​10 Tips for Tubeless Tyre Success – Mounting, Repair and Maintenance

Schwalbe G-One Tubeless Tyres
Tubeless tyres offer a huge number of advantages over their tubed counterparts – including greater grip, puncture resistance, and a lower rolling resistance. To find out more about the benefits of tubeless, have a read of my post 'Going Tubeless on Road Tyres'.

However, tubeless tyres can be a right pain... most notably to fit, but also when they do not seal out on the road or trails. After fitting more tubeless tyres than I care to count, and having plenty of dramas of my own, I thought I would share some Top Tips for Tubeless: for mounting, repairing and maintaining the tubeless system.


1. Mounting – Use Two Wraps of Tubeless Rim Tape

Most tubeless conversion kits recommend one compete wrap of the sealing tape (such as Stan's Yellow Tape). I recommend doing two wraps.

You will use twice as much tape, and add a tiny amount of weight; but the added friction on the tyre bead and the better coverage of the rim bed makes it far easier to inflate the tyre. It also makes it less likely that the rim tape will lift up over time, which causes sealant and air to leak into the spoke holes.

How many wraps of tubeless rim tape?



2. Mounting – Lubricate the Tyre Bead

Because tubeless tyres are designed to be tight fitting it can be tricky to get them to evenly seat around the rim. Using something like a little washing-up liquid on a sponge and wipe it around the tyre bead before mounting—it will allow the bead to slip into place more easily.



3. Mounting – First Inflate with an Inner Tube to Seat the Bead

If you are struggling to get the tyre bead to 'pop' onto the rim, try inflating the tyre first with an inner tube—so that it pops into place (you can pump it up hard). You can then deflate the tyre and remove the inner tube, but leave one of the tyre beads engaged with the rim—meaning you have only got one side to 'pop' into place when you inflate it tubeless.

tubeless tyre fitting tips



4. Mounting – Hang to Inflate

If you rest the wheel on the floor when you are trying to inflate it, the the bottom of the tyre bead is pushed into the rim cavity (reducing the seal), and the top of the tyre bead is pushed away from the wheel (also reducing the seal). To avoid this, hang the tyre up with a strap when you are inflating it.

It is also worth positioning the valve at either 5 or 7 o'clock. This has the effect of pushing the tyre closer to the rim near the valve, but also means you are not pumping air directly into the pool of sealant at the bottom of the tyre (that makes a mess)! This technique aids easier inflation and also means the bead is more likely to seat evenly on the rim.

tubeless mounting tips



5. Mounting – Shake it like a Polaroid Picture

After successfully seating your tyre make sure the sealant covers all areas within the tyre cavity by giving it a proper good shake. Spin it, shake it, bounce it—splash that sealant about.



6. Use a Compressor Chamber Pump

Using a compressor chamber pump like the Lezyne Pressure Overdrive Pump is a fast way to get a lot of air into a tubeless tyre—helping with that initial 'pop' seal.




7. Repair – Use a 'Worm'

Tubeless sealant should seal around pointy objects that piece your tyre, but it can struggle with cuts and gashes. Use a "worm" and needle to plug bigger holes, then let the sealant do its magic around it.

Check out the Pro Bike Tool Tubeless Repair Kit review here

Tubeless tyre plug
'The Worm' - a simply sticky strip that you plug a hole with—to make it small enough for the tubeless sealant to work its magic



8. Repair – Big Cuts Need Tubes. Do Not Forget One.

Sometimes tubeless just cannot handle the damage to a tyre, or the sealant runs out. In this case, make sure you have a spare tube to put in the tyre (remember to remove any offending objects in the tyre first). I often carry two tubes and a spare set of instant patches, because if you puncture far from home, then it is quite possible that the tube you put in the damaged tyre will get punctured itself.



9. Maintenance – Check Sealant Levels

Latex sealant dries up over time. This is especially true in tyres which have suffered (and sealed) punctures in the past, or those that are not tubeless specific so have porous sidewalls. Check your tubeless tyre sealant regularly to make sure it is topped-up and ready to seal.

Tubeless tyre sealant



10. Maintenance – Fresh Air Following CO2

Carbon dioxide has the effect of shortening the curing time of latex sealant significantly, which means that if you use a CO2 canister you will end up with dried-up sealant in your tyre before very long. To overcome this, if you do use CO2 then let the majority of it out at the end of the ride; then re-inflate the tyre with a floor pump so the air is "fresh".



Persevere.

Finally, I would like to re-iterate that tubeless is worth it. I have converted to tubeless tyres on all of my bikes now: MTB, Road, Gravel, Touring, and CX. It significantly reduces punctures and improves handling and performance. Stick at it. I hope these tips make it easier.

It is worth persevering, even though it can be tricky at times. I hope these tips make it a bit easier.

>> Read Tubeless Tyre and Sealant Reviews here <<

Tubeless Tyre Success

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