Going tubeless

Well, I hummed and hawed long enough! Last week, I converted my 29er to ghetto slit-tube tubeless. I went to larger, more aggressive tires at the same time. I went this way because I am cheap, wanted to try it with minimal outlay of cash and resources/time and because it seems to be the best way to go in a lot of cases. I did a lot of research online, and it seems using UST can sometimes be a pain with burping at the beads. I’ve witnessed this on the trail numerous times and it really put me off the tubeless thing for a while. However, I have had an unheard of string of pinchflats since I got the new bike. A combination of narrow rims, thin tires and too low a pressure. Now, I could bump the pressure up, but then the ride sucks. For me, this is the real beauty of tubeless. It’s not to lose weight. (My bike actually gained a ton, but that was mostly the tires.) It’s the ability to run silly low pressure for gobs of traction, more efficient rolling, some comfort and floatation!

So, what did I do? Well, I bought a jug of Stan’s No Tubes sealant. Sounds and looks like crazy good stuff, so I figured I’d try it. If you have non-tubeless tires, you will need this even just to keep the air from passing through them. My new tires, however, even held 40 PSI for a few days without. That was good news. It could be because of the VERY thick sidewalls. Heavy? You bet. But, it’s a rugged trail tire for broken rock, roots, you name it. It’s not a race tire, by any means. Anyways, I used a 26" tube, inflated it just enough to take shape and mounted it on the rim. Then, I slit the outside of it all the way around the rim. I layed it open, rubbed some sealant on the beads, mounted the tires with the tube flaps out past the beads. Installed a few scoops of sealant in each tire, seated the beads and inflated to 40 PSI for a few days. Cut the extra tube off, and viola! Tubeless. Is it ghetto? Fer sher! Does it work? Well, so far it’s pretty special.

I went from Racing Ralphs in 29x2.0 and now have 29x2.25 cheapo Ignitor look alikes. I left the house on the first ride so far at 25 PSI, about what I usually ride at. Initially, it felt pretty lethargic. I was already cooked from a road ride, so between dead legs, and heavy, taller tires, there were no Strava segments to be smashed. Oh well. Off to the woods. At first I was getting some wheelspin and getting knocked around a bit. I was a bit disappointed at first. Oh well, was worth the experiment. So I figured, hey, let’s see how low they can go? I kept bleeding more and more air out. I think those stiffer sidewalls need less air pressure to keep my fatness afloat! Cause man o man, once the pressure got down there, it was a riot! For one thing, it sticks to anything now. It wraps around wet angled roots and grabs like mad. And it’s smooth as it does it, to boot! Pretty crazy to just blitz super rough and technical sections like it’s a dually, (It’s a hardtail XC rig), and I was charging some gnarly DH sections without worry of pinchflats. That fact alone will make you faster, and not pucker every time you peg something, as long as the rim can handle it. It claws up climbs like it’s glued at the knobs. As long as I can pedal and keep the weight in the right spots, it goes up. Honestly, it feels more akin to riding an ATV now than a MTB, as far as just point and ride goes. So grin-inspiring!

We will see how it works over time, but let’s just say I’m pretty happy with my set up.

Here is some good stuff for you to look at. Oh, and it makes me wonder even more about fatbikes now…

How to do it and great tricks and tips
ridemonkey.com/forums/f19/gh … ks-240026/

The science behind rolling resistance and fat/low pressure tires
mtbonline.co.za/info/mtb-tyr … stance.htm

Stan’s crazy demo

Thanks for the assesment! Another one that could have been blog post :-).

Just curious, if you are deep in the woods and rip a side wall, can you still put a tube in the tire / rim?

Gotta figure out the blog feature… Next time we all gather around a computer.

And yes, to put a tube in you just remove your ghetto rimstrip, chuck in a tube and inflate. Maybe we should have a DIY tubeless night somewhere? Might be good to have an airpig/compressor there.

So will you run different tubes on different rims now? I assume at some point you guys like different treads / widths etc… for different rides?

I went tubeless a while a go too, with 2.25 racing ralphs, I lost a bunch of weight in the process over the crap 2.1’s tube tires I had on.
Its amazing how low you can run them and not flat, I have hit them HARD a few times, and nothing. Exept last night at fight trail, I just smashed a rock, nothing was gonna save that one…
I think I was low on sealant though too, maybe it would have sealed up?

I like how you said you were fat. I laughed to myself a bit there :smiley:

I have been running ghetto tubeless on my main bike for 2+ seasons without a single flat or burp. I take out the valve and squirt in a couple more ounces of stans at the start of the season and that is it.

I run higher pressure than I did with tubes, but get just as much traction.

The tires do lose air a bit faster than one with tubes, but even over the winter in storage they do not go completely flat.

It can be a pain to set up depending on your tire/rim combo, but it is totally worth the small time investment to get it to work if it saves you one flat where you are futzing with getting a tube in or patch on a tube while being eaten alive by blackflies or mosquitos.

I just learned my specialized came with 2Bliss ready tires. I’m going ghetto tubless as soon as i get around to it.


I’ve been running tubeless for a while now. My wheels are tubeless, but I was running non-tubeless tires, and burped regularly. So my front tire is tubed, but my rear is a tubeless UST tire. It hasn’t burped much, but I think still does occasionally. I don’t run as low pressure as I probably should, mainly because I’m heavy, and want rim protection from big hits. I also notice when my pressure gets down a bit that I feel like I’m sliding a bit from side-to-side on the tire, which is a bit disconcerting.