How To Go Tubeless

The ultimate tubeless-tire tip list

How To Go Tubeless

If you have never tried riding tubeless tires, you’re missing out. Tubeless tires allow riders to run lower pressures without fear of the dreaded “snakebite” flat, where the tire compresses against the rim, resulting in a two-hole shot to the inner tube that looks exactly like a snake leapt out from the side of the trail to ruin your ride.

We’d put tubeless tires right up there with the best innovations that improve ride quality, such as suspension forks, carbon frames, disc brakes and mid-ride chocolate chip cookies. The trouble is, tubeless tires can be finicky. They often refuse to seal. They leak, and the sealant dries up. Fortunately, with a bit of know-how and preventive maintenance, you can enjoy the awesome benefits of tubeless tires without the headaches. We’ll show you how.

1-The main reasons for running a tubeless setup are to reduce the number of flat tires and take advantage of lower pressures for improved traction. Be sure to check tire pressure before every ride with more than just a squeeze test. Even if you simply use a floor pump with a gauge, your tire pressure will be much more consistent. You get bonus points if you invest in a digital gauge like this one from SKS.

2-There are many options for tubeless-ready tires, and they go by many names, such as TLR, TR or Tubeless Easy. Essentially, all of these tires are meant to provide the same benefits. They have slightly thicker sidewalls to prevent air leakage and also provide more stability. They are not as lightweight as standard tube-style tires, but are well worth the small weight penalty for reliability.

3-Virtually any rim can be converted to a tubeless setup. There are some that have no drilled spoke holes, which are the easiest to set up. There are also ones that come with specially designed rim strips to make them airtight. If your rims are drilled without a special rim strip, the spoke holes must be taped to prevent air loss.

4-We’ve had mixed results with many of the sealants we’ve tried. If you’re not having luck with one, know that changing to a different one could be all the difference.

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