Ghetto Tubeless tyres
You will need…
• 20” Tube
• Valve Remover (if possible)
• Compressor / track pump
• Stanley knife or similar
• Washing up liquid and brush
• Gaffa Tape or leccy tape
• Tyre Levers
1. If you have normal rim tape just leave it on and put one layer of gaffer tape round the rim and trim it down. If you have no rim tape put two layers of gaffer tape round the rim. Cut through the valve hole in a cross fashion with a sharp knife. Leave the trimmings as these will help keep the tube valve in place. You can trim later if required.
2. Attach the 20” tube to the pump and put a small amount of air in. Enough to get it slightly hard or semi hard, I only put a few strokes in when pumping. This makes it easier to stretch it round the rim. Insert the valve through the valve hole, if it’s too tight try a little lube to ease it through. If still too tight remove a little of the tape material from around the hole. With the valve firmly inserted through the hole, stretch the tube around the rim so it sits in the rim channel. Try and make sure its an even tightness all the way round and make sure the tube is sitting as straight as possible. It helps if the tube has a seam you can follow to check.
3. Now we have to split the tube. Hold the wheel steady with your legs while it rests standing on the ground. Pinch the middle of tube and nick through the centre of the top layer of the tube with your knife. What we are trying to do is split it in half longways around the diameter of the rim. Slip the knife into the nick with the blade pointing away from you but sharp side up. Pull the tube slightly with one hand (to tension the now deflated tube) while pulling up and pushing away with the knife. You should be to run all the way round the wheel keeping the cut in the centre of the tube. Once you have made the cut all the way round, fold the edges of the cut tube out and over the edges of the rim so that the centre of the rim is only covered by the bottom layer of the tube. Don’t worry about the excess tube material it will be trimmed off at the end. The tube will have talc showing on it now so take a damp cloth and rub round the surface of the tube to clear it.
4. This is part is optional and more of a suggestion but I like to take a brush with some sealant and brush sealant round the tubed area as I’ve found this can help seal the tyre on some occasions.
5. All easy so far, so now lets fit the tyre to the rim. Make sure one side of the tyre is on correctly but leave one side loose at this point. Because of the “rim strip” we have added it will be a little bit tight so be careful not to nick the “rim strip” with your tyre levers. Once one side is on try and pull the bulk of the tyre sideways away from the rim and push the tyre bead into the rim bead lip with the tyre lever. Again this should help the tyre seal.
6. If possible hang the tyre up at this point with the side of tyre still to be fitted facing towards you and the valve roughly half way up the side of the wheel (We do this with the valve as its always harder to get the tyre on with the “rim strip” if the valve is at the top. This is due to the tube being thicker around the valve area). Pour the sealant into the lowest point of the tyre and start fitting this side of the tyre bottom up. Finish fitting at the top.
7. Inflation. Now I’ve used ust, tyres but mostly dealt with normal tyres. Ust generally go up with a track pump, but using normal tyres things can only go two ways. Its either going to be super easy or an absolute Nightmare ending with everything covered in white sticky fluid and a lot of swearing. I’ll be honest here and say this will be substantially easier with a compressor, real or homemade. Some tyres may go up with the track pump but most won’t, its just your luck really. To maximise the chance of it going up first time here are some pointers. Remove the valve core to maximise air flow. Stand with the wheel between your legs and work your way round the wheel pulling each side of tyre outwards out of the rim channel and hopefully close to the bead. Spin the wheel at a moderate pace to get a coating of sealant around the inside of the tyre, but not on yourself. Hold the wheel with the valve at the top while inflating and push gently on the tyre around where the valve is. Still no joy? Add a little bit of water to neat washing up liquid and brush round both sides of the rim tyre interface. Don’t scrimp on the liquid and really lash it on. Try again. If that ain’t working question your tyre. Is it old? Old tyres tend to get baggy and loose and may just not be up to the task.
8. Once you have got it up, pump it up to about 50psi to really set the bead and replace the valve core. Try and do this without letting all the air out the tyre. You should hear some pinging and popping as the tyre seats itself. Spin the tyre to get a good coating of sealant around and then listen for leaks.
9. If there are any leaks hold the wheel so that the leak is at the bottom and shoogle the wheel up and down to coat the area of the leak with sealant. If you cant find a leak, get your brush and remaining washing up liquid and brush round the tyre and rim, the leak should soon appear by making some pretty bubbles. Repeat the wheel shoogling process, give it a wee bit and if still leaking repeat the process until sealed. If the tyre is sealed check the tyre pressure and go make a cup of tea, or for the more adventurous, have a cheeky beer. If it’s the same when you get back – result! if not put the wheel on the bike and go have a ride round the road at the front of the house, jump off some kerbs and stuff, this should aid the sealing of the tyre.
10. Now bizarrely my favourite bit. The trimming of the excess tube! I love this bit. It’s really satisfying when you get a whole side off in a oner. Anyway, put the wheel back on the bike and place the bike upside down. Now put a vertical nick in the excess tube from the tyre to the end of the rubber so the circle of excess tube now effectively has two ends. Stand parallel with the bike. In a similar manner to when you split the tube at the start, gently pull the end of excess tube facing towards you. At the same time have the flat side of your knive’s blade held against the tyre close to the rim with the sharp face pointing towards the bit of tube you are pulling. You will find that the wheel starts to move towards you and the knife starts cutting through the rubber. Keep pulling the rubber while holding the knife in the same place. If you’ve got skillz you will find you can cut off the excess all the way round without having to make another cut. Do the other side and that’s you all ghetto tubelessed up, with somewhere to go.
11. Wave goodbye to punctures and snakebites, smash through some rock gardens and ride over some thorns!