Setting Up Fatbike Wheels Tubeless

Switching to tubeless on fatbike wheels not only saves a huge amount of weight, about a pound per tube, but also allows lower pressures to be used for better traction.  Running lower pressures with tubes can run the risk of pinch flats but when set up tubeless this is not a worry anymore.  The process for converting to tubeless is relatively easy with the use of a compressor.  This post will walk you through the steps using tubeless ready wheels and tires.  Items needed are tubeless rim tape, tubeless presta valves, valve core tool and tubeless sealant.

This conversion was done on 27.5" Sunringlé Mulefüt 80SL wheels.  Once the tires and tubes are removed from both wheels it is time to tape them up.  For this I used Sunringlé Tubeless Ready Tape.  This tape is 78mm wide and covers all the way to both bead channels.  These wheels already had the nylon rim strip in place so the tape can be applied directly over it.  Start by applying the tape opposite the valve hole using tension and making sure the tape is centered.  Overlap the the rim tape 6-8 inches and cut from roll.

When both wheels are taped up use your hand to apply pressure to the tape and work your way around the wheel to make it stick better and to push the tape into the rim bead.  Now it's time to install the tubeless ready valves.  Locate the valve hole on the wheel and put a hole the size of the valve stem into the tape from the tire side.  Remove the valve cap and nut and push through the valve hole.  Thread the valve nut onto the stem by hand until finger tight.

Now it's time to put on the tires.  Make sure both the tire and wheel logos line up for a pro look as pictured above.

To make setting the tire bead a little easier I like to use my hands and work my way around the tire to pull the bead into or as close to the bead channel to minimize air escape when using a compressor.  Most fatbike tires have a directional tread, make sure you have them mounted correctly so the direction arrow is pointing to the left on the rotor side as pictured above.

Setting the bead of the tire is easy with the use of a compressor and a Park Tool Valve Core Tool.

Remove the valve core and set aside.  Using a blow gun attachment with a tapered tip fill the tire through the valve stem until the tire begins to inflate and you hear the satisfying sound of the bead popping into place around the tire.  Use your finger to cover the the valve stem to keep air from escaping and quickly reinsert and tighten the valve core.  Check both sides of the tire along the bead to make sure it is seated properly. 

Now that the bead is set, remove the valve core once again and let the air out of the tire.  The sealant can now be put into the tire through the valve stem.  For this conversion I used 4 oz. of Orange Seal Endurance Tubeless Sealant in each tire.  Reinsert and tighten the valve core and now you're ready to inflate the tire.

Using a floor pump or compressor with a presta valve chuck, inflate the tire close to the max psi labeled on the tire.  Rotate and shake the wheel to ensure the sealant coats every inch of the inside.  Listen for leaks and work the sealant to those areas so it can plug them up.  Let the wheels set for 24 hours to see if they hold pressure and during this period you can occasionally rotate the tires to redistribute the sealant.  Now you can pressure down the tires to your desired psi and install on the bike.  If you have multiple wheelsets set up tubeless or don't ride for a while it is a good idea to spin or rotate the wheels once a week to keep the sealant fluid and coating the inside of the tire.

Note: Not all Tubeless Ready wheels and tire combinations set up as easy as in this post.  My experience with Bontrager tires, Bontrager/Sunringlé wheels is that they match very well together and make set up a breeze.  Your experience may differ, set up at your own risk.


Twin Cities Fourth of July Bike Rides

Fourth of July is right around the corner and if you want to celebrate Independence Day in the saddle there are a few longstanding rides that have become tradition for many cyclists year after year.  Continue an old 4th of July cycling tradition or start a new one riding your bike with friends or fellow Twin Cities cyclists.

Freedom From Pants Ride XI
Image credit: Garrick Yoong

Celebrate the Fourth without the constraints of pants on this eleventh annual underwear ride through the streets of Minneapolis.  Meet up takes place in the vacant lot near the White Castle in NE Minneapolis at 6:00 pm.  Roll out begins at 7:00 pm.  Visit the Freedom From Pants Ride XI Facebook event page for more details, to join or share with friends.

Great Scott 50 Classic Bike Ride
Image credit: Great Scott 50

The Great Scott 50 Classic Bike Ride is a Prior Lake Fourth of July tradition going into its 30th year.  Take a 25 or 50 mile ride through the rolling hills of Scott County.  The 25 mile short course is geared more towards recreational riders and has one rest stop along the way.  The 50 mile long course is what the ride is named for and will have three rest stops.  Mechanical support and SAG provided by Michael's Cycles.  The 50 mile ride leaves Lakefront Park in Prior Lake at 8:00 am and the 25 mile ride at 9:00 am.  There will be lunch provided after the ride.  Register online through Zapevent.com, download the ride brochure and register by mail or register on-site the day of the ride beginning at 7:15 am at Lakefront Park.

Tour D'Amico

The Hiawatha Bicycling Club will be hosting the 18th Annual Tour D'Amico with three scenic routes to choose from complete with hydration stations and rest stops at D'Amico & Sons restaurants along the way.  These full SAG supported rides include a 29 mile tour that is suitable for all riders, a 45 mile tour and a metric century tour (62.2 miles) for intermediate and endurance riders.  Visit the Tour D'Amico About the Rides page for more information on these routes. 

Registration can be done online or by mail with a check.  Day-of registration and packet pick up starts at 8:00 am and goes until 10:00 am July 4th at the D'Amico & Sons in Golden Valley.  After the ride, participants will be treated to an Italian buffet lunch that will be served from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm.  Proceeds from the Tour D'Amico benefit Twin City bike education and trail maintenance programs.  This is a rain or shine event.

Watermelon Ride

The Twin Cities Bicycling Club will be hosting the 36th Annual Watermelon Ride with a choice of 15, 25 or 52 mile routes.  The 15 mile route is geared for beginners getting into cycling and families with children.  The 25 mile route is ideal for both the novice and experienced rider.  Full support is provided for both the 15 and 25 mile routes and the routes will be marked.  The 52 mile route is unsupported so bring the necessary items to make minor repairs and fix flats.  Route maps will be handed out to riders at the registration table the day of the event.  Snacks will be supplied at rest stops and a picnic lunch will be held at Snail Lake Park following the ride until 2:30 pm.

Online early bird registration deadline is June 26th, after that the price goes up $10.  Online registration will close June 30th.  Day-of registration will also be available by printing and filling out the Registration Waiver and bringing a check made payable to the Twin Cities Bicycling Club to the registration table.  Twin Cities Bicycling Club members receive a discount for registration.  Registration for the 15 & 25 mile routes is from 8:30-10:00 am and the 52 mile route is from 7:30-9:00 am.  Registration and ride start is at Incarnation Lutheran Church in Shoreview.  This is a rain or shine event.


True North Basecamp is the Place to Stay for Mountain Biking Cuyuna

True North Basecamp is the place to go when visiting the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails for some "shred the red" fun.  It even made Outside Magazine's 26 Best Trips to Take Right Now.  Located just blocks from downtown Crosby it gives you the feel of being out in the wilderness with the comfort of being close to town and is only about a 2+ hour drive from the Twin Cities.

Located on Armour Mine Pit #2 Lake, the rustic lakefront cabins provide great views to help you unwind after a day of riding the trails.  Each of the 6 cabins have heat and a fire ring outside for a campfire on those chilly evenings and air conditioning for the hot days.  They sleep up to five people and have wi-fi access and USB charging ports for electronic devices.

If camping is more your style, True North Basecamp also has 23 scenic campsites and 3 camper sites for pop-ups and pull-behind trailers.

Campsite amenities include a fire ring, picnic table, on-property wi-fi access and drinking water.  Each of the three camping areas has vault toilets and it's a short walk to the shower house.

True North Basecamp has the simple things needed to make your stay comfortable but you will need to bring your bedding/sleeping bag, pillow and towels for your stay whether you camp or rent one of the lakeside cabins.  If you plan on doing some cooking during your stay you will want to bring a cooler with ice to keep your food cold, a crockpot for cooking/reheating prepared meals, a campstove to cook on or cook over the open fire of the provided fire pit with cooking grate.

One of my favorite amenities of True North Basecamp is the on-site access to 30+ miles of Minnesota's best mountain biking in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area and the Cuyuna Lakes State Trail is just across the lake.

When I'm ready to hit the mountain bike trails all I have to do is cross the little bridge over Serpent Creek near the cabins and I can access the Cuyuna Lakes State Trail which will take me to the trails in the Mahnomen Unit or I can jump on the Dragline trail to the Portsmouth and Yawkey Unit trails.  The nice thing about being trail connected is I can easily ride back to the "Basecamp" for some lunch or a cold one and then get right back to riding.

After a day of riding in the Summer heat one of the first things you're going to want to do when you get back to the Basecamp is get out of your sweaty cycling clothes and take a shower.  The shower house which is located right behind the lakefront cabins has what you need to get feeling refreshed.  After a shower with conditioned water and a change of clothes you're ready to relax back at your campsite or cabin.

True North Basecamp has special weekday rates that can save you a bunch of cash.  Rent one of the lakefront cabins Sunday through Thursday for only $69 a night, Friday and Saturday nights are just $125 a night.  Camping is even more thrifty Sunday through Thursday for only $19 a night and $29 a night on Fridays and Saturdays.  Check in time is at 4:00pm and check out is at noon.

To book your stay visit the True North Basecamp website for Cabin and Camping reservations.  For updates and more information visit the True North Basecamp Facebook Page, Twitter Page or send them a message on their contact page.
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