Dan’s Tech Centre: How to fit a tubeless system.

by 22

So here it is, the first in many workshop tutorials. New recruit (and wrench) Dan is a qualified Cytech level 2 mechanic so we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to show off his skills and help you guys out. He will be making tech blog posts with tutorials to help with all your mechanical needs. We hope these posts will help you and enable you to save a bit of cash and learn a new skill. Over to Dan…

So to start with I thought I’d go through how to fit a tubeless system; I’ve not spent a lot of time setting these up so bear with me on this one.

A lovely set of Pacenti wheels and tyres caught Chipps’ eye for the Nukeproof Mega TR he’s currently testing . Challenge accepted, I have fitted tubeless systems before but that doesn’t mean I enjoyed doing them, however watching a tear drip from Chipps’ eye was not an option.

Tools for the job ahead
Tools for the job ahead

Things you will need to carry out the task in hand:

Electrical Tape
Tubeless Rim Tape
Tubeless Valve
Tyre Sealant
Sharp Pick

Step One

It's all in the thumbs
It’s all in the thumbs

Use your electrical tape to make a layer of rim tape, making sure all the nipple holes are covered. After the whole rim is covered by one layer of tape, run your thumb along the rim applying a light amount of pressure to push the tape properly onto the rim. Find where the valve hole should be and using your sharp pick push a hole in the tape through the hole in the rim.

It's only a small prick
It’s only a small prick

Step Two

It's tubeless tape Jim, but not as we know it
It’s tubeless tape Jim, but not as we know it

Now you can apply your tubeless rim tape, following the same process as the electrical tape, make one consistent layer all around the rim making sure it is central in the rim well and covering the electrical tape.

Whilst applying the tape you will need to do an inch of tape at a time and apply constant pressure when pushing the tape down. If you don’t do this the tape can get little air pockets underneath and not sit straight in the rim.

And another one
And another one

After applying a full layer of tape once again, using your sharp pick punch a hole through the tape and the valve hole. If the hole needs to be bigger you can get a larger pick and make the hole in the tape bigger or if you’re extra careful use a small file to take away any unneeded tape.

Step Three

Valve is go
Valve is go

Your taped up rim is now ready for the valve. Unscrew the cap and the compression ring, insert the valve into the rim through the tape ( if the valve can sit flush on the tape without any pressure the hole is too big), using the compression ring tighten the valve down into the rim until it is sat nicely on the tape.

Step Four

Tyre on
Tyre on

You can now fit your tyre. Place one side of the bead onto the rim, place the recommended amount of tyre sealant into the bottom of your tyre, then fit the other side of the tyre onto the rim.

Magic milk
Magic milk

You are now ready to pump up your tyre, this step requires either the use of an air compressor from your local garage or bike shop, or what I used which was a 18g CO2 canister. Place the canisters adapter onto the valve making sure it is secure. Now without holding onto the valve or the canister (the canister gets extremely cold) release a burst of gas into the tyre, which should inflate quick enough to form a seal.

Once the tyre is seated and up to your chosen pressure jiggle the wheel around in your hands whilst also rotating it, this will allow the sealant to cover the whole inside of the tyre.

Pump and go
Pump and go

You are now ready to go out and ride, its as simple as peas.

Thank you very much for tuning in to the first job of Dan’s Tech Centre. I hope this is useful and it helps you when fitting your tubeless system.

If there are any jobs you want help with or any suggestions for the next tech tutorial please comment below and I shall try help you out the best I can.

Comments (22)

    better to add sealant afer thro valve after removing core.
    less messy for me anyway

    I found just using lots of electrical tape works in some shallower rims like dt and stans, combined with a valve from an old tube makes it cheeper to convert than buy new innertubes.

    And CO2 seems to curdle stans fluid much quicker than just using a track pump, anyone else find that?

    Is this guide just for Pacenti rims and tyres or any other combinations?
    What is the rim tape you’ve used? Certainly it varies in width and spec to eg Stans Tape. What type of tape is needed?
    What sealant are you using?
    Comparing to other systems setup procedures, I’ve come across soaping up the tyre beads to aid seating, inflating the tyre initially with a tube inside so the tyre seats in the rim, then removing the tube while leaving the other tyre side seated to the rim, then adding sealant before refitting the open tyre side and inflating/seating the tyre, in some combinations a track pump may be capable of seating at this stage
    Is none of this necessary with this particular combination?

    As James said, fitting the tyre ‘dry’ with a tube in first can help a lot- it helps settle everything down and gets the beads in place. Then carefully take the tube out, add the valve with the core removed and re fit the tyre. Add, sealant, pump very fast with a track pump and you can often get everything sorted without needing to resort to CO2/compressor.

    With stans rims at least I’ve always been able to fit this way, others are more of a mixed bag.

    Pacenti supply a tape specific for their rims, the DL31 is obviously pretty wide compared to others out there…

    Am I right in assuming these rims were Tubeless specific? If you have something like Mavic XM 319s and tubeless ready tyres currently fitted with tubes, can you convert the system to tubeless in a similar way, or is Stan’s No Tubes Kit essential? Or is the conversion not possible with these or similar rims?

    You dont need the CO2 canister or a compressor; once the tyre is on the rim, lots of soapy water on both sides, lay the wheel flat and then track pump as hard as you can – this works EVERY time even on tyres which arent new (i.e. which have been stretched a little) Then, once inflated, do the Stans shake (other sealants are available) to slosh the juice round, then, REALLY important bit, lay the wheel flat for about 15mins a side on top of a bucket, more suds and watch for leaks, more shaking as required.

    What’s the purpose of the electrical tape?

    “If there are any jobs you want help with or any suggestions for the next tech tutorial please comment below and I shall try help you out the best I can.”

    Bleeding Avid hydraulic brakes?

    Avid Elixir 5’s the white ones

    As a premier magazine wouldn’t it be great to use someone with lots of experience to help people who are new to tubeless.
    Personally I think that water with washing up liquid is very important in helping seal the tyres.

    “this works EVERY time even on tyres which arent new”

    No it doesn’t. I’ve been tubeless using homebrew and moving on to kits and UST since about 2001, and the one thing I can say for sure is there are 0 guarantees. New tyre, new rim is the most likely to work but even they can be a bit painful.

    Inflating with a tube to seat one bead properly really helps.
    CO2 seems to freeze or ruin sealant in my experience, so I use it ‘dry’ then add the sealant after via the valve stem or popping a bit of the bead (this will reseat easily).
    Another good tip is to hang the tyre somewhere warm (ideally the sun) so it deforms better for mountig and that satisfying ‘snap’ into the lock.

    PS – Shimano bleed tips would be nice!

    Good article.
    I have some bounty duster rims on my new fuel ex. They are labelled as TLR, currently running tubes. Does this mean I can just fit a tubeless valve and then tubeless tyres with Stan’s fluid, as a buddy has suggested, or do I need to do the whole rim tape malarkey as above?

    Sorry, damn autocorrect, should be bin target…….
    damn no Bon homie…. Christ alive…… BONTRAGER rims!

    It might be worth checking out the Air machine at your nearest fuel station. The one in our local Asda is 20p (for 2 minutes of air )and you could balast up 2 x tubeless tyres and do your bus while you’re at it!

    DON’T use a Co2 canister!!! It dries the latex out… so let me rephrase that, DO use a canister if you need to ‘seat the bead’ but don’t have a compressor… but then get the gas back out and pump up normally with air (I bought some 50p syringe and squirt it thru the valve stem)
    Also: top tip for tight fitting tyres (eg anything by Schwalbe) get the bead sitting in the dip centre of the rim before you try and lever the last bit of tyre on… it gives you a bit of slack

    ^ I meant to say (I bought some 50p syringes and squirt SEALANT thru the valve stem)

    Thank you for the tutorial looks to me simple and good explained. I myself always use the trick of making my wheels Ghetto tubeless. A little more work but more safety on the trails with big stones and other technical tracks. Pressure of the tires can be much lower than normal tubeless wheels like described above! Maybe Dan can also make a tutorial about this? Otherwise google on the name Ghetto tubeless on the internet and you will find enough turtorials.

    If using non tubeless rims you need to tape over the spoke holes and then use the tape supplied with the kit. Always pump up dry to get an initial seal. Soap up add your liquid and pump up, I have used a track pump but now have a compressor from B&Q works every time. Do the wiggling of the wheel rotating as you do it this will get the sealant spread around and check for leaks using the soap solution. When you need to top up use a syringe (stans do one) through the valve core (with valve removed of course). Best thing I ever done going to tubeless, try it.

    I’ve found that my local bike shop sells a rubber, continuous bag of air that fits neatly inside a bike tyre. Incredibly, it has a valve ALREADY fitted and can be fitted in literally seconds.

    What happens if you get a puncture?

Leave a Reply