Tubeless bike tires have become a favorite choice for most cyclists. In fact, most road bike owners fit them. Tubeless bike tires offer less rolling resistance, more comfort, and extra puncture protection.
However, installing tubeless tires can be a bit challenging, especially for a beginner.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to install tubeless tires on your bike.
Table of Contents
What you need for the setup
Tubeless tape is an airtight rim tape that seals spoke holes and joints on the rim. These tapes are available in different variations, some compatible with mountain and road bike use.
This Presta-style valve resembles a regular inner tube valve in functionality. Sometimes, it’s fitted to a conical bung found in the valve hole. When you tighten the lockring, it deforms the bung around the tape and valve hole, creating an airtight seal.
A high-quality tubeless valve should have a removable core to help with initial inflation and seating. If the valve core is clogged up with sealant, it should also allow you to replace or clean it without uninstalling the tire.
A tubeless sealant is a milky latex-based liquid that seals tiny holes on your tires even before a puncture occurs.
Tubeless-ready road rims are a bit different from regular rims. Your tubeless rim should comply with the Universal System Tubeless (UST) standards. A good tubeless-ready rim should be tape-sealable and promises support and stability for your road bike.
A tubeless tire may resemble a regular clincher, but it’s subtly and quite different. The main differences arise in the profile of the bead and its dimensions. The bead is slightly smaller than a clincher, and the bead’s profile is designed to interlock with the hook of a tubeless rim.
Look for a Presta valve and ensure it comes with a noticeable core for comfortable sitting and easy inflation.
Ensure you also have the following before installing your tubeless tire:
- A syringe for sealant application
- A small screwdriver for poking valve holes
- Scissors to cut the tubeless tape
- Charge pump for inflating the tire
How to fit and set up road tubeless tires
Prepare the rim
Before applying the tubeless tape, ensure the rim bed is clean with no residue from old sealant or old tape. You should avoid mechanical removal because of the most stubborn residue. Instead, use a clean rag and methylated spirit to soften any old glue.
Never use solvents, especially on carbon rims, because they can easily damage them. Contact the rim manufacturer if you’re not sure which chemical is safe to use.
Tape the rim
Once you’ve cleaned the rim bed, it’s time to tape the rim and start the tubeless tire installation. Here are the steps you need to follow:
- Begin with the area directly opposite the tube valve hole.
- Hold the tape and apply it about six to eight inches.
- Make sure the tap is central on the rim bed and very tight.
- Rotate the rim as you apply the tape and do it nicely to avoid stray edges.
- Once you get to the endpoint, overlap the tap about four inches.
- Finally, cut the tape before you press it down.
Apply tubeless tape
Once you’ve applied the tape, check if there are any bubbles, tears, or areas you’ve applied the tape far from the edge. If the tape is damaged, you may need to retape the rim. Once the tape is in good shape, run the tip of a plastic tire lever around the rim’s bead to seat it fully.
Fit the road tubeless valve
When the rim is well-taped, the next thing is to fit the tubeless valve. Start by identifying the rim’s valve hole and push it inside out. Make a tiny hole using a screwdriver and insert the valve through it. Push down on the valve with your thumb to deform the bung and screw on the lockring.
Fit the tubeless road tire
Fitting the tubeless road tire is similar to the regular tubed tires. But tubeless tires have a tighter head, making it a bit challenging. However, don’t go all strong when installing the tubeless tire because you can damage the tubeless tire. Once you’ve fit the tubeless tire on the rim, check if you’ve set it in place.
Add the tubeless sealant
The next step is adding sealant. The tubeless sealant seals the bead of the tire against the rim. It also protects against small punctures that could lead to a flat tire.
Seat the tire
Confirm if the tubeless tire is sitting before you start inflating the tire. Fit your air pump and pump until you hear some satisfying pings and the tire is seated around the full circumference of the wheel. When the tire is fully inflated, remove the pump and replace the valve core.
Now you know how to install your tubeless road bike tires and keep them inflated. Tubeless road tires are well-known for their tons of benefits like fast-riding, puncture-proof, and more traction. Evidently, tubeless road tires are the future of cycling.