Today clincher tyres are standard for bicycles. See Tyre Construction. The wire bundle in the tyre bead prevents the tyre from expanding with the pressure and thus from jumping off the rim. Clincher is the international designation for this
type of tyre.
A folding tyre is a special version of the clincher tyre. The wire bundle is replaced by a bundle of Kevlar strands. This enables the tyre to be folded up and depending on the tyre size, makes it approx. 50-90 g lighter.
In a tubular tyre, also referred to as Tubular or Collé, the tube is sewn directly into the tyre. The tyre is then glued onto a special rim.
Many professional road racers still swear by them, claiming that they provide a better “feeling” and that the tyres have more “life”, i.e. better comfort and smoother cornering. At least with regard to rolling resistance, this assumption is now
outdated. Modern folding tyres have certainly caught up with tubular tyres in terms of rolling resistance and roll even easier.
However, a clear advantage of tubular tyres lies in their run-flat capability. Even with a flat, the tyre stays on the rim. The rider can safely stop without losing control of the bicycle, or even slowly ride on until the team car arrives.
Tubular tyres are an option to reduce weight on a wheel. As a tubular tyre rim does not need pressure retaining sidewalls, it is easier to construct. The tubular tyre itself weighs approximately the same as a folding tyre and its tube.
The drawback of tubular tyres is its fitting. Sticking the tyre onto the rim with glue is much more awkward than fitting a clincher tyre. Furthermore, the tubular tyre cannot be repaired easily like a tube. Smaller defects can be repaired with a puncture protection liquid. Otherwise, the entire tubular tyre must be changed. Also, the manufacturing process is more labor intensive. That is why top quality tubular tyres are so expensive.
As the name implies the tubeless system needs no tube. The tyre and the rim are made in such a way that fitting them together provides an airtight seal. Special tyres and rims are necessary.
We at Schwalbe are convinced however: Tubeless is the tyre technology of the future. When it comes down to best performance on the bike, the tubeless technology brings clear advantages, no matter whether MTB, road bike or touring
bike. For all ambitious cyclists tubeless is the right choice.
Tubeless tyres provide clear advantages in speed, comfort, grip and puncture protection. They avoid unnecessary friction between tyres and tubes, which reduces the rolling resistance even more than with super light competition tyres. Tubeless tyres can be used with a lower inflation pressure without compromising performance. That brings clear advantages in comfort as well as clearly more control in critical situations and on trails with poor surfaces. At the same time, tubeless systems provide a high puncture protection. The danger of blowouts is clearly reduced. A sudden loss of air pressure caused by a burst tube or a valve tear off is excluded. What is more, tubeless systems function perfectly together with puncture protection liquids. Punctures are re-sealed within milliseconds.
Tubeless Ready tyres are not tubeless tyres. By using sealing liquid in a special process they can, however, be converted into tubeless tyres. Schwalbe Tubeless Ready tyres have a coated tyre bead which has a special shape. This provides a good sealing with the rim and a perfect fit.
Tubeless Easy is the name of the latest variant of Tubeless Ready tyres. A new monofilament texture on the sidewalls (SnakeSkin) ensures an extremely light tubeless conversion. The usage of sealing liquid is necessary, but the fitting is as easy as with genuine tubeless tyres. There are no long conversion processes with intensive shaking and repeated inflating.
Tubeless Easy is the standard for state-of-the-art MTB tyres from Schwalbe (Evolution Line). Tubeless Easy has replaced the existing tubeless tyres as well as the Tubeless Ready design.
The conversion from normal tyres into tubeless tyres is something road racers have been practicing for quite a long time. With the Schwalbe Tubeless Ready and Tubeless Easy tyres this conversion is significantly easier. The special tyre bead provides an immediate sealing with the rim and a perfect fit. In the case of normal tyres the sealing in the area of the rim is very problematic, as it often works only by using a compressor and takes a lot of patience. Often, it takes several days until this transition area is actually sealed. There is also an increased risk of the tire coming off, as the tyre cores are not designed for being used as tubeless tyres.
Due to the necessary high inflation pressure for a road bike, it is absolutely impossible to convert classic tyres to tubeless tyres. A normal tyre bead will not withstand these forces and the tyre will almost certainly come off. Be sure to only use tyres which are designed for tubeless fitting!