When converting to tubeless things can get confusing and there are certain things that you might get confused about like using a normal pump or a pump you have been using is an old one on tubeless tires and other factors all of these things are not widely discussed and taken or understood as the common language between cyclists (mountain bikers, road bikers, BMX)
So wanted to write about these issues for the people who never had any kind of cycling background and are just learning as for your question the direct answer to your question is
you dont need a special pump to inflate a tubeless tire if the model you have on is too old there are cheap adapters available on the market for both Presta and Schrader valves but air compressors or booster pumps (aka pressure chambers) can make your life easier to seat a tubeless tires
There are two reasons that you need a pump
- inflating a tire
- Seating a tire
and depending on the condition or the reason things can get harder or easier so read along If you are interested to know more about the topic
Inflating and deflating tires are completely different than seating tubeless tires, a seated tire will take in the air even if you deflate it after seating it once but a tire that’s not seated on the rim will not take in air, and it due to this problem that most people are always searching why their tires are not taking in the air it’s mostly due to tires being not seated on the rims properly rather than issues with the valve stem
There can also be other problems like rim tape being leaked or not properly applied or the valve not properly adjusted or other reasons like valve core not properly tightened, all of these problems can lead to tires not getting inflated
Seating the tires is important and mostly if you are trying to seat a tire with a floor pump it can get quite hard I will explain the ways to just do that along the way and leave some references as well.
What kind of Pumps make it easier to Seat a tubeless Tire :
Seating a tire is hard and gets especially harder when you are using a normal or simple pump to counter that usually, a lot of people use different tactics or different things like
- Using an air compressor (used to pump up car tires)
- Using pumps with a Pressure chamber or a booster
Both of these kinds of pumps are used and if you are new to mountain biking and you already have a floor pump or air compressor for your car you can use them both an air compressor makes the process much easier while a pump is not so good.
That’s where the pressure chambers with the pumps come in there are special pumps that already have pressure chambers attached to them and in case you already have a pump you can buy a pressure chamber on amazon or from any bike shop near you.
What’s seating a Tubeless Tire :
Seating tubeless tires mean that when you get the tire on the rim for the very first time or you take it off and try to set the tire back to its position on the tire that’s called seating a tire and its done in a certain way and if you dont do it in that certain way it can get hard to put air in it and for the tire to hold air
So it’s very important to Seat a tire first before trying to inflate it I did an article on Mountain Bike Tire bead(types,Bead Seating Tricks,Bead leak)
You can go through that article for a better understanding of seating the tire that’s where the pumps and air compressor and other things come in you need a high pressure to pop the tire on the rim to completely seat it or seal it on the rim
And pumps do not provide that kind of pressure to seat it so you have to manually do it or buy an accessory that can do it.
What type of Tubeless Tires do new bikes Have and why it’s hard to Seat them :
New Bikes usually have Tubeless Ready (hookless rims) tires that are the norm today they dont have hooks to hold the tire bead and that makes it harder to seat them when you are trying to seat them you need to make sure that you are pumping air at high pressure or you do the work manually and make sure that the bead of the tire and the rims are touching each other and sealing
and that’s hard doing it manually but it can be done and you can do it even with a normal pump, and removing the valve core when you are trying to seat your tires is important it makes it easier for the tires to intake more air and makes your job much easier
Of course when you do that the air would escape without a valve but that’s not our concern seating the tire first takes priority
Remember that never insert sealant before you seat a new tubeless tire it would get messy especially if you are trying to seat it with a floor pump and not a compressor
But make sure that you do add sealant to a tubeless-ready tire because they can be porous and they will leak air without a sealant
I did an article on Do tubeless tires hold air without sealant | should you use sealant anyway
and another one Can you go tubeless with any tire | Here’s what you would need to do
You can check out those articles there should be more than enough information for you if you had like to read more about the topic later on.
What kind of pump to carry on trails :
People usually tend to carry mini pumps on them on trails they are smaller and more efficient but from my point of view they are not usually so handy since sealants would take care of small punctures for you and if your tires went pinch flats then, of course, you would need to go back home and see fixes around that
I did an article on those as well Pinch Flats with Tire Inserts | Can you ride with pinch Flats and some quick fixes
and as a beginner, you wouldn’t be running on complex trails but mostly green trails so you wouldn’t need it right away but as things progress in the future you can look into other accessories including pumps
for now, all you need to have are basic things like you would have in any other cycling discipline a pump (compressor or a pump) sealant and basic stuff like rim tape and a sealant.
I did articles on those as well if you are interested in reading those afterward.
Do All Bike Wheels Need Rim Tape and why | Things you never knew
so these are all the things that you would mostly need other than a pump and they should be enough to get you started.
What Else you would need :
Keeping a spoke key and some patches on a trail can be really beneficial since spoke do ten tend to get lost from time to time and cause the wheel to go untrue which can be bad for the tires and for you and these things dont cost much either I think it would cost under 10 bucks to have those
But those are really good to have on trails as they can be really necessary.
I tried adding as much information as I could and I think this is more than enough for you if you are a beginner there are tons of other articles I have already listed around tubeless tires and other things on this blog you can check those out as well if you need further information.