Compass Tires and Tubeless

 

no_tubes

I was trying to put a photo of the new Compass tires’ bead here, but it’s hard to photograph the difference… What is important is this: our upcoming Compass 26″ x 2.3″, 650B x 48 mm and 700C x 35 mm tires will be tubeless compatible!

You’ll just need to use a tubeless-compatible rim, the right rim tape, and put sealant into the tire. The new Compass tires feature a new bead shape that can be used with either inner tubes or set up tubeless.

The new bead shape is designed to provide a better interlock with the rim. This reduces the risk of the tire coming off the rim. Even so, tubeless setups put bigger stresses on the tire, and when set up tubeless, tire pressure is limited to 60 psi (4.1 bar). For the wide tires, this is no problem, as you don’t need to run them at high pressures.

Of course, many of our customers already have set up the existing Compass tires tubeless. However, we cannot recommend this, since the bead shape isn’t optimized for tubeless installation. If you try it, use your discretion…

travel_gifford

With the new tires, these concerns no longer will exist. It’s an exciting development, but we are also glad that for the majority of us, who continue to use tubes, the new bead works just like the old one.

About Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

Spirited rides that zig-zag across mountain ranges. Bicycle Quarterly magazine and its sister company, Compass Cycles, that turns our research into high-performance components for real-world riders.
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46 Responses to Compass Tires and Tubeless

  1. Christophe says:

    Great news ! I just wish the 700C x 35 had been ready a few weeks earlier, I would have used them for PBP. This is the perfect size for my bike.
    What about the tire weight ?

  2. Joe says:

    Thank you!

  3. Which tires would these be in 700c? Or is there a new “Pass” coming up?

  4. Robert Zeidler says:

    You’ll sell a ton of 26mm tubeless since there are many narrower rims already in play for this. It just seems like the next logical step.

    Best Regards, R Zeidler

    >

  5. Rod Holland says:

    Great news! However… “26 x 2.3″ makes me apprehensive that the Rat Trap Pass tires may not fit my 26″ touring bike, after all. Do we have an accurate measure for the width of these tires? It would be a shame if they were just a hair too big for the numerous 26” touring bikes out there…

    rod

  6. David says:

    Any plans to make the other Compass tires tubeless compatible as a running change? My vote for the 700c x 32.

  7. Richard says:

    When will the 700c x 35 tires be available? Thanks.

  8. Chris Archibald says:

    Thank you!!!

  9. Owen says:

    Jan, I’m xxcited about the tubeless possibilities on the new 700c x 35mm. Not to diverge but what are the V-brakes pictured on that Enduro All Roader? Does the BQ crowd prefer V-brakes over canti’s and centerpulls for this type of bike?

  10. Dustin says:

    Any plans to go tubeless on the Barlow Pass?

  11. Neil says:

    Great to have more tubeless options for road. You indicate that there were changes made to the bead shape of these tires to get them tubeless ready…any changes in composition? Other brands use a different material in the bead of their tubeless road tires (something not prone to stretching) as compared to their conventional clinchers. Thanks!
    Neil

    • Panaracer (who make our tires) are working on a new bead material, but it’s not available yet. We didn’t want to delay our tires, so we opted to use the old bead for now. The next production run most likely will use the new bead, which is good for 90 psi.

  12. craigsj says:

    “You’ll just need to use a tubeless-compatible rim…”

    It’s not clear what this means especially in the context of the very wide tires involved here. In MTB there are multiple tubeless standards and none are the same as road tubeless. Considering the 60 psi limit, it seems road tubeless is not the standard considered. Hopefully it’s not BST as suggested by the photo as BST is designed to convert non-tubeless tires and is problematic otherwise.

    Sealant won’t handle casing cuts and very thin casings are more vulnerable to those. My experience with tubeless and Barlow Pass was a poor one, both the conversion process and the subsequent durability. I had a grand total of one puncture sealed and several complete failures, not a good tradeoff.

    It’s nice to see an improved bead but bead alone doesn’t make a tire a good choice for tubeless. Regardless, I’m looking forward to trying the 650Bx48 size and will likely try them tubeless again just to see if they work. Wish there were all black options for both casing layups.

    • Our tires are designed for “road” tubeless rims, like the Velocity A23. Yes, the 60 psi limit is an issue, until Panaracer gets their new bead material finalized. Then it’ll be likely 90 psi, and no problem.

      Sorry you had trouble with the Barlow Pass tubeless. Many others have been more successful, but we recommend using tubes. All our tires (except the 26″x1.25″ Elk Pass) are available in all-black with the Extralight casings. The standard casing is available only in tan – we don’t sell enough to carry four different models in each size.

      • Nathan F says:

        Stan’s road rims are designed using their (Stan’s) own BST system. A quick google search and a trip to their own website confirmed this.

        I’ve had only positive experiences with Stan’s rims and BST.
        I’ve mounted Maxxis, Geax, schwalbe mountain, and even a regular wire bead Schwalbe Marathon tire to my wheels and they’ve all seated easily and performed well.

      • craigsj says:

        What “Stan’s BST system” means has gone through revisions over time, though.
        Now Stan’s has two kinds of BST branding, BST and BST-R. See http://www.notubes.com/BST-R . BST-R is not BST, it only includes an alternative rim wall of questionable value. BST-R is road tubeless. BST has an over-spec rim diameter that is problematic with true tubeless beaded tires and is not meant for use with those tires.

        My Compass tubeless experiment used Crests and i currently use Compass tires on UST-style MTB rims. Several road tires won’t mount on the Crests, Challenge being a most memorable example. I once mounted wire bead Conti’s onto Crests and had to cut them off because they were so tight. If you want an alternative experience, try mounting Geax TNT (now Vittoria) to BST.

    • Mike says:

      I think you’re mistaken. As a mechanic at a mountain shop, I can’t tell you that stan’s tubeless interface is regarded as the gold standard, and many other rim brands license the design. BST is the same across road and mountain rims. Good news is that all tubeless tires I’ve dealt with work great with either a BST rim or UST so pick whichever one makes the most sense to you.

      In the early days of tubeless, there were some hassles and growing pains, but this was mostly due to tire manufacturers being indecisive about the exact bead diameter, but also rim extrusion being more precise on the bead shelf so that the bead shelf of a 29er or road rim is exactly 622mm. I’ve been able to set tires with a mini pump and tire lever.

      I’ve found that using dedicated tubeless rims/tires to be extremely reliable. I have road tires with several good size cuts in the casing, the sealant plugs the holes before I even notice. I quit riding tubeless on the road because the available tires weren’t as wide and supple as compass tires. I can’t wait to go back to tubeless on a set of switchback hill tires!

      • craigsj says:

        Very few companies license the BST design and almost all “tubeless” MTB rims are variants of UST. Road tubeless is neither BST nor UST and Stan’s road tubeless is not BST.

        If you have not had problem with tubeless tires on BST rims then you have not tried many tubeless tires regardless of your professional status. BST is over-spec on diameter (deliberately) and is very problematic with tires possessing true tubeless beads. The early variance of tire bead diameters is why BST is made that way and why modern tire beads struggle with it. You do not combine BST with tubeless beads, they are incompatible solutions to the same problem even though it’s possible in some cases to make it work. The picture shows a Stan’s road rim anyway. It is not BST.

        If you haven’t had cuts in tires that sealant doesn’t fix then I question the experience you have with tubeless. MTB tires vary in their durability, of course. In any case, you’ll have something to look forward to when you you get casing cuts with Compass tires converted to tubeless. Not much material to work with there. I’ve had multiple such failures with Compass tires run tubeless in the short, unsuccessful time I tried them. Adding a good bead doesn’t magically make a tire a good tubeless choice.

        It’s not clear the point using tubeless on road anyway. Road tubeless, so far, has only had slow tires that ride poorly. That may change as road tubeless develops as MTB has, but the primary advantage for MTB, punctures and pinch flats, isn’t nearly as important on road and won’t be a strength for Compass in any event. Compass casings are very porous and don’t seal at all well. One sealant I tried wouldn’t seal any of the casing. Stan’s worked gradually with Compass and Orange worked better.

  13. Matt says:

    Just wondering if there’s any data (or opinions there may be) on tubeless having lower rolling resistance? Wouldn’t having no tubes lower histeresis by making the tyre more supple?

  14. stevep33 says:

    Have you considered offering a low profile knobby tread tire with this supple tubeless casing?
    While the herringbone tread is generally very good on dirt, there are times when a more positive tread profile is beneficial. There are not any ~700×38 or ~650×40 tires having a low profile knobby tread with a casing as supple as yours. Add tubeless. You would have the holy grail of gravel tires for a growing segment of consumers. Just a thought.

    Thanks for making great tires. : )

    • We’ll consider it. There are some conditions where some knobs, widely spaced, offer advantages. However, on pavement, those same treads don’t roll very well. It’s a trade-off, and if you try to compromise, you get a tire that offers poor performance both in mud and on pavement…

  15. araeuber says:

    Any plans for Compass 26″ x 2.3″ fenders?

    • Fenders cannot be much wider than 60 mm, if you want to use a road chainline. So we plan to use the smooth 650B x 60 mm fenders (fender width, not tire width), and mount them a little higher than usual. Extra fender clearance is useful off-pavement anyhow, but you’ll see some air between tire and fender. If you want a bike with a more classic appearance, 650B x 42 mm is about the maximum tire size you can use…

      • Michael says:

        Jan, do you have a list of compatible/recommended rims. Looking at:
        Pacenti
        HED Belgium Plus
        or perhaps Stans Crest

        These 700×35 tyres look promising, just need to build a bike around them.

  16. Conrad says:

    Can someone please tell me what the point of a tubeless setup is? You generally can not ride at really low pressure without burping the tire. You still need to carry a spare tube in case you get a flat. Pain in the rear to deal with a flat with a tubeless setup. The Barlow Pass I can run at 35psi so I never get flats anyway, even with an inner tube. Probably no difference in rolling resistance, all other things being equal. Is it the weight of the inner tube?

    • Joe says:

      Probably no benefit to you but pinch flats and regular flats are really uncommon with tubeless setups so for some they are super duper fantastic.

    • David says:

      For me, it’s about puncture protection. Tubeless can be life-savers: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cyclotourist/14323903954/ Weight and low-pressure don’t mean much to me, but riding through goatheads is an amazing benefit!

    • Mike says:

      Tubeless on mountain bikes is a god send because it allows you to run pressures that would guarantee pinchflats on root/rock strikes. It nearly eliminates flats, and greatly improves grip and ride quality.

      On the road, the main benefits are reliability, puncture protection, a more supple ride, and less weight. Burping occurs at really low pressures, much lower than you’d ride on the road anyway. If you do manage to flat, it isn’t any more challenging than changing a flat tube, you just remove the tubeless valve and put a tube in as usual.

      • craigsj says:

        Burping occurs at higher pressures when you use narrow rims which is what seems to be advocated most commonly by Jan. A 19mm rim by today’s tubeless standards is pretty narrow for a ~50mm tire and may not tolerate as low a pressure as you might think. With a wider rim enabled by disc brakes the outlook should be better.

        I don’t think tubeless with Compass tires with offer any weight advantage over a lightweight tube due to the amount of sealant needed to be successful. I doubt the ride quality will change either, particularly if one is otherwise using latex tubes. Fixing a tubeless flat is also a more complicated process as you need to remove the stem and deal with a potential sealant mess. You will also have to decide what to do with the major side effects of the repair after the ride. Tubeless is only a win of there’s a significant reduction in flat rates which I don’t think there will be for riders having flats otherwise and won’t be for riders without flatting issues. Tubeless has the pleasant side effect of not requiring daily air-ups when compared to latex tubes and will have slightly less rolling resistance compared to butyl.

  17. Jim Bronson says:

    Will the LoupLoup Pass eventually get the new bead? That is the widest tire I can run on my older Rivendell Custom without hitting the chainstays.

  18. David Pearce says:

    I think I’m beginning to suss it out about tubeless tires (shows how far behind I am, I think): The “sealant” in tubeless tires is to seal punctures, not to mount and seal the original tires.

    • Both. The sealant does also seal the tire on the rim…

    • craigsj says:

      On a true tubeless tire like road tubeless or UST that is true. These don’t require sealant.

      On a tubeless conversion, sealant is needed to seal the bead and the casing.

      On a “tubeless ready” system, the bead may be airtight without sealant but the casing will be somewhat porous, some worse than others.

      For those that don’t already know, sealant dries out in 3-12 months so it requires maintenance and accumulates weight over time. Unless it solves problems for the rider, which it does on the trail, I don’t know why anyone would be willing to suffer those consequences.

  19. Mike says:

    Tubeless sealant can also be used in tubes with removable valve cores, movement between the tire and tube may disrupt the plug though. Cafe latex and orange seal seem to be the most effective in tube sealants, I’ve saved many tubular tires with these.

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