Maintaining tubeless tires is not as difficult as you might think.
“Just like a regular bike tire, make sure that you keep track of tire pressure and monitor any leaks. More precisely, you will have to manage the level of tire sealant knowing when and how to change it with time.”
But does it justify the question of how to maintain tubeless tires thoroughly? Obviously Not!
So, we will explain the whole process of maintaining tubeless tires that would help fellow bikers enjoy a rough ride on uphill terrains conveniently.
How to Maintain Tubeless Tires for Harsher Rides?
Things You Will Require for Maintenance:
- A tubeless wheel or a converted one.
- Tubeless tire from a popular brand.
- Tubeless sealant for reducing air leakages.
- A proper tubeless sealant injector to avoid wastage.
- A tubeless valve core removal tool.
- Track pump and
- Tubeless Inflator.
Get all these things if you want to maintain your tubeless tires for a long time.
Moving forward, let us get into the basics of how tubeless tires work from a beginner’s perspective:
The Basics of Tubeless and What You Need to Know?
You might wonder how tubeless tires work, especially if you are new to cycling. Well, that’s pretty much simple. Compared to regular pneumatic tires, tubeless tires do not use any tubes.
In fact, we use tire sealants to maintain the air pressure sufficiently. These sealant levels play a necessary role to remove and reduce minor air leakages from tires.
As a result, riders will not face frequent punctures or flat tire issues while having harsher rides on rough and tough terrains.
Is Going Tubeless Worth it?
Of course, it is! Tubeless tires tend to last for a long time compared to standard tire types. Moreover, some other advantages of going tubeless include:
Fewer Pinch Flats – With tubeless tires, the chances of getting pinch flats become extremely low.
Continuous Ride – You will need to check on the tires while riding uphill or on harsh terrains. You’d know that the tubeless tires could easily bear extreme weather conditions. Hence, you can ride continuously on bumpy roads with confidence.
Light in Weight –There’s no weight of tubes in the tires, which makes them a little bit lighter weight than standard ones.
With some advantages also come some disadvantages that you should be aware of before going all tubeless.
Costly – Going tubeless is costly. You will need to invest in a tubeless wheel, tires, a track pump, valve core removal, and a reliable sealant injector for proper maintenance. Thus, the initial setup cost is high compared to using normal tires.
Complex Mounting – Compared to pneumatic tires, mounting tubeless tires could become a little messy due to the use of sealants.
Difficult Inflation – Mind you! Tubeless tires do not get inflated with a regular mini pump. You will need a proper track pump for inflating them. Yet one of the cons of tubeless that you will have to deal with!
With that being said, you now have a clear picture of how tubeless works and what are the benefits of investing in them.
Here’s a more in-depth look at the pros and cons so you get a better idea.
Role of Sealant in Tubeless Tires
This question often gets asked, “Do you need sealant for tubeless tires?” The answer’s YES! You do!
The sealant not only helps maintain the tire pressure but also reduces minor leakages. It would be fair to say that a sealant has a similar work in a tubeless tire as that of using a tube in regular tires.
How Does Sealant in Tubeless Tires Actually Work?
Sealant is much more than just filling the leakage holes in tires. In the market, we get around with two different types of sealants, i.e., latex-based and fiber-based ones.
Both types have a similar job, i.e., to maintain tire pressure, but they might work differently.
From general perception, however, both types of sealant can keep a tire away from instant punctures or escaping air depending upon many factors.
How Do Fiber-Based Sealants Work?
Fiber-based sealants locate and get stuck to the air-escaping hole while utilizing internal pressure.
After that, the sealant goes through a chemical reaction with tire rubber and it helps close down the hole, thus keeping the tire puncture-resistant.
How Do Latex-Based Sealants Work?
Much simpler than the previous type, when internal pressure forces latex-based sealant towards a leakage hole, it forms a synthetic solid bond with a rubber.
Thus, it blocks the air within an instant and maintains the overall pressure of the tire for a comfortable riding experience.
Another impressive thing about latex sealants is their affordability. You can easily get them at a reasonable rate and enjoy sealing your tires for a bumpy ride ahead.
How Long Does Tubeless Sealant Last?
Another important question! According to the experience of professional cyclists and bikers, a latex-based sealant could last for about 9000 miles.
After that, it will go ineffective against pinch flats and punctures and you will need to replace it. For fiber-based sealants, however, tend to last much longer than latex sealants, due to their chemical reliability.
Why Choose Fiber-Based Sealants over Latex?
One of the biggest drawbacks of using latex sealant is that once it goes ineffective, it will stick to the rim of the tires. That said, you will face difficulties removing dried latex sealant from the tires for replacement purposes.
The plus point of using a fiber-based sealant is its water-soluble chemical properties. Even if it goes ineffective and you want to change it, the removal process is much more hassle-free compared to using latex-based sealants.
How Often Should Bikers Replace Tubeless Sealant?
Another good maintenance tip for increasing the lifespan of tubeless tires is to keep changing the sealant every 3 to 6 months. That’s because, over time, the chemical properties of the sealant will become ineffective against frequent punctures.
Not only that, but if you use latex sealant, it could go dry after some time and will become a headache for you to remove it thoroughly. So, it’s recommended that you invest in a good sealant and even if you do, do not forget to change it after 3 to 6 months of use.
How Often Should You Replace a Tubeless Tire?
It’s not like once you’ve bought a tubeless tire, it will work for eternity! Just like regular tires, tubeless ones can also be worn out and will not offer enough sturdiness with frequent punctures and pinch flats.
So, assess all the situations carefully and see whether the tires are offering you enough traction. One more thing! Check whether the tire pressure remains maintained or not for a long time.
If you see that the tubeless tire is not offering you enough grip or is losing air quickly, change it as soon as possible.
How to Add Sealant to Tubeless Tires Easily?
Adding sealant to tubeless tires will become messy if you do not follow a proper protocol as a beginner. We use two different methods to add sealant to tubeless tires and both of them are quite convenient.
Take a look:
The Injection Method
A bit complex but easily doable if you have the right equipment! First things first, you will need a sealant injector syringe, sealant bottle, air compressor, and a removable valve core for this process.
Simply mount both tire beads before you add sealing to it. Use an air compressor and inflate the tire to maximum PSI (We use PSI for measuring pressure)
Add a removable valve core to the tire to release some pressure and then inject the sealant into it. Remove the valve core and allow the tire to gain its inflation properly. Boom! You now know the injection method for adding sealant to tubeless tires.
The Pour Method
A rather simple method for adding the sealant.
Add sealant from the sealant bottle directly into the tire and do not seat the bead.
Slowly and steadily rotate the tire to spread the sealant evenly and while doing so, start seating the bead of the tire carefully. During tire bead, use a track pump and increase the internal tire pressure to the recommended PSI level.
Allow the tire to seat completely with the rim and you are good to go!
How to Seal a Tubeless Tire Properly?
The process of adding sealant to a tubeless tire with tubeless-ready rims and wheels. However, when you want to convert a non-tubeless tire into a tubeless one, you will need to seal it properly.
To do that, follow this simple process:
Apply tubeless rim tape to the rim effectively so as to cover all spoke holes properly. Similarly, the rest of the process, i.e., adding sealant, and seating the tire bead is rather the same.
Increase the rim tape quantity especially if you see that the spoke holes aren’t covered properly. That’s one other way to keep your tubeless tires maintained for a long time.
How to Stop a Tubeless Tire from Leaking?
Well, it’s not evident that you will get 100% successful in sealing tubeless tires. While we are here to learn how to maintain tubeless tires effectively, you should know some basic steps to stop them from leaking.
Here’s what you can do in different situations:
Leakage Through Spokes/Valves – Apply enough rim strips to cover the spoke holes and valves of the tires properly.
Sealant Leaking Through Bead – In that case, carefully analyze the seating process and make sure that there’s no obstruction between the wheel rim and bead.
If it continues leaking, simply lower the air pressure and it will do the trick for sure.
Can Tubeless Tires Go Flat?
As already mentioned above, tubeless tires are not meant to work forever. They could go flat if you come across a large bump on the way.
In addition, you will also see flat tire problems when the tire bead is not seated properly.
In many cases when the ripping hole is too large, the sealant will start leaking out from it instead of healing the tires. So, after a while, you will face a flat tire problem.
Last but not the least, if you do not seal tubeless tires effectively, you will face low air pressure and eventually flat tire problem.
Can You Repair a Punctured Tubeless Tire?
Although such tire types will take a long time before they get a solid puncture. We do not recommend repairing them as it’s not effective and you will see frequent sealant oozing out of those punctures.
Invest in new tires instead and you can enjoy riding your mountain bike through rough terrain for a long time.
How to Remove a Tubeless Tire?
Removing a tubeless tire is the same as removing a standard pneumatic tire from the rim.
Deflate the air from tires and push off the bead from the rim. Keep check of the sealant quantity or it will become all messy for you.
Maintenance of tubeless tires requires users to keep checking on the air pressure along with the quality and quantity of the sealant. Besides, sealing the spoke holes and valve core could help reduce air leakage and will allow riders to go on a long bumpy cruise.
Follow all the guidelines carefully and you can easily increase the lifespan of tubeless tires without much hassle.