Interbike 2012: Schwalbe Develops Road Tubeless Ultremo ZX Tire

Schwalbe Ultremo ZX road tubeless bicycle tire

Schwalbe’s dipping their toes into the Road Tubeless market slowly but surely. The Ultremo ZX Tubeless will be available in limited numbers in February or March, with greater inventory expected by summer.

Weight is about 290g, pricing isn’t final but should be about $100. Only available in 700x23c and only in black. They’ve been testing it under Fabian Cancellara and RadioShack Nissan team riders. Their rep said the benefits they’re seeing comes not just from less flats, but generally less rolling resistance and better traction and comfort by running slightly lower pressures. That said, these are rated for 70-130psi, a pretty high limit for Road Tubeless.

Comments

MattS - 09/25/12 - 8:28pm

25mm version soon, please! Then a 28, and so on.

Jdog - 09/25/12 - 11:41pm

I recently recieved a new dealer newsletter from schwalbe. In this letter I was happy to read that their tubeless road tire tested out to be their fastest tire. Are you listening zipp and Mavic?? Hello??

Laurens - 09/26/12 - 7:48am

I have been riding Hutchinson’s Atom Tubeless tires (23mm) on DT’s Tricon road wheels for 1.5 seasons – and I am a road tubeless believer ever since. Significantly more comfort and/or control on bumpy road surfaces, resulting in less fatigue and more joy of riding – as I could ride with 6.5bar pressure rather than 9bar when riding clinchers with an inner tube. But without any additional rolling resistance, which is the real clue here. What else do you want on a road bike?

To me, road tubeless clearly is the way to go for amateur and casual road bike riders. And also for cobbled classics, by the way. Tubulars are too much of a hassle in handling, and in combination with rim brakes they can be dangerous, as the glue might fail when the rim heats up on long descents.

carl - 09/26/12 - 8:33am

I don’t want to sound too negative here, BUT…… wait until you get your first flat tire out on the road and have to fight getting the tire off the rim while sealant is making a mess of EVERYTHING! You still have to carry around a tube and a means of filling it AND with the weight of the tire being 290 grams plus the weight of 4 oz of STAN (about 112 grams) and what have you gained??? Really, a somewhat better ride? Maybe? Keep it simple people.

JTM - 09/26/12 - 10:11am

4oz of Stan’s in a road tire?! I run that much for my 26×3.8 fat bike tires (2 oz for my 29er). Yes, you have to carry a spare tube and a means to inflate but after experiencing the benefits of tubeless for several years on dirt I can attest that the pros far out weigh the cons.

carl - 09/26/12 - 11:03am

@JTM – I agree that on dirt it can be beneficial….. allowing you to run low tire pressures. And in off road racing it’s the only way to go (until you have a “burp” anyway). If you flat in a race your day is probably over anyway so the downsides are the same whether you’re running tube or tubeless. But for casual road riders it is very much like riding tubi’s…. great, until you flat. Ever try to re-seat a tubeless tire bead on a rim with dried sealant on it’s bead track by the side of the road? If you like them GREAT! But it’s not for everyone…. new and improved isn’t always new and IMPROVED. Sometimes, yes….. but not always.

InsightTree - 09/26/12 - 11:11am

@Carl – KISS = fewest points of failure.
fewest points of failure = least number of parts prone to failure.
least number of parts = rim + tire + valve.
Rim + tire + valve = tubeless.

Don’t even have to use sealant if you don’t want, let alone 4oz of it.

If you are not capable of a tire change, carrying a spare and handpump, or noting the ride difference, don’t adopt tubeless. But do not decry the concept as foolhardy, because others who would benefit from tubeless may actually listen to you.

MarkV - 09/26/12 - 12:04pm

I like that more companies like schwalbe are getting on board with road tubeless. It does offer benefits over standard clinchers (ride, rolling resistance, less flats and better tire life). After a couple years on Hutchi’s, I recently put on a set of IRC Pro Formula Tubeless on and love these tires! To appreciate this technology you really need to ride it and decide for yourself, the armchair critics have nothing but negatives to say about road tubeless.

Mark - 09/26/12 - 12:32pm

Carl, I don’t remember having too much difficulty with the mounting of my tubeless hutchinsons. I did need levers, which I carry along with a tube but otherwise it was pretty painless and I don’t expect having to tube-up would be much of a fuss.
fwiw, I probably used less than 2oz of sealant per tire that by now will likely be more or less completely dry.

The ride quality is really good. rolling resistance seems very low, and I’ve hammered them through some dirt road descents at speed. nary a problem.

bummer if your experience has been less than awesome but I’m a fan and would recommend them.

Carl - 09/26/12 - 1:38pm

Funny… I don’t recall saying I’ve never ridden them (I have). But I did say they may not be for everyone. I work in a shop (and have since the late 70′s) and stand by my comment…”if you like them,GREAT! But it’s not for everyone”.

jdog - 09/26/12 - 9:54pm

If you flat w/ tubeless you do the same dance that you would do on the MTB.

You just throw a tube in it.

Tubeless road tires are smooth and simple. You eliminate the most common types of flats possible and add great confidence that you can ride farther from home w/o issue. You can still flat them for sure, but anything that would flat a tubeless road tire would also certainly destroy a standard clincher or tubular. We all scoffed at tubeless on mtbs at 1st too. The benefits are the same or greater.

Not to sound completely sexist, but many women love tubeless road since they add a lever of protection that a standard clincher does not offer. Consider that some riders are calling for a ride w/ any type of flat.

hollywood - 09/28/12 - 1:12pm

Carl is right…
and silly at the same time.
OF COURSE not all systems are for everyone. [eyes rolling]. Your Rivendale isn’t for everyone, either! ;-)
I’ve been commuting/training/racing on tubeless road since Shimano came out with them- have had FAR fewer flats..none of them have been from the annoying little bits of steelbelted tire wire that put invisible pin holes in your tubes and stay stuck in your tires despite your best intention resulting in more flats. IMO any difficulty (and there is really not much difference) with dealing with tubeless when out on the road is totally outweighed by the near removal of flats from my riding experience.

Now let’s talk about the vastly improved road feel….

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