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I'm trying to understand whether it's necessary to buy a new tyre marked as tubeless-ready in order to go tubeless on my new MTB.

Initially, I thought that going tubeless simply requires a sealant, tubeless-ready rims (or rims properly prepared with tape) and valves, and furthermore greatly benefits from having an air compressor at hand for easy assembly.

However, upon closer inspection of the description of the bicycle I bought (Decathlon's Rockrider E-ST 900), the following is stated: "TUBELESS READY rims: you will need tubeless tyres, Presta valves, and puncture sealant".

I didn't expect I would have to purchase new tyres, retailing at ca. EUR 50 each. Is it really necessary to buy tyres marked "tubeless-ready", or is the above list of requirements (i.e. valves, rims, sealant and an air compressor) sufficient for making tyres tubeless? If so, are there additional comprises or preparations to be made when using ordinary (non-tubeless-ready) tyres?

On a side note, the tyres on the specific bicycle I bought are of the type Taipan Koloss (Hutchinson), 27.5x2.8in, and according to the manufacturer's website these tyres are already marked "tubeless ready", which introduces additional confusion.

Another note, I noticed there are a few similar questions, but they do not seem to address the need of tubeless-readiness of tyres in particular.

  • Rather than relying on the manufactures website, I would recommend checking the markings on the actual tire as manufacturers often have multiple tires of the same name and some are tubeless compatible while others are not. If there still ambiguity about whether your tire is tubeless compatible or not, send the manufacturer support an e-mail and ask them how to make sure your tire is tubeless compatible. I have had success getting the exact information you are looking for. – Superman.Lopez Aug 1 at 3:42
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    If you find your existing tyres aren't suitable, just wear them out and revisit the idea of tubeless when they're in need of replacement. There's little reason to change something that works, and noone's going to buy lightly-used bike tyres. – Criggie Aug 1 at 8:26
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    @Criggie Used tires are actually pretty common on MTB buy-sell websites, albeit usually at a large discount. Price is linked to percentage of wear. – MaplePanda Aug 1 at 17:38
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In general:

It is beter to have tubeless ready (TLR) tyres, but the large volume MTB tyres often work well even when not explicitly TLR. It is much less sensitive than road tyres. However, it should not be a supercheap thin model, that obviously would not hold the air. Also, wired models are less likely to seal well.


To your specific bike:

Decathlon does sell some of the bikes with tubeless ready tyres (e.g., the gravel Triban). And it is the case with your bicycle too. If the manufacturer says it is TLR, there is no reason not to believe them. It is also confirmed at the Decathlon page for the tyre https://www.decathlon.co.uk/taipan-kolos-mountain-bike-tyre-275-x-28-id_8511989.html

Most better quality tyres for MTB are TLR, because it is a must these days. MTB really needs tubeless for good performance.

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  • My understanding from others is that a steel wire bead tire is unlikely to work as tubeless, so if any reader of above answer wants to try to go tubeless with a non-supported tire it's probably wise to only try this if the tire is at least a foldable tire with kevlar bead. – Superman.Lopez Aug 1 at 3:48
  • @Superman.Lopez I would agree with that. It should not be a very cheap model. Definitely would not try with my cheapest 26 Racing Ralph, the ruber is too thin on the sidewalls and has many little cracks now. I uss it on an old bke that is not ridden often enough to warrant tubeless. – Vladimir F Aug 1 at 6:18
  • @Superman.Lopez Also, a simple click on the link in my answer shows that not only the tyre in question is sold as tubeless ready, it IS also indeed foldable and kevlar bead. I extended that offending part to be useful for others in general. It may be contentius, some people here think that anything non-certified endangeres ones life, but I stand behind what I wrote. – Vladimir F Aug 1 at 7:14
  • @Superman.Lopez Where did you read that? I have wire beads on my tubeless bike. There’s nothing inherently wrong with wire beads that makes it automatically incompatible with tubeless. – MaplePanda Aug 1 at 17:39
  • Can we all refrain from “it is a must” statements? Very few things are actually a must. MTB doesn't need tubeless for good performance anymore than it needs a 1× drivetrain. Yes, tubeless tyres do quite objectively perform better, but this really boils down to the fact that they can effectively be run at lower pressures. Yet, actually, a good sturdy TLR tyre can also be run at <2 bar with tube without immediately puncturing at a whim, as some people seem to think they do. At higher pressures, the difference is even less. – leftaroundabout Aug 1 at 19:30
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  1. Tubeless-ready rims have "shoulders" on the bed. These hold the tire bead against the sidewall.

rim profile comparison source

  1. As the comparison of rim profiles shows, you can have a tubeless rim without hooks--which you need with tubed tires--and this suggests an important difference: Tubed tires are held on at the top of the rim sidewall by the hooks, but tubeless tires are supposed to fit tight against the bottom of the sidewall. Tubeless technology is still evolving, but at least one rim manufacturer (Zipp, IIRC) argues that if your tubeless tire is riding up to the rim hooks, it's not fitting correctly anyhow, so hooks are redundant (this opinion is not universal). Tubeless tires fit on the rim differently than tubed tires, and there's plenty of anecdotal evidence that tubeless tires are harder to mount.

I'm sure you can find people who have run tubed tires as tubeless and lived to tell the tale, but even orthodox tubeless tire setups are known to "burp" air sometimes--if you burped all the air out of an unorthodox setup (which has been known to happen) you could wind up in the hospital (which has also been known to happen), obviating any savings from not buying new tires.

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  • Actually, while I don't ride MTB and I've never used CX tubeless, I distinctly recall that unofficial conversions for standard clinchers on a tubeless rim were fairly common. They would need more sealant. That said, I believe those all involved hooked rims. I am under the impression that many MTB rims have gone hookless. I don't know if this is true, but if the OP has hookless rims, I would definitely be more wary of an unofficial tubeless conversion. For road bikes, there's no question that unofficial tubeless is out, likely due to the high pressures. – Weiwen Ng Jul 31 at 18:40
  • @WeiwenNg They indeed were. I cannot serve with an anecdotal evidence of that, only of using tubeless tyres with non-tubeless specific rims, and that works perfectly for me. When the tyres were new (~first year of service) they sealed even with a floor pump. I believe the hookless thing is a digression here. The bike in question is sold and likely often operated with tubes. – Vladimir F Aug 1 at 6:59
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It's not strictly necessary. In the early days of tubeless, one might have run a Stan's rim with whatever tire, and the resulting combination would be much like what you propose.

But, then and now, the quality and trustworthiness of the bead lock will be whatever you get. It might burp, and will likely be able to under the right circumstances. It will likely not be anything like equivalent to the grip of a proper contemporary tubeless tire on the same rim, i.e. difficult to get loose even when you try. You can get some sense of this simply by how hard it is to unseat one bead now. You may be able to improve things slightly by screwing around with extra layers of tape.

Not having to worry about inferior bead locking is a pretty big quality of life improvement. So is only having to mess with setting up your tubeless once. And also so is having good tires, which non-tubeless ones are not anymore. You can rest assured that very little of the price tag went to what you've got. Just get the real thing.

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    "You can rest assured that very little of the price tag went to what you've got." I absolutely cannot agree with that. Decathlon sells this tyre also separately and not only it is indeed tubeless, even acording to Decathlon (who made and sold the OP's new bike), it is not a super cheap tyre either. The link is in my answer. – Vladimir F Aug 1 at 6:21
  • @VladimirF A lot of lower price MTBs have tubeless rims but the tires they come with are cheap, wire, non-tubeless low TPI versions of tires that if bought aftermarket are only available tubeless. That's gotten pretty common and I suspect it's what the op has. – Nathan Knutson Aug 2 at 16:45
  • Decathlon does provide TLR tyres with other of their of their bikes. Also, the version of Koloss they sell separately is TLR. It is still possible they provide some lower version, one should be careful, but you are way too definitive without any actual indication. – Vladimir F Aug 2 at 20:45
  • Tubeless tires yell it loud and clear. I deal with this exact scenario every week or so at work. Yes I'm not 100% sure, but they are very likely a cheap non-tubeless OEM version. – Nathan Knutson Aug 2 at 21:15
  • This link says otherwise decathlon.media/fr_FR/dossiers-communiques/… – Vladimir F Aug 2 at 21:20

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