Tubeless: UST rim + standard tire

Hey Lee,
If i have UST wheels, can i make a non ust tire tubeless? if so how?

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Hey John.

This works for some tires, but not all. You need:

– Your UST wheels with the valve stems installed.

– Tires with smooth beads. The beads can’t any ridges. Some WTB tires don’t work. I’ve had good luck with Maxxis and Specialized DH tires.

– Tire sealant. Stan’s, Slime, etc.

– An air compressor, air tank or air canister. The bigger and the higher pressure, the better.

— — —

1. Mount the tire almost all the way, except for a small section of bead.

2. Squirt sealant into the tire. No such thing as too much. Mount the rest of the bead.

3. Spread sealant on the bead itself. This will help create a seal.

4. Squash the tire all the way around the rim so the beads are close to the edge of the rim.

5. Hit it with compressed air.

— — —

If you’re lucky, the tire will seat right away. Fill it fast. Roll and bounce the tire until the sealant seals any leaks. Let it sit for a while. Double-check for leaks. Stir as needed. Rip.

If there’s a big leak along the bead, press that part of the tire into the rim — while rocking the air.

Another tip: Wrap a tie-down around the outside of the tire. This will push the beads closer to the edges of the rim.

Some tires/rims are easy. Others are royal pains.

Another approach: Make a rim liner out of a 20″ tube. That works on all rims. Stay tuned for that one.

Available at most hardware stores.

Poor man’s air compressor

With UST tires and rims, all I need is a floor pump. Super slick. But once my rims get ruined, or if I want to convert a standard tire, I need some extra air kung fu.

I bought a portable air canister for about $40. I fill it with my floor pump to about 80 psi. That takes around 400 strokes — enough to blow up one pump so far! Gotta watch the heat buildup. I could use the gas station, but where’s the fun in that?

This setup gives me enough air to seat persnickety tires, and I can take it anywhere. Slick.

8 replies
  1. Joss Dewaele says:

    I have found that tires will seat much easier if they are warm. So if you keep your tires in a basement, or under heavy air conditioning, leave them out in the sun for a couple of minutes and allow them to soften up before mounting them.

    Also, I highly recommed checking and re-checking tire pressure with a tire guage, since running tubeless is kind of like running tubes with a slow leak. The squeeze test works for some people when checking their tire pressure, but it takes one hell of a calibrated hand to know the difference between 20 and 25 psi, which can be the difference between rolling a tire off the rim, and keeping it in place.

  2. Colin says:

    Another question for you Lee:

    Do you have any experience with single ply Chunders going tubeless on dt 5.1s with the dt conversion kit?
    Or any specialized tire for that matter.

    For ’08 I see they have tubeless Chunder single plys, but I want to try my non-tubeless first.


  3. Chris says:

    what great advice….one problem i found that you mention. I have a set of WTB weirwolfs wich have the little ridges. I guess I will either try A. Maxxis or Spc. tires. or B. tubes with some added Stans.

  4. Daniel says:

    I tried a regular specialized fast track on a mavic ust rim and couldn’t get it to mount with an air compressor and sealant and I am a pro mechanic. If you are going to use a standard tire you will need either a stan’s strip or ghetto tubeless.

    The DT swiss kit works awesome with ust tires though. Only need a floor pump.

    If you aren’t doing a full ust setup then I think you should do the rear only. That is where you get flats anyway. Lots of people have been seriously hurt when front tire beads have blown in hard corners.

  5. Chris says:

    what the deal with UST tires burbing? I have problemns with either wheel wanting to burb and it usualy ends up with me on my butt onthe side of the trail. Even the rear wheel wants to burb on a landing off a small jump like off a root or a rock, Am i doing something wrong Lee?

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