Time to go tubeless
I was kindly provided some Vittoria Cross XG Pro Tubeless Tyres to test out for the cross season.. I have used the same non tubeless tyres and also tubulars with the same tread pattern previously and found these tyres to be great in dry to intermediate conditions.
I had one slight problem, I didn’t own a set of specific tubeless road wheels so the purpose of this guide is to show you how I made my non tubeless wheels become tubeless.
The below is not the manufacturers correct way of running tubeless tyres and is in fact a Ghetto (cheaper alternative) to run tubeless tyres on standard equipment. There are other methods of ghetto tubeless you can find on the internet but I am going to show you my method.
The first thing you need to do is make sure you have all the correct component parts:
- Vittoria Cross XG Pro Tyres (Can use non tubeless specific tyres with when using sealant)
- Set of wheels (I was using some top secret prototype wheels)
- Stans No Tubes Tubeless Rim Tape (Can use insulation tape)
- Tubeless Valves (Can use valves cut off an old inner tube)
- Stans No Tubes Tyre Sealant (Optional but recommended)
Clean the inside of the rim to ensure the Tubeless Rim Tape will adhere to the rim and then carefully run the tape centrally around the rim ensuring all spoke holes and valve hole are covered. I would recommend using two layers.
Pierce a small hole with a thin sharp instrument (I used a pick) in the centre of the valve hole. Push the Tubeless Valve through the hole (this should be a tight fit), place rubber seal over the tread and then tighten with the securing fastener.
Push the Tubeless Valve through the hole
Place the rubber seal over the tread and then tighten with the securing fastener
Once you are happy the rim is airtight and the valve is installed correctly with minimal chance of an air leak it’s time to fit the tyre. These Vittoria tyres are directional so ensure they are fitted the correct way around and only install one side of the bead. At this point you can then add the sealant if you wish (recommend) or you can add at a later time through the valve (not so easy). Then fit the tyre completely by installing the other tyre bead.
Once you are happy the rim is airtight and the valve is installed correctly it’s time to fit the tyre
Now it’s time to pump like mad and cross your fingers. Inflating the tyre can be quite tricky and other times very easy, you can use an airline or CO2 inflators to blast air in to the tyre quickly so that both tyre beads seal against the rim. You can use some soapy water around the beads of the tyre to help them slip in to position better. Once the tyre is inflated to quite a high pressure give the tyre a quick spin so the sealant inside can seal any small air leaks. When you are happy the tyre is airtight you can let down the tyre down to your desired pressure.
When you are happy the tyre is airtight you can let down the tyre down to your desired pressure.
The main advantages for running tubeless especially for cross is that you can run lower pressures without the worry of pinching a tube can sometimes be lighter and offer lower rotational weight. I have used this system for multiple races and training sessions and they have been great. The tyres offer exceptional grip and roll really well on harder surfaces, you will need to check your pressure before each ride to make sure some of the air has not escaped.
If you have tubeless wheels already and use tubeless tyres this process does not need to be followed and should be a far simpler process.
GCN also have a good video on Ghetto Tubeless