Tubeless mountain bike tires were just an option a few years back. But the times have changed as they have become a standard in the bike industry.
You don’t just need to have them. But you also need to learn how to set up tubeless mountain bike tires. They’re lighter, provide more grip, and help avoid punctures.
This happens because the sealant seals off tire holes and damages. They’re very convenient and can help improve your skills.
This article teaches you how to set up tubeless mountain bike tires and the benefits you can get. All these aim to give you a better time on the trails with your mountain bike.
Tools needed to set up tubeless mountain bike tires
- Floor pump
- Valve core
- Tire levers
Related: What Mountain Bike Tools Do I Need
Step-by-step Guide on How to Set Up Tubeless Mountain Bike Tires
The first thing to do is to ensure your tires are clean. Dip a rag into rubbing alcohol and wipe it around the rims, rim tape, and tire sidewalls.
Remove any dirt or grime stuck on the bead hook where the tire seats. Also, ensure that the tape is tight and even. There should be no gaps and wrinkles because air can leak through them. Then wipe the wheels dry.
Unfold the new tire if you’re replacing it with a new one. Then seat one side of the new tire on the rim bed.
Mountain bike tires are directional. This means that they should face the right direction. Putting them in the opposite direction will mess up the treads and thin them much faster. Also, check if they are front or rear specific.
We recommend you line up the tire logo’s center on top of the valve stem. This makes it easier for you to find any valve leaks on your rides. Insert the tube.
Don’t worry because the tube is just temporary! Then inflate the tire a bit using a floor pump. You don’t need to fully inflate it. Just inflate it enough to hold shape.
Deflate it again. This tightens the seating position on the bead. Then use a tire lever to slowly lift the bead into the sidewall. Make sure that the tube doesn’t get pinched between the rim and tire.
Then nuzzle the tire bead into the rim bed’s center portion. Ensure that the tire is aligned with the rim. Then inflate the tire to around 20 PSI. This ensures the tire bead won’t bulge out of the rim.
Then place the wheel under direct sunlight for around 15 to 20 minutes. The sun’s heat softens the tire bead kinks and ensures the adhesive bonds fully into the rim. This is also a smart way to avoid leaks.
Take the wheels out of the sun and bring them back to room temperature. Fully deflate the tires and then slowly push one side into the rim bed. Use a tire lever to lift the bead out of the rims. Remove the tube and leave the other side of the tire bead on the rim.
Thread the tubeless valve directly into the rim. Make sure that it’s tight enough that it won’t go with your fingers. And don’t use pliers or wrenches. Using these can over tighten the valve and can crack your rims.
Gently reinstall the loose tire bead and make sure that it won’t dislodge on the other side. Use a valve core remover to remove the core. Do this in a counterclockwise process.
Get your sealant bottle and shake it for around 20 seconds. This mixes the content and prepares it for actual use. Slowly pour your preferred amount into the cup. The unmounted section should be your entry point.
Then grab the wheel and slowly rotate the unmounted section on top. This makes the sealant flow into the tire’s mounted section. Use a tire lever to close the gap between the rim and tire bead.
Get a paintbrush and dip it in soapy water. Run it along the sidewalls so that the rim bead lock and tire bead meets. This seals the gap and makes it easier for you to slip the bead in place.
Then thread the thru-axle into the hub. Firmly seat the pump chuck on the stem of your tubeless valve. Apply pressure when pumping your floor pump. We recommend you do it in full motion and as fast as possible so that there won’t be any escaped air.
Pump until 40 PSI. You’ll then hear popping and snapping sounds. Don’t worry if you hear them because they’re normal. Remove the pump chuck and then rotate the wheels back and forth.
This disperses the sealant inside the tire. Then take your bike out for a ride and see if it keeps the air on its tires. You’re ready if it does.
Benefits of tubeless mountain bike tires
Fewer chances of flats
One of the best things about tubeless mountain bike tires is the lower chances of flats. This happens because of the sealant inside the tire seal any tire punctures.
You don’t have to worry about ripped tubes that fit your rims. Because there are no tubes! Having tubeless tires lets you cover greater distances.
The average weight of a mountain bike tire tube is 200 to 300 grams. This is already a big thing in mountain biking. And you can get rid of this weight with tubeless tires!
Lower tire pressures
You don’t need to maintain high PSI with tubeless tires. You can go as low as possible because there’s no tube to worry about. Running on low PSI gives you a better grip because the tires adapt to the surface. This gives you better control and lowers the chances of crashing.
Related: What PSI for Mountain Bike Tires?
Having a tubeless tire is already a standard in the bike industry. This improves your control, shaves off weight, and makes your ride more convenient and fun.
You can say goodbye to flats, punctures, and high PSI rides that compromise maneuverability. This is why every mountain biker should know how to set up tubeless mountain bike tires. This is an important skill to learn and a must-have for every bike.
Hopefully, this article helped you learn how to set up tubeless mountain bike tires. Just remember to always check your PSI and change sealant every 3 to 6 months to keep them fresh.
A writer by day, a tech enthusiast by night, and a mountain biker at the weekends.
After four years in business school and working for multinational clients, Jomar believes he can improve the world through his writings.
Jomar has six years of experience as a writer and has a degree in entrepreneurial marketing. Some of his works have been published on Blokt, Clutch Points, and iTech.