- What does Tubeless Ready mean?
- What are the advantages of Tubeless Ready tires?
- Are there disadvantages?
- What is required to fit a Tubeless tire?
- What has to be considered when fitting?
- How is it best to shake the wheel?
- Is it possible to install the sealing fluid through the valve?
- How much sealing fluid should be used per tire?
- What if it is difficult to inflate the tire?
- What can be done if the tire simply won´t stay inflated?
- What can go wrong otherwise?
- If the tire is hard to fit on the rim what can be done?
- Can normal wheels be made Tubeless?
- How often does the sealing fluid have to be renewed or refilled?
- Can other sealing fluids also be used?
- In the event of a puncture what should be done?
- Which Schwalbe tires are Tubeless Ready?
- How different are they to normal tires?
What does Tubeless Ready mean?
Tubeless Ready tires are not Tubeless tires. However, they can be converted to a Tubeless tire by adding a sealing fluid. Schwalbe Tubeless Ready tires have a specially formed and coated tire bead. This seals the rim very efficiently and provides safe seating.
What are the advantages of Tubeless Ready tires?
They offer better rolling resistance, puncture protection and are lighter. In comparison with both „real“ Tubeless tires and regular fitting with a tube, there are weight savings, as well as a distinct reduction in rolling resistance. Besides which, the sealing fluid provides excellent puncture protection.
Are there disadvantages?
Fitting is more complicated and as such it may be better to leave assembly to a specialist. In certain cases ensuring that the sidewalls are fully sealed could take a lot longer than anticipated. Also changing a tire is more complicated, as the old sealing fluid has to be cleaned out. Caution is generally required as the sealing fluid can easily mark clothing or furnishings.
When converting light weight tubeless-ready MTB racing tires to tubeless, the process can take up to 3 days of consistent sealing and sealant will seep from the sidewalls of the tires. LIGHTWEIGHT MTB racing tires are inherently thin in the sidewalls and will require extra care.
What is required to fit a Tubeless tire?
- Schwalbe Tubeless Ready tire
- An airtight Tubeless wheel
- The requisite valve
- Sealing fluid (e.g. Schwalbe Doc Blue)
- Fitting fluid (e.g. Schwalbe Easy Fit)
- Track pump with a pressure gauge
- A cleaning cloth
- Patience and experience in the special fitting technique
What has to be considered when fitting?
Start assembly as you would with a normal tire. But before fitting the second tire bead, fill it with sealing fluid. Continue fitting and finish at the valve.
Important: Before inflating, coat both tire beads with fitting fluid. Initial inflation should be done rapidly (Track pump or compressor). Inflate to 3 Bars and thoroughly shake and rotate in all directions. The sealing fluid must completely coat the inside of the tire. It is usual for the sealing fluid to leak out of the tire sidewalls when first inflated. It is possible that the wheel has to be inflated, shaken and turned several times before it is completely sealed and there are no more leaks. In extreme cases this can take 1 or 2 days. After the sealing process is complete, inflate the tire to the desired pressure.
How is it best to shake the wheel?
Grip the wheel at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions. At chest level hold the wheel upright and using the wrists tip the wheel backwards and forwards so that the sealing fluid sloshes between the rim and tire sidewall. Pass the wheel through the hands about 6 inches at a time and keep repeating the process until the whole wheel has turned through 360 degrees. Our movie showing Tubeless Ready fitting shows how to complete this procedure.
Is it possible to install the sealing fluid through the valve?
Yes. Removable valve cores allow the sealing fluid to be filled through the valve with the tire already fitted. Fit the tire and inflate until it locks onto the rim. Afterwards release the air, remove the valve core and pour in the sealing liquid. A key for removing the valve core comes with every bottle of Doc Blue.
How much sealing fluid should be used per tire?
Allow about 50-60 ml Schwalbe Doc Blue per tire.
What if it is difficult to inflate the tire?
Use fitting fluid! The liquid provides a slick film between the tire and rim making fitting much easier. If need be, a soapy water solution can also be used.
The tire beads must always be positioned next to the valve.
In very difficult cases, instead of a track pump use compressed-air (compressor or CO2 cartridge).
Never exceed 35 PSI during tubeless installation or use!!
At the first inflation it may also be helpful to remove the valve core in order to increase the air-flow.
What can be done if the tire simply won´t stay inflated?
First of all check where the tire is leaking either by holding the whole wheel underwater, or by coating the sidewall with Easy Fit and the bubbles will indicate from where the air is escaping. Hold the wheel so that the liquid inside is in the area where the bubbling is evident and shake it vigorously, and repeat this several times if necessary. The air pressure should be around 3 bars, so that the sealing liquid is forced into the open pores.
It is usual that, at first, the sidewalls of Tubeless Ready tires ooze sealing liquid and this does not mean that the product is in any way faulty. Shaking and inflating must be repeated several times before the side wall is finally sealed. If you consider this procedure is too awkward, it is better to use a regular Tubeless tire.
Tubeless Ready tires with SnakeSkin sidewalls are very much easier to install and are hardly any different to fit than a regular Tubeless tire. The sidewalls seal almost immediately, but sealing fluid is nevertheless required, so that the system functions problem-free.
What can go wrong otherwise?
As with regular Tubeless tires, leaks can occur at the valve or on the rim. In order to determine the exact location it is necessary to immerse the whole wheel in water. In case of such leaks, there will be bubbles next to the valve, or at the spoke nipple holes. This can take a while to become visible as the pressure has to fill the whole rim cavity. Often the problem is at the valve. Possible remedies: Tighten the valve nut, clean or de-burr the area between the valve and rim, change the valve. If everything else fails to cure the problem then it could be a fault or crack in the rim well, or rim wall.
If the tire is hard to fit on the rim what can be done?
Fitting fluid will help.
Always begin to fit the tire onto the rim directly opposite the valve and finish at the valve, since the tire bead needs to be in the rim-well for as long a distance as possible.
Instead of levering the tire beads over the rim wall with thumbs, try pulling them over from the other side.
If at all possible try to fit the tire without using tire levers. In some cases though tire levers will be necessary. Make sure not to damage the tire bead. Lever the tire bead over onto the rim a little piece at a time. Never, ever user metal tire-levers!
Can normal wheels be made Tubeless?
There are special rim tapes e.g. Tubeless kits which make normal wheels Tubeless and you should follow the maker's instructions. Schwalbe does not offer such tapes. Converting and/or sealing regular wheels is not simple and requires precision and expertise. In addition tire fitting and inflation with wheels so converted is much more difficult than with "real" Tubeless wheels! We therefore recommend the use of Tubeless wheels that are airtight without any alterations.
How often does the sealing fluid have to be renewed or refilled?
Refilling the sealing fluid is only necessary to prevent punctures. Schwalbe Doc Blue lasts as an active puncture preventative for around 3 months and partially for much longer. Thereafter it dries out into a rubber film. Testing by inserting a needle into the tread and then rotating the wheel will easily show if the sealing fluid is still functioning. If the hole is not automatically sealed, then the sealing fluid needs to be replaced. The "test hole" is then repaired by the new sealing fluid.
Can other sealing fluids also be used?
Tubeless conversions generally work with other makes of sealing fluid and there are a whole host of different makes to now choose from on the market. However, many of these are only barely acceptable, but in any case they should be latex based. Along with Schwalbe Doc Blue we can unreservedly recommend Stan's No Tubes.
In the event of a puncture what should be done?
While riding punctures are automatically discovered and repaired by Doc Blue. Of course, sealing fluid cannot help with large punctures caused by cuts or snake-bites. In these kind of cases a spare tube is always the best remedy and should be used, first remembering to remove the Tubeless valve and wiping the sealing fluid out of the tire.
Which Schwalbe tires are Tubeless Ready?
At the moment, model-year 2011, the following tires in Evolution versions are Tubeless Ready: Furious Fred, Racing Ralph, Nobby Nic, Fat Albert, Dirty Dan and the spike tire, Ice Spiker Pro. The tires have a "Tubeless Ready" label.
How different are they to normal tires?
Racing competitors have already converted from normal tires to Tubeless Ready for some time and Schwalbe Tubeless Ready tires made the conversion a lot easier, as the special tire bead seals immediately onto the rim and guarantees safe seating. The sealing at the rim of regular tires is a big problem and often only works with the use of a compressor and a lot of patience. Sometimes it takes several days to finally seal with the added risk of the tire jumping off the rim since the bead wires are not made for Tubeless use.