Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Looks like I'll be finally touching down on dirt and some sweet, sweet single track on Saturday. So, in preparation for it I decided to mount up a new pair of tires on my Stans rims.

From my experience and things I've read, there are a few different ways of going tubeless and mounting your tires. Here are the steps I took and worked for me:

One: Stan's Tire Sealant

Two: favourite rims - taped and all ready to go.

Three: I sprinkle a very generous amount of pepper into my tire. I've read a number of 'how to' and reviews from guys using pepper and even arts & crafts sparkly glitter with their homemade solution and even with the commercial stuff to create more 'chunks' to seal the tiny holes in the tire. If I had glitter I would have used it, cause glittery sparkles would be fun and pretty. Plus when/if you flat you'd have something to talk about and cheer you up . . . . cause everyone loves glitter.
I'm using a Kenda 2.1 29'er Nevegal. They are very new, used only once or twice (with tubes) prior to setting them up tubeless. I've found that Kenda tires seal up and mount very easily. It helps if the tire has been mounted previously on the rim - this helps it take shape and seat better when you do finally add air. New tires can be difficult to mount and there are a few tricks to getting them to. My previously run Nevegals didn't have an issue seating.

Four: shake, shake, shake that bottle and make sure it's inverted - you want the chunky bits that tend to sink to the bottom of the container in your tire. I shake it upside down with my finger over the nozzle, and pour it while inverted. This ensures getting lots of chunky bits instead of mostly liquid.

Five: while the wheel is hanging (I use the handlebar of a bike while it's in the stand) I pour in the sealant (two scoops for a 2.1), then slowly work my way around the tire seating the bead over the rim. With the sealant at the bottom of the hanging wheel, I pat the tire into place trying to get the bead to seat before adding air.

Six: a bucket of soapy, sudsy water and brush.

Seven: I brush on the soap suds (you don't need tons) all around the bead/rim of the tire on both sides. This helps the bead slide into place once I add air. There are various ways and times to do this step, but I find this works best for me.

Eight: with my air compressor (you can also use air cartridges) I fill the tire to about 40psi. Notice the shrader/presta valve adapter? I have a shitty tire air filler dealie that came with the air compressor that doesn't work very well at all. I find the adapter and air gun nozzle do the trick perfectly. You should hear the bead snap/pop into place.

Nine: once the tire is filled up I shake the wheel back and fourth away from me (thumbs away, thumbs towards, thumbs away, thumbs towards, etc.) with the wheel in front of me. I start with the valve on the bottom and slowly work my way around the wheel until I get back to where I started. I shake the wheel for about 15 seconds per section.

Ten: put on some soapy suds around the bead/rim area to see where air is leaking. If you see a spot leaking air, orient the wheel in such a way that the sealant can pool in that area and shake the wheel back and fourth making sure that sealant is being covered in that problem spot.

Eleven: sorry no photo (forgot to take one) - I will lay the wheel down on the bucket, parallel to the floor (ie. brake rotor facing down, spokes resting on the lip of the bucket) to allow the sealant to cover one entire side of the tire. I'll let it sit like that for 15 - 3o minutes, go back, do the shaking thing all over again, then flip the wheel so that the other side is facing down (ie. cassette side facing down).

Save me Jebus!
Twelve: apply your favourite Deity to your valve to protect you and your ride.

If anything I've written is unclear, you can visit the Stans No Tubes site and get all this info in a more articulate and precise written, photo and/or video format.

I was able to mount a set of tires, on rims, with sealant and full of air in about half an hour. Both tires went on very easily and are holding air - I have not added any since and it's been two days.

I've only been running Stan's tubeless rims for the last quarter of last season, so I don't have a lot of time on them. And to be honest, I don't know how I completely feel about them. Last Fall I had two bad rides due to the tubeless set-up, which in hindsight may have had more to do with wrong tire choice (ie. thin side walls in rocky single track) and a ripped sidewall. However, the rides where things went smoothly were incredible - extra suspension due to low air pressure and unbelievable traction. This by no means is a review of the rim or system itself, but rather a hacker job 's step-by-step how to mount a tubeless system. Mid season I should do a review of my experiences once I have had more time on them and with various tire choices.


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As Minhas Pedaladas said...

No nakedness in this NoTubes?!! Thanks for the pepper!

rick is! said...

would you have magically avoided the cut sidewalls if you had a tube in? to me no-tubes is a total winner (once you have the tires mounted at least) because if you do have a cut sidewall you can always throw a tube and boot in to get you home just like if it was a tubed tire.

Anonymous said...

Been running tubeless since 2002, and (knock on wood) have never, ever had a problem in training or racing. Add in Stan's, and it's magic.

I'm 185 and always ran 45rear, 34 front. Then one day I woke up and said to meself "self, why don't you try what these guys suggest and run lower." I made it to 34 rear, 27 front and the handling/suspension effect/lack of difference in speed was amazing.

Big boy...what tire pressures do you run? Oh yeah - dig the pepper tip.

the original big ring said...

Rick - yep, you got a point - if the tube was trashed, I'd be done.

Joao - no salt, just pepper! ; )

Anonymous - I'm running around 22psi in the front and 30'ish in the rear. I'm 190-195lbs (depending what I had for lunch), and I've never burped it or bottomed out on a rim. I bet you could run it lower.

Unknown said...

What is your verdict on the NoTubes wheels? I'm thinking of getting the Olympics or 355s for racing, but I'm wondering if they can handle my 180-185lbs on Sunset-series-level of technical riding.

the original big ring said...

Ray - get 'em! YOu just have to make sure not to run a thin side-wall tire in technical rocky trails (ie. Kanata). I was running a light'ish tire out there with a very thin side wall . . . certainly not the sealant's fault not sealing a big gash. You'll love the cornering and grip.

rick is! said...

at 190-195 I have had no problems with my arch rims.

Unknown said...

What's the best option for purchasing a set of notubes complete wheels incl. stuff to go tubeless -- for a Canadian? Direct from notubes website or thru local dealer? Closest dealer Stans lists is in Levis Quebec. Shipping from US is expensive, plus I had some bad experiences with UPS and brokerage fees in the past....

Unknown said...

p.s... I read the post about the Corporate Center. That might be an option if I'm planning a trip state-side anyway (thinking Kingdom Trails this spring...), but if I'm not, then just wondering if I should order direct from Stans and pay the shipping, duty, brokerage fees, etc, or try to purchase through a local supplier. Thanks!