The bike’s tubeless wheels offer far more benefits than non-tubeless wheels. Tubeless tires ensure a stylish, safe and seamless ride. That’s why I have converted my MTB’s non-tubeless wheels to tubeless ones.
And so I can assure you that the entire process is not too complicated. I had converted the wheel of my bike to tubeless in a brief time. However, there are some tricky things and if you are not a professional, then you need to learn them.
In this article, I will discuss all the things you need to know, including my tire conversion experience. After reading this, I believe you can convert the non-tubeless wheels of your bike to tubeless ones by yourself. Let’s get started.
What Is The Difference Between Tubeless And Normal Tire?
Apparently, we (Mehedi, Laura, & I) notice normal tires are high profile. And most often you may see them with spoke wheels. Besides, tubeless tires are modern, low-profile, and have an alloy or plastic fiber rim. Although their effectiveness is almost the same, there are several differences between the two. Here I am presenting you the differences through the chart below.
|Parameters||Tubeless Tyres||Normal Tyres|
|Occurrence of Puncture||The rate of puncture is much higher. When punctured, the air escapes very quickly and the bike loses control quickly.||Puncture occurs comparatively less. When punctured, the air escapes slowly, so you can maintain control easily.|
|Puncture Repairing||You may need to remove the tube from the tire to detect a leak. This is time-consuming and most of the time you need to go to a repair shop.||It is not usually necessary to separate the tire from the rim. You can repair smaller punctures yourself, but larger ones will require special equipment.|
|Comfort||Highly comfortable than a normal tire.||Less comfortable.|
|Cost||More costly.||Less costly than the tubeless tyres.|
|Weight||Lighter than normal tires.||Heavier than tubeless tyres.|
|Tractions||More traction due to lightweight.||Less traction with the ground.|
|Fuel Efficiency||More fuel-efficient.||Because of heavyweight, they are less fuel-efficient.|
|Maintenance||Less prone to punctures so they need low maintenance.||Highly prone to punctures, and require high maintenance.|
|Safety||Provides enhanced security.||Less safe. You may lose control as the wind blows instantly.|
|Components||The tube is integral to the tire.||Tire, a tube with a valve.|
Can You Convert Tube Tires To Tubeless?
Yes, you can convert a tube tire to a tubeless one. For this, you need to attach the valve to the rim and remove the tube and convert it to a tubeless tire. Usually, tubeless tires fit tightly with the rim. You need to seal the tires, valves, and rims well using a good quality sealant.
However, if the tire is older and has been punctured 3-4 times before, it is better not to convert it to tubeless.
How Do You Convert Non-Tubeless Wheels To Tubeless?
Converting a normal tire to tubeless is not a very complicated thing. You can do it yourself in a brief time using a little of the equipment. Below, I will explain the entire process within 8 easy steps.
Step 1: Collect Necessary Equipment
Collect all necessary equipment before starting the tire conversion. You can convert your non-tubeless wheels to tubeless using just a few of the tools below.
Step 2: Remove The Wheel
When you are going to remove the wheel you have to tubeless your sweetie first. Mehedi had already discussed in detail in the previous article how to replace and install the wheels of a bike or MTB. You can go through that article if you wish.
Step 3: Remove The Tube And Taping the Rim
Now open the air inlet valve and expel all the air from the tire. After that separate the tire and tube from the rim. If the tire is too tight, you may require a tire lever to open it. Or, If not, separate the tire and tube by twisting and pulling by hand. At the same time, remove the rim tape.
Step 4: Apply New Rim Tape
If your previous rim tape is in good condition, you can reuse it. But it is best to use a new rim tape. Now you will need to use the correct width of rim tape for the tubeless wheel. You can use gorilla tape to cover the holes where the rim spokes are attached.
But remember– apply the tape carefully and cover all the spoke holes. Use two to three layers of tape if necessary to smooth the things properly.
Step 5: Insert The Valve Stem
You need to insert the valve carefully. First, make a pilot hole by tapping the rim using a screwdriver. Make sure the pilot hole does not get too big.
Now you should remove the locking ring from the valve stem and set it on the rim. The valve stem has a rubber band attached to the base together with the rim tape, which creates airtight conditioning. Once you attach the valve stem, tighten the locking ring as much as possible. After that, you can use a pair of pliers to tighten the locking ring.
Step 6: Install The Tire
The next simple task is- Installing tires with rims. You may need to use a tire lever for this. After installing the tire on the rim, turn it around and check if you set it properly with the rim. However, using an air compressor to inflate the tires will help the tyres to be aligned better with the rim.
Step 7: Pouring Sealant
Now you need to pour the sealant into the tire. In that case, anyone can use a syringe to apply the sealant. When it’s time to replace the tire valve core using a valve core remover.
Then., you should apply sealant through it. Usually, you can use 1 ounce of sealant for a 20-inch size wheel. However, the amount of sealant can vary depending on the size of the tire and the holes in the material.
Step 8: Shake The Wheel
Once the sealant gets into the tire, reattach the valve core. Shake and rotate the wheel to spread the sealant all over the inside of the tire.
After doing this, inflate the tires again and shake well. And do this thing for a while will spread the sealant all over the tire and ensure a good seal. One advantage of this is that if there is any small hole, it is closed because of sealant.
Is Tubeless Better Than Tube?
Yes, a tubeless wheel is better than a normal wheel. Because Tubeless wheels improve the performance of your bike. And help you to establish better control over the bike.
On the other hand, Tube tires can put you in an embarrassing situation because of the high puncture rate. But tubeless tires are less prone to puncture and help you avoid unwanted trouble.
There are several reasons you should go tubeless:
- If you accidentally make a small hole in the tire while walking on the road, the sealant seals it and your journey continues.
- You can walk safely even with very low air pressure in the tires. This condition is especially helpful in different situations, such as mountain bikes or gravel bikes.
- Tubeless tires give you better braking and handling. So your journey will be more enjoyable and safe.
The Benefits Of Tubeless Tires In Bikes
Tubeless tires will give you many benefits. Out of which I am describing 5 key benefits below.
- Get rid of punctures because they are less prone to punctures and the sealant closes small holes effectively.
- A tubeless tire can run at low pressure, which is especially helpful for different road conditions or bikes.
- Keeps your journey smooth and regular. Even if you make a hole in the tire with something pointed on the trail, it will continue your journey.
- Tubeless tires are relatively light, making your bike perform better.
- Having great stability, these tires allow you to control the bike better.
Drawbacks Of Tubeless Tires
Although tubeless tires offer many advantages, they also have some disadvantages. Below I will provide my fellow bikers/riders/cyclists with 4 key disadvantages of tubeless tyres.
- If there is a large puncture or a large hole that the sealant cannot cover, you may need to change the tire.
- Tubeless tires are usually performance tires. They do not last very long.
- These tires cost more to use. You may need to spend more to install or replace.
- Unless you are highly experienced, in most cases you cannot install tubeless tires yourself. So you may seek the help of a mechanic.
Do Tubeless Tires Go Flat?
Yes, a tubeless tire can go flat. Although sealant can fill fine holes, large holes can cause tubeless tires to become flat. This usually happens mostly when you ride on a gravel road. In addition, even if you leave a bike unused for a long time, the tires can gradually become flat.
Why Do Tubeless Tire Go Flat?
A tubeless tire can become flat for several reasons. Notable facts are-
- Badly seated tubeless tire.
- Improper valve seat.
- Valve core clogged by the sealant.
- The sealant may dry up.
- Lowering the amount of sealant according to the size of the tire.
- Operate with too low pressure.
So for the consistence performance, you have to check the tire pressure once a week and take action accordingly. Nevertheless, if your bike tire goes flat overnight, then you know that there is a problem with the tire. In that case, you need to contact your mechanic to resolve the problem.
How Do You Stop Your Bike Tire From Going Flat?
Here are some precautionary measures you can take to prevent your bike’s tires from becoming flat. Below I describe these.
- Use the best quality tools. You don’t have to fall into embarrassing situations.
- Be aware of tire expansion. Light pressure and excess pressure both cause problems.
- Try to avoid road hazards. Be careful when you are riding on a trail where there may be pebbles or sharp objects.
- Don’t neglect bike maintenance. Older tires are usually more prone to flattening. If the condition of the tire is like that, change it quickly.
How Do You Know If Your Bike Tire Is Flat?
There are several ways you might know if your bike tire is flat. Sometimes, just by looking, you can see your bike has flat tires. Also, when you sit on the bike while the tires are flat, the shape of the tires changes and become almost flat with the ground. If the last time you heard air coming out of the bike’s tires, then undoubtedly the tires of your bike will be flat.
If you ever notice that the inside end of the tire is sticking out, you might realize that it has become flat. If you do realize that the bike has flat tires by the above symptoms, it is better not to ride your bike.
It is really harder to ride a bike with flat tires, especially a bike that has normal tube tires. It is discomfort to ride a bike in this condition and control.
Are Tubeless Tires Faster?
Of course, tubeless tires are faster. They are relatively light and provide more traction on the road to ensure a better grip. Also, Tubeless tires allow you to ride with less pressure and reduce strength faster. That means they don’t flat out quickly, so you’ll be always fast in any kind of circumstances.
However, if you do not have the skills of using tubeless tires at high pressure, you cannot differentiate them from ordinary tires.
Do Tubeless Tires Need Air?
Yes, tubeless tires also need air like the traditional tube tires. The difference is that tubeless tires do not have separate tubes for holding air. Usually, the rims used in tubeless tires are airtight. And it keeps the air between the rim and the tire full.
Remember, the air pressure in tubeless tires can also gradually decrease due to various reasons. So take the necessary steps after checking the air pressure at least once a week.
Are All Bike Rims Ready to Convert into Tubeless?
No, not all bike rims are tubeless-ready. The bike that uses tubeless tires uses compatible rims. Furthermore, we had experienced that the material & production process of making these rims differs from the traditional ones. Often tubeless tires and rims are available in a specific set size.
And, you cannot put tubeless tires on any type of rim. Because, in most cases, the company makes the rims of tubeless tires of a slightly different material. These are suitable for tubeless tires and adapt well. If you ever try to fit tubeless tires with a rim whose spoke holes could not be airtight after many attempts, you cannot use that bike.
Due to the same reason, you cannot convert all wheels to tubeless. Because the rim is not suitable that it will support tubeless tires. And the bike will become incompatible for use.
Can A Tubeless Tire Burst?
Yeah, even tubeless tires can burst. In case of puncture or leakage, tubeless tires deflate more slowly than the general tube tires. You may have noticed that a tube tire bursts on its own if there is too much pressure in the air or too much time in the sun. But such unforeseen events are rare in tubeless tires. Even if that ever happened, it would explode.
How Do You Know If Your Tubeless Tire Has A Puncture?
When you notice or feel a sudden drop in air pressure onto the tire while riding the bike, there is a guess that a puncture in the tire.
This is usually the case when a tire hole is made by a road element. Although the tubeless tires fill the fine holes, some air escapes. But after storing the bike, if you realize the tires are getting flat in a few days or overnight, then you should understand that there are punctures in the tyres.
Nonetheless, a fine biker or cyclist can ride a bike with punctures if he or she uses tubeless tires. Because tubeless tires take longer to flatten or flatten slowly so that anyone can ride them even after a puncture.
Although the size of a hole determines how long the tubeless tire will last after a puncture. If the hole is too thin, you can use the tire for several hours or days. But if the hole gets bigger, the tires become unusable in just a few minutes.
Can A Bike Tire Go Flat Without A Puncture?
Yes, a bike tire can go flat without a puncture. In most cases, the valve is responsible for this. A tire can usually become flat without punctures because of various problems with the valve. Also, if you inflate less than the right amount of air when you first inflate, the tire may still be flat.
It may feel good to know that a tubeless tire can usually survive five or more punctures unless it is very serious. But there are different opinions on this matter from a variety of bikers from beginners to pros. I have already mentioned an average amount here.
What Is Inside A Tubeless Tire?
There is usually no tube inside a tubeless tire. Before installing a tire on the rim, you need to airtight the rim by using rim tape or something similar. Then you should place the tire directly on the rim. However, after installing the tire, you need to insert the sealant into it. Therefore, I can say that a tubeless tire contains nothing but sealant.
How Much Does It Cost To Change A Tubeless Tire?
The cost of replacing tubeless tires can vary for a variety of reasons. A tubeless tire can cost from $35 to $80, or even more. Combining the cost of essential accessories such as rim tape, sealant, etc. and the mechanic charge can be a bit more expensive. To install a fairly good quality tire can cost you up to about $100, including mechanic costs.
Which Tire Is Best For A Bike Tubeless?
It is based on the type of bike and the type of road you want to ride. There are also many features of tires that you need to consider carefully.
Therefore, I cannot directly recommend a tire with no idea of your bike. However, you can read the tubeless tire review article to know the distinct features of tubeless tires. And get some useful ideas in tire selection.
You may need to pay a mechanic charge of up to $40 to convert a wheel of your bike from non-tubeless to tubeless. This is actually a lot more expensive. But if you are able to convert non-tubeless wheels to tubeless own self, then you can easily save some bucks!
For your convenience, I have shared everything here you need to know to convert a traditional bike wheel to tubeless. If you are interested in learning more about tubeless tire converting, please let me inform through the comments section. I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.