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Old 03-08-08, 12:36 PM   #1
born2bahick
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The "Hicks" DIY tubeless conversion

Todays project: home made tubeless conversion for DT rims.
hardware: two tubeless stems, from local bike shop. two plastic washers from hardware store, and tubeless sealant of your choice. ( I used Tubeless Slime on this project, but I prefer stans)
The project bike, 05 GF tassajara with wheels from an 07 Epic.

The tools used.

The stem and plastic washer.

Notice the O-ring

Inner hole of rim is slightly bigger than O-ring, so the plastic washer is used instead.

Washer on stem. Notice the pencil marks on washer where I will cut it.

Trim the washer.

Stem installed in rim.

Install tire, (don't forget to add sealant) and air up.

The bead sealing itself.

The stem leaked until the sealant got to it, but other than that it was an easy project. And i still got the Ahh feeling that you get, when you do something yourself!
This is a general summary, If you have questions on specifics you may PM me and I'll be glad to help if I can.
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Old 03-08-08, 12:40 PM   #2
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Very nice.

Interesting to see how it holds up.
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Old 03-09-08, 10:25 AM   #3
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what spoke tape is that?

stans?
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Old 03-09-08, 04:19 PM   #4
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what spoke tape is that?

stans?
Nope, that's the stock rim strip that came on the wheelset. I just took the tube out of the tire, added my stem and washer, and let the sealant take care of the rest.
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Old 03-09-08, 08:36 PM   #5
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so you don't have a special rimstrip and those are standard rims???
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Old 03-10-08, 02:41 AM   #6
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I once used electrical tape as rimtape. A few layers. Worked fine.

Nice project.
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Old 03-10-08, 06:23 AM   #7
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so you don't have a special rimstrip and those are standard rims???
That's correct, total cost was a hair over $20.00
I bottle of tubeless Slime $11.28 with tax
The two stems were $7.50 (if I remember right )
I spent $2.14 on assorted washers and settled on the blue ones.
BFG, Yes electrical tape would work fine also. As a matter of fact that was my plan b, if the stock rim strip wouldn't seal up.

Last edited by born2bahick; 03-10-08 at 06:55 AM.
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Old 03-10-08, 01:30 PM   #8
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Just did a test run on this setup, trails are too muddy so I went to an abandoned hospital complex and did some mild free riding. I ran both tires at 18 PSI and rode up and down quite few stairs. Worked great, although my "up the stairs" technique is pitiful on a hardtail with platform pedals!
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Old 03-10-08, 02:02 PM   #9
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A couple questions: The one bottle of the tubeless Slime did both? Any idea how much the goop weighs in comparison to a tube?

I'm fascinated by this project and am toying with something similar. Two things I am curious about:
  • If one could go more ghetto/free by using stems from junk Presta tubes?
  • If Scotch Microfoam surgical tape (sucking chest-wound and other fun things) would make a good sealing rim strip?

I'm real curious to know how long/well your setup holds air too.
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Old 03-10-08, 05:06 PM   #10
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A couple questions: The one bottle of the tubeless Slime did both? Any idea how much the goop weighs in comparison to a tube?

I'm fascinated by this project and am toying with something similar. Two things I am curious about:
  • If one could go more ghetto/free by using stems from junk Presta tubes?
  • If Scotch Microfoam surgical tape (sucking chest-wound and other fun things) would make a good sealing rim strip?

I'm real curious to know how long/well your setup holds air too.
Yes the one bottle of Slime did both tires, I probably didn't need all of it but my approach with sealant lately has become "the more the better". It definately weighs more than a tube when you use as much as I did but I didn't want to be chasing small leaks for days.

1.A presta stem was my first thought, but the lightweight tubes I had lying around, didn't have a very rigid reinforcement piece holding the valve. I bet there are some out there that would work.

2.As for the microfoam tape, I'm not familiar with it. I will say that the stock rim strip was not a real snug fit but it sealed off fine.

EDIT: I just noticed the bottle was 16 ounces. So figure 227 grams per wheel minus 100 grams for the tube? I added approximately 150 grams per wheel time I count the stem and washer?

Last edited by born2bahick; 03-10-08 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 03-10-08, 05:16 PM   #11
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I hope this works out, I just may do the same down the road myself. Keep us updated.
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Old 03-11-08, 09:24 PM   #12
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i think the slime website has gram weights somewhere
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Old 03-11-08, 09:59 PM   #13
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1.A presta stem was my first thought, but the lightweight tubes I had lying around, didn't have a very rigid reinforcement piece holding the valve. I bet there are some out there that would work.
I was wondering if you can just use two lockrings - - one inside and one outside.

I'll have to check the Slime site for the weights, MX; thanks.
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Old 03-12-08, 09:43 AM   #14
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I was wondering if you can just use two lockrings - - one inside and one outside.

I'll have to check the Slime site for the weights, MX; thanks.
That could work too! I went to the Slime website and see they recommend 4oz for a bicycle tire. I used twice the recommended amount, I didn't want my ghetto project to fail.
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Old 05-28-08, 12:56 PM   #15
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hows this holding up?
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Old 05-29-08, 10:09 AM   #16
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hows this holding up?
Still working great! No flats. Have'nt had to add air. Just like any store bought tubeless setup.
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Old 05-29-08, 07:03 PM   #17
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Dminor - I've been using a ghetto tubeless setup for 3 seasons now. Hick's method will work, but requires a lot of sealant to initially seal the whole rim. So you end up with quite a bit of goop in there, and a little weight loss, if any.
1) yes you can use old tube valves. Thicker xc tubes work the best, in my experience. Use the little presta nut thing to tighten down the valve really hard when you first inflate the tire. Once it's inflated and has sat for a while, you can remove the nut if you want.
2) for rim tape, 1 layer of that 3m tape with the little strings in it. Forget what its called... starts with an S i think. anywho, it's easy to find. Then, two layers of electrical tape to protect the 3m from the sealant, which has a tendency to eat up the sticky part of the tape.
3) add as much or as little sealant as you want. Generally, you can get the tire to inflate with an air compressor without any sealant, but it won't hold. This allows you to see how much sealant the tire really needs. If it holds for 20 minutes with no sealant, you know it's pretty much sealed anyway and a small about to finish sealing and for flat protection is all you need. If air is leaking out all over the place, you need to add more sealant. My rule of thumb is: holds for less than a minute = 1.5 scoops of stans. 1-5 minutes: 1 scoop. 5+ minutes: 1/2 scoop.
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Old 05-30-08, 10:35 AM   #18
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Those are great tips. The biggest thing I walked away with from this project, was that it's really not as hard to set up a tubeless system as one might think. I did a stans conversion for a friend about a month ago and was really amazed with the rim strip. It's Quite an effective component. I was able to air the tire up with my floor pump. (something I've never done before with any of the setups Ive used)
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Old 05-30-08, 12:21 PM   #19
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One thing to keep in mind is that many non-UST tires (especially anything called "race") have much too thin of a sidewall to stand up to tubeless use on rough terrain. Be sure to get a burly tire (or just some UST's.)
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Old 05-30-08, 05:00 PM   #20
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One thing to keep in mind is that many non-UST tires (especially anything called "race") have much too thin of a sidewall to stand up to tubeless use on rough terrain. Be sure to get a burly tire (or just some UST's.)
I don't totally agree with this. Ive run quite a few tires tubeless now, and i havent had a problem with any of them. Albeit we don't have a ton of rocks here.
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Old 05-30-08, 05:34 PM   #21
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I don't totally agree with this. Ive run quite a few tires tubeless now, and i havent had a problem with any of them. Albeit we don't have a ton of rocks here.
I guess YMMV, but I had nothing but problems (i.e. constantly blowing out sidewalls) until I gave up on the thin sidewalled tires. May have just been luck that I picked tires with thinner sidewalls than you did. I wasn't on particularly droppy terrain, either. This was at Gooseberry Mesa. Lots of rolly slickrock.
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