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DIY Tubeless

Old 04-11-16, 06:33 AM
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PedalingWalrus
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DIY Tubeless

Please point me to or post information here on how to DIY tubeless setup. I have a 5 year old belt drive Scott Sub 10 on which I dislike removing the rear wheel and I would like to minimize the occurrence of flats.

A few fundamental questions:

How can I tell whether my rims will work with tubeless setup?

How can I tell whether my current tires will work with tubeless setup?

What do I need for tools and material to get it done?

How to do it ? )
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Old 04-11-16, 07:43 AM
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What kind of flats are you getting? Why are you getting flats?

Those two questions you should answer before you consider this. If the answer is "snake bite" and "because I forget to air up my tires on a regular basis." then tubeless isn't going to help you that much.

First off, let me say this. I'm not the biggest fan of tubeless. Every single person I've personally known that has converted to tubeless has had problems with their setup. They eventually get it right, but it's only after weeks/months of messing with it. None of them were doing "ghetto" tubeless either. This is with standard tubeless rims and standard tubeless tires with all of the correct tape/sealant. For me, tubeless isn't worth the trouble. Tubes really aren't that hard to deal with and a properly aired up tire won't flat. (Barring foreign objects.) And if I'm going to be riding in a place with many foreign objects (cactus/goatheads) I choose an appropriate tire/liner for the job.

With that said, here's a good writeup on ghetto tubeless. (Literally the first hit on my google.)

Ghetto tubeless conversion DIY: tips and tricks | Ridemonkey Forums

Here's a video of people applying the same technique.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MyR...el=BikemanforU

Note, if you watch the whole video you'll see how much trouble they had getting it to work, as well as how afraid they were that it'd blow off the rim.

If, for some reason, I were to go tubeless; I'd do it right, with the correct materials. (My personal opinion of course.)
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Old 04-11-16, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
If, for some reason, I were to go tubeless; I'd do it right, with the correct materials. (My personal opinion of course.)
That's what I did when I went tubeless. I didn't actually go tubeless for fewer flats. If I got two flats/year that was a lot. I needed a new wheelset and went with tubeless for ride quality.
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Old 04-11-16, 09:12 AM
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Some say that ghetto tubeless works better than tubeless rims/tires.

Look for a Yewtewb video on the "split tube" method of ghetto tubeless.
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Old 04-11-16, 09:14 AM
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Absolutely check for rim suitability with Scott; as mentioned, having a tire burp or blow off will ruin your day. Especially at road pressures, using "TL-Ready" rims and tires is critical. Check with the manufacturers.

I run tubeless on two road rigs, into my fourth year now. I will not be going back to tubed setups.

It can be that some tire/rim combos are a wrestling match; some go on super easy. It's no different, in that regard, from tubed setups. Proper technique and patience will get you through the tough ones.

Once installed, there's nothing with tubeless that's burdensome or hard to live with. Some cite need to check and top-up sealant, but this needn't be done in most cases. In fact, tubeless does not need sealant at all in road tubeless setups, because the bead/rim interface is airtight. The sealant is there for puncture resistance, not airtightness. I have run both my Schwalbe One and S-One tires without sealant. Some tires might spec sealant to inhibit leak down, but even that I'm suspicious of, given the way the liquid distributes in the tire.

Further, the very nature of tubeless, namely the absence of air escape routes through the rim and around the bead, makes flatting less likely, because as you know, a puncture through the tread is not the air escape route, just the trigger, and once the tube is compromised, air rushes out all around the rim. Just as the tread on tubed setups self-seals around small punctures, it does so on tubeless as well, but the reason it doesn't lead to an instant flat is that the air has nowhere to go. Sealant will further reduce the likelhood of flat from puncture, but tubeless is more flat resistant no matter what.

For the same reasons, snake bite or pinch flats with tubeless are far, far less likely than with tubed.

That said, you can increase puncture flat resistance by using sealant in a tube. Slime make pre-injected sealant filled tubes, even, saving a little hassle there. Removable core tubes and a syringe make DIY pretty easy, though. The aforementioned tire liners work as well, as does a tire indicated for good puncture resistance. A can of Vittoria Pit Stop, an inflator with sealant, is a quick, easy fix if a flat does occur.
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Old 04-11-16, 09:31 AM
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There's a VERY longrunning thread on MTBR about this. Here's the link
http://forums.mtbr.com/29er-componen...ew-406115.html
You can see the thread has been running since 2008, try to find recipes from the later part of it. There's a lot of the thread that's, "I tried X and it didn't work" or "I want to try X but can't find it for sale"

Here are some highlights...

They have come up with two main branches of formula they call "WSS" and "OSS". WSS is...
Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
Wss is Wadesters Secret Sauce, and is still one of the best and easiest.
Mix, in this order, shaking well between ingredients:
32 oz Water
16 oz PG, EG, RV, antifreeze.
16 oz any type of Slime
8 oz clear ammonia, or whatever kind you can find.
16 oz liquid latex mold builder
This yields an ~88 oz batch of WSS tubeless sealant.
The "OSS" is the same chemistry but more of a pure-chemicals formula and uses propylene glycol, cornmeal or dryer lint for particles, ammonia and latex.

http://forums.mtbr.com/29er-componen...l#post12514837
Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
BAMFS v. 2.0 (Stan's-like)
Latex: 1 part (Mold Builder @ Hobby Lobby or similar)
Propylene glycol: 2 parts (Tractor Supply)
Distilled water: 2 parts
Ammonia: 0.3 parts
Cornmeal: 1 tbs (Kroger)
Mixing order: water, PG, ammonia, latex, cornmeal
Also notice the recipes vary (a guy on the latest page is using latex paint primer) and a lot of them still work. They've also tried PEG, xanthan gum, glycerine, glitter, dryer lint...

The easiest to find and definitely-workable rim tape is Gorilla Tape, but it's a lot heavier than Stan's. They are still on the hunt to find something better than Stan's tape at ghetto prices.

Tubeless-ready rims help but are not required. They have a special shape to their channel that helps with seating, it's a lot shallower than a conventional clincher rim. They have a more finely shaped hook bead that interfaces with the tire.

Tubeless-ready tires help but are not required. They have an extra coating of rubber on the inside to reduce seeping and thicker sidewalls to reduce snakebite flats; and a bead that matches the one on the tubeless rims.

The sealant gradually dries up or cures and turns into a layer of rubber and/or maybe a booger on the inside of your tire. You can keep adding sealant.

I still haven't gone tubeless on my MTB but I've got all the stuff for it... I'm not sure what I'm waiting for. On my commuter bikes I've chosen to stick with tubes.

All of this is for MTB size tires and manufacturers typically say not to exceed 40 psi. There's also tubeless at road bike size and pressure, but there, no one says you can use a non-tubeless tire. There still seems to be a middle ground at hybrid size / pressure where there is no commercial tubeless solution.
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Old 04-11-16, 11:01 AM
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Mountainbike (2-inch plus tires at less than 30psi) tubeless is pretty painless nowadays as long as you start with a tubeless compatible rim (Stans, WTB) you may still need a a compressor to seat the tires but more often than not a floor pump and some coaxing (soapy water, strap) will work. Most tires will work. Tubeless ready ones tend to be easier to seat and take less sealant but even non-tubeless work.

I wouldn't bother looking for an alternative to Stans tape for a mtb. Yes, Stans tape is overpriced but you also only need one roll and it is a one time thing. We are talking fifteen bucks here. You won't be saving much by going with Gorilla tape or whatever else. Same goes for sealant. Stans and Orange Seal's goop work. Yeah, there are a couple DIY formulas that work but I don't think it is worth it.

High pressure/thin tire tubeless, that's a different story. Road tubeless is pretty much a system deal. As far as I know it works, but it isn't cheap and there aren't that many tire options. I wpuld not even try a DIY toad tubeless. A tire blowing up at 90psi can be dangerous.

Finally, there are some cyclocross options out there for tires in the 30-35mm range. I have seen plenty of those burp on cyclocross races, and there is a debate going on about whether you can run a tire that size tubeless at CX pressures (30psI or less) That and CX tires won't last long on the road.
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Old 04-11-16, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
Slime make pre-injected sealant filled tubes, even, saving a little hassle there
Mine even came with the valve stems pre-clogged-open with Slime gunk so they couldn't ever hold air!
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Old 04-11-16, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by FrozenK View Post
I wouldn't bother looking for an alternative to Stans tape for a mtb. Yes, Stans tape is overpriced but you also only need one roll and it is a one time thing. We are talking fifteen bucks here.
A lot of the people in the above link are either mechanics doing a lot of bikes, or they are ultra-mileage people, they are definitely looking for real savings.

There's also the fun of DIY which might wind up costing more in the long run either in dollars or time spent, but it's rewarding anyhow.
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Old 04-11-16, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
A lot of the people in the above link are either mechanics doing a lot of bikes, or they are ultra-mileage people, they are definitely looking for real savings.

There's also the fun of DIY which might wind up costing more in the long run either in dollars or time spent, but it's rewarding anyhow.
Stans is cheap enough ($28 for the quart bottle) and it can make enough of a mess on it's own. I have better things to do than playing with latex and ammonia to save three dollars a year. If the DIY is your thing, go for it. Some people mix their own chain lube too.

As for tape, it retails for $13 for a 10yd roll that will do four wheels. Yes, it is overpriced but it still comes to 3 bucks a wheel or about the same as Velox tape. For standard width rims, it really isn't worth looking for something else. A loy of the alternatives are too wide and you have to trim them. Taping is something you do once, not worth the hassle to save at best two bucks per wheel. For fat bike rims, that's a different story because the wide Stans tape is hard to find to start with and the Orange Seal one is $30 a roll. But skinny rims? Not worth it.
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Old 04-12-16, 09:24 AM
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hmm. Great. Thanks for all the replies. Just to answer some questions that I noted while reading the replies.

1. I wasn't a big enthusiast for tubeless but now after running it on 2 of my bikes I'm sort of liking it.
2. The reason I wanted to get it done on the Scott is because I don't like the curbside repair when dealing with Belt drive. Figured I would reduce the probability of curbside belt drive theatrics if I converted this bike to tubeless.
3. The bike does not get uset much these days but occasionally it goes out, especially on rainy days as it is my only bike with fenders
4. I'm perfectly ok to just bring it to the LBS and pay them if it's too much hassle. I thought I'd explore it as a DYI because this bike is a rarely used spare.
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Old 04-12-16, 09:46 AM
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My impression of tubeless is that it's great at flat prevention, but it has a limited calendar life because the sealant dries out. I don't think I'd put it on a seldom-used bike, worried that it would dry out all in a puddle and make the tire unbalanced.

I've messed with a belt drive bike with a Nexus 3 IGH a few times now, and though it takes a couple of wrench sizes, it wasn't really much trouble to take off the wheel. The belt comes off easy once you have the wheel loose, and you don't need to take it all the way off the bike, just off the pulleys. No chain, so no oily mess. The fussiest part was setting the tension again. I think you could make that go fast by remembering how many turns it took on the tensioners, or maybe putting a mark on the dropouts. I wouldn't call it worse than a derailleur bike, just different.

This is not meant to talk you out of it, just a couple of thoughts for pro and con lists.
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Old 04-12-16, 10:42 AM
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good point Lefty. Yeah. I suppose the truth is I don't have enough 'bench' time with the belt drive under my belt. ;-) barrumpsh

Life is busy but I will get someone to show me how to do it and how to adjust the tension properly.
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Old 04-12-16, 10:57 AM
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For a spare bike, I'd recommend thorn-proof tubes or tire liners over tubeless. Tubeless improves the ride, and the sealant will help if you get a minor puncture but the sealant does dry up.
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Old 04-12-16, 07:38 PM
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I run tubeless on both my mtn bikes and road bike. While I do have a "ghetto" setup on my fat bike, it's easier to get away with using tubeless on fat and mtn bike rims because the tires aren't at such a high pressure. I would personally never use tubeless on a road bike that was going to be running near 100psi unless the rim was made for tubeless. If your bike is a road bike at high psi I agree with the previous post that you should check with the maker of the rim. Going tubeless is easier with wheels made for it. The biggest issue is often getting the tire to seat. Bontrager makes a pump that pressurizes and then releases all at one time to pop a tire in place. I've had some success with that but when I went to tubeless road tires it was hit and miss. I ended up getting a small compressor. It wasn't expensive and it was a huge help, particularly with the fat bike 5" tires. I have punctured on my road bike going downhill at 43mph and on several other occasions. Just yesterday I got home and realized I'd punctured on my ride and never even knew it. I came home once with 4 goat head thorns in my tire and didn't know it. I'm a huge fan of tubeless and the ride quality vs something like an Armadillo or Marathon Plus is a big deal so I'm a fan and recommend it but you do have to be willing to fight with it and work out a system that works for you. Once you've got that, it's not a huge thing. If doing maintenance isn't your thing, I'd say fuggetaboutit.
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Old 09-11-19, 09:02 AM
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latex gets sold with ammonia in it so that it stays liquid until the ammonia is gone. some add some more on top.
ammonia corrodes the aluminum rim.
the manufacturer does not publish all the ingredients. if it did the product would not sell in the long run or it would have to be less expensive.

a ghetto recipe should have that corrosion issue solved by adding something to prevent it.
could it be... xanthan gum?

http://www.ijoart.org/docs/Effect-of...Protection.pdf
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Old 09-11-19, 02:21 PM
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By adding a little vegetable glycerine into the sealant I only have to add more sealant once (midsummer), sometimes twice a year (mild winter) even though I live in a desert. Glycerine in plant cells is what helps them survive droughts by hindering water evaporation. Ranchers feed it to dehydrated cattle. It seems to have no effect on latex sealant. Tubeless might not work so well if you run tire pressures above 50 psi. It works better on bigger volume, lower pressure tires.

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Old 09-12-19, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Clem von Jones View Post
By adding a little vegetable glycerine into the sealant I only have to add more sealant once (midsummer), sometimes twice a year (mild winter) even though I live in a desert. Glycerine in plant cells is what helps them survive droughts by hindering water evaporation. Ranchers feed it to dehydrated cattle. It seems to have no effect on latex sealant. Tubeless might not work so well if you run tire pressures above 50 psi. It works better on bigger volume, lower pressure tires.
mix propylene glycol with glycerine. 50/50 perhaps...

PG is antibacterial, glycerine not so much; there are bacteria that degrade:
-paraffin that keep the tires from cracking (mitigated by wax blooming);
-sulfur in the tires which is there to give the rubber endurance;
-latex and rubber as well;
-xanthan gum which is a very useful ingredient as it not only gives the solution tackiness but it also mitigates corrosion.

some looking into "inhibited propylene glycol" should be done as to address/mitigate corrosion from the glycol.
dipotassium phosphate could be added.

the most difficult thing would be to figure out how much of any substances should be added later on to keep everything in check.

i have yet to have tried tubeless. i would rather pay for more puncture resistant tires that prevents the punctures instead.
i might try it only if i would be sure that the trouble of maintenance is minimized - time and money. right now i have a bike for which i'll have to replace the rear tire with a 2.35-2.5 one after this one wears out and i get to save some money in the meantime. i could be switching to tubeless as i'm not sure about the big apple being good enough on it's own. or maybe a single ply hookworm. i now use no more than 33psi on the 2" rear. tubeless will not be lighter, just better at dealing with punctures if they occur.

the initial and further costs of adding sealant are one thing, the trouble of cleaning up is another. as long as punctures can be prevented in other ways... i still delay trying it. if i do it i won't go by a brand name, just use some automotive thing (just for the larger pieces of rubber being there to help clog bigger cuts) to add to latex+PG+glycerine+xanthan+etc.

i want a risk free setup so that the rims won't be corroding from the sealant. i don't want to pay for overpriced products that get sold by the "sell it by zealot" techniques - brand loyalists.
and i want an easy way of keeping tires for as long as their durability can be prolonged - more than a couple of years - without needing to dismount them as to clean up the mess.
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Old 09-12-19, 12:12 PM
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My tubeless story is:

I bought mtb from bikesdirect with TubelessReady WTB rims, but non-tubeless-rated tires. I first tried to DIY using some tubeless valve stems from eBay, TruckerCo Cream Latex Sealant (1L bottle comes with a very useful syringe) from amazon, and gorilla-brand duct tape to seal.

That was a hit&miss solution, I found it very difficult to seal the rims very well. The sealant was fine, although I was surprised to learn it dries up in a few months. The non-TR tires weeped a lot straight through the sidewalls, and everywhere on the tread that had ever seen a goathead. I used a crazy jig I found on youtube where you store up air pressure in a 2L bottle and blast it out to try to seal the rim. Never needed an air compressor.

I tried switching to kapton tape, that didn't really help. As tires wore out, I replaced them with TR tires, and that made a big difference, but I still had rim seal problems. After going through 2L of TruckerCo, I made a batch of DIY sealant, which worked just as well and is a lot cheaper.

I bought a used mtb that had a ghetto tubeless job, and it arrived in the box with air in the tires and ran fine. The tires were pretty worn though so I bought a pair of TR tires, and was able to re-use the same ghetto split-tube liner when installing them. The old tires and split tube came off as a sealed unit and I had to rip the tube off, they were glued together with dried sealant. The re-ghetto-installation was trivially easy, super quick seal just with floor pump (no high-pressure blast jig needed) and haven't needed touching since.

I believe ghetto is the easiest DIY method, because that soft rubber will take up any slop in the interface between whatever rim and whatever tire, TR or not. And the extra thickness of the rim in there makes a pretty good seal just from hand-pulling the bead to the side of the rim, so it seals easy with a floor pump.

I converted my wife's MTB to ghetto. One tire worked great, the other tire didn't: the problem was I was worried about losing the split tube inside the tire, so I tried to get both beads of the tire on at once. Took a lot of violent force, and I guess we tore/pinched the tube somewhere. 2nd tire 1 bead at a time, painless. Redid the 1st tire once I got another tube to split, took immense care to tape the tube down all around so it wouldn't get sucked inside the tire -- turns out no need. Once the tire was on, it was easy to pull the tube back and forth and get it well centered before inflating.

TL;DR: For DIY go split-tube/ghetto. otherwise use pricey real/branded rim tape and Tubeless-specific rims and tires. DIY sealant is cheap and easy and works just as well as the branded stuff.
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Old 09-13-19, 08:26 AM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
...

TL;DR: For DIY go split-tube/ghetto. otherwise use pricey real/branded rim tape and Tubeless-specific rims and tires. DIY sealant is cheap and easy and works just as well as the branded stuff.
short answer: kapton(thin enough and rigid for the holes) + split tube (possibly a light/thinner one).

the tape needs to be thick enough so that the tire bead presses on the rim seat and movement (up/down and sideways as in turns etc., not only through torque) is minimized by having a tight interface. the tape is better if it is compressible as you can mount the tire easier if the rim channel is not too deep. ghetto setup minimizes the risk of rim corrosion if the sealant is not safe. kapton tape is a good layer so that the butyl layer on top does not break inside the holes, depending on the pressure you use.

i've been told by a bike mechanic (LBS) just yesterday that he happened to find sand inside tires of the tubed wheels he serviced. i don't think he made the story up as he would have no reason to do so. ghetto tubeless is better/safer at preventing the sand getting to the interface, the butyl, by being compressed, better seals beginning from the outside lip of the rim when the tire flexes in turns. sandy conditions can be very dangerous for tubeless - if front tire suddenly goes flat in turns there can be nasty consequences.

"proper" tubeless rim tape has the advantage that you can apply it in multiple layers as to adjust the thickness and the disadvantages of overlap and not being to remove it in case you need to replace the nipples or wash the inside of the rim from corrosive things that slowly work their way inside (salts etc.)

i'd rather go ghetto tubeless as the added weight is too small compared to the benefits of a more stable/safer interface (less leaks as well) and easier tire mount (as the rim channel is shallow in many cases).

the foolproof variant is tubeless designed rims that need no rim tape - provided the tire bead is compressible/thick enough etc. - therefore slightly heavier. such rims and tires are of lower availability (price, sizes/types available). you can very well work with usual rims and adapt to them. tire sidewall (DIY, not tubeless-specific) will get heavier by latex thickening them so in the end... they are about the same weight.
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