Tips & Tricks for Installing Tubeless MTB Tires
Tubeless mountain bike setups have been around for a while now and are only getting more and more popular. While there are many advantages to running tubeless, it is a bit more of a process to install a tubeless tire as opposed to using a tube. Here is a step-by-step process for installing tubeless MTB tires as well as some tips and tricks:
- Choose the right tire and rim. Make sure your tire and rim are designed to work together as tubeless. Look for the “tubeless ready” label on the tire and “tubeless compatible” on the rim.
- Gather the necessary tools and materials. Other than a tubeless-compatible rim and tubeless ready tire, you will need a tubeless valve stem, tubeless tape, tire sealant, a tire lever or two, and a floor pump or air compressor.
- Remove the old tire and tube from your wheel. Remove the valve stem from the rim and any remaining bits of old tube or rim tape.
- Install the tubeless tape. Make sure the rim is clean and dry, and then apply tubeless tape to the rim bed. Start at the valve stem and wrap the tape tightly around the rim, overlapping the tape as you go.
- Install the tubeless valve stem. Insert the valve stem through the valve hole in the rim and tighten it down securely with the included lock nut.
- Mount the tire onto the rim. Start by seating one bead of the tire onto the rim, being careful to avoid twisting the tire. Add sealant to the tire through the valve stem using a syringe, and then seat the second bead of the tire onto the rim, working it on with your hands or a tire lever. The amount of tire sealant needed when installing a tubeless tire depends on the size of the tire and the brand of sealant being used. As a general rule of thumb, most manufacturers recommend using approximately 2-4 ounces (60-120 mL) of sealant per tire for mountain bike tires.
- Inflate the tire. Using a floor pump or air compressor, inflate the tire to the recommended pressure for your tire and riding style. Check that the tire bead is seated properly and that the tire is holding air.
- Check for leaks. Spray soapy water on the tire and look for bubbles, which will indicate a leak. If there are any leaks, shake the tire to distribute the sealant and try inflating the tire again.
- Adjust tire pressure and ride. Once the tire is inflated and holding air, check the tire pressure and adjust as needed for your riding style. Take a short test ride to ensure that the tire is working properly.
- Some tires may be harder to install than others. If you're having trouble getting the bead to seat, try using a tire lever or two to help guide the tire onto the rim.
- To make the tire easier to seat onto the rim, you can use a compressor to blast air into the tire. This can help to "pop" the tire bead into place.
- Be sure to follow the recommended tire pressure for your tire and riding style. Too low of a pressure can cause the tire to burp or roll off the rim, while too high of a pressure can make the ride harsh and reduce traction.
- When adding sealant, be sure to follow the recommended amount for your tire size. Too little sealant may not seal punctures, while too much can make the tire heavy and cause it to spin slower.
- To distribute sealant thoroughly once tire is installed, rotate and bounce the inflated wheel.
- Wear eye protection and hearing protection in case a tire blows off of a rim during installation.
- Clean the rim bed with alcohol to remove any trace of oil or grease.
- Check the tire for markings that indicate the direction of rotation before installing.
- Be very careful not to exceed 40 psi in the tire to reduce the risk of tire and/or bead blowouts.
Remember, installing tubeless mountain bike tires can be a bit of trial and error. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a few attempts to get it right. Keep practicing and soon you’ll be able to do it with ease.
In need of some tubeless mountain bike parts to get your bike setup for tubeless? We have tubeless ready tires, tire sealant, tire sealant injectors, rim tape, tubeless valves, tire levers, tire inserts, and more! Shop our full product selection here. Remember that we offer free shipping on all orders over $149CAD and all orders are processed and shipped within 24 business hours. Spend less and ride the best with TBS Bike Parts!