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Converting Standard Wheels to Tubeless

Tubeless tires have many advantages over standard tubed setups. They offer increased grip, lower weight, and lower the chances of pinch-flats. If you’ve been considering making the change to tubeless, this guide will show you how to adapt your current wheels easily and quickly.

The Joeblow booster pump and a recently converted wheel.

The Joeblow booster pump and a recently converted wheel.

Materials needed:

163146-01Tubeless ready tire(s). While the vast majority of modern tires will allow you to run tubeless, some lower-quality or older tires just have too many perforations in the rubber to properly seal. If you’re unsure of whether your tires are tubeless compatible, check with your local bike shop.

WTB Trailblazer+ tire.
LTP part number: 163146-01
MSRP: $90.00

 

166820-02Tubeless rim tape, or a rimstrip/valve combo. We recommend Stans tape or rimstrips.

Stans Yellow Rim Tape
LTP part number: 166820-02/05
MSRP: $21.99 – $27.99 (10 yards)

 

 

168825-03Tubeless valve(s). These valves replace the valve in your tube, and are built to easily seal to the rim surface.

Stans Presta Valve Stems
LTP part number: 168825-03
MSRP: $23.99

 

 

166815-02Sealant. Again, Stans brand sealant is our favourite, but you just need a fluid in your tires to help seal the bead and any small holes that you might cause while riding.

Stans Solution Tire Sealant
LTP part number: 166815-01
MSRP: $26.99 (5 tires worth)

 

 

176346-01Air compressor or tubeless pump. While an air compressor is handy to have around, not all of us want the noise or expense at home.

Topeak provides a handy solution with the Booster pump. This pump has a chargeable air chamber which can provide a large volume of air at a constant pressure to seat tubeless tires with ease. Once seated, you can switch to regular pump mode and use the accurate gauge to set your desired tire pressure.

Topeak JoeBlow Booster Pump
LTP part number: 176346-01
MSRP: $199.99

 

 

 

And don’t forget:

-Cutting device (to punch a hole through the rimstrip for the valve, and to cut the tape.

-Safety eyewear and ear protection

 

Time taken: Around 15 minutes per wheel for your first time.

Instructions:

  1. Clean your rim to ensure there’s no moisture or dirt to prevent the tape sticking.
  2. Stretch the tape tight onto the rim as you apply it. Start opposite the valve hole, and finish with about 2 to 4 inches of overlap.
  3. Punch a small hole through the strip at the rim hole, and stick the valve through. Make sure to tighten the valves lock nut securely.
  4. Mount your tire, leaving a small section unmounted so you can put sealant in.
  5. Add sealant to the tire by pouring 3-4 ounces into the tire. Ensure you shake the bottle well before using it, and check the instructions on the bottle to determine the right amount of fluid for your tire size.
  6. Once the sealant is in, seat the tire bead. I like to shake the tire around to make sure the sealant is coating the inside of the tire.
  7. The hardest part about sealing a tire is getting enough air in at once to seat the bead. You actually have to force it to click in to the hook of the rim. A pump like the Topeak JoeBlow Booster is our recommended method of seating tires.
  8. Expect to hear some clicking and popping as the tire seats to the rim. While it sounds terrifying, you can take comfort in the ear and eye protection that you are still wearing.

With your tire set up tubeless, you can feel confident experimenting with lower tire pressures for even more grip! Enjoy the increased traction on climbs and rough descents off road, and the more confidence-inspiring cornering grip on road. Your tubeless setup will likely be significantly lower weight than your previous tubed setup, and this lower rotational weight means quicker accelerations and a more responsive feeling. Enjoy!

 


Derek Kidd BioFooter