Help on going tubeless

d3matt Posts: 510
edited March 2011 in MTB beginners
I've never understood the whole tubeless thing, then I saw these NoTubes videos and I was amazed at how good it was. However, there are a few things I don't quite understand:

1. When tubeless, do you still need to carry an innertube (and mini pump) while out, in case you get a puncture that doesn't seal, like a split in the sidewall? Or is it so good, that you don't need anything. If you do get a puncture, I guess you can't fix tubeless without a floor pump.

2. Is there a weight saving, as the liquid and rim strip must weigh about the same as an innertube? The NoTubes kit says "You can lose anywhere from 100g up to 400g of rotating weight per wheel set".

3. I have Ritchey Pro Disc 32H rims on my bike. Looking at the NoTube kit video, it says you can make virtually any rims tubeless. What's the difference between a normal and tubeless rim?

4. I still can't quite get my head around how the air doesn't leak from the valve hole in the rim or around the spoke holes. But I guess the sealant sorts that, together with the rim strip.

5. What is the best system to convert my standard rims? Is the Stan's NoTubes good?

6. Does going tubeless work better than putting sealer solution into your innertubes? I assume it is, but I can't understand why as it just relies on the effectiveness of the solution. What am I missing?

7. Any other advantages of going tubeless? What are the disadvantages?

Riding this Boardman Team FS 2010. Also trying my first blog.


  • cooldad
    cooldad Posts: 32,599
    Those vids are adverts probably with a gallon of sealant in each tyre..
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  • d3matt
    d3matt Posts: 510
    The Dirt 100 2011 magazine, highly rates the Effetto Caffe latex sealant.

    Riding this Boardman Team FS 2010. Also trying my first blog.
  • jairaj
    jairaj Posts: 3,009
    1. Yes you still need to have an inner tube as it won't seal a tear in the tyre. But many people get away with not carrying any spares.

    2. If you do the maths there is no weight saving. You can maybe save a little by using a non tubeless tyre etc but the saving is little and you sacrifice reliability. I've used the Joes Rim strips on a "normal" wheelset with Sunn Ringle rims and it was very easy just like the video.

    3. A tubeless wheel has a fully sealed rim bed so air does not leak out the spoke holes. UST wheels and tyres have a special bead lock system and Stan's have there own system for sealing the tyre bead. they also use a special valve stem that makes a good seal with the rim. and the sealant helps to fill in any gaps.

    4. See above.

    5. As said I've used the Joes rim strips and that was very easy to set-up. but these kits cost a lot of money, I only did it because I got my hold of very cheap unused 2nd hand kit

    6. Never tried sealing tubes, but from what I;ve read around yes tubeless tyres seem to work much better.

    7. advantages are you get very very few punctures as the tyre seals it self very quickly. In the 2 years I've been running tubeless I've only had to put in a tube once and yes when I take the tyre off I can see there a few thorns etc that may have punctured a tube. Disadvantages are sometimes it can be hard to set up and some people say the conversion kits are not perfect. I've been quite lucky and never had much trouble getting my setups to work. I've tried a conversion rim strip, UST wheelset and Stans rim set.
  • Northwind
    Northwind Posts: 14,675
    Weight saving is very variable, I went from standard tyres and light tubes to standard tyres, stans yellow tape and tubeless and saved a tiny amount of weight but gained reliability. Lots of people think they're saving weight but end up adding it IMO. The rubber rim strips aren't all that light so combined with a healthy amount of sealant it's heavier than a light tube.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • Agreed with teh last two posts. Been running tubeless for a few years now, first with a no tubes kit which was easy and straught fiorward, but now on dedicated UST rims.

    Weight is negligible, but it is the reliability you get.

    If you're nervous about the cost get onto CRC and get some no tubes fluid and some 20" BMX inner tubes (assuming you have 26" rims). Got to You Tube and look up 'Ghetto tubeless". Couple of mates have run this very successfully for a few years now. I did it to teh wifes bike a couple of months ago and it took about 20mins per wheel - really easy.

    Let us know how you get on
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  • Like others here the main advantage is you get very few punctures and you eliminate pinch flats (snake bites) so it does give you the option of running lower tyre pressure if you want to.

    The tubeless valve has a rubber back plug that seats against the rim thus sealing the rim from the body. You can get valves that you can remove the core to make adding sealant easier.. but really you dont need them as you can use a syringe and squirt it through the hole into the uninflated tyre.. slowly turn the wheel through 180 degrees pop the tyre back enough to fit the tubeless valve and then inflate. Mess free way to do it if you struggle to get the tyre on.

    I use dedicated tubeless wheels and have had 2x punctures in three years and both were inch + shredders that needed a tyre boot to fix.. yes you still need to carry a spare innertube.. you can fix tubeless and there are kits but its easier to tyre boot and pop in a tube for the rest of the ride. Prior to this i'd get punctures frequently.

    Seating a new tyre can be tough even with a floor pump, though once you get it done they reseat easily. Still a CO2 pump will save you frantic pumping.. and also great on the trail in bad weather.

    You also shouldnt use tyre leavers so you have to get the technique right with just your hands.. ive got mine that involves alot of swearing and rolling about on the floor :)