Converting any tire to tubeless sure is a thrilling idea because tubeless can be expensive and if this is possible it could change a lot of things for you, but as far as is it even possible and the answer would be.
It depends on the rims you have and the tire you want to mount on it and the kind of trails that you are trying to use them on.
Of course, a lot of you guys are looking just to make your normal bikes work on tubeless tires but some of you would be mountain bikers as well.
Let’s start the ball rolling and I will explain along each step on what will work and what won’t.
Step by Step guide to converting non-tubless tires into a tubeless tire :
There are only a very few things that you would need to convert a non-tubless tire to a tubeless tire but a lot of patience.
Things that you would need to convert non-tubless tires to tubeless tires.
- Rim tape
- plastic or metallic tools to unseat the bead and seat it.
- Schrader valve
Step-1 Remove the rim strip on the non-tubless tire :
Removing the old rim strip on the tube wheels is important when converting the tires to tubeless, the old rim strip on tube tires was just there to prevent the tubes from getting punctured from the spoke holes or from any sharp edges from the rim and also to circulate heat and saving the tube from sticking into the spokes and getting damaged.
Clean the rim with soapy water and if you have iso propylene alcohol that’s even better clean the rim with anything you have on hand and clean it thoroughly and dry it with a rug.
Next, you would need a rim tape you can use gorilla tape or any other tape and tightly cover the whole rim in the middle, I wouldn’t recommend applying rim tape on the side walls of the rim in this case.
apply two layers of the rim tape starting from near the valve and overlap the tape on the other end do not cut the tape over the valve instead poke a hole with a screwdriver if possible.
Insert the valve in the valve space and tighten the nut over it.
Step-2 Put some air in the tire :
in this early stage put enough air in the tire so that the side walls are not stuck together and sealant could move freely within when you put it in later on.
To be exact put 15 to 20 psi air in the tire.
Step-3 Put the sealant in the tire :
It would be best that you put the sealant through the valve loosen the valve core with the help of valve core remover and insert the sealant in the tire.
Next what you would need to do is to shake the tire and make sure that the sealant reaches every inch of the side walls because tube tires are porous and though you may not be able to see it the tire will be leaking air.
Step-4 Put more air in the tire if needed :
Put some more into the tire and see that you see a clear line of tire seating properly on the rim and leave it be for an hour or two if its leaking air from the bead keeps the tire rotating from time to time and check if the tires are leading air from the side walls or from any other part.
A quick way to see if the air is leaking from any part of the tires is to spray a soapy water mixture on the sidewalls of the tires and see if you can see bubbles popping from the tires if they are the air would be leaking from those spots.
If the air is leaking just keep rotating the tires and let the sealant reach that point, do it until the whole tire is sealed.
After this whole process conduct the test as I have listed before and see if the tire held on to the rim or not.
Problems and Tests to conduct when converting a non-tubeless tire to a tubeless tire :
Before I begin on everything it would be fair for you to know if there are any problems involved in converting your non-tubless tires to tubeless tires.
To begin with there are some problems involved in converting a non-tubless tire to a tubeless tire and the biggest one is
Tire mounting off while riding :
Tire mountain off while riding happen and it can happen usually when you are trying to convert any non-tubless tires to tubeless tires and no one can say for sure if they will or will not the only way to know is when you actually ride the bike or it can happen earlier as well when you are inflating the tires.
When you will mount the tires you would mount it on high pressure and I will explain later when I will explain the way to do it later on in this article.
#1st test The tires can mount off the rim when you are inflating them at high pressure in the begging and that’s the first step to making sure the setup will work.
2nd Test The next test would be to ride the tires when you inflate them at that high pressure and see if the tires get de-seated.
#3rd test would be to check if the tires stay mounted on the rim with low pressures while riding.
The last and #4th test would be to try the tires on trails and see if they burp and spill out the sealant and air.
if your tires are failing at any stage of these tests I wouldn’t recommend going tubeless with your tires a better approach would be to use self-healing tubes are using sealants inside the tubes I did a complete article on Should you put Sealants (Slime,Stan’s,orange seal) in tubes and which one would work Better
It’s important to understand that if it’s not working don’t do it, it’s probably not worth your time and money except for the fact that you have the money and you can buy some tubeless wheels.
Other than that don’t do it there are cheaper ways to achieve all those things that tubeless can do of course tubed tires may not cover all of them but you can still avoid a lot of problems like punctures and pinch flats even with tube tires.
What’s the success rate of converting any tire to a tubeless tire :
While for any wheel if the tire would stay on the rim or not will depend on when you actually put them on without tubes but the overall success rate in most cases is 50/50 sometimes some wheels hold on and work the same as any other tubeless tires and sometimes they would pop out even when you are trying to pump air into them.
So there is no way to say for sure if this process would be successful for everyone but chances are usually it is successful if the tire beads are stiffer and the rim provides enough traction and has enough hold on the tires to not let them pop out or burp.
both tires on the bikes are different so you may need to make sure that both are working fine.
Would you need to swap your old tube tires with tubeless tires to make the conversion to tubeless possible :
This is the biggest hurdle when it comes to going tubeless and for good reasons as well, The success rate of tires with a stiff bead mounted on the rim and the right-width tire for the rims are higher than the soft or foldable type bead tires.
If you are planning on getting new tires and you think that wider width tires may hold on to the rim better, they sometimes do but sometimes that would be a bad idea since even if they adhere well to the rim the tire may burp, spill the sealant and loose air which you wouldn’t really want or need.
A better way to approach this would be to use whatever tires you are using on your bike first and not make any purchases beforehand and see what the results look like if the tires on your bike are adhering well to the rims and they are not popping out or burping than all good you can convert it.
Another good way would be to see if the tires are showing problems that can be solved like the tires popping off the rim but not when you pump air or anything but under major stress, if they are doing things like that then a new tire would be a stiffer bead may perform quite well.
Can You mount tubeless tires on any rim :
No, you can’t the tires need to be at least the same width and if the rim is not tubless specific there can be problems but most of the time tubless tires stay on the rim.
But the width difference may creat problems so it would be best to use the tires with the same width or with just a little bit of difference.
There’s also the tire bead difference tubeless and tubeless-ready tire beads are stiffer than the normal tires and their rims are quite different as well.
Tubless and tubeless-ready rims are designed in a way that they will hook up the tire, unlike normal tires which may or may not do the same.
what are the main differences between tires with tubes and tubeless wheels :
There are many key differences between tubed wheels and tubeless wheels, notice that I mentioned wheels not tires, here’s why.
The rims on the tubeless tires are made for tubeless tires and they are made so as to achieve maximum seating of the tire bead on the rims, while tube tires are made in the way they are made excluding how the tires will seat on the rims in a better way or not because they are purposed to hold in tubes rather hold tires on the rims.
But they do hold the tires very well as well that’s the whole purpose of me writing this article and you reading it.
The differences between tubeless tires and tube tires are different tho and here are some things that you might have not known before.
- Tubeless tires are thicker than tubed tires
- Their casing is a lot more knit-tight than tubed tires so that they won’t leak air.
- they have stiffer beads than tube tires
- tubeless rims are specially designed to keep the beads locked for minimum air loss and burping.
There are 2 main takeaways that we can take from these different and that tube tires are porous if you had like them to convert to tubeless you will need to put some little extra effort and I will get into that a little bit later.
The other thing is the bead getting hooked into the rim and seating properly and not burping, which is the biggest cause of failure when converting the non-tubless tire to tubeless.
Hopefully, this process goes perfectly for all of you but if are still facing problems and the conversion didn’t go well, I would suggest not forcing the tires on the rims there are other ways to do things as well, and its not the only way to do it.
You can check out the post that i mentioned above to achieve the same results on tubes as a tubless tires, ofcourse you wouldn’t be able to reap the full benefits of tubless tires but its something to begin with.