How To Fit Tubeless MTB Tyres | Mountain Bike Maintenance
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How To Fit Tubeless MTB Tyres | Mountain Bike Maintenance


Okay, so we’re going to talk about
converting from a regular setup with a tire and a tube to a tubeless setup. The
main advantages of tubeless is that you take away any risk of puncturing by
pinching the tube. That means you can start running lower tire pressure, so you
might find more grip. It’s also going to be a little bit lighter, so you’ve got
less rotating mass on there, makes a really big difference to how your bike
rides. It’ll make the bike feel more nimble. To convert a regular setup with a
normal rim that isn’t tubeless-specific, to tubeless, you’re going to
need a few little bits and pieces. We’ve got some universal valves that
are specially made for tubeless kits, some tire sealant, and either a rim tape,
or you can actually use this sort of gaffer tape or duct tape which is really
narrow, really, really strong. So there’s two options, really, for rim tape. Step
one is taking off your tire and tube to get it down to the rim, where we’re
going to need to put a tape on there to convert it to tubeless. Tire and
tube are off, you probably want to keep that tube as a spare anyway,
because although you’re taking away any risk of puncturing by pinching
that tube, you might end up putting a little hole in that tire, which means
that tire isn’t going to seal once it’s tubeless. So keep a spare tube anyway
and take that on rides just in case. Make sure that the inside of the
rim is nice and clean and dry, because this is where the tape needs to
stick. You can get tubeless-specific rims, where you won’t get these holes for the
spokes. The spokes actually joins the rim to the outside, so they’re completely
solid, so you’re not going to need that tape like we’re using today. This is
a more standard rim, I would say, where we’re going to actually wrap
the tape to cover these holes. So, now let’s look at getting this tape
on there. There’s different theories for where you should start. I always go
to the opposite side of the wheel from the valve hole, where you’ll find the
weld of the rim. Start off there, wrap it ’round nice and tight, and then
overlap it when I come back around here. That way I just have one
nice layer of tape in that valve area, so that when I push the valve
through, it should be nice and clean. Now, push your thumb in nice and
firmly on that tape to get it in there, and this is where I like to put
quite a lot of tension on that tape. So I’m really pulling it with
my right hand to get that tape stretched out and get it right
down the middle of that rim. Once you’ve gone right around
the rim and overlapped it slightly, now use a sharp Stanley blade and
just cut that tape nice and square. Now that that rim tape’s on there,
we need to get this valve into the rim. I’ve always used a Stanley blade to
do this and just carefully put a nice little hole in that rim tape. Some people
don’t recommend that, because if you put too big a hole in, it might keep
growing, which’ll cause you a bit of an air leak down there. But I’ve never
had a problem with that. As long as you’re really careful and put a nice small hole
in that rim tape, you should be fine. So find your valve hole. Actually, with
this rim tape, I can just about see through it, and there’s my valve
hole. Put a nice little hole in there, don’t have to go too big, so, this
valve is now just going to push through there and through the rim.
Once that’s through, you need to use that little lock nut to tighten
that down. Tighten that up relatively firm so that you’ve got a nice
seal between that and the tape. What I do now is get the tire fully on
there, dry, before I put any sealant in, just to check for fit. If that tire is too
baggy on the rim, meaning it goes on really easily, it probably isn’t
going to pump up very easily, because you need a good seal
between the tire and the rim surface. If it is baggy, I take the tire off, take
the valve back out and actually fit another layer of tape on there. That’s
going to increase the circumference of the inside rim and make it a tighter
fit between the tire and the rim. Obviously, if it’s really hard getting
that tire on there, that’s going to be a bit of a faff, but it should pump up
a lot easier and seal a lot better. With a bit of experience of fitting
tubeless tires, you get a feel and you’ll know if that tire is tight enough to seal
properly. If it’s not sealing, it can be really frustrating, I’ve had that. It’s
especially hard sometimes when you’ve got a tire that’s been sat folded like this.
The bead isn’t going to sit very well to begin with on that rim, so a little
trick is to take that tire back off and actually just fit a tube. Pump that
tire up, get that bead to pop onto the rim so it’s really nice and tight. Then let
that tube down and just sneak that tube out of one side of the tire, so leave one
side of the tire popped into that bead, use the tire lever to remove the other
side of the tire, pull that tube off and start again. So, actually, this
one side of the tire has already sat in that bead, and you’ve got a pretty
decent seal there. That should help with you then trying to pop the
tire onto that tubeless system. There’s two ways of getting the sealant
in. The way I tend to use is get most of the tire on, go right around, you
have a little bit of your tire open like that. On the back of the bottle
will be a volume marker, and it’ll tell you how much of this to put in for your
tire size. And that’s the way I put it in. Pour it straight into the tire like
that. The alternative method, maybe you’d use this if your tire was
really tight to get on, you just get that tire onto that rim. Then you can use
one of these to put the sealant actually through the valve and into the
tire, but for me that’s a little bit more faff. Generally, just pouring
it into the tire’s the way I do it. Give this a real good shake before you
put it in. I’ve poured the sealant in. Now what I do is roll that tire around so
that sealant’s going to sit in the bottom of that tire, so hopefully I’m not going
to get too messy when I finish off getting that tire on the rim. Now let’s try
pumping that tire up. This is the moment of truth, the really frustrating part
sometimes where it doesn’t seal. There’s another little trick to this. Try
it first as it is. If you can’t get it to seal, take out the inside of this valve
core. It’s going to give you more air flow into there, and you might get a better
chance of popping that tire and getting it to seal. Obviously your tire isn’t going
to stay up, because you haven’t got the valve core in, once you take the pump
off the air’s going to come back out, but hopefully by that point you’ll
have that bead sat on the rim nicely, so when you put the valve
core back in, it should work. I’m using a track pump. I’m in a really
nice workshop here at Bad Ass Bikes. They’ve got a really fancy Snap-on
compressor there. I would be using that normally, but to help you guys out, I’m
doing it the hard way to show you it’s possible with just the track pump,
hopefully. Oh, that’s what we want. Start hearing the tire pop onto the rim, and I
keep going up to about 50 psi to get that tire sat on the bead. Now it’s a good idea
to wipe any of that excess sealant off, and give that tire a nice roll around, or
a good spin, just to get that sealant working around the tire and filling
any little gaps there might be. I’ll leave that tire nice and firm until I
want to ride it, because if I’m leaving the bike overnight I’ll leave it at 50
psi. You might find that it does go down overnight, but on that first ride you’ll
spin that sealant around, and it should be fine after that. So if you are struggling
to get that tire to seat properly on that rim, there’s four tricks. First is that
inner tube trick of pumping that tire up first, get that one side of the tire sat
on there nicely. The next one is to make that tire tighter by putting more rim tape
around. Another one is to take that valve core out so you get a better flow of
air in there, or lastly, you can use a compressor to get a big blast of air
in there. Also, CO2 cartridge to pump your tire up quick, or there’s these
things on the market now called Airshots, little cylinder that’ll give you a big
blast of air to get your tire seated. There you are, ready to roll. If you
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