Going Tubeless

Going Tubeless

What you need:

  1. Tubeless Valve Stems (ensure compatible valve stem height and that it comes with proper rubber grommets and orings on the valve nuts to ensure a good sealing)
  2. Tubeless Rim Tape (1-2mm wider than the internal width of rim) (Stans No Tubes)
  3. Tubeless Sealant (optional: syringe / tube if filling through valve)
  4. Presta Valve remover tool (if necessary)
  5. Tubeless Patching tool / kit

Installation

  1. Remove the stock rim tape
    1. (this is not designed to seal, its just to prevent tube from puncture)
  2. Clean the inside of rim & tires
    1. Remove old gunk/sealant/etc likely if tubeless was previously used – Use isopropyl alcohol or specific bike branded sealant remover
  3. Install tubeless specific rim tape
    1. Start the tape opposite of the valve stem (at the weld) and overlap the tape at the weld.
    1. Install the tape in sections, pulling firmly. 
    1. At the end, overlap the tape 3 – 4 inches. 
    1. Use a clean rag to smooth out the tape.
  4. Puncture the rim tape to accept valve stem
    1. Use an awl to carefully puncture a round hole
    1. Use a round file to remove excess tape around the valve hole if necessary.
  5. Install the tubeless Valve
    1. Tighten the valve nut finger tight (do not over tighten)
  6. Install the tire
    1. Match tire rotation direction & logo positions
    1. Set the first bead
    1. Set the second bead, starting opposite side of the valve

Dry Fit First?  Probably a good idea.

  • Spray or brush sidewalls of the (installed but deflated) tire with soapy water
    • This will help to lubricate the rubber and allow the bead to seat more easily.
  • Inflate the tire and listen for the beat to “pop.”
  • If the tire seats and holds pressure without any leaks, proceed to “Adding Sealant.” 
  • If the fit is too loose, or the tire is having trouble holding pressure:
    • Add another layer of tubeless rim tape to tighten up the fit between the rim and tire.
    • Use a Stan’s conversion strip for converting a non-tubeless rim to tubeless.

Installation con’t: Adding Sealant

  1. Remove the valve core, deflating the tire (if the bead doesn’t pop out at all, it’s a good sign)
  2. Shake sealant well!
  3. Install applicator to sealant bottle and connect it to the valve stem
  4. Squeeze in the proper amount of sealant
    1. This varies as new tires being installed and larger tires require more. 
    1. Measure it out referring to info on sealant bottle
      1. Stan's Recommendations:
      1. Tires 1.0 -2.4” wide fill with 60 m- 90 mL per tire
      1. Tires 2.5 – 4.0” wide fill with 90 – 120 mL per tire
    1. Riding and climate conditions also affect life span of sealant.  It’ll dry out more quickly in arid environment.
  5. Inflate the tire
    1. Check that the bead is still properly seated.  (A quick air blast may be necessary)
  6. Ensure the tire is fully and evenly seated
  7. Shake/rotate/bounce the wheel around to distribute the sealant throughout the tire & rim
  8. Lay the wheel flat on each side to help seal porous side walls
  9. Let sit overnight to ensure the tires are still holding air the next day

Done.

Tubeless Maintenance

General

  • Top off the sealant a couple times a year.  This is, of course, climate dependent. 
    • You should be able to hear the sealant sloshing around a bit when you rotate/shake the wheel
    • If you can’t hear anything:
      • It’s probably a good time to add more sealant
        - or -
      • Deflate the tire and peel back a portion of the tire to have a look inside

Temporary Puncture Fix

  • Fix punctures on the trail with a tubeless repair kit: 
    • Reamer to enlarge the hole to fit the plugs
    • Plugs aka soft & sticky rubber strips that you jam into the puncture hole

  • Sidewall splits on the trail require an inner tube to repair

  • After plugging larger holes with a puncture plug, at the end of the day/ride, to ensure the plug is more permanent: Cut the rubber flush with the outside of tire and apply some vulcanizing fluid to the outside of the tire. 
    • Follow steps below for an even more permanent fix (requires removing wheel and tire)


Permanent Puncture Fix

  1. Deflate the tire
  2. Remove the tire sealant (save it to reuse if you want)
  3. Clean the inside of tire
  4. Abrade the Patch area
  5. Apply the vulcanizing solution
  6. Patch the tire using a good amount of vulcanizing solution (on the inside and outside of tire’s puncture)
    - Shoe Goo can be utilized to seal punctures on outside of tire
    - Kits with rubber that can be cut down to size make it easy to make custom patches
  7. Let the patch dry fully before reinstalling

Notes:

  • Co2 inflation can sometimes not play well with sealants.  (need to research this more)
  • If air leaks from valve, the rubber grommet probably doesn’t fit the rim correctly (there is no standard size for these)
  • Tighten the valve nut to ensure proper seal at the valve
  • If there is slow leakage, add more sealant and let it sit for a while on both sides to allow the sealant to form a film coating the tire’s sidewalls.
  • Latex based sealants dry up quicker
  • ETRTO = European Tire and Rim Technical Organization
    • These rims are the standard non-tubeless compatible rims
  • What makes a rim “tubeless ready?”
    • More distinct bead seat (on the rims profile)
    • Shorter side walls
  • Most non-tubeless ready tires can be converted to tubeless in low pressure applications
    • That is, 45 psi or less
    • Don’t inflate a tire over 45psi unless it’s explicitly labelled for tubeless use
    • Don’t mess with converting high pressure road tires, it will likely be much more annoying

Products:

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