Ghetto tubeless…

Some hints for setting up your wheels tubeless

I tweeted a more compact version of these instructions the other day after fitting some new tyres using the ghetto tubeless method. Thought I’d put it in order, add a bit more info, & post it up here for reference

I prefer this method to the kits that come with a rimstrip; some widths of rim don’t fit the rimstrips too well. Also, this method costs about half the price or less of the packaged kits

So, if you fancy going tubeless for less rolling resistance, no pinch flats, more grip & the ability to run lower pressures, here’s some easy to follow instructions:

  1. Check the net for good/bad tyre/rim combos, but I’ve found Maxxis on EN321’s to work well, also Continentals. Kenda’s don’t like it so much. Some tyre/rim combos are just too loose fitting & some tyres have extremely porous side-walls. Maxxis seem to be built really nicely
  2. Fit a rim tape, as it will protect the rim strip you will make from damage by the spoke holes (I use a couple of layers of insulation tape, remember to cut a hole for the valve)
  3. Next, fit a 24″ (or smaller) Schrader tube onto the rim, with no tyre on yet. Blow it up a little bit just to make it easy to centre it on the rim. It needs to be one with a removable core (most are)
  4. Now cut the tube with sharp scissors down the centre so it opens up & turns into a (very wide at the moment) rim strip
  5. Clean off the chalky stuff with a damp cloth, then wipe dry. Fit the tyre using washing up liquid on the bead to make life easy
  6. Remove the valve core using one of the little tools, (cheap to buy). This is so that inflation in the next step can be done as fast as possible, and you’ll need the core out to get the sealant in
  7. inflate to 60psi as fast as possible to seat the bead. If it’s not working, make sure the beads are outside the valve hole. You’ll likely need a track pump. Some people use a CO2 cartridge or take it to a garage & use the airline, although some airlines these days seem to be slower than a track pump
  8. You might need to mess about a bit to get the tyre beads seated well so it inflates…
  9. Carefully remove the pump, if you can let the air out slowish that’s better. Don’t put the wheel down as it might move the tyre
  10. Now put some latex sealant through the valve hole into the tyre, using a plastic bottle with a narrow nozzle, or a small funnel. Valve needs to be at the bottom, obviously…
  11. Use about 150-200ml, or whatever the brand of sealant recommends. Refit the valve core & inflate to 60psi again. Sealant might leak a bit but as long as it’s not pouring out just hold wheel flat & swish the sealant around until the leaks stop. Turn over to do both sides. If it’s leaking really bad then something’s moved and you’ll need to make sure the tyre’s re-seated again
  12. When it’s sorted, carefully trim off the excess rim strip. I used a sharp knife with the flat of the blade against the tyre so I couldn’t cut the sidewall. Just be careful & follow the usual rules with sharp blades. If you’re an uncoordinated type, probably get some else to do this! A blunt blade is asking for trouble as the rubber will be awkward to cut
  13. To be on the safe side leave it at 60psi for a good few hours (24hrs if you can spare it) before adjusting to riding pressure. You should be able to use lower pressure than before, as pinch flats will be no more! How much lower depends on your set-up. Some tyres/rims will be a tighter fit & the tyres less likely to roll of the rim at low pressure
  14. Ride!

Brands of sealant include Joe’s No Flats, NoTubes, Effetto Cafe Latex & Bontrager

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.