The pressure in a tubeless tire is lower than tires with tubes. The result of having less pressure is that the tires flatten out on the terrain which increases control, balance, and comfort. More importantly the traction is better. With increased grip on the ground, you will find that tubeless tires change how you balance on the bike.

Also, tubeless tires result in less flats. Lower tire psi, lower chance of flats. Having that extra security takes another obstacle out of the way, so you can experience your ride to the fullest.

Is Tubeless Worth it?

Let’s get down to it. Tubeless tires are more expensive than regular tube tires and they require a different quality of maintenance. But if that means experiencing less flats during your ride, that’s a good deal.

What You Need for a Tubeless Setup:

  • Tubeless specific wheels (Most bikes are tubeless ready)
  • Rim strip for tubeless tires
  • Tubeless valve
  • Sealant

Stephane notes that it’s important to maintain the sealant in the tubeless tires every 2 months. He recommends putting 4 oz. of sealant in to keep the fluid levels up.

The Verdict

If you plan on riding often, then it's worth investing in the tubeless tires. On the other hand, if you’re bike is collecting dust, maybe keep the tubes and save yourself time and money.