To my way of thinking, there are three main things that will need to happen for tubeless technology to reach to the furthest levels of cycling that it could.
- System Approach: There will need to necessarily be a universal, systemic approach to tubeless ready tires, rims, and sealant. It isn't this way now. There is UST, and variants. There is Stan's. There is Bontrager's "TLR". There is "Everybody Else In Between". This won't do. Somehow or another, these systems need to be weeded out to one, or two at most, systems. I like UST dimension tires and rims and how they lightly "pop" into place with each other and how the bead seat in the rim and the bead diameter of the tire, and its shape, are tightly controlled. It is a really easy to use system, and works brilliantly. Bontrager's is up there too, but there is one big issue: a four letter word spelled "T-R-E-K". No other bicycle company will use TLR due to this. It's really too bad too, since it is a brilliant system, works with regularity and simplicity, and is not very expensive. Then there is Stan's, which is really the "turn your non-tubeless tires to tubeless" system and always has been. This won't do either. Until the industry adopts a universal standard, we're stuck with chaos as far as tubeless tech taking over the tubed world.
- Sealant Technology: Sealant technology hasn't fundamentally changed since Stan Koziak brewed his elixir in the pits of NORBA races in the 90's. This will have to change if tubelessness for the masses ever happens. There needs to be sealant that lasts over a year without drying up in the hottest climates, and still seals holes up to a 1/4 inch in diameter. If that happens, then we can talk.
- Ease Of Use: UST supposedly is a technology that you can use without resorting to tools. Well, in theory anyway. That is not always true. Great tubeless set ups can be aired up with a measly, poor quality floor pump. But again- this is not always the case. Users should not have to resort to metal tire levers and compressors to set up tubeless tires if it ever is going to be acceptable for average, everyday cycling.
Too bad too. Because if tubeless technology were made more universal, easier, and better, it would get more people's butts on bikes than there are now. That's what I think.