Tag Archives: Stans NoTubes

Some recommendations for MTB wheel builds…

Just thought I’d put some thoughts down on wheel builds for XC/trail/all mountain. Hopefully this’ll be useful if you either build your own or you want a set built for you but you’re not sure what to go for.

Being upfront about things, Chasing Trails offers a no-compromise MTB wheel building service, so feel free to get in touch from the contact page on the main site if you’re interested.

Anyway, to components:


I reckon from a few angles you can’t go wrong with Hope Pro 2 Evo hubs. Quality is great & has been for ages. The original Pro 2’s had occasional issues but it was all sorted pretty quick. If you like to keep the weight down they’re one of the lightest that can be relied on. They come in shiny colours, although for myself I tend to go for black… The noise the freehub makes does annoy some, but I like it, you can hear that it’s working! The EVO versions which have been out for a while now are also fairly easily convertible to the different axle standards, so if you relplace a frame or fork you don’t need to replace the hub. And Hope genuinely have after-sales service that you’d struggle to beat anywhere.

The design is well thought out – they start with a forging that’s the aproximate shape & CNC machine it so you end up with a strong but precise shell. The bearings are stainless cartridge units. So far I’ve never needed to replace a Hope bearing on my own bikes. Maybe good luck, but it’s worth mentioning. I never jetwash the bike though. Dalby & Peak District grit seems to have no effect on them.


I used nothing but Mavic for years. They always seemed plenty strong for the weight/price. I still like them, but in the last couple of years I’ve been using Stans NoTubes. They come in at similar-ish weights as the Mavic equivalents with a few lighter/stupidly light models as well. The advantages over Mavic is that they’re wider for a given weight, meaning if you like larger tyres (and why wouldn’t you..) you’ll get away with bigger tyres & better profiles with the Stans. Most rims can be bodged into running tubeless, but the Stans can be set up for UST as well as running many standard tyres tubeless with just the correct valve & rim tape.

I’ve had a pair of white ZTR Flows on the Five for about a year & they’ve not needed re-truing so far. Having said that, most half decent rims built well won’t need truing too often, but these have done repeated 4-5 foot drops to flat-ish.

Personally I’d avoid the models with a rider weight limit unless they’re specifically for racing, but the Crest comes in at 340g with no set limit if you want lightweight XC rims.

The ‘catch’ is price. I think they’re worth it, but they do come in at £70 – £80 each RRP.


Not much to say except use something decent, so in my opinion that means Sapim or DT. Sapim have the edge IMO without costing any more & if you must have alloy nipples theirs are definitely the best. I use brass for myself.Sapim CX-Ray spokes in black

If you’re going for a decent set of wheels but you want to keep the cost down, the double butted Sapim Race are the ones to go for. On the other hand, if you want to keep the weight as low as possible, the CX-Rays are the ultimate. They’re plenty strong enough for XC/all mountain but will shed a few more grams. They’re also a bladed design so are more aerodynamic, psycologically at least…

Hope that gives you a bit of a start if you’re looking for a wheel upgrade or replacement & feel free to get in touch if you want a top quality build or you want to learn.

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