Muc-Off have released the findings of their global ‘Puncture Survey’ as part of a wider launch of their new Tubeless & Puncture Protection Hub.
Sent out to Muc-Off’s global email database, this survey centred around gaining insights on their customers’ approaches to tubeless and puncture repair with drilled down questions around puncture frequency, techniques for fixing and preventing punctures and inner tube vs tubeless set ups. With over five thousand respondents spanning fifty countries, the data represents a broad overview of cycling enthusiasts worldwide.
The survey showed that on average, riders get one puncture roughly every 8-months, and that a massive 79% of riders experienced more punctures whilst riding with inner tubes, when compared to their experience with tubeless. One in three riders have experienced a ‘ride-ending’ puncture in the last three years, with riders based in Australia and Ireland the most likely to have their ride ended by a flat, a fate suffered by only 18% of Belgian riders.
Gravel riders have more punctures than MTB and road cyclists, with an average of 4.52 punctures over the last three years of riding. Roadies aren’t far behind at 4.45 punctures, with Mountain bikers faring best with 3.82 every three years – that equates to an extra six weeks between flats.
Of the total five thousand plus respondents, only 38% were found to be running with inner tubes on their most frequently used bike, however, a massive 91% of those, the majority of them road riders, stated they were interested in converting to tubeless. When inner tube users were asked what the main reasons for not running tubeless were, not having tubeless-ready wheels and/or tyres was the primary reason, which was the case for one in three. 25% of respondents stated they either don’t understand what’s involved with setting up tubeless, or that they feel the set-up would be too difficult. Interestingly, the survey found that mountain bikers and gravel riders were twice more likely than roadies to understand how to set tubeless up.
“We’re all riders here at Muc-Off, so we’ve had our fair share of punctures over the years. It’s the reason we developed our tubeless and puncture protection range back in 2017 with the goal of making set-up and maintenance as painless as possible. With this survey showing results that 60% of our audience have converted to a tubeless set up, that’s a good indicator that we’re achieving that goal. Once a cyclist goes tubeless for the first time, they rarely ever look back, so our aim with this survey and with the launch of our new Tubeless & Puncture Protection Hub, is to educate riders, to break down those initial barriers and provide them with the right tools and information, so they can join the tubeless revolution and enjoy more puncture-free riding,”said Alex Trimnell, Muc-Off CEO.
In terms of the puncture repair tools and accessories that riders carry with them on the bike, the most common item was a tyre lever, with 3 in 4 taking a set along for the ride. Over half of all respondents said they carry a spare inner tube, a pump, a puncture repair kit, and/or a CO2 cartridge with them, with non-tubeless riders carrying significantly more items with them on rides vs those running a tubeless set up.
Unsurprisingly, the most common reason tubeless riders liked running tubeless was that they got fewer punctures, followed closely by it providing increased comfort (72%), whilst some stated that they liked the ‘improved traction’ (42%), ‘improved rolling resistance’ (35%), as well as the ‘weight saving’ (35%) tubeless provides.
Beyond the disadvantages of inner tubes in terms of punctures highlighted by the survey, there’s also the environmental impact to consider. Aside from the initial production and global shipping of inner tubes, Muc-Off’s survey found riders have to replace them on average every 8 months. Statistica* recorded 6.5m active cyclists in the UK in 2021, so combining this with Muc-Off’s survey data, the 38% of those running inner tubes used and discarded 3.5m of them last year – that’s enough rubber to wrap three tyres around Planet Earth every year, just from the inner tubes of UK cyclists! On top of this, Muc-Off’s audience of cycling enthusiasts will have an increased likelihood of tubeless adoption compared to the national average, meaning the true number of discarded inner tubes is likely to be much higher.
Back in 2018, Muc-Off commissioned Intertek, a global leader in Total Quality Assurance, to create a CO2 impact report of their Tubeless Sealant. The report found the product to be carbon positive, meaning it has a greater environmental benefit than the impact of its production. Intertek found “If one million tyres per year used Muc-Off tyre sealant instead of inner tubes, the CO2 saving would be an estimated 0.4122 million Kg CO2 per year”. Read the full report here.
Whether it’s the environmental benefits, the reduced likelihood of getting a puncture, the increased riding comfort from lower tyre pressures, the improved traction, or the fact that riders can carry less with them on a ride, the survey results demonstrate that riders running a tubeless set up enjoy a huge number of advantages over those with inner tubes.
Following the results of the survey, Muc-Off has launched a Tubeless & Puncture Protection Hub, with the aim of further supporting the one in four riders who either don’t understand the benefits of tubeless or feel overwhelmed by the prospect of converting. The hub, which is live now, features curated ‘how-to’ guides, videos, product demonstrations, and even a virtual mechanic, and is designed to educate riders on everything from puncture repair through to how to complete a full tubeless set-up.
The Tubeless & Puncture Protection Hub continues Muc-Off’s mission of breaking down the barriers to riders looking to convert, making tubeless technology accessible to riders of all levels, across all disciplines.