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Tubeless Rims Explained

Pretty much all clincher wheels can be used with tubeless specific tires with the addition of a Stan’s No Tubes type of rim strip and valve stem but there are three versions.


UST_150.jpgUST (Universal Standard Tubeless) system developed in 1999 by Mavic, Michelin, and Hutchinson and licensed to others uses a specific bead shape that mates with a specific patented internal rim shape.  This was the first tubeless clincher system.




Conventional_150.jpgAfter the development of the UST system, companies like Stan’s figured out you could use a tubeless specific tire with almost all clincher rims as long as you covered up the spoke holes and put a valve stem in the rim.  I asked the then head of Hutchinson USA if this were true (many years ago) and he told me Hutchinson had contractual relations with Mavic so he could not comment.  My carbon clinchers and A230 wheels fit into this category.  If ease of tire mounting is a priority for you this would be the rim profile you would prefer.


TubelessCompatible_150.jpgA third type is the Tubeless Compatible rim which is similar to a UST rim in that it has very high shoulders.  These shoulder help prevent a tubeless tire from coming off in the event of a flat.  They also provide a ramp for the bead to slide up to help provide a better seal for a tubeless tire.

My A310 and A220 clinchers wheels fit into this category.  If you know you will be running tubeless, these are a good choice.


All three systems work and all three can be run with or without tubes.  The tubeless compatible rim are a little harder to mount tires onto because of the higher shoulder of the rim but they help aid inflation and create a better seal when used with tubeless tires.