Nine easy steps to a successful at-home tubeless setup


Mounting tubeless tires in a bike shop is normally incredibly easy with the use of a handy air compressor, which supplies you with unlimited high-pressure air to blast into a tire until it complies with your intentions. At home, you may not have that luxury, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from being able to mount your own tubeless tires. In this edition of the “Garage Files,” we’re going to walk you through the steps you can take to give you the best chance of mounting a stubborn tubeless tire on your rim before you set out on your next big ride.



• Cleaning solution
• Isopropyl alcohol
• Cleaning cloth or paper towel
• A tire lever or two
• Presta-valve core remover
• 2–4 ounces of tubeless tire sealant
Flash-charger pump


Clean all surfaces with isopropyl alcohol. It’s important to clean all the surfaces involved in the process of mounting a tire to heighten the likelihood of the tire seating properly without leaks. We use soap and water to clean away any gunk and then run through it with isopropyl alcohol to get rid of any remaining residue. This also helps clean away old sealant.


Step 2
Check that the tape is intact and in place—all the way to the wall on each side. Now, we must inspect the rim tape to ensure that it isn’t damaged in any way from previous dealings with a carelessly used tire iron or peeled away by the previously mounted tire. We also want to make sure that it covers the entire internal area of the rim from wall to wall to guarantee the best seal possible. If the current tape doesn’t meet these requirements in even the smallest way, you risk any number of problems as the process continues, as well as a higher likelihood of failure on the trail.


Step 3
Mount the tire (and any tire inserts as applicable in the tire’s direction). Most of the time this is one of the easiest things to do when mounting a tire, but there’s always the possibility of needing a little extra persuasion to get that stubborn tire on the rim properly. After making sure you’ve mounted the tire in the right rotational direction for that tire, make sure any persuasion you do end up using is performed gingerly so you don’t damage the tape you so meticulously inspected in your last step.

Also, though it’s not entirely necessary, make sure you have your tire’s logo centered over the valve. If you don’t, you risk judgment from the whole mountain bike community, and we can’t have that, though it will also help you find your valve when going to add or release air pressure later. This is also where many people, us included, often add sealant, as it is easy to access the inside of the tire before you fully seat it, but there is a latter point you can add the sealant if you’re afraid of a mess resulting from the activities of the next few steps.


Step 4
Remove the valve core. Grab that handy-dandy valve-core tool and remove the valve core. After its removal, you’ll get a stronger, more direct blast into the tire, which increases your chances of getting a successful initial inflation for a higher chance of a successful fill and seating of the tires.


Step 5
Attach the pump to the valve stem and charge the chamber. This step is relatively straightforward but can vary depending on the pump in use. Most pumps and chambers have a pressure gauge with a max air-pressure indicator, but if it doesn’t, you should look up the operation instructions for that model to make sure you’re filling it correctly.


Step 6
Blast charged air into the tire to begin inflation. This is the point where the truth will be revealed: did everything fall into place to successfully inflate the tire? The suspense is always high, and sometimes it doesn’t work right away. When that happens, you need to check how the tire is mounted on the rim.

Sometimes you need to force a little bit of the tire around the valve onto the shelf it will sit on when fully seated. This action helps tighten the tire’s loose seal on the rim, heightening the chances of filling it with an air blast. Sometimes it helps to elevate the tire so none of it is touching the ground.


Step 7
Keep pumping air into the tire until it is fully seated. This seems like a relatively straightforward thing to do, but sometimes a tire will just refuse to bead, so we’ll offer up a little encouragement by spraying soapy water or a cleaning agent into the trouble area, thoroughly soaking it. This will help reduce friction and let it pop into place without further issues.

You should fill your tire to no more than 40 psi, as most tubeless wheels and tires aren’t rated to go any higher than that.


Step 8
Air the tire up to around 40 psi. Remove the pump and check all around the tire to check for leaks. Shake the tire to spread sealant to cover any of those holes. At this point, you’ll want to air the tire back up to 40 psi again, and shake and spin the wheel around to spread the sealant to every potential microscopic hole that might exist in the wheel-tire interface. Another good thing to do at this point is to ride the bike for a few minutes to do the same thing.


Step 9
Set the tire pressure to the desired psi and off you go. Congrats, you’ve successfully seated a tire without a compressor. Now it’s time to set your tire pressure to your favorite riding number and hit the trails. We usually start at 25psi in the front and 28 psi in the rear, and go up or down from there depending on the upcoming ride. Have fun!

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