Make A Spoke Wheel Tubeless

A tubeless tire will not pinch flat, no matter the terrain.

Tubeless tires on spoked bicycle wheels are becoming popular with mountain bikers, who value them for their resistance to pinch flats and their ability to be used with low tire pressure. Many wheel manufacturers now make tubeless-ready wheels, which can be used with tubeless tires without any modifications to the rims. There are also several methods to convert older wheels to be used with tubeless tires. This practice is popular among many cyclists who want to use tubeless tires without spending money on new wheels.


1. Remove your tire and tube from the wheel. Deflate the tire by pressing down on the inner tube’s valve, then slip the blunt end of the tire lever under the bead of the tire and wrench it upwards. Do this for the circumference of the tire, until the bead is removed for the rim. You may need to use two tire levers. Then, repeat the removal process for the other side. The tire and tube should come off the rim together.

2. Look at the rim strip of your wheel. Wheels of differing widths require different techniques to seal the inner bed of the rim. If you have a narrow rim, such as the Mavic XC717, 517 or 317, remove the cloth or rubber rim strip from the wheel with your hands, then tightly wrap the plastic rim tape so it completely covers the inside of the rim and the valve holes. With wider rims, such as those on downhill bikes, you can leave the existing cloth or rubber rim strip.

3. Install the tubeless rim strip. With your hands, stretch the rim strip over the rim, placing the tubeless valve through the valve hole first. Make sure the rim strip is even all the way around the rim. It should not be twisted in any way, and should cover both sides of the rim and slide under the bead at the top edge of the rim.