Tan-Wall Tubeless Road Tyres - What ARE The Options?!?
More and more riders are turning to tubeless wheels and tyres for their road bikes, and it’s a setup that we highly recommend. Lower pressures enable you to get more comfort from our rough roads and better cornering, without compromising on rolling speed.
“Sounds great … sign me up to a tubeless setup” says the rider, “But wait - I can get tan-wall tubeless tyres for my road bike, right?”
And that’s when we sigh, heavily, because the answer is ‘Not really, not currently, no.’
I am writing this blog post following a fair amount of time and research after we had a request for tan-walled tubeless tyres for a bike we were servicing, only to find that there was nothing on the market that perfectly met the criteria.
Big name brands including Vittoria, Continental, Schwalbe, Zipp, Hutchinson and Michelin currently have no tubeless tan-walled tyres available in road sizes (700x23 / 700x25 / 700x28).
However, if you can fit something a little wider in your frame and forks than there are options.
I’m going to go through the list of options that we found are available. I’m more than happy for readers to comment and point me in the direction of any tyres I may have missed - and I’ll be keeping this post updated as and when new products come to market.
***UPDATE - 30/01/19*** We have received confirmation that a well known manufacturer is indeed planning to release a tan walled tubeless road tyre in the near future! Watch this space and contact us directly for more details and to pre-order!
Consider Alternative Options Carefully
If you’re considering going wider on your tyres to get the tan-walled tubeless setup of your dreams, then clearance is your concern, as well as what your rims are capable of supporting. Your personal definition of a tan-wall also comes in to play!
Clearance and Rims - You need to check if you are creeping up to a bigger tyre size that you have clearance on the forks, on the frame and on the brake calipers (if you’re running rim brakes). If you have mudguards fitted you may also need to take that in to consideration. Also check what tyres sizes are supported by your tubeless rims!
Colour Variations - Some are particularly keen on lighter tan-finishes as seen with the Vittoria Corsa clinchers, but it seems that a lot of tan-wall tubeless tyres that are on the market are a darker tan colour.
While there are plenty of options available in tan-walled tyres for gravel tyre sizes it seems this design trend for road tyre sizes is yet to make an appearance on the market. Perhaps, with enough demand, this will be one of the trends for 2019 / 2020?
If what you want is a tubeless tan-wall road tyre in a 700x23/ 700x25 / 700x28 then as far as I can tell you’re outta luck… sorry!
But if you have the clearance to run something a little wider then take a look at these options!
WTB - Exposure Tan Wall Tubeless Road Tyre - 700x30 / 700x32 / 700x34
The option that we settled on for customer’s bike that we are currently knowing on is the WTB Exposure in a 700x30c - which at the time of writing was the narrowest road tan-walled tubeless tyre that we could find!
The Exposure is available in three sizes, and the wider the tyre becomes in this range the ‘nobblier’ the tread pattern becomes, helping the range to cross over from a road tyre to a gravel option. However, the 700x30c option looks relatively slick.
We’re fitting these tyres on a set of Hunt 4 Season Aero wheels which can comfortably support the tyre width - but it will be a ‘tighter than usual’ fit on Graeme’s Condor Fratello - even with his Condor Pioggia forks (designed for use with long drop brakes).
***Update - 30/01/19*** - Much to our disappointment the WTB Exposures were just too tight on the fork clearance, even in the 700x30. However, we can honestly say that the stock photo does not do these tyres justice. They look amazing, and, more importantly they are a super supple tyre that feels amazing to ride. Owen plans to fit these to some wheels soon so watch this space.
Panaracer - GravelKing TLC Tyre - 700x32 / 700x35 / 700x38
Panaracer have a reputation within the industry for producing some fantastic high performance but well priced tyres, and the GravelKing has been a firm favourite with riders for quite some time!
The new GravelKing TLC (Tubeless Compatible) tyre comes in a range of sizes (700x32, 700x35 and 700x38) in a slick tread version - making it perfect for road bikes that have frame and fork clearance for such wide tyres.
However, if you’re looking for something with more of an aggressive tread pattern you may want to consider the GravleKing SK TLC instead, which is designed with a tougher road surface and terrain in mind.
If you find yourself looking at tan-walled tyres and sighing ‘tan wall is sooo 2018’ under your breath then the funky colour options from Panaracer might just catch your eye… whether they’ll match your bike is another thing entirely! But on some setups these tyres look totally kick ass.
The Panaracer GravelKing TLC Colour Editions are available in both the slick and SK versions in 700x32 or 700x38 and in the following colourways:
Military Green - Black Sidewalls or Tan Sidewalls
Nile Blue - Black Sidewalls or Tan Sidewalls
Challenge - Strada Bianca TLR Tyre - 700x36
If you’re looking at riding on some really rough and ready roads then the Challenge Strada Bianca TLR tan-walled tyre might be the option for you.
Only available in a 700x36 this beefy tyre is made for offering comfort on lumpy terrain.
It’s a great looking tyre and sure not to let you down, just such a shame that it’s not available in a narrower size… yet!
Compass - Bon Jon Pass Tubeless Compatible Tyre - 700x35
Despite producing tan walled tyres in a 700x26 (Cayuse Pass), a 700x28 (Chinook Pass) and a 700x32 (Stampede Pass) none of these options from Compass are branded TC (Tubeless Compatible).
Their first TC tyre in the range is the Compass Bon Jon Pass in a 700x35. However, sourcing these tyres in the UK may be a little tricky and may require some research!
If you’re looking for wider options they also have tan-walled TC options in a 700x38, 700x44 and a 700x55!
Can’t I Just….?
Stop - stop right there. If what you’re going to ask is ‘can’t I just run standard tan-walled clinchers and run them tubeless?’ then our answer would be no!
Firstly, a number of tan-wall tyres have sidewalls made from a different material - a more porous material - which means your ‘homemade’ tubeless setup will have tyres that constantly leak sealant and/or air.
Secondly, there’s a reason why some tyres are branded tubeless and others aren’t. The construct of both the rim and the tyre bead need to be spot on to safely support a tubeless setup. No one wants their tyre to suddenly lose pressure, or worse, blow off the bloody rim - especially while the rider is on the bike! We’ve seen wheels pringled and rendered useless by tubeless setups gone wrong in other workshops - and that’s without a rider on them. Believe me, when they go, they go!
While we are aware that some riders have made a tubeless setup from products not branded as tubeless compatible (predominantly on mountain bikes) it is not something we would advocate and it is not something we will assist with here in the workshop.
If you want a tubeless setup and you want us to do it for you we’re more than happy to do so - but ALL products involved must be tubeless compatible.