Converting spoke wheels to tubeless



32 thoughts on “Converting spoke wheels to tubeless

  1. Richard

    Have you guys looked at home a tubeless tire is fitted on a bicycle rim? It might sound crazy but it can be done with duct tape. And a 30mm bicycle tire needs to be inflated to 5 or 6 bar. Anybody brave enough to try it on a motorcycle rim?


    Hey, I know this is an old thread, but I noticed that when you are showing the bart tubless system there are several pics there and one has a tag on it that says “no safety lip, don’t run below a certain pressure” I assume that they had no quams with sealing non safety lipped wheels??

  3. tobern

    Has anybody tried to mix a Tubliss and an Outex system together ?
    I have put a tubliss on a 701 enduro. Working well, but deflates slowly in a week or two.
    Is it technically possible to put both together ?

    1. Chris S Post author

      Have you established if it is leaking from the tyre bead at the rim or through the spokes?
      You could pump Slime or similar and see where it oozes out. Slime might even just fix the leak anyway.
      If it’s the latter then Outex ought to do it although you have two holes to seal it round.

      1. tobern

        It seems that it is the tubliss which are both leaking, coming from 7.2 bars to 4 bars after several days. Then probably causing leak by the spokes.
        It is for a long ride trip project with 30000 kms, so with many tire changes. I do not think slime would be a good idea.

  4. rob pinter

    I have done the windscreen sealant conversion on my XT660Z Tenere on the rear rim as it has the safety bead no issues, with the front I did the same and had a tyre rapidly deflate on the road, not nice crashing. Fitting an ultra heavy duty tube to the front reduces the risk of punctures and if you do get a puncture I have noticed that you can ride on it flat, as it feels like a run flat tyre because of the thickness of the UHD tube.
    I will be doing the rear rim sealant conversion on my new Triumph Tiger 800 as it too has the safety bead, but not on the front 21″ rim, a UHD tube will go in there.

    1. Chris S Post author

      Thanks for the update. Sorry to hear you crashed.
      Any idea why it deflated suddenly?
      There has long been an issue with sealing 21″s which rarely have that vital safety bead.
      I assume that’s the crux but not certain. I imagine a Tubliss liner would be more reliable.
      Mine on the same bike. self-sealed was more of a slow deflation. Maybe some tyre/rim combos work better than others.
      It’s one reason I lately favour 19-inch rims. They often come as cast T/L wheels which are good enough for the sort of dirt riding I mostly do.

      1. rob pinter

        I had been running the windscreen sealant on the front with no issues, changing tyres over from on road to off road types as needed so I think that when I refitted the off road tyre for a trip perhaps the bead may have been damaged and did not seal properly when on the highway. However; I was applying a tyre bead sealer to the rim to technically glue the bead to the rim because I knew that the front rim does not have a safety bead.
        Perhaps the instant deflation was just a combination of using a previously fitted tyre and bad luck. Would I convert the front rim of the new Tiger 800, no because you just never know a UHD tube would be better, I will convert the rear rim yes as replacing the tube in the rear wheel is more difficult because of the safety bead.

  5. Paul Johnston

    Further to the bicycle comment, I use ordinary duct tape (big choice of width) on my mountain bike rims (~32mm internal width) at 16-20 psi with no problems. My children’s MTBs occasionally leak sealant (Stan’s No Tubes) at very low pressures, say 10psi when hitting rocks or landing bigger drops. Yet to have a flat with tubeless – previously I’d have 3 or 4 flats per outing, usually the kids not lifting the back wheel over sharp edges and getting ‘snake bite’ pinch flats.
    I absolutely agree with the point that the whole thing is much easier with tyres and rims designed to run tubeless, especially tyres.

  6. Brad Sanders

    I wonder what sort of pump could be hauled along to keep a Tubliss inner tube up to 100 psi? I use the tubliss on my singletrack bike and it works great,harder to dent rims at low psi due to the 100 psi inner tube keeping the tire jammed onto the rim tightly. I use a full size bicycle pump at home every time I air up the small tube.


    1. Rupert Granville

      Hi there, I’ve become a fan of Tubliss. Have used them on pretty much all surfaces with no problems at all. I’ve a couple of small bicycle pumps that copes well with the 100-110psi necessary for the inner tube. Harder to find a TPG that runs up to 110psi. So much easier to use plugs than to carry and install spare tubes. Really simple to deflate and re-inflate when required. One word of caution; be careful with the tire irons pinching the liner when changing tires…

  7. bert zwart

    Hi Chris,
    Interesting stuff going on here.

    Regarding the diy method: could it be that the 3M stuff wasn’t working because you cleaned the rim with petrol? Afaik petrol leaves a residue.

    Pls. keep on investigating, I really like it.

    Cheers from the Low Countries,

    1. Chris S Post author

      Thanks Bert. Actually I would have used lighter fluid (since corrected above) or even MEK which I have in the kitchen. The problem was leakage from the tyre-rim surface on the front (non tubeless) rim. Tubeless rims really are the key.

  8. Glenn

    Since you have now had the opportunity to further test the BARTubless system from Italy, what is your current opinion on this system since your ride in Morocco?

    1. Chris S Post author

      Hi Glenn, as I added to the 500X Morocco report, it worked fine out there so I forgot to keep tabs on pressures. When I got the bike services about 2 months later the shop reported the tyres were low – didn’t say exactly, maybe down to 15-20 psi. Obviously not enough for me to notice (the rear GT was very stiff).
      With BARTubeless there is the slight problem in loss of well depth which can make hand mounting tyres difficult, but if the service was available in the UK I think I’d still use it for my next bike, if for no other reason that the DIY alternative (wire brushing, cleaning, wiping drying then sealing each spoke nipple hole, then sealing overall) would take a day – and in my case probably be less neat.
      I doubt very much the BART’d tyres leaked through the polymer. More probably from the tyre seal which may be attributable to non-tubeless rim design.


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  10. Simon

    Hi Chris,

    I ordered a set of Avon Trailriders for my XT660 Tenere and realised that they are tubeless. I’ve treated them as tubed and fitted them (including the tubes). Have I made a costly/dangerous mistake in your opinion? The tyres were not particularly awkward compared to tubed tyres and they sit on the rim nicely.


    1. Chris S Post author

      IMO, just an ordering mistake and easily done. Others may know better but I believe the only difference will be a coating or finish to the inside surface of the tubeless tyre to make it even more airtight. Running a tube type on a tubeless rim would be less good – but only because air might be slowly lost through the carcass.


      1. Simon

        Thanks Chris. I did sprinkle some talc around the inside of the tyre to prevent any chaffing with the tube. Took a lot of pressure to get them to seat.
        I need to get both wheels balanced and will then be keen to try them out.

  11. Richard Fletcher

    There is a current trend toward tubeless tyres for bicycles, and similarly the “tubeless ready” rims have a different internal profile to normal rims, and the tyres are slightly different at the bead too. However with the bicycle rim all rims (except those made specifically for stuck-on tubulars) have spoke holes in the well. To make them suitable for tubeless use (be they officially “tubeless ready” or just a standard spoked rim originally intended for use with a tube), the spoke holes are sealed – but with two or three wraps of impervious tape. There are special versions available – “Stans Tubeless” tape being one such, but reinforced packing tape is a popular alternative low cost solution (and better suited to motorcyle applications as it comes in greater width to match the well width.). The tape is used in place of any type of flexible silicon sealer. After fitting the tyre a small amount of liquid sealant (similar to slime I guess) is introduced via the valve (core out). This helps seal the tyre bead to the rim, plug any small gaps between sealing tape and rim, the valve and the rim, and of course seal punctures “on the go”, that being the point of tubeless bicycle tyres. The main point of the post is to point out the use of tape to seal the rims as opposed to flexible sealant. Bicycle tyres typically run at >5 bar in tubeless configuration so at more than double the pressure of a motorcycle tyre. I’m wondering, therefore, whether taping a rim (in combination with slime-type sealant for many minor leaks and on-the-go repairs) would be a viable alternative – or if there are other factors that would make it undesirable? I’ve nothing to experiment on myself, but if others are feeling brave…. :-)

    1. Chris S Post author

      Never knew- or thought of the tape idea. I would imaging the Slime might get under it and unstick it. I see Stans only comes in 1 inch wide only but I wonder if Tyvek (used to repair packrafts so clearly airtight) would work. That comes in 50mm.
      Right now I am getting a pair of Excels for my CB-X which have been ‘professionally sealed’ by some place in Italy. Remains to be seen what that is, but I assume it’s what I did, but better – or maybe a heat shrunk tape band? Will know in a few weeks.

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  14. Mark W

    Did you ever try again with the 21″ homebrew tubeless setup? I have done the conversion to supermoto wheels with great success (though they have safety lip) and planned to do the same to my 1.85″ wide DID 21″ rim, thinking with a TPMS setup I would be covered… but the tire burping air on a big hit is a real concern. Would be nice to know if you had full pressure (at least 25psi) when you had the telltale slime escape, or if it had leaked down and that is why it burped.

    1. Chris S Post author

      Hi Mark, not had a 21 since the Tenere as I am a bit of a do-it-all 19″ convert at the moment, though a mate is running a home made set up on his TTR for a year or two and has had no probs (may have safety lip).
      I run road pressures on regular desert tracks to limit burping and tube flats. Or I was supposed to. My conclusion was the lack of a safety lip on the front enabled burping, but that was not helped by me failing to monitor tyre pressures on the new set up so the low-psi tyre burped more readily until it damaged the rim on that Col. Next time I will try whatever my TTR mate has done.

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