Tubeless Cyclocross Tire Installation Tips

September 20, 2019

Tubeless tires for cyclocross have made huge strides in the past few years; modern tires and tubeless rims are better than ever. The days unreliable of home-brew conversion kits are mostly gone. 

New tubeless tires can still be a bit tricky to get seated correctly on the rim for the first time, however. To make things faster and easier, give these installation tips a try: 

  • Warm up the tire prior to installation. Folded tires stored in a cold garage aren't very pliable. Setting the new tires out in the sunshine for a minutes makes them much easier to work with.
  • Use a quality sealant. Stan's, Caffelatex, and Orange Seal are some of the popular and reliable brands.
  • Modern tubeless tires are shipped and stored folded. This can create small kinks in the tire bead that can allow air to escape during inflation or prevent the bead from seating. If you encounter this problem, try installing the tire with an inner tube temporarily. Inflating the tube forces the tire bead into the "hula hoop" shape to match the rim profile. Give it a couple days, then remove the tube and you'll find the tire is now much easier to setup tubeless. 
  • Use a compressor instead of a floor pump to seat the tire bead. While it's possible to seat some tire / rim combos using a floor pump, a compressor is much more reliable. 
  • Sometimes even a compressor won't pop the beads into place. If you need even more air volume, trying removing the valve core with a presta valve core remover tool. This allows air to flow faster into the tire, helping to push the beads into place. You can re-install the valve core afterwards. 
  • Once you've got the tire seated, try to avoid breaking the bead in the future (for example, to add sealant.) A better way is to inject sealant through the valve core with a sealant injector

I hope this helps you get the most out of tubeless tire technology. Good luck!  

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