So while the first year of tubeless gravel riding had a fair bit of feeling deflated and being let down – things improved. The second year I covered 5000 kilometres – no punctures. This last year has also been puncture-free with 10,000 kilometres of gravel riding. Here’s a few updated tips for longer lasting, reliable tubeless.
The first sign you might be losing air can be picked up before you set off – if the tyre has lost air while not being ridden, it’s likely got a leak. A quick squeeze to check the pressure, and if in doubt, get the pump and check the pressure gauge. losing air? Time for a top-up. I have been running super reliable 35mm Schwalbe G Ones at 40 – 45 PSI and usually topping-up every 4 months or so.
If you haven’t topped up the sealant in your tyres for a few months or if the tyre is losing a little pressure, top up the sealant. Sealant stops doing its job properly after a while, how long depends on the temperature and humidity where you live, as well as how often you ride and where you store your bike (in a cooler place is better) – sealant manufacturers recommend 2 – 6 months for sealant top-ups.
Avoiding anything that could cut or damage the tread or sidewall will make your tyres last longer. Losing traction will also affect how long your tyres stay puncture free. We all know skidding is good fun, but it will strip away rubber. This leaves your tyre tread more susceptible to punctures. I know it’s great fun, but try to resist, do wheelies instead!
If you have the option, smoother surfaces are better for tyre life. My rides on gravel are relatively tame, and because I ride the same trails a lot, I know which bits to avoid. It goes without saying that potholes, stones, rocks, tree branches and glass all need to be avoided if you want maximum life from your bikes tyres. The smoothest lines are often the easiest and fastest too – they are a win-win.