Common reasons for tubeless issues

We’ve lost count of the numbers of tubeless tyres we’ve set up. Here’s a run down of what might be causing you the hassle and what you can do about it.

Read more: Best mountain bike tyres for 2021

You will need:

  • Sealant
  • Brushes
  • Pump
  • Rags or tissue

Most of us are running our tyres tubeless these days. For mountain biking it just makes so much sense. It reduces the likelihood of all types of puncture from thorns to pinch flats. You can run lower tyre pressures, resulting in better grip as the tyre can track the ground far better. The lower pressures will make your ride a tad more comfortable. It’s even a touch lighter than running inner tubes.

We’re sure a lot of you have tried setting up your wheels tubeless at home. Most of the time, with the right combination of equipment it’s a simple task. But sometimes that tyre just doesn’t want to stay up! It doesn’t matter what you do you might have trouble seating the tyre or it just plain doesn’t want to hold onto air.

1. Smooth out tyres

Tyres can get misshapen by the packaging they come in; a zip tie kinking the bead being the main culprit. The answer? Stretch out the tyre and try to straighten the bead. If it doesn’t want to go, try inflating the tyre onto the rim with an inner tube and leaving it overnight at the maximum pressure allowed by the tyre and rim.

2. Trouble with your tape

Tape that hasn’t affixed properly. The answer? Try to apply tape when the parts are warm – bring them into the house ideally. Clean rim bed so tape sticks properly. Make sure you start relatively near to the valve so you don’t need too much overlap. Check for holes and press down hard. Cut the smallest of openings for the valve. Use the valve to push through the tape.

3. Don’t over-tighten the valve

It is possible to have the valve too tight. Tightening the lockring too tightly can damage the tape and compress the rubber seal too much. The answer? If air is escaping from this area, try to shake the sealant around to help it seal. Or even pour a little more around the valve to clog any small holes.

4. Inflation issues

Some tyres will go up with some quick pumping with a track pump. Others need a canister or tubeless inflator. The answer? Check the tyre beads are either side of the valve and you can’t see it. You might need to take out the valve core to get as much air into the tyre as quickly as possible. Be quick to put it back in!

5. Tyre seating problems

The easiest way to make sure your tyres seat neatly on the rims is to use some form of lubrication on the bead to help it pop into place. Soapy water will do it, but there are two better options. The answer? With a little brush you can paint a little sealant onto the bead – this will not only help it seat but also prevent any little air leaks. Or our personal favourite (and this applies for any tyres) is to spray a little silicon polish. Not only do tyres seat super quickly but it also prevents mud from clinging to the sidewalls. Don’t forget to protect disc brakes and to wipe off any excess when everything is seated. You will probably need to go a lot higher with the pressure to get every bit popping nicely. You can always reduce pressure before riding but it’s a good idea to keep it high at least overnight to help everything seal

Read more: Best tubeless sealant for mountain bike tyres

6. Not enough sealant

Every sealant has different recommendations as to how much is needed. This is normally dependent on tyre width and wheel size. The bigger the volume and size, the more sealant is needed. The answer? Don’t be afraid to put in a little bit more, as chances are you will lose a little with everything trying to seal. A few grams extra sealant is worth the weight penalty if it prevents a puncture. Remember the sealant needs to coat the inside of the tyre as much as possible so make sure you spin the wheel to spread it out.

So there you have it. By going through this little checklist you should find it an absolute doddle to get your tubeless tyres up and running.