How to set you tires up tubeless

Ditching the tubes and going tubeless will help you get the most performance out of your tires. 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 setup can help seal punctures before they become flats.

What you need to go tubeless

To install a tubeless setup, first make sure that your wheels and tires are tubeless ready. Bontrager’s tubeless ready wheels and tires 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 tires 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 tire and an overall easier installation experience.

You will need
• Tubeless Ready (TLR) tires
• Tubeless Ready (TLR) wheelset
• TLR rim strips
• TLR valves
• TLR sealant

How to install your tubeless setup

Remove the tire from the wheel

— Use only approved plastic tire levers

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

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

— Make sure 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, you’ll want to make sure the fit is tight. Run a plastic tire 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 compatability chart

Install tubeless ready tape instead of a rim strip

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

— Pro tip: using tape can make your overall setup lighter, but it usually takes more effort to set up and doesn’t lock with the bead of the tire 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 tire

— Rotate the wheel so that the valve stem is closest to the floor and check that the tire 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 tire lever if needed.

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

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

Inflate your tire, seat the tire beads

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

— Make sure the valve stem is inside the tire beads

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

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

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

Once the tire beads are fully seated, add sealant

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

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

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

— Fill the injector with recommended amount of sealant (check to find the recommended amount of sealant for your tire)

— Thread the injector on to the valve stem and place valve stem at 3 or 9 o’clock. Slowly push injector to add sealant to tire. Once filled, unthread 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 3 ounce Sealant bottles to insert sealant into the valve if you do not have a sealant injector handy.

Sealant amount recommendations

Ensure the sealant is spread properly inside the tire

— Re-inflate the tire to the recommended pressure

— Once inflated, hold the tire at a 45-degree angle to pool all sealant to the bottom, and then rotate the tire up and down to spread the sealant. Rotate the tire slowly to make sure the inside of the tire is evenly coated—it’s important to seal the inside of the tire 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 tire is always coated. Otherwise it will be difficult to maintain air pressure and properly seal punctures.

Recommended tire pressure chart