Q: I want to try a larger road tire and experiment with lower tire pressure. Can I use my older wheels with “narrow” rims, or do I need to invest in new wheels, too? Also, if I can use my old wheels, is it okay to put a tubeless tire on a non-tubeless rim with a tube?
A: This is a great question, and in short, yes. You can definitely use your old wheels with a larger-volume tire. A wider rim profile can offer better overall performance but is not mandatory. If you try it and the new size is something you are planning to stay with, then I would recommend a wider internal rim profile, maybe 19–22mm for most road applications. This can boost the volume of that tire, so make sure you will still have room in the rear triangle and between the fork legs.
As far as a tubeless tire on a non-tubeless rim, that is also a yes. Just ensure you do not try to modify your old rim to run tubeless. Using a tube in a tubeless tire is no problem at all. Some tubeless tires can be a bit snug, but proper installation technique makes it easy enough. If all works out and you do decide to go for a wheel upgrade, choosing a set that is tubeless-compatible is a great idea, too.
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