Tubeless or camera? The eternal debate of MTB
If in the most rabid current of road cycling the debate is centered on disc brakes and electronic shifting, in the world of MTB the controversy between the tubeless wheels and tube wheels. Than anti-puncture system is better? Why? Does this really tubeless tires Is it as magnificent as some claim? It is time to determine how much it is worth scratching your pocket a bit more and buying some wheels and tubeless tires.
As we will see, all that glitters is not gold and as I am used to saying in these cases, there is no unique and unquestionable truth. Each user profile is different and although they all practice mountain biking, the MTB competition has nothing to do with the arcade. An amateur cyclist does not have the same product needs as a cyclist who rides his bike once a month.
Although the traditional system of camera and cover continues to see its market share drop dramatically, to this day cyclists who use a tire with this format. It will be for some reason, right?
Wheels with tubeless; advantages and disadvantages
The tubeless tires for MTB They continue to grow in market share and today the cat is carried overboard in the majority of users.
Technology advances and it is evident that technically, tubeless has nothing to do with the traditional camera and tire.
Tubeless is a system that stores air from the wheel through a sealing liquid. The tubeless wheels do not use a tube and in the event of a puncture, this liquid is in charge of repairing the fault. It is recommended to change this liquid periodically. Ideally, you should add liquid every 2 or 3 months at most.
As you can imagine, not all MTB bicycle wheels are prepared for tubeless riding. A special rim and a tubeless or tubeless ready tire are required. The market also offers the option of placing a rim tape that enables the wheel for the tubeless liquid. Personally I see this last option a bit botched and its installation must be perfect for everything to work.
In the technical section, tubeless allows us to roll at less pressure and therefore improve our grip in technical or muddy areas. The traction also improves With the tubeless and the amount of punctures is significantly reduced thanks to the disappearance of the camera pinches.
The installation of a tubeless system is somewhat more expensive and technical. In case of puncturing you must make sure that this sticky liquid is capable of sealing the cut. If you are not in luck (something that would not be so rare) you can always mount a conventional camera.
Camera and cover; advantages and disadvantages.
The camera and cover system is the old school format. A more practical, more comfortable and cheaper system.
However, the camera and the cover continue to be severely questioned due to the risk of rolling at low pressure and the large number of punctures suffered by a pinch.
It is true that you are going to save some money but you probably have more punctures and that in technical or muddy areas where with tubeless you can roll quietly at 1.5 bar pressure you have stability and traction problems.
What is better? Tubeless or camera?
As you yourself have seen, there is no ideal puncture system. The world of BTT is very diverse and although most wheels and bicycles could be equipped with the tubeless system through a special rim tape, today the tube and tire format is still the most economical.
In my opinion, if you do not have competitive pretensions, you are still away from the best times on Strava and you have no intention other than to enjoy MTB cycling once a week, do not complicate yourself and continue with what has worked for you all your life.
Although prices are beginning to equate MTB tube tires They are still cheaper than tubeless or tubeless ready ones. The finishes are less reinforced and therefore the cost is lower.
Furthermore, the tubeless format requires minimal maintenance and you will have a small extra spill every 3, 4, 5 or 6 months when you are forced to change the liquid inland. With camera and cover you will not have to go to the workshop, at least for this reason.
I say about the workshop because unless you are quite skilled and fine forget about doing it at home. With the tubeless liquid I have seen real messes.
Conversely, If you are looking for grip, comfort and greater resistance, there is no doubt that your choice should be tubeless wheels.
To the previous qualities we must add the decrease in punctures. With a tubeless tire you will be rolling with a more technically worked tire and with a format that permanently eliminates pinch punctures.
I assure you that a large number of them occur for this reason. With tubeless you can ride on technical terrain at low pressure without any concern (something that did not happen with conventional covers)
In short, it is about evaluating your profile and making a decision based on your needs. If you use your bike to go to work and use to ride on compact tracks or even add miles on asphalt, it doesn't make much sense that now you plan a change of wheels. However, if you are one of those who enjoy going down, goes into really technical areas, competes and lives in a very broken terrain, perhaps it is time to take the final step.
Anti-puncture mousse foams
Alternatives to these two systems continue to appear on the market. Foams in format puncture mousse they are a good example of this.
These foams are intended to emulate the system that motorcycles carry and that in the world of MTB will allow us to always reach our next destination while continuing to pedal.
Although we puncture the mousse will retain minimal pressure and the tire will never touch the ground directly. This will allow us to continue advancing with prudence until finding a point of assistance or more space to repair with ease.
Their market share is still quite marginal and although the brands that manufacture MTB mousse continue to bet strongly on their product we will see if they are able to gain ground by tubeless and on deck with camera.