Henry’s Tubeless Tyre Hacks | Mountain Bike Set Up Tips

Henry’s Tubeless Tyre Hacks | Mountain Bike Set Up Tips


– This week, we are going to be focusing on our tubeless tires. Hopefully we’ll have
something in here for everyone and we’re going to go through
a basic step-by-step install and sneak in a few clever
little hacks along the way. This is tubeless tire setup. (calm music) Tubeless tires have been
around for a fair while now and lots of bikes even
come tubeless ready. Now this to me is
slightly counterintuitive as often tubeless ready bikes
still come with tubes in. But maybe it’s just the
tires that are ready to go or sometimes they even
include valves and sealants. So what we’re going to do today
is go right back to basics. We’re going to talk about
the preparation of the rim, getting the tape on there,
installing the tire, the all-important logo placement, and things you can add to your sealant to concoct a potion
that’s going to keep air in your tires for longer. With those tubeless ready setups, sometimes they don’t even
include the tape ready to go. Now your rim is 1/2 of your interface and making sure the tape
is stuck down securely is absolutely vital. So for this, we’re going to need to make sure this is really clean. So taking this old tape off, everything is going to be
wiped down with some alcohol, make sure it’s absolutely bone-dry before we even think about
bringing some tape onto the rim. If it’s not dry, it’s not
really going to stick down. It’s just going to be a waste
of your time, effort, and money. So for that I’m going to use some like, this is called fast drying contact cleaner which is basically isopropyl alcohol. And be really careful to take
up any residue, any clumps, and not leave any tape
on there whatsoever. If you’ve got a matte rim, often, you know, you can find your tape even though it is clean and it is dry, the tape doesn’t really want to stick. For that reason, I often
actually just go around with a row of electrical tape in the well for the first time around. This isn’t really anything to
do with sealing or diameter but rather it would be amazed at how well the tubeless
tape will stick to that. So I’ve put my wheel
here in a truing stand. You obviously don’t need to do this. You can do it in your frame, perhaps upside down or in a work stand. And I’m going to apply electrical tape in one loop round to help it stick. Now whilst I’m talking
about tape not sticking, some of you are probably
screaming at your screens, “Henry, just use gaffer tape. “It’s way better, it’s super sticky, “et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.” And you know, it’s your
bike, do what you want. It doesn’t seal quite effectively. The issue with gaffer
tape or Gorilla Tape is when you want to either
replace a spoke or swap a rim, it’s the mesh, it can really
kind of cause problems if you want to take
all the gaffer tape off to actually put potentially
a more reliable sealing tape on there, it does leave that
grid in a really hard residue. So I’m just putting that tape down and making sure to, so it
sits just in the well there. This is actually going
to give our tubeless tape an enormous amount of purchase and really help it tailor
fit the shape of the well, the profile of the well. Now this is half of the
interface along with the tire and the better we prepare this, the more secure and reliable
the tubeless setup will be. Now it’s time to put our tubeless tape on. So the rim is quite important. You want to make sure
that it’s wide enough to cover the well and where
you start is up to you. Personally I find my valve hole and I go 1/4 of a wheel
back to about there and then I’m going to loop
one full rotation and a half to end up past the valve hole. This just means that it
is double covered here, which I think sometimes
does help get a better seal for the valve really. There we go. Now we want to do something
like a little shimmy here, just side to side to make sure it gets right down into that well. We’re just going to smooth afterwards. You don’t want to get any
air trapped under here and that’s really important. Think about it like a
laminating a sheet of paper. You don’t want those big
patches because if they burst, then you know, your whole tubeless system goes out the window pretty much. So a little shimmy from side to side. Some people, to get a tighter fit to the bead of their
tire, put lots of tape on. I would say we get a
nice fit with our tape and then if in the future
you want to go around with some electrical tape
or something like that to increase that diameter, which makes it tighter
to the fit of the tire, then you have got the option to do that. When you look kind of over
the horizon of your wheel, you should be able to see
that profile perfectly. If you know that your
rim has quite deep well and it’s gone flat, you
haven’t done it correctly, I’m afraid to say. And yeah, that electrical tape
really does come in handy. Yes, that’s one full rotation. So we’re going to go all the way around till we get to the other side there, so we’re going to have another half turn. Because this tape is really sticking. Like a lot of tapes or
hardware tapes or whatever, the glue will firm over time. This isn’t as thick as it will get. Once it’s been out to set, it’ll be really, really good seal. Of course my valve is just there. So after starting here,
gone 1 1/2 times around. Now before we install the tire, I’m actually going to
visually inspect this to make sure that I’m satisfied with it. There’s some times, I
could put the tire on now, but if there’s something
that’s obviously off and without checking, I wouldn’t find out until I’ve got the tire on, till I’ve put the sealant in,
till I’ve got it on the bead, and you basically just
whittle away the best years of your life messing around
with tubeless systems. So we’re going to look properly. So that means we’re going
to run our thumb around to make sure it’s sitting
in the well like so. We’re going to visually inspect it, make sure there are no bits
that look particularly off, be that whether it’s
coming across the well or something like that or big air bubbles. But that looks absolutely bang on. Okay, so now moment of truth. We’re going to decide on the
exact spot our valve sits. And this is really important because we don’t want to be
ever getting it misaligned and putting the hole in the wrong place. Similarly, we don’t want to be
tearing up or down this tape. So we’re going to get a
sharp pick, one such as this. You could even use, you know, a kitchen utensil or something like that. And we’re going to
actually go from this side to purely, what we want to
do is want to find the center of that valve hole which is there. Now this is really important. We are not puncturing the tape here, because what’s that going to do
is it’s going to lift the tape off the well of the rim and
undo the hard work we went to to ensure there was no
air trapped underneath. So we’re just going to
use that as an indication. I can see where it was there. Going to come back round through. Job’s a good one. Now you want to make sure
that hole isn’t so big that it’s larger than the
diameter of your valve. So whatever pick you choose to use, it just needs to be smaller in diameter so when this comes in and
the seal presses on there, it hasn’t got any too big of
boots to fill, so to speak. So I’m going to put that to one side. Now in the past, I have
sometimes dunked these in sealant before. Sometimes I’d put a square
of gaffer tape over there just to really get a tight tolerance fit. I honestly, I think valves
have got a lot better. I think sealants that we get in the mountain biking
industry has got a bit better and I don’t really feel
that it’s needed anymore. But certainly giving these a quick dunk or even, but yeah, putting
a square of tape over there, I think it can help a bit. But I’m not going to do it today ’cause I don’t think you really need to. And then with the valve core still in, because that’s going to
give us a nice sort of wedge to drive that hole to
a slightly bigger size, we’re going to go through. So easy does it. There we go. You can see it’s going to
make that hole slightly bigger as it goes through. Want to get that pressed nice and firm in. If you’re using asymmetric
rims such as these, they often come with a little thing for the valve not to press against and that’s really important. I’d also say on your carbon rims, often they do come with that. It just keeps them nicer for longer. Hopefully you won’t have to
be cranking this too tight but I would say in my experience, I normally do go above finger tight. And that’s really
important because we want to make sure that that
seal there is really tight. What it’s actually going to do
is it’s going to pull that in until that larger
diameter part of the seal really is pressed up firmly
against that valve hole. I’ll actually use the little kind of butt of an 8 mil allen key just to
gently tap it through there. I’m not applying a
significant amount of force but rather just getting enough slack to tighten that nut appropriately. Similarly, you can press just
there and tighten the nut and get it to a kind of an
appropriate level of torque. I will often, to be honest with you, just get a set of pliers
and just double-check it. I’m not saying you want
to be swinging off it, I’m not saying you want to be. If you’re scarring that nut quite heavily, then you’re going too hard basically. But certainly just
making sure it’s torqued, making sure that whole
system is pulled together. It’s actually a bit of tension
going through that seal, then that sounds about bang on to me. Now we’re going to talk
about the highly contentious and divisive issue of where
you place your tire logo. Now some people, and to be
honest they’re probably correct, will say “Henry, it doesn’t matter.” But I would fight them to the death on the assertion that it does. So when we used to do bike checks, when you’re working at
races on, say, team bikes, the way we’d always
take the photos would be the valve would be at six o’clock, which means you want the branding, the manufacturer’s
branding at twelve o’clock. Some people think you should
have like say the Maxis or Continental written by the valve, but to me it never quite looks right. So what I would do is
have the branding here. And you want to go opposite to the valve and then count out your spokes. So say, Continental,
line up with that spoke and that spoke on the outer edges and you’re going to get
a really centered look. It can be quite useful,
especially if you slash a tire and you’re then looking on the inside. You can immediately work out from just where your logos are placed where you need to kind
of start your search. Also a way you can help
yourselves again is whenever you’re looking at a wheel, it’s a really good habit to get into, always just put the disc, the brake side, on the left-hand side. Because the one time you
hold it the other way, I promise you you’ll
install the tire wrong, especially if you’re
thinking about CushCore or any other kind of insert. It’s an absolute nightmare. What we’d often do in racing
is we put an insert in there, which we’d set up just normally tubeless. We’d put a bit of tape going to the edge and would actually just spot superglue. That would mean even if you punctured, you’d always finish the run. The team I was working for, Alex Fayoll actually won in Lords that year, but when he punctured in qualifying but still got to the bottom of his run because he had the tire glued to the rim. So now we’re going to
start installing the tire. So got my branding at the top. The tire is facing in
the direction of travel and I’m holding my wheel
at the correct orientation. So I’m going to bring
it up straight in there. What we’re going to do is once our wheel is nicely centered in, we’re actually going to install
the non-drive side first, so the braking side first. Just in case you’ve got
any residual sealant hanging about in the tire, it’s not going to cause any problems. So real simple, whenever
you’re installing a tire, you want to start opposite the valve because then you can pull
the bead deep into the well if you need to and it
will help you get it on with a minimal fuss. Then we’re just going to check. So that’s exactly opposite my valve, so I’m just going to
shimmy that around a bit. Got that Continental really evenly spaced from those two spokes there
at the edge of the branding. So turning it round, we’re going to then
opposite the valve again. Pull that down into the bead. And kind of make yourself a little work, stand out over your hips. Now you could at this
point pop it straight on, which is completely fine, and then bead the tire
and take the valve out and inject this in through that way, but we’re going to add something. We’re going to go a little bit off menu when what we put in the sealant and I’m hopefully going
to introduce some stuff that’s going to help
clog up any large holes. But it goes both ways and sadly that stuff
would have real difficulty fitting through the valve. So we’re going to add
our sealant like normal and then we’re going to add
something a little special. So I’ve added some sealant. Now with all your sealants,
it’s really, really important to give ’em a good shake beforehand. You don’t want to just leave
all the kind of thicker bits for a later date and pretty much just get watered-down goodness at the top. So give it a good shake before you do. And now we’re going to talk about the little added bits you can do. So a really good one is actually just black pepper ground up. This is going to help clog bits and it actually is ingredient
in some kind of major brands of tire sealant. It’s relatively cheap, it’s organic, it’s an organic matter, it’s
not going to kind of, you know, do damage to anything really. So that’s very, very good and that’s what we’re
going to go for today. If you wanted to really push the boat out, you get (laughs) you carefully
borrow a cheese grater from the kitchen with the
promise of bringing it back. And this one’s a bit controversial. What you can do is you
can grate packaging, that kind of polystyrene stuff, which is awesome for plugging up tires. It does it better than pretty much anything
else I’ve ever used. However, it is probably not
the best environmentally so if you’re going to do that, maybe just use it for something
like really important race and be really careful to
dispose it properly afterwards and you don’t want it kind of getting out into mother nature’s playground. So we’re just going to stick
with the black pepper today. And very simply, we’re just
going to crack some pepper. More pepper, monsieur? (slow music) So those kind of pepper
particles are being suspended by the fluid we already have in there and hopefully they will save our day without us even realizing it. So now we’re going to
start opposite the valve and just get the tire seated. Now something people
often struggle with is this can turn into a messy job. So what we’re going to do is
actually going to rotate it around and let it just slide to the bottom. That gives us pretty much free rein here to go pop it on. Now once that sealant is in there, sometimes people really
struggle with the last bit. But once it’s in there, you can have the tire
pretty much like that even if it’s not closed on this side and you don’t really get messy. If you’ve got a really difficult tire, it can really, really, really, really help to put it over a bin, obviously making sure that
this isn’t contacting anything and you can put your full weight into it and purge it all through. So now it is time to try and
get some air in our tire. If this is being difficult, you can happily remove
the valve core here, which is going to basically
let a higher volume of air flow quicker into the
outer tire and get it going. But I think we’ll probably be okay. We’re just going to give it an
absolute beans with a track pump which is basically the
only upper body exercise that us cyclists get is
trying to fit tubeless tires. (calm music) Now a bit you can do if you
are really, really struggling, you’ve added the soapy water, it’s running at god knows what psi, and it’s still not going onto the bead, is if you go to the hinge of a door, so where it’s opening up just
at the kind of the frame side, you can put your tire in it and pulling the handle back towards you, the back of the door will clamp it between the frame and then
you can just pop it on. It is a bit of a budge and you certainly want the person whose house it is permission, but it does do a very good job. So now we’ve been running
tubeless for a while, life is good, punctures
are a thing of the past. However, you want to check
how much sealant is in there. Personally, I’m someone that
I just pop off the bead. It just doesn’t seem like
that much of an issue. But what a lot of people
talk about in the comments and it’s actually a pretty good trick is removing the valve and
using a very small cable tie, you can use it like a dipstick in there. Yeah, which seems like a
pretty good idea to me. The amount of sealant you’ve
run does have an adverse effect on how well your bike will roll. Roadies have done loads
of studies on this. Obviously rolling resistance is somewhat of an obsession for them but perhaps we don’t care
so much in mountain biking. So you don’t want to go
overzealous on sealant but personally how fast my bike rolls and the thought of being
stuck by the side of the trail in the rain, well, weighing
up one or the other, I probably go a bit more
generous on the sealant, especially with tubeless systems. If you kind of sometimes
hit turns a bit too hard or come into compressions quite firm, you can burp sealant out and
that means if that happens, you still got enough in the
rim to continue the ride. Now if this was good and you thought well, Henry, I actually learned something today. Well then, you can always
check out a thing I did a couple of weeks ago about
silencing cable rattle. Hopefully that will also
satisfy the nerdy impulses inside of you to keep your bike silent. If you also want to carry
on that theme of tech, why not have a look at
Blake Samson’s hardtail from the Megavalanche with Doddy It’s an awesome watch and he talks a lot about the rigors and the
demands of tires and wheels and what they go through
in a race like the Mega, especially when you’re doing it on a hardtail. But yeah, thank you very
much for staying with me. I hope I’ve been of some help. Don’t forget to like and subscribe. And as always, thank you
very much for watching.