Top 5 tubeless tire set-up mistakes

Here's how tubeless is done right (and wrong)

How To Tires
Tubeless Valve Core

The tubeless valve core needs to removed and cleaned periodically. Otherwise tubeless sealant will clog it up.

Tubeless is one of the greatest revolutions in mountain biking, but few bikes off the showroom floor are shipped with it. That’s why it’s important to know how to convert your tires correctly while avoiding the many possible pitfalls.

Many years ago, ill-fitting wheels and tires were commonplace and some combinations were a recipe for disaster. So if you are using older components, you have to be absolutely vigilant about the advice given in the video below from the Global Mountain Bike Network. But with modern equipment, tubeless setups are more reliable now. So users that had a bad experience 5 years ago should not be afraid to jump back in.

Now that you’ve seen how to properly set up a bike tubeless, it’s worth revisiting why tubeless is so good in another video from GMBN. Aside from avoiding flat tires and fixing them on the fly, there are other benefits. Check this video to learn more.

The only caution to this is the sealant inside the tire has a limited life span, typically 3-6 months depending on the climate where you live. It either disappears or it becomes watery and loses its effectiveness. Also, it will clog your valve making inflation difficult.

Proper care has to be taken to replace and refill the sealant in the tire periodically. Otherwise, you’ll constantly be dealing with a flat tire in the garage or the trail. Also, the valve core has to be removed and cleaned periodically. However, we suspect that this area is where we’ll see a lot more evolution and development with regards to tubeless systems. Stay tuned.

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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  • tyrebyter says:

    Good stuff. Soapy water is the most used tire lube, but not the right one. A proper tire lube e.g. RuGlyde, is the correct lube. Ask your professional mechanic. If he says soapy water, get a new professional mechanic.

  • Shred says:

    I’ve been tubless now for about 10years give or take, and I’ve never had to clean my valve stem nor have I ever had a clogged valve stem. I guess I’m lucky. I also don’t add or change the sealant for maintainence. I only add sealant if the tire starts to consistently loose air. More recently, I’ve found that I can even get away without running any sealant! Which saves me at least 4 ounces of rotating weight. With my current setup, I have LB 26+ 46mm, (40i) carbon rims, 12mm Stans tape, (only covers the spoke holes in the channel and won’t get messed up when mounting or dismounting tires) 1 wrap nice and tight. American Classic valve stem and 26×2.8 Maxxis DHRII 120tpi 3c EXO tires mounted dry with my compressor. They have held air and been ridden through everything for about 3 months now with no issues, until last week. I got a puncture in the rear. No problem, I just pull out my Stans valve core removal tool and squirt in 2oz of Stans that I keep in my pack, (Stans 2oz bottle, no syringe needed) reinstall valve core pump up and ride. Still no sealant in the front. Also, prior to mounting the 12mm rim tape, I throughly clean the inner rim surface with rubbing alcohol and a clean cloth. I also set the rims and tape out in the sun so they can warm up.The adhesive on the tape sticks better and the tape is more playable this way and will slightly stretch when pulled tight around the rim. This setup has been flawless for me thus far.

  • i think a proper floor pump is critical. my air gauge is wack and caused me to add too much air blowing off the tire more than once. i only figured out what was going on after using a different pump.

  • gliderboy says:

    Newbie here who just went through process and has the problems freshly in mind. Many like me may have a more entry level bike without tubeless ready tires. No worries, this is not a problem if handled properly. In my case I used a non TR Maxxis Pace that was a disaster on my first time effort. Success with this non TR tire required removing the radial mold seams on the tire bead with some toe nail clippers. Secondly, my tubeless Presta valve interfered with the tire seating properly about it on my narrow 19mm inner width rim. To overcome this simply loosen and press the valve stem beyond the bead. Visually observe the bead and sidewall coming into place at the valve stem area then tightnen the stem down. Additionally, check the stem periodically during process to make sure is stays tight. The last critical bit was to spray a soapy solution at the bead and rubbing in onto the rim bead with a finger. Once you get a bead seat do the tire shake seen on many videos to distribute your sealant. These steps enabled me to make my first successful ghetto tubeless with even a super weak pathetic $5 floor pump. I have ridden it hard at only 22psi and checked it twice under water finding no leaks

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