Words: Joe Dodd    Images: Chris Herron

Rim tape is one of the most important parts of your tubeless setup. Always make sure that the rim tape is stretched tightly across the rim and stuck down. If you’re having trouble sticking the tape down, clean the rim with some cleaning alcohol. 

It is also important to have the correct width. You don’t want it too narrow, so it doesn’t cover the spoke holes, or too wide so it overhangs the side of the rim where the bead should fit once it is taped. If you have a tubeless setup on a non-tubeless rim, you may need to use thicker tape to build up the rim bed in order to get the tyre to bead easily.

Next step is the valves. Some have round ends, some are square or rectangular. If you have a square or rectangular one, always make sure they are sat in the correct orientation and fit along the rim bed profile. Make sure they are done up nice and tight, using your fingers only. Most valves have an O-ring under the locking nut; make sure that’s there too.

Incorrect

 

Correct

It’s always best to put tyres on without tyre levers, but some rim/tyre combinations can be really tight. If this is the case, it is OK to use a lever, just be extra careful to not damage the rim tape.

If you don’t own a compressor at home, it is always a good idea to give the setup a dry run without sealant inside. A little bit of sudsy water in a spray bottle will help the tyre get beaded. Once you know the tyre will go up OK, you can either unbead a section of the tyre and pour the sealant in, or you can remove the valve core and squirt it through there. 

I would never over inflate a tyre to get it beaded. You should never have to go over 40psi to get it to seat. Some rims have lower pressure ratings than that, so always double-check what the limits of the whole system are. 

Once you have the tyre inflated with sealant inside, you might still have a few tiny leaks. The sudsy water you sprayed on earlier should show these. I will always give the wheel a good spin and shake the sealant around to seal any small holes.

Things to look out for if your setup is going down

* Have you topped up sealant recently? It does dry out. Check it every 2-3 months.

* Is you valve lock ring tight?

* Is your valve core tight?

* How old is your rim tape? It might be time to check it isn’t damaged or lifting.

* Maybe it's time for a new tyre?