An endless FAQ to tubeless bicycle tyres

An endless FAQ to tubeless bicycle tyres

Regardless of your pick cycling self-discipline, tubeless tyres have benefits to offer over standard tube-type setups. Those benefits are certainly more obvious with wider tyres, lower pressures and rougher surfaces, but even skinny street racing rubber are most likely benefit from losing the inner tube.

However, tubeless isn’t only a matter of removing the tube and riding blissfully into the sunset. Tubeless carries real compromises, including new knowledge and more upkeep than trusty tubings. Whether the positives outweigh the negatives will be up to you, and this article is designed to arm you with all the knowledge you’ll ever need on special topics.

In this endless FAQ( it’s called that as it’s long and we’ll regularly update it ), we hop-skip the turd and share what we’ve found to be the best methods, the best parts to use, and the best ways to save you from feeling deflated. This comes from virtually two decades of suffer in tubeless, going all the way back to Mavic’s original UST system for mountain bikes.

( This is an updated version of an section first published in 2019.)

Key parts

Tubeless in a nutshellTubeless tyre and rim conformityAll about tyre sealantsTubeless-specific productsInstalling tubelessRiding with tubeless

Tubeless in a nutshell

What is tubeless?

Mavic Road USTMavic’s UST system is depicted here, but the cross-section of most other tubeless setups seems similar, at least in idea.

Much like on modern autoes, a tubeless system on bicycles is an airtight system where the tyre is held on to the rim with little more than tight tolerances and air pressure. As it is airtight , no inner tubing is required to hold air like on a standard clincher system, and no adhesive is required to keep the tyre connected to the rim as per a tubular system.

Tubeless was first introduced for mountain bikes over 20 years ago and became very service standards select amongst fanatic and competitive mountain bikers. It was introduced for road use nearly 15 years ago, but the initial uptake was slow. However, the boom in wider tyres for street and gravel has seen increased attention given to the technology and an increasing number of wheel labels are now pushing the uptake of tubeless technology.

What are the benefits of tubeless?

With no inner tube to pinch puncture, tubeless allows you to run lower tyre pressures with a greatly reduced risk of apartments. This ensues in increased traction, a smoother ride, and in many cases reduced rolling opposition. Additionally, removing the inner tube itself can further aid in reducing rolling resistance since, in a number of cases, the tyre system can end up being more supple. Schwalbe is one company that presents tubeless, tubular, and clincher racing tyres, and states that tubeless is its fastest system.

Tubeless is also considered more resistant to puncturing. Since there’s no inner tube at all, there’s also no inner tube to pinch-flat( although the tyre casing itself can still be pinched ). This is an especially important point with the increased attention given to lower tyre pressures being more efficient over inconsistent terrain. Meanwhile, liquid sealant inside tubeless tyres also helps to seal small-scale cuts( such as from glass or thorns) on the move.

All of this is most beneficial off-road where wider tyres and lower extending pressures are more common. The benefits are more nuanced along the road, but they can still apply, especially where wider rims and tyres are now becoming more common.

What are the primary drawbacks of tubeless?

Compared to using a humble inner tube, tubeless is certainly more involved, in terms of both initial setup and upkeep. Slow air leakage is not uncommon with tubeless and so you may need to top up to your preferred pressure every few days. Likewise, the tyre sealant that helps to create an airtight seal and furnish ongoing puncture protection will dry out and will need replenishing every few months.

Compared to clincher structures, tubeless tyres are also sold at a premium. And while things are rapidly changing, when looking at road or gravel tubeless tyres, there are often fewer selects compared to what’s available for tube-type clincher use.

If tubeless is so fast, why don’t more pros use it on the road?

Tubeless is already the standard in mountain bike and gravel racing. Nonetheless, it’s yet to hit widespread acceptance in the top ranks of professional cyclocross and road racing.

Tubulars( which are glued to the rim) have been proven in pro road racing for years, and while they’re not so practical for the regular cyclist, they make a lot of sense for someone who doesn’t need to worry about fixing flats or superseding tyres. Tubulars still render an impressively lightweight setup, a unique street feel, and in the case of professional race, you can ride them after a puncture without probability of the tyre rolling off. For cyclocross racers, tubulars also allow inflation pressures that are even lower than tubeless( some pros operate as little as 13 psi in their 33 mm-wide tyres !) since air pressure doesn’t affect( much) how the tyre is held on to the rim.

Tubeless tyres were used by both the men’s and women’s winners of the 2021 Paris-Roubaix.

However, perhaps the biggest reason is legacy. Many pro crews can be stubborn to change, specially when the everyday practical benefits of tubeless aren’t so important to a pro race squad. By all accounts, tubeless is starting to be used at the top level, but tubulars is very likely to continue to be a common vision in pro racing for many years to come.

Should I run tubeless?

There are a few things to ask yourself here.

1. Are you planning on passing tyres that have a measured width of at least 28 mm?( There was still fewer benefits available to narrower tyres .) 2. Are you prepared to top up your sealant every 3-6 months? 3. Do your existing wheels corroborate tubeless employ?

If you answered no to any of these, then we’d intimate protruding with tubes.

Is tubeless lighter?

Tubeless is typically lighter than a tubed setup, at least where wider tyres are involved. However, on the road, the answer is not so simple.

The following table gives one example of how the weights stack up. In this lesson, tubeless is 15g heavier per wheel compared to the equivalent clincher setup, usurping the same wheel and rim videotape are utilized. Using more or less tyre sealant, a lighter tubeless valve, or a lighter inner tubing will sway the research results.

Road tubeless versus clincher weight comparison

Further on this, a tubeless-compatible wheel often needs to be able to handle higher compression violences as a result of the tubeless system, something that likewise carries extra load. On this level, Roval’s top-end road racing wheels are tube-only to optimise for reduced load( according to the company ).

Tubeless Tyre and rim compatibility

What defines a tubeless tyre?

Tubeless road, cyclocross, and gravel tyres normally incorporate a reinforced bead that is resistant to extend, together with a bead that is totally smooth around the entire circumference with no ridges or pockets where air can escape. Oftentimes, the bead itself will have a specific shape that is designed to interface more tightly with a tubeless-compatible rim. As tubeless is a feature, the tyre will be advertised and plainly celebrated as such on the casing.

Never use a standard clincher road tyre for tubeless as there will be a significant chance the tyre will blow off the rim once it’s inflated to a reasonable operating pressure.

Mountain bikes are run at lower pressures, and generally, there is less internal force trying to expand the tyre off of the rim. As a ensue, many riders have had good success converting standard tube-type tyres to tubeless, but that should only be done at your own risk; we don’t recommend this practice.

A true-blue tubeless tyre will feature a specific bead construction along with an airtight casing that( theoretically) doesn’t involve liquid sealant. More commonly are “tubeless-lite” or “tubeless-ready” tyres that are built with tubeless-specific beads, but standard casing that require tyre sealant to create an airtight seal. The latter style has become more common in modern tubeless structures as they allow for a lighter and more compliant tyre construction.

What defines a tubeless rim or wheel?

Tubeless rim designTrue UST rims and wheels have a specific rim bed profile, but there is far more variability in other intends that are labelled as tubeless-ready.

Tubeless rims have two basic requirements: they have to securely comprise the tyre, and they have to hold air.

Some labels, such as Fulcrum, Campagnolo, Ritchey, Mavic, and Shimano, render rims with no speak holes on the outer rim wall, which makes them inherently airtight. More usually, most tubeless-compatible rims require special sealing tape to create an airtight barrier from the speak holes.

Most tubeless rims also feature a special shape that helps locate the bead of the tyre in place. A newer tendency is for rims with no obvious beading hook, otherwise known as hookless rims. These rely on tight dimensional tolerances from both the tyre and rim in order to work. Regardless of rim shape, a smoothly rounded centre channel is typically present to help get the tyre on and off, and to create a path that aids with initial inflation.

Can I convert a non-tubeless rim to tubeless?

Some brands, such as Stan’s NoTubes, present kits that convert regular rims to tubeless ones. This is common practise in mountain bikes, where many riders had been successful in converted to tubeless use with the remedy duties. Sometimes this only requires tubeless tape and valves, but other hours, specific rubber or plastic rim pieces to provide a tighter fit that’s easier to inflate. These changeovers are inherently hit-or-miss, and a considerable amount of care should be exercised before setting out on a converted setup.

On the road, and where higher controlling pressures are employed, it’s advised to only use recommended rims for tubeless use. We strongly advise against converting non-tubeless road wheels to work with tubeless tyres.

I’ve seen brand-new motorcycles claim to be tubeless-ready; what does that mean?

Giant Tubeless ReadyMany bikes come equipped as tubeless-ready. Giant is one of the only bike companies to ship bikes fully setup as tubeless.

More bikes are being sold as “tubeless-ready” these days, but it’s important to be clear on what that really means for that specific motorcycle- because it does differ.

In many cases, a “tubeless-ready” bike will come equipped with tubeless-compatible rims and tyres, but is assembled with inner tubings to induce things easier for marketers until the bike is sold. Most bike companies will include the tubeless valves, rim videotape, and sealant required in the full changeover, while other companies involve the customer to purchase these duties in addition to the bike. Giant is one exception to the rule and many of its bikes arrive set up tubeless from the factory.

What standards exist for tubeless?

As far as industry-wide standards for tubeless on street, cyclocross, or gravel motorcycles move, the situation has greatly improved since 2019, but it remains somewhat embarrassing.

Hutchinson and Shimano introduced a proper road tubeless standard back in 2006, but it was not widely adopted by the rest of the industry. In the following years, other street tubeless adopters instead developed their own various tubeless structures, with little-to-no cooperation among relevant parties. As a outcome, there are some rims on the market that are oversized to provide a tight fit, and then some tyres that are undersized with the same intent, and the potential outcome is a combination that is extremely tough or near impossible to install. As of today, the market is full of tyres and rims that could be either virtually un-installable or simply dangerous when paired together.

More recently, Mavic released a brand-new tubeless standard called UST Road. This system included specific dimensional and pressure requirements for the tyres and rims in the hopes of providing more predictably consistent( and safer) fitments. And such systems helped form the groundwork for the new European Tire and Rim Technical Organization( ETRTO) street tubeless standards that were implemented in late 2019. As of 2021, the International Organization for Standardization( ISO) has released its standards that follow those of the ETRTO.

The new tubeless street standard covers two rim forms- Tubeless Crochet( TC) and Tubeless Straight Side( TSS ). Tubeless Crochet( TC) to be applied in traditional hooked( crochet) rims, while Tubeless Straight Side( TSS) referred to above newer hookless rims such as those being produced by Zipp, Enve and Giant. These standards prescribe the specific Bead Seat Diameter( BSD) of the rim, the height of the sidewalls and the shape of the centre channel. The topic of new tubeless street standards has been discussed on the CyclingTIps Nerd Alert podcast with Bastien Donze from Zipp( and a member organization participating in the ETRTO committee ).

A close look at this rim presents a hook on the inner side. This is a hooked- or, Tubeless Crochet( TC)- rim.

Hookless refers to a rim with a straight sidewall , be called Tubeless Straight Side( TSS ).

The ETRTO standards are effectively a guideline for wheel and rim manufacturers to follow, and from there it’s up to the tyre manufacturers to ensure safe compatibility. Where things get confounding is that there is no law coerce tyre or wheel brands to adopt these new standards and so care is required by the consumer to ensure the products being purchased are compatible. If you’re unsure, then contact the brand directly and ask if their products are designed to the new ETRTO road tubeless standards.

Things are more defined in the mountain bike world and the vast majority of the industry has followed the dimensions firstly is presented in 1999 with the introduction of the Universal System Tubeless( UST) for mountain bikes.

It seems like hookless has added a cluster of distraction, why does it exist?

When it comes to moulding carbon fibre rims, the straight sidewalls of hookless allow for the use of hard tooling which can lead to greater compaction of the material, less apply of resin, less waste in manufacturing, and fewer tracks for information materials to stir. The make is a product that is cheaper to manufacture with the opportunities provided by being lighter and stronger, too.

This photo shows the cross-section of a carbon rim. At the bottom of shot is a spoke and retaining teat, while the top part awaits a tyre to be fitted. Note how the inner sides of the sidewalls are smooth and without inward-facing lips? This is hookless.

Hookless rims firstly came about in mountain biking as a way to increase the sidewall strength of carbon rims against impacts. The low-pitched tyre pressures of mountain biking and even gravel don’t present too many issues with tyre security on such hookless rims. Nonetheless, the higher running pressures of street have introduced unique necessitates when extending hookless wheels.

How do I know if my tyres or rims are ready for tubeless?

Tyre producers will almost always indicate immediately on the sidewall when it is a tubeless-compatible tyre. The chart below shows the tubeless nomenclature used by a number of popular companies.

Things get complicated when it comes to road tubeless tyres, especially when hookless rims are involved. Currently, there are a number of tubeless road tyres on the market that are not safe for employ with hookless rims and so care must be taken in choosing tyres. For example, Continental’s older GP5000 TL tyres are not suitable for use with hookless rims, whereas the new GP5000S TR tyres are suitable.

The TSS( hookless rim) standard calls for a maximum tyre pressure of 72.5 psi- if a rim or tyre has the above figures printed on it then it’s almost certainly compliant with the brand-new ETRTO TSS standard. Furthermore, Enve, Zipp and Giant all have approved tyre indices for their respective hookless rims. If you have a hooked tubeless rim( crochet) then chances are that most tubeless tyres on the market will be fine to use.

Bicycle tubeless nomiker table

Wheel or rim conformity is often far less obvious, and will usually be stated in the component’s specification list. New road tubeless wheels are likely to have a sticker with something such as “ETRTO TSS 622 25 ” printed, in this case, this would be a rim that gratifies the ETRTO Tubeless Straight Sidewall standard. The “6 22 ” is the Bead Seat Diameter of a 700 c wheel, while the “2 5” refers to the internal rim thicknes. If in doubt about compatibility, contact your place of purchase.

So I can run any tubeless-compatible tyre with any tubeless-compatible rim, right?

With hundreds of possible combinations and no enforced fitment standards, it’s unfortunately impossible to give clear guidance as to what does and doesn’t work.

Mountain bike tubeless setups are pretty robust, and you can run just about any tubeless mountain bike tyre with any tubeless rim( thickness and diameters considered ).

On the road, as long as you’re utilize a claimed tubeless-ready tyre and hooked( crochet) rim, you should be fine, although variations in rim and tyre diameters still yield a disconcerting sum of variability in terms of ease of serviceability. Those with hookless( TSS) rims need to pay extra attention and should consult the recommend and approved tyre rosters from the respective wheel brands. If you’re in doubt, contact your rim/ wheel or tyre producer for advice.

Is there a behavior to know if a particular tyre and rim setup will be safe to go?

This is a grey area. The best style to be sure is to consult the information provided by the tyre and/ or rim manufacturer.

A test that can be done at home looks at the security of the tyre on the rim. While a loose-fitting setup may work for a lighter equestrian with a smooth mode, it could prove a disaster for another rider. Our global tech editor James Huang’s own experiment is to fully deflate the tyre while leaving it on the rim. From here, he’ll forcefully push the tyre sideways against the floor and test to see whether he can roll the deflated tyre from the rim. Even so, while he’s found that that exam works for him, it’s still barely universal or foolproof.

The reverse of this exam is being able to get the tyre on in the first place. Although rare, some oversized rim and undersized tyre combinations can fit together so tightly that they aren’t practical to use, even though they’re very secure.

Again, the current transition to a widely adopted industry standard and the availability of pre-standard legacy duties is a problem.

Can I move an inner tube with a tubeless rim and/ or tyre?


There are no issues with using inner tubes within a tubeless tyre system. In most cases, you’d simply remove the tubeless valve and install an inner tube just as you would with a regular clincher system. That is something that meant that if you were to cut a tubeless tyre while riding, you can get going again by removing the tubeless valve and installing an inner tube.

If your rim is hooked( crochet) then you are eligible to use a regular tube-type clincher tyre with an inner tube.

However, if your rim is of the newer hookless( TSS) style, then you must use a compatible tubeless tyre, regardless of whether you want to use it tubeless or with a tube inside.

All about tyre sealants

What is tyre sealant and why do I needed most?

Tyre sealant is a liquid added into the tyre. It’s required with tubeless-ready tyres to make them airtight, and acts as a preventative measure on both true tubeless and tubeless-ready tyres to seal small-minded punctures. Usually latex-based, most tyre sealants also feature solid additives to help physically plug loopholes. Better tyre sealants will typically fill loopholes and tiny slashes up to 3 mm in diameter.

True tubeless tyres don’t expect the use of tyre sealant, but it is still recommended as a preventative( self-sealing) evaluate in the event of a puncture.

What tyre sealant is best?

There are many tubeless tyre sealants on the market and all claim to be the best.

The best tyre sealant for you will depend on the purposed going discipline, what pressures you plan to use, and whether you’d rather have absolute puncture protection or sealant that it was necessary to less frequent refreshment. Those with an allergy to latex will also need to take care to avoid the popular alternatives.

For general apply, we’ve determined the tried-and-true Orange Seal Regular and Stan’s NoTubes Original sealant to be reliable options, with the former being best for sealing large punctures while the second lasts longer. It’s common to have a trade-off between puncture-sealing effectiveness and longevity.

For example, Stan’s newer Race Day sealant is better at sealing larger punctures than the Original, but the thicker formula is more likely to clog valve branches, and it also needs to be replenished more often since it dehydrates faster. Similarly, Orange Seal’s Endurance formula last-places far longer than the Original blend, but it’s not as effective at sealing larger punctures.

On the road, I’ve found the larger sealing specks of the Race Day sealant or Orange Seal Standard to better resist the higher tyre pressure which tends to blow out more conventional sealant formulas.

I’ve heard that tyre sealant evaporates, so how often should I replenish it?

This answer will differ based on the sealant you use, the climate “youre living in”, and your tyre building. Hotter and drier climates will require sealant to be replenished more often- about every three months for popular products- while those in cooler and wetter climates may extend that timeframe to around six months. Likewise, a weep tyre( see below) will be required fresh sealant more often.

There are some sealants that claim to last forever( which, in our experience, is not the case ). Ultimately, you’re best off selecting a sealant for its confirm sealing properties, rather than its claimed longevity.

Can I mingle different brands of sealants?

Maybe, but it’s generally best not to.

Every brand of tyre sealant will tell you that they can only ensure the effectiveness of their product if it’s not mixed with other sealants or compounds. Some sealant producers go as far to say that there could be an adverse chemical reaction by mixing products.

That said, a large segment of the sealants on the market share similar ingredients and while perhaps not ideal, it shouldn’t present any major issues to top up a tyre with a different label of sealant to what was previously used.

How much tyre sealant should I put in my tyres?

This is up to you. The more sealant “youre using”, the longer it’ll last and the better puncture protection you’ll have. The only negative is additional rotating weight.

If you use a more watery sealant such as Stan’s, then aim to use between 30 -6 0mL for street tyres, 60 -1 20 mL for most mountain bike tyres, and somewhere between that amount for gravel. A thicker sealant such as Orange Seal tends to form a sealing layer around the tyre and so more sealant is typically needed versus those with a thinner viscosity.

A few brands of sealant offer tiny bottles intended to serve as a single re-fill. Don’t throw away these bottles, they’re perfect for adding a measured amount of sealant through the valve in future and can be used to suck up old-fashioned sealant when swapping tyres.

Interestingly, Joe’s No Apartment has found that the higher pressure and fast-rolling speed encountered with road tubeless calls for more sealant to be used. They recommend 60 ml per tyre as the fast-rolling speed makes a centrifugal personnel on the sealant, ensuing in a thin strip of sealing liquid along the tyre’s centre. The more sealant “youre running”, the wider and deeper that piece of sealant becomes.

What is the best behavior to check the condition of old sealant?

There are a number of contraptions on the market for this, such as the Milkit system or simpler syringes such as Park Tool’s TSI-1. None of these are perfect, nonetheless, and the most wonderful( and cheapest !) answer is to deflate the tyre, pull a small section of beading off of the rim, and look inside. If the sealant inside gazes murky or is no longer liquid, then add more sealant and re-inflate the tyre.

An even easier method is to simply remove the wheel from the motorcycle and give it a shake. If you don’t hear any liquid sloshing inside, it’s time to top up the sealant. Likewise, if you hear a rattling or knocking audio, it’s likely your sealant has dried up and left you a sealant “Stanimal” or “goober”. These are basically sealant snowballs. Pull a bead off and discover what marvellous beast your sealant has conjured.

What is the easiest way to add fresh tyre sealant?

Filling through a Tubeless valveA tiny bottle of sealant or a syringe allows you to inject sealant through the valve.

The method above of drawing a small amount of tyre bead from the rim is the easiest if you’re already checking. Instead, you can often inject sealant through the valve branch. To do this, you will need a tool to remove the valve core, a small squeeze bottle of sealant or a syringe, and a piece of tubing( a drinking straw can work ). Unscrew the valve core and inject the sealant through the root with your chosen tool. If it’s the small squeeze bottle, be sure to hold the tip of the bottle securely against the valve to minimize leaking.

Whatever method you choose, be sure to shake the bottle of sealant first. This will ensure the sealing particles are not left out. You want that pulp!

Will tubeless sealants trauma my wheels?

Raoul Luescher of Luescher Teknik Pty Ltd has specifically experimented for this and met no evidence that tubeless sealant leads to corrosion in wheels. While the ammonia in some popular sealants is known to corrode aluminium, the use of this chemical is very minimal. As Luescher points out, a tubeless system that is properly set up should be fully sealed, and so sealant shouldn’t be in regular contact with the wheel nipples at all. Aluminium rims are almost always anodized, too, and should already be protected.

One theory for the correlation between wheel corrosion and tubeless sealant comes from Adrian Emilsen of Melody Wheels, who believes that some leaky tubeless tapes let sealant to seep into the nipple bunked and retain ocean and salt. On this basis, it shouldn’t be an issue if you’re applying a quality tubeless tape that’s correctly installed.

Does tyre sealant expire?

The answer to this will differ based on the brand of sealant, but normally tyre sealant has an incredibility long shelf life if unopened.

Tyre sealant that has been opened is appropriate to last-place for years, but give attention to bundled chips of sealing latex and signs of water ingress. Ever shake tyre sealant vigorously before use.

Should I add glitter to my tyre sealant?

Adding glitter or similar fine particulates is an old-time trick to help with clogging larger punctures. Peaty’s tyre sealant is one product that used to include glitter from the factory. In our experience, the newer tyre sealants do a penalty undertaking already without having to resort to such tricks. Additionally, extending yourself, your bicycle, and your riding teammates in glisten may be funny when it happens, but a suffering to clean off, and isn’t good for the turtles.

How do I secure a valve that is choked with sealant?

This is unfortunately pretty normal. You can start by pulling out the valve core and cleaning it with a rag. A thin framing fingernail or similar object can then be inserted through the open valve root to clear it out. If you’re not satisfied with the outcome, then I’d suggest supplanting your tubeless valves altogether.

Why is sealant bawling through the sidewalls of my tyres?

Schwalbe TLE tyre - sweating tubelessA little sealant “sweat” is fairly normal with some thin-walled tyres. Some thinner sealants, such as Stan’s, do this more commonly.

As most tubeless-ready tyres are somewhat porous, it’s quite common for tyre sealants to weep through the sidewall. Some tyre labels and sealant kinds do this more than others. For example, I’ve suffered it plenty with Specialized, Continental, and Schwalbe mountain bike tyres, especially with age.

It’s not something are concerned about, but there are things to be aware of. A sobbing tyre will require you to replenish the sealant more regularly. Additionally, that moisture on the outside will likely collect debris when riding, and so wiping your sidewalls down periodically will ensure you don’t drag the mess where it shouldn’t be.

How do I clean up a sealant spill or spray?

Use a rag and liquid to wipe up spilt sealant before it dehydrates. If it’s on your clothes, Stan’s NoTubes recommend an immediate coldnes cleanse with a light cleanser. If turn left to dry on clothes, the sealant will likely stain.

In the event of a puncture, it’s likely you’ll have some sealant spray on all fields of your bicycle that surround the tyre. Spraying this off with liquid from a bidon before it dehydrates is the easiest solution, but this isn’t always possible. If the sealant has dried onto a painted surface then wipe clean with a light solvent- brake clean, citrus-based household goo removers and similar work well, only scaped products that can damage the paint.

Will sealant leak out if I amply deflate the tyre?

It depends. Well-fitting tyre and rim combinings will keep the bead in place even when there’s no pressure inside the tyre, and no sealant should leak out. Nonetheless, many combinations absence a perfect fit and so a part of the tyre beading will sometimes pop off when the tyre is deflated, which then permits space for sealant to leak out. Given this, it’s best to keep air in your tyres when stored or travelling.

Sealant flees when I fix my pump. What am I doing wrong?

You’ll need to use gravity to your benefit when inflating tyres with sealant inside. Ever home the valve at the top or side when inflating, and never at the bottom where the sealant will be resting. This will prevent making a mess and save your pump and/ or gauge from being filled with sealant.

Can I threw tubeless sealant in my inner tubes?

Yes! Most tubeless sealants will work well within butyl and latex inner tubes. You’ll need tubes with removable valve cores for easy injecting of sealant. While those with latex tubes need to take special care to not let the tube deflate and stick to itself.

Tubeless tyre sealant can also be used with tubular tyres and there’s a small handful of pro crews doing just this. Israel Start-Up Nation is one team that has reaffirmed it uses tubeless sealant at all races( Orange Seal Regular ).

Tubeless-specific products

I’m looking for tubeless tyres. What would you recommend?

Schwalbe Pro One

Currently, almost every major tyre manufacturer offers tubeless tyres, so there are plenty of options, depending on your priorities.

On the road, our team has had good success with the Schwalbe Pro One TLE, a concert tyre that offers great clutch, rolling speed and easy compatibility with the majority wheels( including hookless ). Goodyear’s Eagle F1 tubeless is another nice well-rounded concert option that works across hooked and hookless rims. And the newly announced Continental GP5000S TR looks set to be a very good option, too.

I’m looking for tubeless gravel tyres. Anything you would recommend?

Like mountain bike or cyclocross tyres, gravel tyres need to offer the privilege trample designing and complex for your terrain. If you’re after a fast-rolling, well-rounded tyre for fast road and gravel, we’ve had great luck with the Schwalbe G-One tyres. Nonetheless, there are countless great alternatives in this space and those attempting a touch more off-road grip should look at tyres such as the Maxxis Rambler, Goodyear Connector, Continental Terraspeed, Panaracer Gravel King SK, and Donnelly Cycling’s collection.

My rims call for tubeless tape. What should I use?

Tubeless tapeWhen it comes to tubeless tape, thicknes is very important.

Often your wheel label will call for a specific tape and for guaranteed best answers we’d suggest fastening with what’s recommended.

If your wheel or rim producer doesn’t specify a specific tape, then you have a number of options. Most importantly you need to match the thicknes of the tubeless tape to the internal thicknes of your rims. The general advice is to get a tape that’s an exact match or 1-2 mm wider than the internal rim thicknes.

For the tape itself, we’ve had good success with tubeless-specific tapes sold by DT Swiss, Stan’s No Tubes, Effetto Mariposa, and a number of others. A number of these tapes sold by bicycle labels are often products from the other industries that have been cut to rim-specific widths, and as such, you can sometimes buy bulk sections of these tapes with fewer thicknes choices- such examples include Tesa 4289 and 3M 8992 tapes.

Gorilla Tape is a popular alternative that is readily available at hardware stores but beware that it’s thicker than most tubeless videotapes( which can build tyres a tighter fit) and tends to leave a messy residue behind. Another alternative is 3M Kapton tape, which is particularly thin, so it’s a good choice if you’re trying to get a slightly looser fit between your tyre and rim.

What are the best tubeless valves?

There isn’t too much to tubeless valves, but be sure to match the section and the seal shape to your rim. On the seal shape, the common cone shape( portrait far left and far right) working well with the largest part of rims.

Pay attention to valve stem length if you’re using deep road rims. Otherwise, any “standard” segment valve should do the job. I’ve had great success with using Stan’s NoTubes Universal valve stems on a number of systems, and have even find them to offer a superior fit where other modes of valve branches are suggested( such as Shimano, Bontrager, and DT Swiss wheels ).

If grams( nine of them, to be exact) or colours matter, I’ve detected the WTB TCS alloy valve branches to offer an equally reliable fit. Similar valves are available under many other labels, and while most gaze the same, they’re not ever equal. And while plainly expensive, Teske’s titanium valves offer a degree up for the detail-obsessed.

Whatever you do, avoid carbon fibre tubeless valves! They’re the only valve stems I’ve ever clicked while inflating a tyre.

What are tyre inserts and do I need them?

Tyre sets are effectively segments of foam that are run within the tyre to aid in rim sidewall protection, tyre sidewall stability, and in a number of cases( such as with CushCore ), help to dampen the breath for a more self-controlled journey. Tyre sets are a popular product in gravitation disciplines of mountain biking and they’re starting to gain attention with lower-volume tyres for street and gravel going purposes.

Tyre sets come with a weight penalty and can build installing and setting up tyres greatly more challenging. On the positive side, inserts likely allows users to lower tyre pressures to be used with even less risk of flat tyres or wheel damage. Myself and James Huang have taken to using tyre sets on gravel bicycles, where we’re commonly able to reduce our pressures by as much as 5 psi with little negative impact.

Installing tubeless

What tools do I need to install tubeless?

Assuming your rims are set up with tubeless tape, then you’ll simply require a floor pump with a high-volume airflow and maybe a defined of tyre levers. The tighter the tyre fit, the easier the system will be to inflate with a basic floor pump. Looser tubeless setups will require a more immediate burst of breath, and so an air compressor, tubeless flooring pump( embraced below ), or a tubeless-specific ” booster ” canister may be required.

One thing that is definitely not recommended is a CO2 canister. That quick-witted shot of breath comes with a serious drop in temperature, and many sealants don’t react well to that tier of cold.

How do I know if my existing rim tape is right for tubeless?

Even some of the latest and greatest rims are not designed for tubeless.

The easiest way is to check with your wheel builder or wheel manufacturer and ask the question. Failing that, look for any marking on the videotape that shows it is for tubeless use; both Specialized and DT Swiss tapes are clearly celebrated, for example. Similarly, Stan’s NoTubes tape, which is widely used, is a telltale glossy yellow.

Alternatively, assess whether the tape seems air and watertight. If the videotape is cloth, is make use of porous plastic, is not adhesive, or has a loose fit on the rim, then it is not suitable for tubeless use.

How do I install tubeless rim videotape on my rims?

Start with a bare rim that has been exhaustively cleansed with rubbing alcohol, acetone, or a similar solvent that leaves no residue. Find a tubeless videotape that matches or is a couple of millimetres wider than the internal thicknes of your rims. Starting one speak pit before the valve loophole, fold the videotape tightly around the circumference of the rim. Cut the end with scissors once you’ve overlapped past the valve pit. For some road setups, it is advised to use two layers of tape to better manage the higher running pressures, but this also depends on the tape used.

Park Tool details the steps here 😛 TAGEND

Are there any tricks to installing the valve?

Assuming your rim has been freshly wrap in videotape, then you want to pierce a hole in the videotape without tearing it. There was still two common methods here used by professional auto-mechanics. The first is to heat up a sharpened talk, centre punch or similar round pointy metal tool. Once hot, gently pierce the tape with the tool. This will create a perfect hole without tears.

The second technique is to flawlessly cut the videotape. Professional mechanic Brad Kelly employs a small needle file that is pushed into the tape on a 45 -degree angle at the edge of the valve gap. See the Instagram post below for details.

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A post said that he shared BK (@ bee_kay7 7 )

Whichever method you choose to create the hole, the next step is to push the valve through and install the rendered valve nut( and o-ring on the outside if supplied ). While the valve nut provides little purpose with clincher tyres, it’s required on tubeless to create and retain an airtight seal.

Tighten the valve nut securely with your thumbs. If you hear air escaping around the valve, tighten it further. You shouldn’t need tools to get the valve nut tight enough. If you’re confident the valve is airtight, but you still hear air rushing through the speak gaps, you likely have a leak in the tape somewhere.

How do I remove a valve core? How tight should it be?

Most tubeless valves have removable valve cores.

Removable valve cores have small tool plains on them. Ideally, use a dedicated valve core tool to unscrew it from the valve stem( lefty loosey, righty tighty ). Alternatively, you can use pliers with care. Simply reverse the process to install it. It is advisable to tight enough that you cannot remove it with your bare fingers.

How do I install my tyres without sealant running everywhere?

Although this takes more hour, I advise first doing a “dry” installation. This involves installing the tyres and inflating them without the use of sealant. Once the tyre beads seat and the tyre starts to inflate, you can then deflate the tyre and- ideally- inject sealant through the valve( with the valve core removed) without fright of the liquid seeping out around the tyre beads.

My tyres are impossibly tight. How do I get them onto the rim?

Tight tyreTubeless tyres and rims often fit more tightly than standard clincher setups. The correct technique starts a long way to easy setup.

With little extend in the beading and a normally tighter fitment, tubeless tyres can be challenging to get on and off the rim. Our guide to dealing with impossibly tight tyres has everything you need to know and do to overcome this. Do beware that you should salary careful attention if use tyre levers to install a tubeless tyre as it’s easy to damage the sealing tubeless tape. A little bit of soapy liquid can act as a lubricant and help ease the process. There’s also a few “hook” character tyre tools on the market to ease such installing, such as the TyreKey out of the UK.

How do I inflate a tubeless tyre?

With the tyre wrestled on to the rim, you should now be ready to add air to the system. Generally speaking, a well-fitting tubeless tyre will make a few loud popping clangs as the tyre beading firmly pops into home against the rim sidewalls. Look for a uniform bead around the circumference of the wheel, as low smudges will disclose a tyre that’s not fully seated.

Park Tool evidences common installation methods here 😛 TAGEND

What is the best inflation tool for tubeless?

The best tubeless setups have a precise fit between the rim and tyre, and will require nothing more than a regular storey pump to pressurise the system. However , not all setups are the same, and sometimes the use of a regular storey pump to seat a tubeless tyre can be exhausting- or futile.

An air compressor used to be the secret weapon for tubeless installs, and remains the top pick for absolute ease. You’ll need a suitable tyre inflator to go with the breath compressor. While air compressors are great, recent years have realized an influx of more attainable tubeless pumps and inflator canisters hit the market.

An air compressor and matching tyre inflator can be a super handy tool, but it isn’t a must-have.

A tubeless-specific floor pump effectively blends a regular flooring pump with a chamber that can be charged to a specified pressure and then released in one sudden burst. Great examples of this include the Bontrager TLR Flash Charger, Topeak JoeBlow Booster, Lezyne Digital Pressure Overdrive, and others. Another alternative is a large volume floor pump that simply supplies a decent flare of air with each apoplexy- one great example of this is the Topeak JoeBlow Tubi 2Stage.

Tubeless floor pumps, inflation canisters, or an breath compressor can help greatly with fussy tubeless setups.

If you already own a floor pump you adore, then consider a separate tubeless canister that you inflate to pressure. I’ve had great success with the original Airshot, although similar products now exist from Schwalbe, Giant, Specialized, Milkit, and Topeak. There are also plenty of lessons for DIY canisters applying a Coke bottle or similar, but devoted you’ll be pumping the thing over 100 psi, I’m not a fan of such ideas.

I’m struggling to get the tyre to inflate. What should I do?

There are many tips and tricks here. Try these in order.

– Airflow is typically the biggest limiter. Start by removing the valve core from the valve( using a valve core removal tool or a set of needle-nose pliers ). This will allow a larger volume of air to flow faster into the tyre. If you have access to a tubeless pump, canister, or breath compressor , now is the time to use it .- If you don’t have access to a compressor or tubeless pump, then a volley from a CO2 canister can also do the trick. However, this method is not only wasteful, but can adversely affect the sealant given the extreme cold produced inside the tyre .- Double-check that the tyre is sitting on the rim around the valve stem and not overlapping with it. This is a common issue .- A little soapy water around the bead of the tyre can help ease the bead into place. The soap likewise aids in slowing the liberation of breath around the bead .- Have a friend assistance comprised the tyre taut against the rim to help create a temporary seal. Pulling the tyre against the rim beading at the valve can also be a useful approach for loose fitting and/ or wider tyres.

I’ve tried everything hinted but the tyre still won’t inflate. What next?

Failing all that, take the tubeless valve out, install a tube and inflate to pressure, and then leave it overnight. When you come back to it, deflate the tube and carefully raising only one side of the tyre off the rim, leaving the seated bead intact on the other side. Install the tubeless valve, push the loose beading back into home and inflate.

If you still can’t inflate it at this degree, you’re either dealing with a horrible( or faulty) combining or are missing earlier steps.

I got my tubeless installed, but it was flat by the next morning. How do I determine this?

You’ve got a leak. There could be a few things causing this and dipping the wheel in a container of liquid can help diagnose it.

Most likely it’s leaking from the sidewall of a tyre. To set this, give the tyre a shake while turning it on its back( imagine driving a bus with your wheel ). Your goal is to distribute the sealant around the entire surface of the tyre casing. Once done, lay the wheel flat on a pail or similar and leave for a few hours. Repeat the shaking motion and flip-flop the wheel. It’s also a good theory to immediately go the inflated tyre( s) around the block for a few minutes. The recurred casing flex assists the sealant fill any remaining tiny loopholes in the sidewalls.

If the divulge is coming from your tubeless valve, then make sure you haven’t torn the surrounding tape. Check that the valve’s rubber grommet is matching and sealing to the rim shape; some rims call for specific valves. And of course, check that the valve nut is tight.

If the leakage is coming through some speak gaps, then you either have a valve seal issue or a poor rim videotape seal. Redo the rim videotape installation with fresh videotape and ensure the rim is cleaned with an alcohol-based solvent firstly. Installing a tube overnight can help seal the brand-new rim videotape against the rim.

Riding with tubeless and specifying plains

What tyre pressure should I invited to participate in my tubeless tyres?

The answer to this question is a simple’ it depends ‘, but the general rule is’ less ‘. Both Zipp and Silca offer good tyre pressure calculators, which will assist with getting you into the right ballpark, irrespective of what tyre and rim you use.

Generally speaking, the recommended tyre pressure will be lower than you think is right. For example, a 75 kg( 165 lb) pure road rider on evaluated 28 mm tyres is likely to be most comfortable and efficient on pressures south of 60 psi. The same rider on gravel with 40 mm tyres will likely be below 38 psi( unless highly rocky ).

What happened when I get a flat tyre?

Most punctures on tubeless will self-seal with the sealant inside the tyre( accepting it hasn’t dehydrated out ). Often you won’t even need to stop, while other times drawing over and letting gravity focus the sealant to the puncture can help.

DynaplugA tyre plug can quickly seal even larger punctures. It’s put from the outside of the tyre.

If the hole is larger and/ or not sealing, then a tyre plug can be inserted from the outside. If the restore is done promptly( and if you’re quick to throw a thumb on the hole while you get the tool ready ), you may be able to continue riding without having to top up the tyre pressure.

If you don’t have tyre plugs, or the tyre is properly cut, then you can merely install an inner tube as usual. As you would with a clincher structure, it’s best to use a spot or boot on the tyre to prevent the inner tube from poking through the hole if it’s particularly big-hearted. Installing a tube uses the same process as a clincher setup, but remember that you will need to remove the tubeless valve branch firstly, and you’re likely to get a bit messier due to the sealant inside.

I’m new on tubeless, what spares should I take with me on a ride?

The spares you carry with tubeless tyres will likely look much like those you carried with tubings. For street, gravel and mountain bike goes we pack a tubeless plug kit, a tyre lever, an inner tubing, and a space to inflate the tyre( either Co2 or a mini pump ).

On genuinely remote mountain bike or gravel journeys, some of our personnel choose to carry a small bottle of tyre sealant in addition to tyre plugs, an inner tubing, and a mini-pump. It’s highly unlikely you’ll get stranded with such a setup.

Can a tubeless tyre be restored?

In case of a puncture, a tubeless tyre plug can be used to create a reliable determine. If the plug is holding breath, then it’s likely fine to leave in place for living conditions of the tyre.

If the plug continues to leak or the tyre is torn then it can be patched from the inside. We’ve had good success with patching tyres with regular inner tubing spots and vulcanising adhesive, but it can be a messy position given the sealant inside the tyre.

Replace the tyre if there is any damage to the bead.

What tubeless tyre plugs are best?

Dynaplug RacerThe Dynaplug Racer is my favourite, but the American company has a range of great tools.

Without sounding dramatic, there are Dynaplugs and then everything else. Dynaplug mixes its mark “spike” tool and the plug into one, so it’s extremely rapid and easy to use. Read our Dynaplug review to see how this product operates.

Other structures borrow from the automotive world-wide and use a pronged tool to push a sticky rubber strip through the tyre. There are numerous compact bicycle-specific alternatives on the market that typically run cheaper than Dynaplug and get the job done( but often with a little bit more fiddling ). Just remember that all tyre plugs are most likely to be effective if you have fresh sealant in your tyres.

Have you used tubeless before? What has been your experience? Any tips missed? Let us know in the comments below.

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