Tubeless Tire Maintenance Instructions

ROAD TUBELESS CLINCHER TIRE MAINTENANCE INSTRUCTIONS

The following guidelines are for maintaining tubeless road tires – more complete explanations are below.

1.  Inflation pressure on a tubeless road system is often between 10 and 15 pounds less than a conventional clincher tire.

2.  Check tire pressure before each ride and check the snugness of the valve core periodically.

3.  Keep tires inflated, preventing them from going flat during long-term storage.  Spin the tires periodically during long-term storage.

4.  If you use a plastic tire lever with a tubeless tire, use caution not to damage the carbon tire bead.

5.  If the tire will not hold air, remove tire, clean the wheel rim and tire bead, and reinstall the tire with new sealant.  Keeping a small amount of tire sealant on hand for this situation is recommended.

6.  Carry a spare tube, plastic tire levers, and quick-fill style CO² inflator, to repair any flat tire you may have while riding.  Remove the valve stem, install a tube, and reinstall the tire as you normally would with a standard clincher tire.

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1.  Tubeless clincher tires do not require as high a level of inflation pressure as conventional clincher tires.  With a conventional clincher, high inflation pressure, often as high as 120 psi, is necessary to guard against “pinch” or “snakebite” flats.  High inflation pressure results in a harsher ride as the tire is firmer and thus cannot absorb road shock as well.  Since a tubeless tire has no tube, there is no risk of a pinch flat and lower tire pressure, resulting in an improvement in ride quality, is thus possible.  Generally, the appropriate pressure in a tubeless road tire will be 10-15 pounds less than a conventional clincher.  If in doubt, follow the recommendations of the manufacturer.   If you want to experiment with how low you can go, lower your tire pressure in 5 psi increments until the tire loses its seal and “burps” air out the side during riding.

2.  Air leaks out of any tire, whether a tube is used or not.  While some tubeless clincher tire/rim combinations actually hold air better than a standard tube, many lose air pressure faster than a conventional tube tire.  You should check your tire pressure before each ride regardless of whether you run tubes or tubeless.  The internal valve cores on some tubeless valve stems are prone to loosening.  Using a core remover (or a small adjustable wrench), check the tightness of the valve core periodically in the valve stem.  Chronically loosening valve cores can be removed, the threads wrapped in Teflon tape, and then reinstalled to lock in place.

3.  If the bicycle is stored for an extended period, check the tire pressure every few weeks and inflate the tire to your usual riding tire pressure as needed.  This will help keep the seal intact between the carbon tire bead and the rim.  Also, it is a good idea to spin the wheel periodically so as to keep the sealant distributed evenly around the tire.   If the tire deflates, the seal between the tire bead and rim can be lost.  If this happens, you may be able to simply reinflate the tire, resealing the bead to the rim simultaneously.  However, if the seal has been lost, the tire will not inflate until the seal is reestablished.  Simply adding more sealant may solve this problem, if not, the tire will need to be removed from the rim, the sealant along the tire bead and rim cleaned off, and the tire remounted.  Inflating the tire from zero pressure is sometimes possible by pumping a floor pump very rapidly until the seal engages, but is easier and more reliable with a quicker high pressure inflator such as an air compressor or a CO² inflator.  The simple rule is that you can avoid losing the seal by keeping the air pressure above 40 psi in your tubeless tires all the time.

4.  Tubeless tires use a unique triangular shaped carbon bead that seals the tire against the rim.  When removing or installing, it is important to use care with tire levers as damage to the bead can prevent it from sealing correctly against the rim.  If possible, install tubeless tires by hand and, if a lever is needed, use only plastic tire levers.

5.  Eventually, the sealant in the tire will dry out, the seal with the rim will be compromised, and the tire will no longer hold air.  There is no definite time interval for this, but you can expect this to happen every 1 to 2 years.  If this happens (assuming the tire is not worn out yet), you will need to remove the tire and valve stem, clean off the sealant from the stem and tire bead, and then remount with fresh sealant, usually about 1 oz is adequate in a 700×23 road tire.  It is advisable to keep a bottle of Stan’s Tire Sealant (or other brand) on hand, to refresh your sealant if it is ever needed.

6.  You can get a puncture or cut in the tire that is too large for the tire sealant to seal.  Therefore, you should carry a spare tube, plastic tire irons, and an inflator on every ride.  If you get a flat that will not seal, simply remove the valve stem and install your spare tube in the tire, just like a standard clincher repair.  The tubeless clincher tire can be ridden with a tube without any difficulty, but you will lose the ride quality benefits of this tire and add some weight.  If you do use a tube in the tire, be sure to inflate the tire to a higher pressure than you may use without the tube in order to avoid pinch flats.  Keep the tubeless valve stem as it can be reused.

About Ian-Fit Werx

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