How to mount tubeless MTB tires without an air compressor
If you’re a mountain biker, you have probably heard the word “tubeless” a lot lately. Tubeless tires are exactly what they sound like: a tire that doesn’t need an inner tube to stay inflated.
A tubeless MTB tire set up does not use an inner tube. Instead, the tire, rim and valve are designed to stay perfectly sealed to keep the tire from going flat. Liquid sealant is added to the inside of the tire that helps to stop any unwanted punctures and fixes tire breaches in flight. If you want to run tubeless, you have two choices: you can use tubeless-ready wheels and rims, or you can use a tubeless conversion kit to make it happen with your existing setup.
Your rim needs to be completely sealed before you start putting the pieces together. That means you’ll need an MTB tubeless valve, which is usually a Presta valve with a seal system.
What are the benefits of going tubeless?
1. Tubeless mountain bike tires provide better traction
With tubeless MTB tires, expect a smoother ride and the ability to maintain traction through all types of terrain.
2. Reduce weight from tires
An average 29er tube weighs-in at around 200 grams. Latex filled self-sealing tubes (designed to mimic tubeless setups) can weigh upwards of 400 grams each. In a typical tubeless setup, you’re looking at about 125 grams of sealant in each tire, meaning the overall weight savings can be anywhere from 150 - 650 grams by ditching the tube.
The reason you want to shave weight in the rims and tires instead of cutting weight from your frame or seat post - has to do with the effect of rotational mass. It simply takes more energy to accelerate a heavier wheel. Because you brake and accelerate frequently when mountain biking, the overall effect is that you’re going to expend greater energy accelerating and be slower by using tubed tires.
3. Eliminate Pinch Flats
Riders can run lower air pressure in tubeless tires compared to clincher tires because they don't have to worry about pinch flats. Pinch flats occur when the inner tube is compressed between the tire and rim during a hard impact which can be caused by loose rocks, tree roots, Dropdown jumps etc.
4. Eliminate the Need for a Patch Kit
Using a high-quality MTB tire tubeless sealant like stans no tubes simply eliminates the need for an old fashioned patch kit. MTB tubeless sealant is a liquid designed to plug small holes in a tire’s casing, thus preventing punctures. It works a bit like blood clotting to prevent bleeding.
Once installed, the sealant forms a protective layer inside the tire. When a puncture occurs, the internal pressure of the tire instantly pushes the sealant into the cavity. The special fibers and mica particles accumulate and bond to the rubber in the cavity.
Now, The part you are here for:
Items needed to mount your tubeless MTB tire without an air compressor: (assuming you already have your tubless ready MTB Tire of choice and your old tire has been removed)
- tubless tyre sealant
- Co2 bike pump
- Tire Levers(s)
- Tubeless presta valve(s)
- Tubeless tape
- Shrader to Presta valve converter
Step 1: Remove any old rim tape (if applicable) and clean the wheel with a degreasing agent/Soap.
Step 2: As soon as the wheel is dry, you can apply the rim tape very tightly onto the spoke holes. Make sure the rim tape generously covers the holes. Use as wide tape as possible. The closer you get to the internal rim width of your MTB wheel, the better. Also, apply the tape over the valve hole.
Step 3. Push the valve from the inside through the hole you made in the rim tape. Then use the nut to pull the valve tight from the outside into the rim. Keep in mind that this must also be airtight, and therefore must be very tight. Not every tubeless valve fits every rim, so make sure the two fit well before you continue.
Step 4: Line your tire up with your wheel and apply pressure pushing the tire onto the wheel leaving the other side of the tire open. Insert tire sealant of choice.
Step 5: this one requires a skill you may or may not master on the first-ever attempt. Hold your wheel and tire upright keeping the liquid tire sealant at the bottom of the wheel and push the other side of the tire onto your wheel starting from the bottom and work your way to the top until fully in situ.
Step 6: Using your Co2 bike tire pump + Presta to Schrader valve adapter + 1 X 16g Co2 threaded canister its time to inflate and seal your tubeless MTB Tire!
Unscrew the nipple thing on your Presta valve > screw on your Schrader valve adapter > Insert your 16g Threaded Co2 charger into your Co2 tire inflator > Let rip and instantly seal your tire. Hold your Co2 bike tire pump on the valve until the Co2 canister is empty.
Step 7: Check the tire is sitting properly.
Step 8: Using a standard tire pump, Pump your tire to the highest manufacturer recommended PSI (Can be found on side of the tire) working your tire with your hands in places where the tire is not sitting properly.
Step 9: Spin your wheel with one hand, Using your other hand hold the wheel hub/axle. Moving the wheel in every direction possible. Left, Right, Up, Down, Sideways, Horizontal, Flat... Doing this allows for the sealant to seal any air gaps. Do this for about 2 minutes. Leave for 5 minutes and repeat. Check tire pressure, If feeling slightly deflated don't worry. Pump the tire back up and repeat the process again.
Step 10: Go for a little ride to bed your sealant and new tubless tires into your wheels!
Naturally the compressed air within your tyre will be trying to escape all the time when under pressure through any air gap or pin hole. Going for a gentle ride after installation rotates the wheel under load allowing the sealant to do its job, to seal any airgaps to stop air from escaping.
Remeber to change tyre sealant every 6-7 months.