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22 May

Tubeless tyre and rim compatibility - all is not what it seems

Posted by Bold Apps

As a tubeless tyre promoter, I get to see the other side - problems and the problem is not the tyres but some of the rims they are fitted too. It is important to check that your rim is really tubeless compatible before fitting tubeless tyres. 

Do not rely on the manufacturers claim ever. It turns out some are winging it. So here is a full explanation as too what to look for. If your rim conforms then all is well if not then just don't use tubeless tyres on these rims. 

There have been a few tyre failures above the bead (i have seen a few on other brands too) and this is not a manufacturing fault with the tyres.

Shimano, Campagnolo 2 way fit, Kinlin or BORG rims, Specialised/Roval, Mavic UST, DT Swiss R460 rims (not all DT Swiss though), DCR rims, Velocity, Ambrosio P20 are all example of rims that are tubeless compatible. I'll explain. most of the rims have the nice little lip either side of the rim well to stop the tyre unseating at zero pressure. 

The second most important point though is the bead hook shape is rounded. 

Here are some images of well shaped bead hooks.

Mavic UST 


Ambrosio P20

DCR rim

BORG/Kinlin XR22T/26T/31T

I hope you see what is in common. The rounded well sized bead hook that does not cut into the tyre and the uplifted inside edge of the bead hook is also an important characteristic. 

Sadly not every rim conforms. Here is an expensive rim which does not and can cut into the tyre and cause failure that is not repairable. 

ENVE SES 3.4. as you can see the bead hook is not rounded and flat. This is simply dangerous. IRC tyres are not compatible with ENVE tubeless rims, in fact, they are not tubeless rims in my book. Sorry ENVE.

So before buying an IRC tyre or any tubeless tyre for that matter, please inspect your rim. If in doubt ask. This advice is general to tubeless tyres though. While it is possible to engineer a tyre to work with sharp bead hooks tyre manufacturers should not have too. Some rim manufacturers need to conform to the standards. However there are number of rim/wheel manufacturers who understand what it takes to make a good tubeless rim.

So I hope this explains what tubeless compatibility is really about. It is more than just the tyre seating and sealing. That is winging it. 


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