ON YOUR BIKE: The difference that tubeless tyres can make to your bike


Summer is gaining ground, and my workshop is filling up.

The most popular upgrade this summer has been tubeless tyres. Most manufacturers now offer road tubeless tyres in their range.

Here are a few pointers, if it’s an upgrade you’re considering.

The first thing to sort are your wheels: Newer wheels are tubeless ready or tubeless compatible. Check the manufacturers website, if you’re not sure.

It’s possible to convert standard wheels to tubeless, but it’s very difficult, and usually gives ongoing issues with air loss.

Once you have tubeless compatible wheels, you need to make sure they’ll work properly with the tyres. This is fundamental in getting your setup to work well.

There are no shortcuts here, you need to make sure the rim is spotlessly clean, particularly the hook of the rim, where the tyre sits.

Next, use a proper tubeless rim strip to seal the spoke holes.

There are ‘alternatives’ that people will recommend but only ever use the correct tubeless tape as it saves leaking issues further down the line.

Next up is the valve.

There are plenty of valves on the market. Some are shaped specifically for a specific rim – Mavic wheels are like this.

Again check with the manufacturer. Other than that, the best valves to get will have a cone shaped rubber seal at the base. These have proven to be the most reliable by far.

Finally the sealant. Most tubeless sealants are a latex based liquid. The latex hardens when it tries to escape through the hole in the tyre, sealing the tyre. Again, plenty of brands around, but always use a sealant that is compatible with road bikes. Again if in doubt, check the manufacturers website. And if you suffer from a latex allergy, there are also some latex-free sealants on the market.

With those steps completed you should be able to successfully mount your new tubeless tyres.

A tip for mounting them, is to run some washing up liquid between the tyre bead and the rim. This helps with the initial seal when inflating. And pay attention to the manufacturers recommended inflation pressures, as they are lower than normal.

Generally look to run at around 90psi, for maximum performance.

And there you have it. With tubeless tyres fitted, you now have what is probably the best performance increase available pound-for-pound.

As always, if you need any guidance. Or if you want me to take care of the dirty work for you, get in touch.


Dave’s Cycle Works: For Servicing, Repairs and Custom Builds

The Speed Shop, Anglo Business Park, Fishponds Road, Wokingham RG41 2AN



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