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Ditching The Spare Tube

Hello chaps.

I’ve been running tubeless for about five years now. In all of that time I’ve only had to fit a tube as a last resort once. That was only because I’d been neglectful on checking the sealant levels after along period of time and there was no sealant left to seal the tyre. This is something I’ve never made the same mistake with again.

I’ve only had to use tyre plugs twice. It goes without saying that the tubeless system on a MTB is a fantastic development. I’ve covered thousands of miles of XC riding with minimal fuss and at this stage I’m feeling pretty confident that the spare tube and tyre levers I constantly carry are absolutely pointless.

I’m considering slim lining my saddle pack to just a multi tool, spare chain links, spare valve core, cable ties and tyre plugs. This will enable me to use a smaller neater pack under the saddle.

I’d probably still carry the tube and tyre levers on rides further away from home - or long distances, but local rides from my doorstep at a duration of 1 - 2 hours I’m seriously thinking of just forgetting about carrying a tube.

Has anyone else stopped carrying spare tubes? I’m just curious really, is it tempting fate? What’s your experiences?

The reality is I’ve never needed a tube since going tubeless and maintaining the fluid levels correctly.

Posts

  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,336
    I base it on how long the walk back would be in the worst case scenario. If at most it will be a 20 minute walk, I won't bother with packing a tube. If it's longer, I'll take one as an insurance policy.
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 1,994
    edited 29 August
    I'm with you almost 100% here.

    I say "almost" because I went for much longer than 5 years without a flat of any kind. I began to think that all the stuff I carried was useless:
    Pump, tyre levers, spare tube, tube patches in case my spare got a puncture after I'd fitted it, tyre wall patches in case my actual tyre was damaged. I've never weighed that , but it takes up room.
    Then I thought "No it's not useless, it's a talisman!" ie as long as I carried all that carp, I'd never get a flat. So for years after that revelation I happily carried it all on every trip.
    Then one of my relatively new tyres went flat. The tyre wall had failed for about 4" next to the bead. Fortunately the tube was good enough to get me home, but no jumping for me on the way home! Turned out to be a tyre fault and I got my money back. Then a few weeks later the other tyre (same brand and size) failed in the same place and in the same way. Same outcome. Beginning to think that carrying all that carp was worth it after all. :)

    Then I went on a demo day. I never gave it a thought that the demo bikes might not be tubeless. You guessed it, I got a flat! Lucky me, carrying all that carp! :)

    Then earlier this year on my new bike, my tubeless tyre ran out of sealant and I got a flat. My fault of course. But I was saved because I was carrying all that carp. :)

    So, despite having years and years of zero flats, I see it that my luck ran out. It was my turn to take some pain. You never know when that day or days will come. So keep carrying all that carp! Or you might get stuck 10 miles from home in really bad weather and you are miles from anywhere. Then I come along with all my carp and save you from it all! (No not really, carry your own carp!)
  • I'm with you almost 100% here.

    I say "almost" because I went for much longer than 5 years without a flat of any kind. I began to think that all the stuff I carried was useless:
    Pump, tyre levers, spare tube, tube patches in case my spare got a puncture after I'd fitted it, tyre wall patches in case my actual tyre was damaged. I've never weighed that , but it takes up room.
    Then I thought "No it's not useless, it's a talisman!" ie as long as I carried all that carp, I'd never get a flat. So for years after that revelation I happily carried it all on every trip.
    Then one of my relatively new tyres went flat. The tyre wall had failed for about 4" next to the bead. Fortunately the tube was good enough to get me home, but no jumping for me on the way home! Turned out to be a tyre fault and I got my money back. Then a few weeks later the other tyre (same brand and size) failed in the same place and in the same way. Same outcome. Beginning to think that carrying all that carp was worth it after all. :)

    Then I went on a demo day. I never gave it a thought that the demo bikes might not be tubeless. You guessed it, I got a flat! Lucky me, carrying all that carp! :)

    Then earlier this year on my new bike, my tubeless tyre ran out of sealant and I got a flat. My fault of course. But I was saved because I was carrying all that carp. :)

    So, despite having years and years of zero flats, I see it that my luck ran out. It was my turn to take some pain. You never know when that day or days will come. So keep carrying all that carp! Or you might get stuck 10 miles from home in really bad weather and you are miles from anywhere. Then I come along with all my carp and save you from it all! (No not really, carry your own carp!)

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. Faulty tyres isn’t something I’d thought about, hmm...
  • loltorideloltoride Posts: 312
    I have been running Tubeless for about 4-5 Years now, never had a flat or noticeable puncture, my current bike the dealer put tubes in swat folder that goes in the frame. The last 3-4 rides I put other items in frame so will now make this permanent and leave tube. If I have to carry bike back to car or home It will be a good workout, I love the space in the frame for my stumpy. In fact I will be getting rid of my backpack soon as well due to lack of use currently. Although I am not really a repair on the move person (lazy) but I will certainly bin the backpack.
    So Far!
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    What's the benefit of not taking the spare tube though? It's inconsequential in weight and bulk.
  • fenix said:

    What's the benefit of not taking the spare tube though? It's inconsequential in weight and bulk.

    I have a couple of reasons the main being I swap my seat pack between two bikes. I have one saddle pack, one multi tool and a set of tyre plugs etc to use between the two bikes.

    One bike is a 29er, the other a 27.5. I always swap the appropriate size tube into the pack to suit whichever bike I’m taking. It’s just a bit of a faff. I could buy two of everything and just have it all ready to go, but it just seems wasteful.

    Second reason, my 29er is a light carbon XC hardtail. I often do short race paced rides close to home. I really dislike the bulky pack of kit which I constantly have strapped to the bike, which in reality I never use. It’s bulky extra weight and unsightly. Shallow reasons perhaps, but there it is...

    I’d still take all of the spares on long distances, but short local loops I’m really considering ditching the tube and tyre levers and using my much smaller kit pack.
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