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Go Tubeless: Genuine Innovations Tubeless Ready Kit

3 STAR

 

Riders who own a set of tubeless-ready (or conventional) tires, but are still running tubes, are missing out on some fun. The advantage of running lower air pressure (better traction) and not letting a small puncture ruin your day is too much to overlook. Genuine Innovations has a kit that includes everything you need (and more) to get the tubes out of our your tubeless–ready wheels.

Tech Features: The $59.99 Genuine Innovations Tubeless Ready Kit includes an 8-ounce bottle of Slime Tubeless Sealant, a measuring cup, a roll of Gorilla tape, two valve stems, two threaded 20-gram CO2 cartridges, a screw-on Microflate Nano nozzle, two tire tools, a valve core removal tool and a Schrader-to-presta adapter. The installation instructions were to vague and over-simplified, but don’t worry, we’ll let you in on the tricks you need to make it happen.

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Field Test Results: If you don’t have a spares box full of valves, rim stripes and sealant, the kit gets you from zero to hero. It has the supplies necessary to ready at least four tubeless-ready wheels, plus you can never have too many tire tools and adapters.

The Gorilla tape went on easily, but Genuine Innovations claims there is enough tape for four wheels. That’s not the case. Trick one: You need to wrap the rims twice to get a good seal that will prevent tire burping. Trick two: With the rim between your legs and looking down at the valve-stem hole, start applying the tape in front of the hole and end the wrap (after two rotations) just after the hole. This way, the valve hole is actually covered by three layers of tape, not just two. In our case, we used the entire Gorilla tape roll converting two 29-inch wheels. Don’t skimp or you will have issues.

Trick three: Do not cut a hole in the Gorilla tape to insert the valve. This only creates a greater chance for a bad seal. Instead, pierce a hole through the tape with the valve itself. That makes for a nice, strong seal. Trick four: Tighten the valve’s locknut by hand and then use pliers to turn the locknut another full turn. You don’t want play in the valve or you will lose the seal when you attach a tire pump.

Trick five: The directions call for a full green cup of Slime sealant to be added to the tire, but you really want a cup and a half for added insurance. Instead of using the CO2 cartridges to inflate the tire, we chose to use our shop air compressor (and save the CO2 for that flat just before sunset). The tires (Bontrager tubeless-ready XR2 Team Issue) beaded after a few attempts.

Trick six: As soon as the tire bead pops into the rim, stop using the compressor. Switch to a hand pump and continue to inflate the tire to at least 30 psi. Wiggle and roll the wheel to make sure the sealant gets everywhere. Once sealed, we let the tires sit overnight. Before our first ride, we reduced the air pressure and enjoyed the floating-on-air ride. While they will bleed air over time, it was no worse than with thin tubes.

Never converted a wheel to tubeless? We have you covered, step-by-step!

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Step 1: Mechanic Billy Oncea of Performance Cyclery in Santa Clarita, California, has converted hundreds of wheels to tubeless and took us through the process. First, clean the rim (inside and out) and look for damage. If the rim is dirty, cracked or has sharp edges (burrs or metal shavings), do not continue.

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Step 2: Start applying the Gorilla tape below the rim’s valve hole. This way, three layers of tape will cover the hole by the time we are done.

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Step 3: Pull the tape tight, and carefully apply it to the rim using your finger to press it down so there are no air bubbles. Do two full rotations.

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Step 4: Finish your second rotation just past the rim’s valve hole. The hole now has three layers of duct tape over it.

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Step 5: Use the supplied presta valve to punch through the three layers of tape and into the valve hole. Do not cut a hole in the tape to make this step easier. It could cause seepage issues later.

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Step 6: Tighten the Presta valve’s locking nut with your fingers. Go ahead and really crank it down firmly.

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Step 7: Using pliers, snug the locking nut at least 3/4ths of a turn.

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Step 8: Mount one side of the tire to the rim. Now, shake the sealant bottle vigorously, and pour the recommended amount in the measuring cup (we went half a cup more for added insurance).

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Step 9: Pour the sealant into the tire on the side where the tire is off the rim.

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Step 10: Carefully mount the tire to the rim, trying not to spill any sealant. Billy had no problem mounting the tire by hand; he has done it a million times.

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Step 11: Use the supplied CO2 inflator to pop the tire bead into the rim, or you can use a compressor and save the CO2 for an emergency. Once you hear the tire pop into the rim, stop adding air.

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Step 12: Use a floor or hand pump to inflate the tire to 30 psi. Why not use the CO2 or compressor? There is more of a chance that you will blow the tire off the rim.

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Step 13: Roate and wiggle the wheel to get the sealant to coat the tire’s inside and check for any leakage issues (you will see the green Slime in this case).

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Thanks to Billy and Performance Cyclery for the hassle-free conversion!

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