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A mountain biker whipping his bike on a trail in the forest while his dog runs behind him.

Ditching the tubes and going tubeless will help you get the most performance out of your tyres. There are no tubes to pinch, so you can run lower pressures for better traction, and you get more control and a smoother, faster ride. As an added bonus, a tubeless set-up can help seal punctures before they become flats.

What you need to go tubeless

To install a tubeless set-up, first make sure that your wheels and tyres are tubeless ready. Bontrager’s tubeless ready wheels and tyres will be marked with the acronym TLR. To complete the installation, you’ll need rim strips and valve stems that are compatible with your wheels, as well as TLR sealant. You’ll also need tools to remove tyres and rim strips, if needed. You can also use TLR tape to seal compatible rims, but Bontrager TLR rim strips will give you a tighter bead lock with the tyre and an overall easier installation experience.

You will need
• Tubeless Ready (TLR) tyres
• Tubeless Ready (TLR) wheel set
• TLR rim strips
• TLR valves
• TLR sealant

How to install your tubeless set-up

Remove the tyre from the wheel

— Use only approved plastic tyre levers

— Never twist the levers during removal – that can damage the rim

Install a tubeless ready (TLR) rim strip (recommended)

— Make sure that the rim strip and valve are the right size for your wheel

— Start by inserting the valve stem through the rim strip and wheel to keep it aligned

— Work the TLR rim strip onto the wheel with your hands

— Once TLR rim strip is in place, make sure that the fit is tight. Run a plastic tyre lever around the edges of the rim strips to tuck them into the rim for a tight seal.

— If your wheel already has a TLR Rim Strip in place, inspect it for damage and replace if you see deformation or rippling.

Rim strip and valve computability chart

Install tubeless-ready tape instead of a rim strip

— Make sure that the rim is clean

— Wrap the entire diameter with tubeless-ready tape, overlapping slightly at the end

— Make a small puncture in the tape over the valve hole, then install the valve

— Make sure that the tape is secure and completely covers all spoke holes

— Pro tip: using tape can make your overall set-up lighter, but it usually takes more effort to set up and doesn’t lock with the bead of the tyre quite as well. Not all Bontrager wheels can be set up using tubeless tape, so be sure to check compatibility.

TLR rim strip tape and valve chart

Install the tyre

— Rotate the wheel so that the valve stem is closest to the floor and check that the tyre is facing the right direction

— Start at the top of the wheel and work one bead over the rim edge and into the rim channel. Evenly work your way around the rim and finish with a tyre lever if needed.

— If you use a tyre lever, be careful not to push the lever over 90 degrees, and do not twist it – you could damage the rim or strip

— Repeat the same steps for the second tyre bead, and ensure that the valve stem is inside the tyre beads once installed

Inflate your tyre, seat the tyre beads

— Check your tyre’s sidewall to find the recommended pressure

— Make sure that the valve stem is inside the tyre beads

— Inflate until the beads seat – never inflate beyond the stated max pressure of the tyre

— Sometimes the tyre may take a minute or so for the bead to fully seat, even at max tyre pressure. Make sure that the tyre beads are fully seated by looking for a smooth line along the tyre and wheel.

— Pro tip: using a rim strip makes it easier to lock the bead with the tyre to create an airtight seal. If you are using tape, or having difficulty getting the system to hold air, a pump designed for tubeless set-up (like the Bontrager Flash Charger TLR) might be needed. An air compressor also can also be used and can be especially helpful for stubborn set-ups.

Once the tyre beads are fully seated, add the sealant

— Deflate the tyre, keeping the tyre beads locked into the wheel rims

— Remove the valve core from the valve stem using a valve core tool

— Add sealant to the tyre though the valve stem using a sealant injector

— Fill the injector with recommended amount of sealant (check trekbikes.com to find the recommended amount of sealant for your tyre)

— Thread the injector on to the valve stem and place valve stem at 3 or 9 o’clock. Slowly push the injector to add sealant to the tyre. Once filled, unthread the injector.

— Reinstall the valve core using the valve core tool, making sure that the valve poppet is open.

— You can also use the cap tip of the 85 gram sealant bottles to insert the sealant into the valve if you do not have a sealant injector handy.

Sealant pressure recommendations

Ensure that the sealant is spread properly inside the tyre

— Re-inflate the tyre to the recommended pressure

— Once inflated, hold the tyre at a 45-degree angle to pool all the sealant to the bottom, and then rotate the tyre up and down to spread the sealant. Rotate the tyre slowly to make sure that the inside of the tyre is evenly coated – it’s important to seal the inside of the tyre to ensure best performance.

— Clean up any spillage and re-install your wheel on your bike. You’re ready to ride!

— Pro tip: we recommend checking your sealant regularly and replacing if needed to ensure best performance. Riding in hot, dry environments can dry out the sealant faster and you may need to add more sealant every three months. You want to keep the sealant liquid and flowing freely so the inside of the tyre is always coated. Otherwise it will be difficult to maintain air pressure and properly seal punctures.

Recommended tyre pressure chart
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