I had ordered three 29″ Schawlbe Racing Ralph Snake Skin tyres and they rocked up on my door step earlier in the week. Here’s how I install my tyres and I’ll provide some tips that I have learnt over time.
Why you should go tubeless?
- No more pinch flats
- Reduces small punctures
- Run lower PSI – Extra grip
- Only a few grams heavier than tubed
Here’s what I have and need to change a tubeless tyre. Tyres, tyre irons (plastic), Stan’s Sealant, compressor and a track pump.
First things first is to remove your wheel off the bike and remove the tyre so you are left with the rim bare.
Since my rims are already converted to tubeless I don’t have to replace or install any tubeless rim tape or valves. If you do need to install the correct rim tape and valves I suggest purchasing some Stan’s Tubless rim tape and a couple of Stan’s valves. When applying, overlap the valve hole by a good few inches and pull the rim tape tight so its taught. Make sure you cover all the spoke holes otherwise you will have big problems and you will have to restart with new rim tape. Slide in the valves and you should be ready to go.
I found with Bontrager rims that it’s easier to purchase their tubeless ready rim tape and apply it. Be careful because the rim isn’t A symmetrical, look for the slope on the rim and the rim tape.
Double check if the tyre you’re going to install is directional. This is important because it’s a hassle and messy to take off the tyre and turn it around.
Check the rim tape and the valve for any damage or gunk (mess).
When putting the tyre onto the rim I start at the valve and work my way around to the opposite side of the wheel.
Leave a gap at the bottom to put in your Stan’s sealant.
Shake the Stan’s sealant bottle to get and even mix. I put in two cups of the sealant. It’s always better to put more than you need in (within reason).
When the sealant is in the tire, rotate the tire so the valve is at the bottom and use the tire irons to slip the rest of the tire’s bead onto the rim.
Inflation time! I have had troubles here. A really handy tip is to take out the valve core by rotating the core that’s just under the air valve anti clockwise. This allows a lot more air in, also if you are using a track pump it makes it plausible to inflate. I haven’t ever inflated a 29’er with a track pump but I have seen it done with a lot of sweat and multiple hands to get a single tyre inflated.
Inflate, make sure you have the core close by so when you take off the pump head you can shove the core in and screw it on before too much air is released. If the tyre isn’t sealing, you can get a bucket with soapy water and rub it around the outer side of the rims. What this does is allows the tyre to slip up into place on the rim.
If you have some leaking issues try and shake the tyre from side to coat the walls with sealant.
Once it’s inflated I like to pump the tyre up 50 psi with the track pump. It helps seat the tyre onto the rim, leave it for a little bit and you’ll hear the tire popping into place. Again if you have problems with the tire wobbling you can try soapy water.
Spin the tyre around so the sealant coast the walls of the tyre. This is important because the tyre can have micro holes and the sealant can close them up.
After you have done that find a bucket or something similar and rest the wheel on its side for 5 minutes each side to let it seal the side walls.
Now you’re all done to lower the pressure to your desired preference and roll out and hit some dirt.
Some tips with tubeless tyres. If you do get a small puncture and the sealant starts to shoot out. Rotate the wheel down to the ground and tap the puncture with your finger giving it some surface area to sealant up the hole. Also incase of a side wall tear, carry some plastic around like in milk cartons or similar and you can place it where the damage has been done so when you install the tube it isn’t exposed.