TUBELESS ROAD CLINCHER TIRE INSTALLATION
By Jim Weaver, Service Manager
Fit Werx, Vermont
- 2 Tubeless Clincher tires
- Stan’s NoTubes Rim Tape (if rim bed has spoke holes – see below)
- 2 Stan’s NoTubes Tubeless Valve Kit
- Stan’s NoTubes (or other) Tire Sealant – (one 2 ounce bottle will do a set of road wheels)
- Air compressor or CO2 inflator (floor pump can work sometimes)
- Tire levers
The first step in mounting the Hutchinson tires is to examine the bed of the rim, where the tube would otherwise sit. If there are holes in the rim, providing access to the spoke nipple, it will be necessary to use a rim tape specifically designed for tubeless clincher applications, such as Stan’s NoTubes Rim Tape, so that air will not leak out through those holes. This tape comes in three widths. For most road wheels, the required width is 21 mm. Wheels without spoke holes in the bed of the rim, such as a Mavic Kysrium or R-Sys, do not require the use of the sealant tape. If your wheels do not have spoke holes, you can skip the next paragraph.
Start installing the Stan’s NoTubes Rim Tape at the point opposite the hole in the rim for the stem, pressing the tape firmly into the rim and wrapping over the valve hole. I recommend at least two layers of tape. On rare occasions the air pressure in the tire can press the tape into the spoke holes, causing tears in the tape, and the tire will no longer hold any air. Using at least two layers of tape helps to eliminate this potential problem. Once the rim tape has been applied, use a sharp Phillips head screw driver or pick to punch a hole through the tape at the stem hole to allow for the valve stem.
The next step is to mount one side of the tire onto the rim, as you would with any clincher tire. Once one side of the tire is mounted, take the valve stem insert and remove the round nut that is threaded onto the stem. Insert the stem into the stem hole in the rim. However, do not tighten the circular nut, leave the stem loose, so that it can be pushed back up into the tire. The seat of the stem is oblong, so be sure that the longer section runs lengthwise with the rim, not across the rim. Next, mount the other side of the tire onto the rim, starting at the spoke hole. Push the stem up into the tire so that you can be sure the tire bead is seating against the rim, do not rotate the stem in this process. Move around the rim, pushing the tire onto the rim, until you are opposite the stem. Do not completely mount the tire, but rather leave a 3-5″ portion open so that the sealant can be added.
Stand the tire up, with the stem at the top, and the opening in the tire at the bottom. Thread the circular lock nut onto the valve stem, and tighten it against the rim. Using a pair of pliers, pull the stem firmly away from the rim so that the seal on the inside of the tires seats tight against the inside of the rim, and tighten the nut by hand until it is tight against the rim. Do not use pliers or other tools to twist the nut. You want to be able to remove it by hand in the event you have a flat tire on the road.
The next step is adding the sealant. The Stan’s NoTubes Tire Sealant serves two purposes. First, it seals the bead of the tire against the rim. Second, it provides some protection against small punctures that would otherwise cause a flat tire. There are granular particles in the fluid, and you want to be sure they are distributed throughout the sealant, so shake the sealant before use. Squirt about one ounce (half a small single use bottle) of sealant inside the tire. Rotate the wheel so that sealant flows away from the open tire bead and so that the valve stem is at the bottom. Then, complete mounting the tire onto the rim. It is best if you can mount the tire by hand, without using tire irons. If you cannot, use plastic tire irons, but be gentle so that you do not damage to carbon fiber bead of the tire.
Once the stem is tight, the sealant is in the tire, and the tire is fully mounted on the rim, hold the wheel vertically, spinning it slowly to spread the Stan’s Sealant throughout the tire. You are now ready to inflate the tire. It can sometimes be difficult to get enough air into the tire so that the bead seals using a regular floor pump. An air compressor works best, if you have one available, to get the tire bead to seat against the rim. Another alternative is to simply use a CO² inflator. It is possible to initially inflate the tire with a conventional floor pump, but you need a good pump and you must pump very fast to get the volume you need to catch the bead. As the tire bead seals against the rim, you may have a little sealant leak out around the rim. This is normal, and should be wiped off. Fully inflate and go for a ride if you can to allow the sealant to spread throughout the tire and seal any small leaks, as well as insuring that the tire bead has seated properly.
If the tire will not hold air, it is probably because the valve stem is not seated properly or is not tight enough, allowing air to leak out. Check to be sure that the bead of the tire around the stem is seating well against the rim, is not being blocked by the stem, and that the rest of the tire bead is seating against the rim. Also check to be sure that the stem is pulled down tight, and the circular nut is also tight. Then try to reinflate the tire. If the tire will still not hold air, feel free to contact us here at Fit Werx for assistance.
Enjoy the ride and don’t forget that you can run the air pressure of your tubeless tires lower than average without risking pinch flats, so experiment a bit. We have riders that prefer pressures as low as 90 psi.