Bicycle tubeless tyre technology is not new. Like many cyclists out there, I've been reaping the benefits off-road since about 2006. So why then has the uptake to tarmac been so very slow (and painful)?
I'm not going to go into great depth or debate about ALL the reasons (the internet is full of articles, videos and product tests which you can Google-away in your own spare time), suffice to say the main reason for my abandoned first attempt almost two years ago was the ridiculous amount of effort required to install the tyres followed by my inability to remove them from the rim once beaded (Mavic wheels with Hutchinson tyres - an extremely tight fit from the creators of Universal Standard Tubeless).
Previous experience aside, when I heard Vittoria had released a tubeless version (Corsa Graphene 2.0 700x28) of my favourite tyre (Corsa G+ 700x28) I was genuinely curious to give road tubeless another chance. In-case you're wondering, my choice to go tubeless wasn't about saving weight (as I wasn't expecting to), but rather to improve upon an already amazing ride "feel" and reliability in the form of increased puncture protection; not that I had encountered any flats.
Original tyre and tube weights: 738g
257g Vittoria Corsa G+ 700x28 front tyre USED (claimed 265g NEW)
271g Vittoria Corsa G+ 700x28 rear tyre USED
104g inner tube
106g inner tube
New tyres and sealant: 722g
294g Vittoria Corsa Graphene 2.0 700x28 front tyre NEW (claimed 310g NEW)
297g Vittoria Corsa Graphene 2.0 700x 28 rear tyre NEW
11g Two (2) DT Swiss Tubeless Valves
60g Stans Tubeless Sealant (as measured) per setup
Again, I wasn't expecting to save any weight through the conversion to tubeless, but was pleasantly surprised (especially since I was replacing older worn rubber with new).
The wheelset used for this experiment were the DT Swiss PRC100 Dicut 35 Disc off my BMC Roadmachine. These wheels were an aftermarket upgrade to the bike and included a DT Swiss Tubeless Valve and Refill Kit (which was simply a rebranded milKit valve system).
As with the original tyres, fitting the new tubeless tyres onto this wheelset was a cinch with no need for tyre levers. Inflating and seating the tyres was also straightforward with an air compressor, made even easier by the milKit Valve System's one-way valve keeping the tyre inflated without a valve core in-place. Furthermore, adding Stans Sealant to the wheels was unbelievably easy and clean thanks again to the milKit Valve System.
In all honesty, I never expected road tubeless to be this easy! In-terms of initial setup, I don't believe it could get any easier. Overnight the wheels lost little pressure and no sealant was observed around the rims. The Vittoria Corsa Graphene 2.0 700x28 tyre is rated to a maximum of 87psi which may not sound much, but given I ride tubed tyres between 70-75psi on the road, I know I'm going to have fun seeing just how low I can run these.
A huge thanks to Gary and Luke at Bicycle Central On Mulgrave; suppliers of Vittoria tyres, Stans Sealant, friendly service and heaps of laughs!