Tech Tuesday: Tubeless Tire Setup 101

Nov 15, 2022 at 16:34
by Travis Engel  

This is not a tutorial. There are plenty of those out there already. In fact, I’ll embed a couple of my favorite ones in this post, but not until the end. On the way there, we’ll be doing something of a pre-tutorial. Covering a few fundamentals that, even if you already know how to complete a tubeless tire setup, may make the process easier, help if you run into trouble, or just deepen your understanding of what exactly is going on down there.

Sealant

First, let’s talk about sealant. Stan’s is a common enough brand of sealant that it has become generic, and may be how you’ll hear riders refer to it. Though there are a few unique alternatives, the majority (including Stan’s) use liquid latex as their main active ingredient. They also have other stuff in there, both liquid and solid, so you have to shake it like homestyle orange juice before adding it (usually about two fluid ounces) to your tire.


Latex, as we know, is an extremely stretchy material that, even when very thin, will not let liquid or air through. That serves two primary purposes in a bike tire. The one we think about most is sealing punctures. It will allow you to roll over a nearly endless quantity of nature’s spike strips as long as it remains liquid, which is usually 2 to 5 months depending on the size of your tire, how much you put in, and how much might have escaped through larger punctures before it finally sealed or you finally plug it (which we’ll get to later). The other purpose is filling any imperfections in the seal around the valve or around the tire’s “bead,” the inner edges that sit against the rim.


It also, unfortunately, can seal the valve itself, so when inflating a tubeless tire, be sure the wheel is not rotated in a way that leaves the valve at the bottom where any pressure loss could suck sealant into the valve. Thankfully, the core inside the valve can be removed and cleaned. In fact, you may want to get used to removing your valve core anyway because it can be the easiest way to add sealant after those 2 to 5 months because you don’t have to unseal the rim from the tire. And let’s move on to the tire. This valve talk was getting dangerously close to a tutorial.

Tires

Before tubeless tires became ubiquitous on bikes down even in the three-digit price range, most tires were not tubeless-ready. Neither were most rims, but we’ll get to that later too. Stan’s, bless their hearts, made conversion kits that would allow you to go tubeless with almost any tire and wheel combo, but they required a finicky rubber rim strip and would often leave your non-tubeless tires’ sidewalls oozing tiny dots of white sealant.

Shelling out for actual tubeless tires makes a difference in a few ways. The “casing” of the tire, which is essentially the tire’s body, is more robust and naturally air-tight, so neither air nor sealant will seep through it. Also, the bead diameter is measured with more precision at manufacturing and is made of a material less likely to stretch. It also has a wider, smoother surface at its base so it can make a more reliable contact with the rim, which we’ll get to now.

Rims

A tubeless rim doesn’t necessarily look different from a traditional rim. Years ago, some rims went to great lengths to have a structurally sealed outer wall because spoke holes, of course, prevent a tire from sealing. But the bike industry has agreed that lining the rim with certain types of tape will do the trick. Tape is yet another thing we’ll get to later. Taped or not, tubeless rims do have one thing in common. The surfaces on either side of that outer wall are, like the tire beads, constructed to an exact diameter to ensure a tight-but-not-too-tight fit.


The actual shape is slightly different between rim brands, and some even have patented “ramps” or sometimes “lips” that lead up from the center of the rim (which is lowered to give the tire bead enough slack to be installed). Something important to remember is that it is this surface that handles the seal. The walls of the rim (confusingly also called beads) are not what makes the actual seal. Sure, they help, but they really just keep the tire on the rim.

It’s one reason why some rims can be hookless-bead and others are hook-bead. Most carbon-fiber rims are hookless-bead and most aluminum rims are hook-bead. This isn’t necessarily all that important with regards to how tubeless works, other than determining the proper-size rim tape.

Tape

Tape made specifically for sealing tubeless bike rims is made of a thin, stiff, even slightly brittle plastic-like material. It has to be stiff because otherwise, the pressure would force it into the spoke holes and it would eventually tear. Before tubeless, we would use a canvas tape that was more flexible, but not air-tight. Rim tape comes in several widths, and measuring can be tricky if you have a hook-bead rim because it needs to go from wall to wall, but it will fall short if it is only as wide as the distance between the hooks.


Tubeless tape doesn’t have to extend up the rim beads because, again, the seal happens at the base, but it should extend as close to those rim beads as possible. One easy way to achieve this is by using Gorilla Tape. It is cheap, plenty strong and slightly more flexible. But conveniently, you can tear it to the exact width you need. The main issue is that it tends to leave a residue that can complicate tape re-application, especially if you go to the stiffer traditional rim tape which happens to be less likely to leave a residue. But once it’s installed, Gorilla Tape’s softer structure makes it a little easier to poke the hole for the valve. It’s easy to tear purpose-built rim tape if you’re not careful, but with a small pilot hole, you can just push the valve through Gorilla Tape.

Valves

Tubeless valves were once proprietary to the rim manufacturer, but modern systems are more user-friendly. If a valve is long enough to fit through the rim (anything around 44mm is probably right), it’ll work. All tubeless valves are Presta-style, which you’re probably familiar with by now. But one thing that’s possibly unique about tubeless valves is their removable cores. Just below the tip that you unthread to add air, there is a larger threaded piece with two flat sides that can accept a tiny tool.


A Presta-valve-core removal tool is a must-have once you go tubeless, and some valves integrate the tool into the cap. Removing the valve core is useful if you are adding sealant, but also when you are initially “seating” the tire, which means bedding the beads in place on the rim so it makes a seal and sits evenly around its entire circumference. If you are ever having difficulty getting a tire to seat, removing the valve core before pumping will allow more air to enter more quickly. And that topic is pretty well seated in the pump discussion, but we’ll briefly talk about plugs first because I don’t have a good segue to get us there.

Plugs

Plugs are a benefit of using tubeless we often overlook. With sealant in the tire ready to help, a tubeless plug is able to seal holes far quicker than an old glued inner tube patch. Usually made of gooey, unvulcanized rubber, tire plugs are soft enough to squeeze into oddly shaped punctures and fill them up leaving very little room for air. But they have a usually fibrous structure that allows you to exert a lot of force to insert them. Many plug kits tend to leave you with the bare minimum quantity of plugs, so it’s good to carry extras. In the most common type of flat, a pinch flat, you may do enough damage to put two holes in the tire, and each may be large enough to require several plugs. And especially if you aren’t well practiced in plug insertion, you may find yourself wasting one or two and needing extras. Plugs are lighter than an extra spare tube, so bring more than you think you need.

Pumps

So, it’s not always necessary, but going tubeless is a good excuse to buy an air compressor if you don’t already have one. Beyond being useful for countless non-bike-related things, the speed with which they inflate is helpful when seating a tire because you often rely on immediate and sustained outward force to push the tire beads onto the rim surface where they seat, create a seal, and allow you to begin to add pressure.

There are also floor pumps—generally called “charger” pumps—that include a separate chamber that you can use the pump itself to pressurize and then release all at once to mimic the action of an air compressor. Whichever approach appeals to you will work, whether it’s the automatic, versatile compressor or the quiet, portable and slightly less expensive charger pump. Of course, with nice, wrinkle-free tires and well-taped rims, you can often get a tire to seat without the help of a compressor or a charger pump, so give it a try with your existing pump and you may not need to look any further.


So, I promised some tutorials, which I said were plentiful out there. That's why we didn't make our own, but instead picked a couple that we probably couldn't do any better. Now that you understand the elements of tubeless, these will feel more intuitive to follow. The video below covers rim-tape installation. Because it’s produced by Stan’s, it is promoting their tubeless tape, but the same rules apply if you decide to go for the Gorilla Tape approach.


Now once tape is installed, the tire installation comes next, complete with adding sealant and seating the tire. We would add to this, that once the tire is fully seated, spinning the tire slowly in your hands will circulate the sealant so that it catches and fills any small leaks that may be at the bead after install.


And with that, you are ready to roll. And if you already were ready to roll, hopefully you’re also a little wiser about what got you there.





141 Comments

  • 148 19
 DO NOT USE GORILLA TAPE!!!!! Just ask Enve.... For the love of all that is holy, use some real tubeless tape!!!!!
  • 91 7
 1000% agree with Dusty. Gorilla Tape is a terrible choice, and the fact that largest MTB publication is STILL perpetuating this bogus tip is concerning. Gorilla tape does not remain air/liquid tight and will eventually weep sealant into your rim, and corrode and seize your nipples. If you are running alloy nipples, god help you. I've seen my fair share of wheel failures driven primarily because of the use of Gorilla tape.

Worth repeating:
DO NOT USE GORILLA TAPE!!!!!
DO NOT USE GORILLA TAPE!!!!!
DO NOT USE GORILLA TAPE!!!!!
  • 32 3
 And again… DO NOT USE GORILLA TAPE!!!!!

Gorilla Tape is too thick for almost all modern rims, resulting in the occasional, terrifying, possibly dangerous blow-off. You only have to do it once to understand that the violence of blowing a tubeless tire off is not worth the “ease” of Gorilla Tape. It’s also too expensive. Tesa tape is my favourite. (Except for having to buy it from ULine and not only give those rotten guys money, but also get ULine catalogues until well after your death.)
  • 10 0
 Gorilla tape has also a very thick glue layer and can move inside the rim when you seat the tire bed. A second the anti gorilla tape sentiment. However many tubeless tapes are also crap, being overly stiff and having not enough glue ... Applying tubeless tape is the worst part of the process by far, even mounting Cush Core is less frustrating Wink
  • 91 5
 But Gorilla Tape would double the strength of an Enve rim.
  • 9 2
 Gorilla tape: works brilliantly initially. Until it breaks down inside the rim and makes the tyre really difficult to remove. I’ve used it once, never again…
  • 52 33
 Gorilla tape is fine, Year 4 and not an issue.
  • 4 0
 this is why I love the comment section, good to know
  • 4 8
flag genericmk (Nov 29, 2022 at 9:42) (Below Threshold)
 100%. Gorilla tape sucks in this application.
A layer or 2 of good electric tape will suffice. For a bulletproof job a layer of kapton tape directly on the rim with a layer of vinyl tape wall to wall on the rim.
  • 8 0
 I feel personally attacked
  • 7 1
 @ridingofthebikes: Sure, it's fine until you decide to take it off. There's no way I'm putting duct tape or gorilla tape on my rims. It's a PITA to clean up that residue the tapes leave behind!
  • 12 5
 @CSharp: use gorilla tape to remove gorilla tape. take a piece and dab it. its written right on the package. comes off very easily.
  • 3 0
 Not all Gorilla Tape is the same....
  • 4 7
 Seth bike hacks used to do it and it somehow worked
  • 2 1
 @privateer-wheels: My local shop was pushing gorilla tape during the Covid shortages as you couldn't get any tubeless tape.
  • 4 2
 @ridingofthebikes: Whenever you have to replace a broken spoke or at some point remove tape forever whatever the reason, then you will think differently. HAhahaha
  • 10 0
 @privateer-wheels: 60% of the time it works every time
  • 2 1
 Gorilla CLEAR tape is acceptable, their version of black cloth duct tape is not.
  • 4 1
 As soon as I saw that gorilla tape in the pic I had to jump in and say no..
Stop listening to anecdotal evidence bc there's always that 1 guy who says it works great. That's just luck.
Many rim manufacturers (mostly carbon) have it printed specifically on their site to NOT use it.
It's a mess, it fails leaving you SOL on a ride and can ruin your wheels!!
  • 5 2
 @ridingofthebikes: Tried everything I can think off: Gorilla tape on residue, 95% isopropyl, acetone, Goof Off. The solvents will remove the residues but it's time consuming! Same thing where a friend used Gorilla tape on his frame and the e-bike cables. I had to take the tapes off to do some new wiring for his e-bike. It just took a ton of time to remove that crap off his frame and the cable harnesses. I told my friend not to use duct tape or Gorilla Tape next time and just use zip ties or electrical tape instead.

I also wouldn't recommend using solvents like Goof Off or acetone on carbon rims. I've worked with fiberglass resin before and fiberglass with hardened resin actually melts when it's soaked in acetone. So, carbon fiber resin will likely break apart if it's saturated with solvent.
  • 8 3
 @deeeight: Cheap bastards cant go to the LBS and buy a $12-20 roll of tubeless rim tape for a 5k bicycle! ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC!!!
  • 8 0
 @privateer-wheels: I'll never seize a gorillas nipples that's for damn sure
  • 4 0
 @Apfelsauce: buy one thing from ULINE....Uline thinks it's the inaugural purchase in my new sandbag purchasing fetish, and continues to send me a 3lb catalogue every quarter for the next 8 years...
  • 1 0
 @privateer-wheels: Having weeping in your rim and seized nipples sounds very uncomfortable. Thus I will not use gorilla tape ever again.
  • 4 2
 I'll be another voice in the "never had a problem using gorilla tape" camp. I don't generally use it due to weight, but I've used it with great success. I would never use generic duct tape for the job, but Gorilla brand tape treats you right in my experience.

I've tried plenty of other rim tapes. Many of them suck. Like, a surprisingly large number of them suck. Of late I've been using Orange tape with no issue.
  • 1 1
 @likeittacky: no. no I wont.
  • 1 1
 @CSharp: you didnt try actual gorilla tape to remove gorila tape did you? psh.... everything my ass.
  • 1 0
 @ridingofthebikes: Guess you can try that on your ass to see if you can get all the hair off. Big Grin Like I said, I tried it with the crap residue on the rim after peeling the tape off. Why do you think a lot of people are complaining about the use of gorilla tape on rims?

However, if you really know what worked well - it's the Kapton or Polyamide tape. It's thinner (like 1/5 to 1/6 thinner than Gorilla), lighter, easy to apply and remove, and doesn't leave any residue. It's also cheaper and you can do like 5-8 wheelsets (10-16 rims) on a 33m roll. You can probably have enough for 20 wheelsets if you have wider tapes that fit your inside rims dimensions without offset taping and too much overlapping.
  • 1 3
 @CSharp: lifes hard eh?? You used everything except the actual method that is wrtitten on the package and your throwing insults at me. Grow up and figure shit out.
  • 1 2
 @likeittacky: that's it. ? primate? you can't figure out tape OR insults.
  • 2 0
 @ridingofthebikes: Primate -(Gorilla Tape) Duh. Ridicule rather than insult.
  • 8 0
 Dustyduke22 and I make our pay as wheel builders. Dusty builds at Hubsessed in Utah, I build at Privateer Wheel Building Co. in Ontario Canada. I can't speak for Dusty, but I network quite a bit with other wheel builders as well (including Dusty). Our aversion to Gorilla tape is based on seeing thousands of wheels, and speaking with other builders, not just a set or a couple dozen sets even. Literally thousands of sets of wheels with different rim finishes, tapes, sealants, etc, under a whack of different people with different riding and maintenance habits, living in different climates.

If you have had good experience with Gorilla, I am happy for you. Ultimately, I don't like seeing people fall victim to any sort of bike failure. BUT, seeing what we see, we're able to tell you with certainty that it can cause issues. I've seen Gorilla tape end up as the root cause for near catastrophic wheel failure, and many times, the cause for expensive rebuild. That's free advice for whatever it's worth, take it or leave it.

Strapping tape from Scotch or Tesa, or high temp poly tape, both of these are mentioned above, are better choices than Gorilla tape.
  • 3 0
 Tesa 4289 is the stuff to use. Cheap and the same as tubeless tape. Plus Viking Tapes in UK will cut to your preferred width.
  • 1 5
flag ridingofthebikes (Nov 30, 2022 at 12:47) (Below Threshold)
 @likeittacky: backpedaling should be for bike tricks only.
  • 4 1
 @ridingofthebikes: LOL, chill out dude. Life doesn't have to be hard, especially when you use the right tools and the right tape for the job Big Grin It's OK to look into better methods of doing things - just that Gorilla is so apish. (Don't go ape and bananas over this!)
  • 1 0
 @CSharp: cHilL oUt dUdE. As I literally try to make life easier for you. I was explaining the ease of use for gorilla tape and now you're using my own sentence against me for life being hard. no wonder you can't figure out tape.
  • 2 0
 @ridingofthebikes: You should try banana peels on the Gorilla Tape residue next time. It removes plaque from your teeth and whitens your sneakers. Might work real good polishing up the rim! Wink
  • 39 1
 save 10$ but loose 3hours cleaning your rims next time.
  • 6 9
 You're doing it wrong
  • 13 1
 @TommyNunchuck: yeah definitely, with a generous application of Goo-Gone it only takes me 1 hour per rim!
  • 11 4
 @AndrewHornor: You use the gorilla tape to remove its own glue... just dab it.
  • 2 2
 @ridingofthebikes: problem with Gorilla tape for me is removing the tires when they are done. The tires don't slide on the surface of the tape to unseat the bead so I have to cut the tire to get it off. I got some tesla tape at uline and have enough for a lifetime. Won't use GT anymore.
  • 6 4
 @jaydawg69: Hmm. seems odd. just removed my 2 year old tires which had gorilla tape with no issue. sounds like user error. Like any tape you have to make sure it covers the entire width of rim from wall to wall.
  • 3 2
 @ridingofthebikes: happened more than once. Once you use Tesla tape, there's no going back. Cheaper and easier so it's kind of a no brainer. You a Gorilla Tape influencer or something as you've commented about a dozen times on the same thing?
  • 2 3
 @jaydawg69: yes i am. What do i need to say to you to get you to buy MORE!!!
  • 2 0
 @jaydawg69: Lay the wheel on its side on the floor, stand on the tire sidewalls, pull upwards on the spokes closest to the rim where you're standing. It'll pop free. Surly rims do this regardless of the tape you use, even when running tubes.
  • 2 3
 @deeeight: don't have to with proper tape. GT is just a bad idea.
  • 5 5
 @ridingofthebikes: im with you, never had a problem with gorilla tape, have it on a wheelset for 5 years that holds air perfectly, never had a single issue. I've actually had much worse luck with actual tubeless tape, never had a tire hold air for more than a day, I've had the tape just come unstuck, or split.
I've changed plenty of tires and removed it and replaced it before, its not that hard to do. honestly, the sticky residue isn't going to hurt you either.
  • 4 2
 I’ve been using gorilla tape for ten years now with very few issues.
And when you’re reapplying more, just put it on top of the old sticky glue, you don’t need to eat off the rims surface before you apply more. And I can do 20 wheels for the same price as doing 4 with the expensive rim tape. It may be easier to get off, but for what it’s worth, it ain’t worth if for me.
  • 1 0
 @chubby5000: you can tesla tape at uline really cheap. I used to be a gt guy but the tesla tape is so much easier and better.
  • 27 8
 I've been running gorilla tape for years on different rim, multiple re-tapes and never had any of the issues you guys are talking about.
  • 15 2
 60% of the time it works every time Smile
  • 9 4
 @SATN-XC: those are pretty good odds when you consider that 40% of people struggle to change a tube.
  • 3 0
 I've run Gorilla tape with no issues until I tried to fit a Cushcore. Forcing the bead into the middle of the rim caused the tape to shift exposing the spoke holes. 20 mins of tyre wrestling, and it wouldn't stay inflated !!!
  • 1 0
 @ridingofthebikes: This right here lol
  • 1 0
 Same here never had an issue, As @chubby5000 said just tape over any old glue, don't really have this issue though. I've been using it for years on multiple wheels and bikes. As for the spoke issue maybe lube your spoke nipples when truing or tensioning your wheels.
  • 1 1
 Big Rim Tape just wants your money.
  • 1 0
 Same, I don't quite follow the hate or understand the "you spent £7 trillion on a bike why save 9p" argument. Every single special super dooper expensive tubeless rim tape I've ever tried has been crap, they either require a surgically clean rim and it to be applied in a climate controlled hospital level clean room to adhere properly, or just don't hold air. I'm facetiously exaggerating obviously but the point is valid. Every rim tape I've bought has had enough to do about 2 rims at vast cost. Gorilla tape is cheap, you can tear it with your fingers to the exact amount needed and I've never had any corroded nipples. Sure Gorilla tape does leave some residue if you have to remove it but a rag and some IPA wipes that right off. Certainly nowhere near an hour to clean a rim, maybe 5 minutes? the thing that took hours to clean was when the Caffelatex sealant formed a perfect layer inside the tyre, that sh!t took hours to clean off picking bit by bit. Should never have moved away from Stans, that stuff lasted YEARS.

If someone can make tape that works and cheaply then clearly the other stuff is just BS profiteering, but hey different strokes for different folks clearly.
  • 19 4
 Gorilla tape is the worst. It's so thick that trying to get a tire off the bead is almost impossible with some rim/tire combo's. Nuetech Tubliss moto rim tape is the way to go. $5 will do 4-5 mtb wheels.
  • 4 2
 I'm convinced the edges peel up on tire removal and get stuck to the inside of the tire. It's possibly the worst "MTB hack" I've tried.
  • 6 9
 you apply it wrong then. never had an issue. clean the rim with iso. and if you remove. use gorilla tape to ake off its own glue. its simple stuff.
  • 3 2
 @ridingofthebikes: Easier said than done. Tried it and would never do it again. It's a PITA!
  • 1 0
 ouuuuu nice alternative product suggestion
  • 13 1
 Not all tubeless valves are Presta. Alu Schrader are stronger, allow in more air, don't clog as easily and will allow you to seat your tubeless at 2am at the local petrol station.
  • 5 1
 My next tubeless valves will be Schrader's. I have no idea why mtbers love stupid socks and presta valves so very much.
  • 2 0
 @Andykmn : I just found a set of tubless Schrader valves (by accident) at my local shop. Was blow away since I used to always bore out my tube rims for Schrader. Bought two sets, will pick up a few more for the DH bike soon.
  • 1 0
 The only slight downside of the available Schrader valves is that (the ones I know, primarily just Joes NoFlats I think) they aren't made to be compatible with inserts. I tried both to cut and drill sideways in the rubber seal to resemble the CushCore/Pepi/Peatys like valves, but they always seem to clog. So I have never made this to work with ProCore (where I use a regular tube and then a separate valve for the air chamber). But I've got a Spank rim which is pretty horrible to use with ProCore (because of the two off-center channels) but on the other hand is super easy with Pepi so that's what I tried. I just used the regular Schrader tubeless valve and just slightly squeezed the Pepi insert by wrapping the part above the valve with ducttape. This leaves enough of a channel to allow the air to flow through the valve into the tire. I don't expect it to compromise the insert too much. At least the tire installs in a breeze. Even without sealant and with a regular floor pump (using a Joe Blow Duallie) the tire pops into place instantly without any hissing or leaking. Of course it deflates in one or two hours but this is without sealant.

TL;DR: Schrader is great, but the available options may not work with all inserts. It can be made to work though.
  • 1 0
 Ive been on schradders for over 10byesrs and wouldn't go back. Just drill out your aluminium rims and you're good to go.
  • 2 0
 @bman33: motorbike valves work too
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: great point!
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: I think I went to Schrader over twenty years ago, after having experienced a few times that the Presta valve core popped out when removing the valve cap. It is downright unsafe. Nowhere else do you risk unscrewing a valve core when the air chamber (tire/tube) is still pressurized. But yeah as mentioned, I absolutely love ProCore but haven't managed to make a Schrader valve work well for inflating the tire. The tube I'm using there has Schrader, but I can't find a compatible valve for the actual tire (so one that doesn't get blocked by the tube). If someone knows of one, I'd be glad to learn!
  • 1 0
 @Andykmn: what defines a stupid sock?
  • 9 1
 Scotch 8896 is way better than Gorilla tape. It’s essentially the same as Stan’s tape but comes with waaaay more on the roll and is cheaper.

There are other tapes as well (Kapton tape?) that people use that are superior to Gorilla tape. I’m sure others can chime in.
  • 6 4
 Gorilla is awesome! Until it's not... when you have to take it off and you are left with a gnarly sticky mess.
  • 3 0
 i googled Scotch 8896 to find its 3m 8896 lol i never thought of using Kapton tape and i have literally miles of the stuff because it get used in carbon fibre making stuff
  • 3 0
 @Compositepro: oops yeah 3m
  • 2 0
 Do you offset your layers to handle the tape being narrower than a now 'standard' 30mm internal rim? It seems to come in 24 and 36mm widths.

www.3m.com/3M/en_US/p/d/b40067699
  • 2 0
 @rclugnut: You have to purchase tape that is a bit wider than the internal rim width so that the tape can fill the valley of the rim and still reach both rim walls. If it climbs the walls a little it's no big deal.
  • 1 0
 Tesa 4289
  • 1 0
 Reserve Tape... use it once and you'll never use anything else.
  • 10 0
 Always preferred gorilla tape over stans until I tried the DT swiss tape. Seems stronger and less brittle than stans with better adhesion too.
  • 5 1
 +1 for DT Swiss tape. It's pretty expensive but a double wrap of it is bombproof.
  • 3 0
 @GBeard: I have had an opposite experience sadly, the DT Swiss tape just does not hold on my DT Swiss rims. At Mt. Sainte Anne world cup, I talked to the reps there and was moderately complaining about the tape. They said just use Stans!
  • 9 3
 The standard presta valve is one of the weakest and most frustrating parts of the system. Easily clogged and restricts airflow. A legacy from road biking that needs to die. MTB industry finally killed road biking heritage geometry over the past 5-7 years. Will schrader ever make a comeback in MTB? Shelling out big bucks for a Fillmore or 76 Projects is an expensive bandaid.
  • 7 0
 I bought 100 presta valves off amazon for $7 last week
  • 4 0
 @mariomtblt: I bought a pair of Stan's Schrader valves for ~$12 ten years ago and they still going strong.
  • 2 0
 @ben314: unless we're talking dirt jumpers idk how thats even possible man. But kudos to you!
  • 3 1
 @mariomtblt: What do you mean 'even possible.."? Most modern rims are plenty wide enough to bore out for Schrader. I've done it for over 20 years with tubes in my MTB's. Now that there are Schrader tubeless, why would anyone stick with presta?
  • 1 0
 @bman33: given how good modern bikes are, I would have ditched a 10 year old bike by now. Unless it was a DJ like I said.
  • 1 3
 @bman33: wait I just read “bore out” lmao. You’d rather drill into your rims than sometimes replace a presta? Now I know you’re on one dude
  • 2 0
 @mariomtblt: Agree on the DJ, that geometry has been sorted for over a decade. For boring /reaming out to a larger diameter for Schrader. The ONLY reason presta is around is because of road rims are narrow and those rims were used in a chopped down 26" version in the early days of MTB. Today's wider rims don't need those tiny valves. Raced semi-pro BMX and DH/Slalom MTB in the mid 90's/early 00's on thenational scene. Many of us reamed out to the larger valves with the wider rims for the tubes back then. Many rim companies such as Sun and Mavic actually drilled their rims Schrader and provide spacers if you wanted to run Presta Much more sturdy, especially in a racing /traveling with bikes scenario.
  • 5 0
 2 things not noted in this article:

The channel is the critical part of being able to mount the tire when it is a tight fit: make sure both beads of the tire are in the channel , most importantly, 180 degrees from where you are doing the last bit of slipping the tire over into the rim cavity, but the more the tire beads are in the channel all the way around will give you more play to slip the tire up and over the side of the rim during the last segment.

To seat a tubeless tire with out a compressor and it is not quite working; make sure to go around the tire and gradually pull the tire bead out towards the outside of the rim on both sides so that the tire beads are both in contact with the rim walls (so that there are no spots where the tire bead is still in the channel) and the hand pump will be way more successful.
  • 2 0
 The real mvp
  • 2 0
 Also w/o compressor: install a tube and seat beads. Deflate, break bead on one side of rim--the long side relative to spoke holes if rim drilling is asymmetric--remove tube, install sealant through valve hole, install valve, seat remaining bead with high volume floor pump.

@excel: Fillmore are excellent and not presta
  • 5 1
 I much prefer the Tesa rim tape (4289) to Gorilla tape. I find it's much more likely to stay in place when swapping tyres. In my experience Gorilla tape gets pushed out of place when unseating tyres and you then have the ball ache of getting all the residue removed from the rim and re-taping.
I also use an expansion vessel from an old combi boiler (available from most scrap yards and easily converted using a few plumbing fittings) as an accumulator which I can pressure up to around 3 bar. This can then be dumped into the tyre and will get the beads to pop pretty much every time. It's also much cheaper and way more portable than a compressor.
  • 8 0
 I have a comment, but I'll also leave it for later.
  • 4 0
 I have found no system works better for setup of tubeless than Bontrager wheels, strips, and tires. I can always set them up with a normal pump, there is always a satisfying ping as the bead seats, and the TLR strips are way better than having to retape. Sure there are fancier rims and tires, but I've loved mine. This is from my experience of home and shop setups with a wide variety of tires and setups. I personally prefer Orange or Bontrager sealant, but really anything other than Stans. Stans smells awful and will corrode your nipples or eat certain tires.
  • 3 0
 I used to use Gorilla tape for tubeless and getting the tire off the rim (particularly with cushcore) was just brutal (I assume because the thickness of the tape and the lip it forms once it dries. I've since switched to muc-off tape and the whole process is far easier, and leaves much less residue to try and clean up. Maybe just my tire/rim combo, but I definitely see value in using proper rim tape these days.
  • 4 0
 Best tape ive used hands down is Whiskey tape. Transparent, and super stretchy, you get rims perfect every time. Dt is a close second though
  • 2 0
 Gorilla tape as rim tape - save money, waste time. Been there, done that.
On carbon rims it´s pain in the ass

I understand PB didn´t mention it but please people, if you wanna save on rim tape, then don´t pay for Stan´s or others logos on your TESA Tubeless Tape | 25 mm x 66 m for 20 bucks.

Love me 30 wheelsets later.
  • 2 0
 For anyone that has fought to inflate a TR tire using an air compressor, the video showing a floor pump to inflate is far from reality IMO. Personally, an ENVE wheel combined with a Maxxis tire is by far the easiest to inflate. Gravel King tires are by far the toughest to get on a wheel.
  • 3 2
 I know this is all free content, but it's missing a huge pile of pitfalls that could catch out those new to tubeless. Doesn't include tips on how to fit double b*****d tight tyres (looking at you Schwalbe Super Gravity) without breaking levers or trashing your rim tape. Soapy water etc. How often to replace sealant (and how fast different sealants dry out and how your weather affects it). Cleaning dried sealant off the bead before refitting a used tyre, so it actually seals. I generally wouldn't even think about fitting a tyre with the valve core in (and remember that a lezyne pump will remove it for you). I'm sure there are loads more useful things that could and should be in this article
  • 6 2
 Use a butane soldering iron and melt the valve hole with a quick stab. Nice and clean.
  • 2 0
 Just use Stan's tape, pull it real tight, grab the heat gun or hair dryer to smooth it out when you're done, and then melt a hole for the valve with a hot poker. Works perfectly every time.
  • 3 0
 OMG!!! You did NOT just tell everyone it is OK to use the G-word. All the mechanics are going to come at you with pitchforks! Run!

Quinny, where are you?
  • 1 0
 Can't believe no one mentioned the split tube options so popular on Ghetto tubeless days, not that I care because i ran UST rims but always puzzled me that such a simple and supposedly safe setup isnt more commonly used, particularly for Schrader valves as most tubes (at least Decathlon ones) have removable cores. Then again no idea why people pay trough their nose for Sealant, Liquid Latex+Glycerol+Distilled water (or Propylene Glycol instead of Glycerol, whichever is cheaper) get you about 3€/Lt of long lasting Sealant.
  • 1 0
 Anyone knows why I once got a huge messy blow of dried sealant in my wheel ?
I could even feel it while rolling if the pressure was a bit too low, as if my wheel was not perfectly round.
All I know is that I struggled a bit to get the tire totally sealed, probably because of the insert.
  • 1 0
 *blob, not blow
  • 1 0
 Should have include more on types of sealant. Stans dries up after a few months, peaty's stays in its original state for years. Also there needs to be more emphasis on tyre plugs, most holes on the trail dont effectively seal without a plug.
  • 1 0
 We need a PB Poll to let everyone share their vote on favourite tubeless tape to use, so I know what to buy next time since apparantly I shouldn't be using Gorilla Tape (which I've used without any issues for about 4 years now).
  • 1 0
 Almost, start about 10 cm before the valve and finish 10 cm after the valve. for 2 reasons:
- if you f*ck up somehow one layer while filing the excess on the hole you got a backup (only file inward)
- if for some reason the rim or outside of the tape is greasy the tape will loosen and then the valve will hold it together and keep tension on the whole rim.
Also press slightly on the butt of the valve while tightening the valve nut. A too loose valve will turn while unscrewing the valve end if needed.
And while installing the tape move slightly left-right while pulling. This will make the tape touch the rim bed much easier
you're welcome
  • 1 0
 And no mention of rims that are slightly too small in diameter not matching with tyres that are slightly too wide in diameter - I still need an innertube to seat those beads people!
  • 2 0
 If you have issues getting rim tape to stick to the rim then heat it up with a toaster oven or heat gun, the glue sticks 10x better.
  • 1 0
 I use a blow dryer, easy, works well and many more households have one.
  • 9 0
 How do you fit the rim in the toaster..... Badum tsssss
  • 1 1
 I wonder about hockey sock tape. Anyone try it? Clear, doesn't leave residue, and has stretch. Would be similar to electrical tap, but wider and less residue. Dirt cheap too.

Tuck tape (sheathing tape) is really effective at sealing but getting it off is a bit of a bitch. It lasts forever though.
  • 2 0
 Schrader tubeless should be the standard. So much better design since few of us use a hand pump. www.notubes.com/valve-stem-pair-universal-schrader-32mm-10mm-base
  • 1 1
 I'm not a fan of Stan's sealant because it eventually will start to eat my tires from the inside, seeping sealant out the carcass. Also, Maxxis tires consistently mount easily as tubeless. No other tire brand mounts as easily for me.
  • 1 0
 "All tubeless valves are Presta-style"
My bike would like to disagree! Got carbon rims with schrader holes and a set of nice valves, I just don't see any benefit to presta at all..
  • 4 3
 Gorrila Tape is awesome for rim tape but please do a quick run of thin electrical tape around the rim first. No problems with glue or residue then.
  • 1 0
 I'm with you on both counts Tommy.... done countless rims that way. Sure Gorilla tape may lift when swapping a tyre... but that's about once a year.
  • 4 3
 gorilla glue residue is so easily removed using gorilla tape. rip a fresh piece and dab it. comes right off.
  • 3 1
 @ridingofthebikes: Yep - that's straight out of the Adhesives 101 text book right there.
  • 3 1
 I have switched to Muc Off rim tape and sealant and love both. Works well, not crazy expensive and cool color.
  • 3 1
 This Tubeless thing isn't going to catch on - why bother with a whole article and video?
  • 6 3
 This was very informative 11 years ago.
  • 3 0
 I can’t believe no one has said anything bad about Stan’s.
  • 3 0
 Honestly I would love to, but I just don't have anything bad to say. It's killing me.
  • 1 0
 Every time I have to re tape my wheels it makes me miss my old Mavic Crossmax Enduro WTS where tape was not needed!
  • 1 0
 Same thing with older XTR wheels.
  • 4 3
 My tyres seemed to already have little holes in them - Schwalbe
  • 1 0
 tubes are making a comeback next year, because retro will be coool
  • 1 1
 Can I just say, "Yay! Travis Engel"? Can we get some Palmer in the house, too?
  • 1 0
 Rim tape is really a good idea, so I chose the old crankbrothers and Mavic
  • 1 2
 ive been using gorillla tape for a decade on several bikes. works perfectly.
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