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.

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