4 tips for understanding tubeless tyre set up

What you'll need and the steps you'll take

Running your tyres tubeless can seem like a daunting prospect, but get it right and you’ll enjoy a puncture free life with more grip and better rolling resistance.

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Here are the key steps you’ll need to follow to ditch the tubes from your mountain bike.

What you’ll need

  • Sealant
  • Tubeless valves
  • Rim tape or strips
  • Track pump or charger
  • Tyres (ideally tubeless ready, but some regular tyres can work)
  • Wheels (ideally tubeless ready)

1. Rim tape

1. Rim tape
Rim tape seals the spoke holes to prevent air from escaping
Jonny Ashelford

For a tubeless set-up to work, air must be prevented from escaping through the spoke holes in the rim.

Some wheels have sealed rims but most manufacturers use tape to make them airtight.

New wheels often come pre-taped. If not, you’ll need to do it yourself.

Specially designed rim tape from brands such as Stan’s NoTubes is best, but Gorilla Tape works well too.

Wrap it tightly and neatly around the rim bed.

2. Tubeless valve

2. Tubeless valve
A tubeless valve will need to be fitted
Jonny Ashelford

To get air into the tyre, you’ll need to fit a tubeless valve.

This is inserted into the valve hole in the rim from the tyre side and then tightened with a threaded collar on the hub side to create an airtight seal.

Note that you may need to poke the valve through the rim tape (carefully) when installing it.

3. Sealant

3. Sealant
Sealant will keep tour tyre airtight from punctures
Jonny Ashelford

This magic liquid usually contains latex and small particles.

Its job is to seal up any small holes that your tyres may pick up from thorns, rocks or pinch punctures.

We’ve found Effetto Mariposa Caffélatex and Orange Seal to work particularly well.

Pop 80–100ml of sealant into the tyre before fitting the last section onto the rim.

4. Inflation

4. Inflation
Inflating a tubeless tyre can be tricky
Jonny Ashelford

This is the tricky bit. Pumping furiously with a track pump should be enough to pop most tyre beads into the rim and make things airtight, especially if you massage the tyre onto the edge of the rim first.

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Failing that, try a tubeless inflator, such as this one from Airshot or the popular Bontrager Flash Charger.