Sometimes a tubeless tire installation is more complicated than originally expected. It’s okay, it happens to the best of us. If you can’t get your tire to seat, it can be pretty frustrating; all you want to do is ride, and you can’t get the air to stay in your tire!
At Live to Play Sports, we’ve installed our fair share of tubeless tires, and not always successfully the first time. Over time we’ve discovered a few tricks to make life a little easier.
Here are some tools that will make your life easier:
Level 1: Valve core removal.
So you’ve got your tire on your rim, Stans solution and all, and it just won’t seal. The first trick to try is to remove the valve core, then use your compressor or Topeak JoeBlow Booster Pump to inflate the tire. Air can flow much faster into the tire without a valve core, forcing the tire into place more completely. Once the tire has popped into place, it will stay ‘clicked’ into the rim while you remove your inflation tool and rethread the core in place.
Level 2: Compress the tire into the rim.
For your tire to seat, the two tire beads have to fully interface with the hooks of the rim. If the sudden rush of air pressure inside the tire doesn’t do that, you can help the process by squeezing the outer circumference of the tire, forcing the sidewalls to bulge out and sit closer to the rim. To do this, use a ratchet strap, a series of nylon toe straps (which you should keep a collection of at all times, as they have more uses than duct tape), or any similar strapping system to compress the tire into the rim. When you go to inflate the tire, the beads will already be in place, increasing the chance of a positive connection the first time.
Level 3: Use a tube.
Okay, this one is a last resort because, let’s face it, you were hoping to be done with tubes for the foreseeable future. Sometimes a tire just won’t seat, and by stretching it into place overnight with a tube, you can avoid a ton of headache as you try to seat a tire that just isn’t interfacing correctly. Install the tire with a tube as you would normally, then remove the tube the next day and install the tubeless valve and sealant in its place.
With those three tricks, we’re confident that you can tackle any tubeless tire installation, no matter how stubborn the tire. There is one final trick to be aware of though: make sure to check that the tire is seated fully before putting the tools away. Occasionally a tire will seal to the rim well enough to hold air without being fully seated into the rim’s bead hook. If this happens, the tire will wobble as it rolls (annoying) and will likely go flat overnight (more annoying). After seating the tire, hold the wheel and spin it in your hands, looking along the edge of the tire/rim interface. If you see a warp in the tire where it hasn’t fully clicked into the rim, make sure to fix it (by inflating the tire until it pops into place) before heading out for a ride!
We hope you found these tips and tricks helpful. If you’re looking for any of the supplies to do these steps at home, head to your local Live to Play Sports dealer for the following supplies.