Tutorial: Tubeless Tyre Conversion

Words by Team Cycles

on 07/02/2020 08:48:52

WHAT ARE TUBELESS TYRES?

After starting to be widely used on mountain bikes around 10 years ago, tubeless tyres have come a long way in their technology and are now the best option for many types of bikes, compared to using inner tubes. Tubeless tyres work by replacing the inner tube inside your wheel with a tubeless valve and rim tape to block the spoke holes, then sealant in your tyre prevents punctures for less down time and higher performance.

BENEFITS OF TUBELESS TYRES

1 IMPROVED RIDE & TRACTION

Tubeless tyres can be run at lower pressures as it’s not imperative to protect inner tubes from pinch punctures, this offers a smoother ride with better grip. Mountain bike tyre pressures can reduce to 20psi, giving better traction on rocky and rooty trails. Road bikes can be run down to 60psi, which is considerably lower than traditional pressures, so they smooth out rough roads and offer enhanced grip.

2 REDUCED TYRE WEIGHT

It goes without saying, saving weight on your bike has got to improve performance, right? By removing the inner tubes, even after adding in the sealant, you can save weight on your wheels. It might not be a large amount, but as it is rotating weight that you're saving, you spend less energy rotating a lighter wheel, and it’s worth three times any weight saving you make off static mass from parts like your frame.

3 LESS LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE A FLAT

When a tyre is punctured by a thorn or nail, the air pressure forces the tubeless sealant that runs around inside the tyre to the hole, where latex crystals cluster together and block it to form a scab on the inside of the tyre, repairing punctures of up to 6mm. A lot of the time this will happen without you even knowing you had a puncture, but sometimes it might need some help to seal. If the tyre deflates noticeably, you may need to remove the cause of the puncture, fill the tyre with more air and rotate the wheel to get the sealant to where it is needed. In nearly all cases, this will be enough to fix the puncture and keep riding.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED!

Below is list of everything you will need to convert your tyre to a tubeless setup, in addition to a step-by-step tutorial to help you with the process. If you are uncertain about this or don’t feel confident to do this yourself, our workshop can do it for you. Please see our Service & Repairs page for more information and pricing.

TUBELESS READY WHEELS

CHECK FOR COMPATIBILITY

Check your rim and tyre can be run tubeless, and that they are in good condition with no dents or tyre damage.

TUBELESS TYRE SEALANT

THE ESSENTIAL FORMULA

The tyre sealant is the essential part you will need for this conversion. Brands like Stan’s & Muc-Off are highly rated sealants.

TUBELESS VALVE

ANOTHER ESSENTIAL COMPONENT

This allows you to inflate your tubeless tyre, with a removable core to help with tricky tyres and to top up sealant.

VALVE CORE REMOVAL TOOL

AN OPTIONAL EXTRA

This removes the core to allow faster air flow for easier tubeless set and to allow adding more sealant at regular intervals.

TUBELESS INFLATOR

HELP FOR INFLATING TUBELESS TYRES

While a normal track pump can inflate many tubeless tyres, some tyre/rim combos need a little extra help.

STEP BY STEP GUIDE

STEP ONE

DEFLATE THE TYRE

Remove your wheel from the bike and let all the air out of the tyre so that it is fully deflated.

STEP TWO

REMOVE THE INNER TUBE

Once deflated, remove one side of the tyre off the rim and take out the inner tube. Use tyre levers if needed.

STEP THREE

REPLACE THE RIM TAPE

Check the rim tape is tubeless ready. If not, you’ll need to re-tape your rim with tubeless tape.

STEP FOUR

INSERT THE TUBELESS VALVE

Fit a tubeless valve into the rim and tighten up the lock ring to keep it in place.

STEP FIVE

DRY SETUP

If your tyre is still fixed onto the rim on one side, try fitting the second side onto the rim and see if you can pump up the tyre. A lot of tubeless tyre and rim combinations work well and will inflate with just a decent track pump. However, it may need a compressor or a chargeable cylinder to give a blast of air into the tyre to pop it into place, sometimes with a bang. (If it needs more help, see our tips below.)

STEP SIX

POUR IN SEALANT

If the tyre goes up easily with your track pump or inflation device, deflate it and break off a small part of the tyre so you can pour the sealant into the inside of the tyre. Check the sealant bottle for how much you’ll need for your size tyres. Do not rotate the tyre yet as this could get messy! If your tyre is more difficult to inflate, you can remove your valve core to pour the sealant in through the valve, so it doesn’t unseat itself and will be easier to pump back up.

STEP SEVEN

INFLATE THE TYRE

After popping the tyre back onto the rim, re-inflate the tyre. You’ll need to put more than the usual amount of pressure in to help the tyre seal, with the extra air forcing sealant into any small holes between the rim and tyre. (Make sure you don’t inflate it more than the maximum recommended for the rim.) Rotate the wheel around, moving the sealant inside over the entire circumference of the join between the tyre and rim on both sides, to make sure it gets everywhere. If you have time, leave it high overnight and check the pressures the next day. If it has gone down a lot, you may need to re-inflate and move the sealant inside the tyre again. If it is holding pressure, lower your pressures before riding.