A Better Road Tubeless Tire – Schwalbe One

| November 9, 2015 8:23 am
A Better Road Tubeless Tire - Schwalbe One
by Franz Kelsch

The Past Trials of Using Tubeless Road Tires

I have been using road tubeless tires on and off for the past year, on two different bikes.  Although they offered some advantages, the frustration of installing and removing the tubeless tires lead me to a decision to give up on road tubeless tires.  I have been using Hutchinson tubeless tires, both their Fusion 3 and Intensive models.  To get the tire on the wheel I had to use a great deal of effort with multiple strong tire tools. Then getting the tire inflated was another ordeal.  I have an air compressor, but even with removing the valve core to allow for maximum air flow, sometimes it would not inflate.  So I would have to revert to using a CO2 cartridge to get the air flow rapid enough to seat the tire.  Last time I had to go through 3 CO2 cartridges and only when I put a strap around the circumference of the tire did it finally seat.  Later when I got a cut that did not seal with the sealant, getting the tire off when I was back home, was equally hard.

Considering this, it gave me no confidence that should I have some issue out on the road that I would ever be able to put a tube inside the tire to get back home.  That lead me to feel that using tubular tires was a better approach and I wrote about this in this other blog post.

The Schwalbe One Tubeless Road Tire

I read about another tubeless road tire, the Schwalbe One Tubeless and the reviews showed it was easier to install.  I decided to give tubeless one more try and ordered one tire.  It turned out to be much easier to get on the wheel than any Hutchinson.  Although I had to use tire tools to mount (something I always avoid with a regular tubed clincher), I was able to get the final part on with my bare hands.  Then I tried to inflated the tire, without removing the valve core.  It seated without any issue.  I left the tire inflated for a couple days without putting in any sealant and it was still fully inflated.  It was such a better experience that I ordered a 2nd tire and installed the other wheel and my experience was just the same.

With a Hutchinson, should I need to add sealant later on, I was facing a major issue of getting the tire seated.  No problem with the Schwalbe One, that seems to have no problem to inflate and seat using my air compressor, even with the valve core installed.  Some report they can just a floor pump.

Note that Schwalbe has now released a Pro One Tubeless tire which is lighter yet and supposedly easier to install [see this review].  We will be testing that tire in the future but this report is for the Schwalbe One Tubeless (not Pro).

Performance

I have not ridden enough to say how well they wear.  I have pretty good confidence, but not 100 percent, that should I have a problem on the road that I will be able to install a tube and get home.

On my other wheelset I run Michelin Pro Race 4 tires and the Schwalbe One seem to handle just as well, although I have not tested on wet roads.  I am inflating to about 85 psi and riding on chip sealed roads seems much smoother than with my regular clincher tires (which I run at 100 psi).  The Schwalbe One seems to have low rolling very smoothly on smooth pavement as Schwalbe claim.  That seems to bear out by this article that shows a rolling resistance of 12.5 watts at 18 mph, 100 psi with a 42.5 kg load.  This puts it in between the Continental Grand Prix 4000S II with a latex tube at 11.1 watts and the Michelin Pro Race 4 Endurance version 2 at 14.9 watts.  These values are for one tire and considering the front tire has about half the load of the rear, multiple these numbers by 1.5 to get the total for both tires.

This other article gives different values but uses a 25 mph speed, 50 kg load.  It shows a comparison with the No. 1 ranked Specialized S-Works Tubeless.  Here the the Schwalbe One Tubeless ranked 9th place with a rolling resistance of 38.2 watts.  In comparison, the Fusion 3 tubeless tire ranked 25th with 46.5 watts. Those numbers are per tire.

Sizes and Weights

This tire comes in three sizes.  I bought the 700x25C and weighed them before mounting and they weighed very close to the claimed 340 grams (compared with 320 for the Hutchinson Fusion 3).

SchwalbeOneSize

Pros and Cons of Tubeless Road Tires

As with all tubeless setups you don’t save any weight becasue the tires weigh as much as a regular clincher plus tube.   Based on my experience with this tubeless tire, I have revised my pros and cons as follows:

 Advantages

  • Almost eliminate flats when using sealant
  • When there was a leak that does not seal, the leakage is usually slow and you can usually make it home.  Some punctures will seal as the pressure goes down and you can still ride the tire with low pressure.
  • No pinch flats so you can run at a lower pressure, making for a more comfortable ride.

Disadvantages

  • Likely more weight since the tires tend to be heavier plus the weight of the sealant.
  • Difficult to get the tire on the wheel.  Tubeless tires are made so there is no stretch in the clincher bead.  The Hutchinson brand tires were almost impossible to install and to get inflated.  The Schwalbe One was harder than a regular clincher tire but doable.
  • If you have an issue on the road with a cut that does not seal, installing a tube would prove to be almost impossible with the Hutchinson (and other brands that my friends have tried).  However with the Schwalbe One I think it would be possible since they are easier to get on and inflate.
  • Getting the tire to seat was difficult with the Hutchinson.  Even using soapy water on the bead, it is hard to get air in fast enough to seat the tire.  Using a compressor did not always work.  One tire required I used a CO2 cartridge, even went through three CO2 cartridges to get it to seat.  I had to put a strap around the tire and cinch it down to help.  I had a very different experience with two different Schwalbe One tires, which inflated right away, even with the valve core installed (using a compressor).
  • Tire are expensive and the selection is very limited.

This video goes over some of the advantages and disadvantages using the Schwalbe One tubeless tire.

My Take

After going through the hassles of tubeless tires, I had about given up on them. However my experience with the Schwalbe One is so much better that I am back to riding tubeless part of the time since we live in an area prone to many flats.  I still feel the modern tubular tires, with sealant, are a good way to go but you need tubular wheels.   I also have a wheelset with regular clincher tires and I can change a flat in 5 minutes without too much effort so if flats were infrequent this still might the best approach.  Hopefully there will be continued improvements in the design of road tubeless tires, but the Schwalbe One seems to have found a good approach.

 

4 Responses to “A Better Road Tubeless Tire – Schwalbe One”

Hans wrote a comment on January 3, 2016

Your experiences mirrored mine exactly. Loved the plush ride and no flats or tubes but hated the mounting, the mess and the detensioning of the spokes. (Actually experience a spoke failure which was attributed to the detensioning effect on the spokes of the tubeless tire)

Wide rims (clincher or tubular) and 25C or 28C are the way to go on the road. Tubeless tires are a great concept but I’d rather take 5 minutes to change a tube then wrestle with a tubeless tire for 30 minutes and burn through 2 or 3 CO2 cartridges in the process. For that matter, I’d rather glue on a pair of tubulars then to mount a pair of tubeless tires. Yeah, tubeless are not user friendly!

arthur clark wrote a comment on January 27, 2016

Hi
I agree 100% about Schwalbe 1 tires. The best ride and ease of mounting of any road bike tubeless tire.
My experience with mounting Hutchinson Fusion 3 tubeless was better than yours.

I also use a compressor. 4.2 Cubic Feet / minute @ 140 PSI. It blasted the stuborn Fusion 3’s right on after removing the valve core. So perhaps you need a bigger compressor.

However consider this..

Most road bike riders who try tubeless wind up hating them because the bike shop that sold them also hates tubeless and does know how to properly service them. Why?

In a nutshell it is Shimano USA.

They invented the road tubeless system with Hutchinson. But their employees do not like their own products. Why?

2 reasons….(And I called their corporate offices to confirm this)

1. Their tubeless valve stem has a non-removable core. This makes mounting a stubborn tire impossible. If they used one with a removable core, they could easily blast on the most stubborn of tires. (I learned this the hard way by throwing away 2 $100 tires with less than 300 miles on them).
2. There recommend Cafe Latex sealant. I rode with that for the first couple of months and it NEVER sealed the smallest of pinprick holes.

When I suggested they make a valve stem with a removable core and recommend a sealant that works, it was like talking to religious fanatics. They did not want to hear it. And no wonder they hate their own products.

Can you imagine the irony? I am calling to say how I love their product, while they insisted tubeless tires suck and won’t ride on them.

I also believe a rising tide helps everyone, but how can road tubeless catch on in a big way when the world’s largest bike equipment manufacturer thinks their own technology stinks?

Think this over…..

If the other road tubeless players and the tubeless tire manufactures got together and made a concerted effort at public education, it would turn this situation around. Perhaps seminars at bike shops, county and state fairs, or local riding groups?

Perhaps meeting with Shimano to discuss how the inept handling of their technology?

The current level of misinformation on road tubeless system is staggering. You cannot believe the blank stares of disbelief I get when I tell riders how great it is to ride 3500 miles a year without a flat, but I can talk until I am blue in the face with no effect because after all, Shimano and the local bike shop know best (not!).

Best of luck and kind regards

Franz wrote a comment on January 27, 2016

I never tried Cafe Latex sealant. I have been having good success with Bontrager sealant in my tubeless clincher tires and tubular tires. It has sealed everyone so far except a cut that no sealant would. Also it doesn’t bunch up into a solid mass as I have experienced with Stans. My compressor goes to 135 psi, and I bought a larger house to get more air flow. The bike shop could not seat the Hutchinson Fusion 3 either. When I had to remove a Schwable One to fix a cut that would seal, I was able to put the tire back on by hand. That means I could put a tube inside on the road should I need to. That would be most impossible with the Hutchinson since I have to use several tire tools to mount and that would most likely pinch the tube.

Franz wrote a comment on January 27, 2016

With the Schwable One tubeless tires, the issues with mounting do not exist as they did with Hutchinson. I usually can inflate intimately with a floor pump. I was able to put back on one that I had removed, using only my hands and no tire tools, so if I need to put a tube in side on the road I could. For areas where I don’t get a lot of flats (more than one a week), as I do in Southern Utah, I switch to tubed clinchers because they are still easier to deal with and cheaper.