Table of contents
Step 1: Check the rim tape
Starting with a clean rim, inspect the rim to make sure that you are using a high-quality tubeless compatible rim tape that is free from any deformation. Check for any small punctures, sides pulling up, etc. We recommend using a Tensilized Polypropylene tape as they are the strongest tapes out there. The tell-tale sign that you have a Tensilized Polypropylene tape is that there is no printing and it is semi-transparent. This tape is strong and not able to be printed on so many wheel manufacturers choose the cheaper tape that can also include their branding.
If you find an issue
If you think you might have an issue with your rim tape, don't skip over the problem. Get a high-quality tape as a replacement. After removing your damaged rim tape, ensure a clean surface for the new tape to stick to by cleaning with acetone as to not leave any residue. Then simply follow the manufacturer's instructions to install the tape, insert your valve, and move on to step 2!
Step 2: Mount one side of the tire
Find the logo of your tire and ensure that you have the tire facing the correct direction if your tread is directional (you will see a direction --> marking printed on the sidewall). Take this logo and line it up with your valve for a uniform look. This will also make it easier to find the place in the rim/tire that a puncture occurred to see if you have any damage to the rim, tape, or tire in the event of a puncture.
Once you have that first part of the bead mounted, use your thumbs to push the bead of the tire into the center of the rim bed. This will give you the smallest diameter and make it easier later in the process to mount the tire.
Step 3: Mount 80% of the second bead
Start opposite the valve and use both thumbs to pop the second bead up over the rim. Starting opposite the valve lets the tire get into the center of the rim bed and makes the final install easier.
Keep working your way around the rim until you have just enough tire left to make pouring the tubeless sealant easy. This should look like a little bowl like you can see here to pour your sealant into.
Step 4: Pour In the sealant
Measure out the recommended amount of tubeless sealant or you can estimate by how much of the bottle you have poured in. As a general rule more sealant within reason is never a bad thing so err on the side of more. If you have a tire that is known to weep sealant through extremely porous side walls such as a Rene Herse Ultralight, consider adding an extra half to full ounce.
Our recommendations for tires are as follows:
Road - 2oz tubeless sealant
Gravel - 3-4oz tubeless sealant
MTB - 4-5oz tubeless sealant
Fat Bike- 6-8oz tubeless sealant
Changes in Recommended Tubeless Sealant Volume
If you are new to Tubeless Sealant Installation there are a few things that might alter the recommendations a bit. If you live in an area that is particularly hot and dry, the tubeless sealant will dry out faster so you may want to consider starting with a higher volume. If you have ultralight tires that have a reputation for weeping sealant after installation, you might want to add a little bit of extra tubeless sealant.
Step 5: Rotate the Wheel
Now that you have sealant in the tire, rotate the wheel slowly to move all that tubeless sealant down to the side of the tire that is completely mounted on the rim. Since the bead is not seated yet, be careful not to push that tire too hard on the ground or yourself so the tubeless sealant doesn't get pushed out.
If there is any small amount of tubeless sealant on the rim by the portion of the tire that is not yet mounted, wipe that away with a rag or towel to give your hands a dry surface for grip.
Step 6: Finish installing the second bead
Using your hand, push the final part of the tire onto the rim. It is often helpful to use the palms of your hands to slide the bead onto the rim. Now you are all set to move onto inflating the tire!
Remember: never to use tire levers to install tires, only to remove them. If you are unable to get your tubeless tire onto the rim without a tool, make sure that you are using a fully plastic lever or add some sort of protection to the lever so you aren't damaging your rim.
Step 7: Inflate the tire
Everybody has their own tips and tricks on how to best seat a tubeless tire. The best case scenario is that your tire/rim combination is tight enough that a simple floor pump will get it seated. If that doesn't work we have a few more tips as well.
The best option after the floor pump fails is to use a compressor. Removing the valve core may be necessary to help the volume of air necessary to seat the tubeless tire. Be careful not to overinflate the tire but you should hear a loud pop or two of the tire seating in place. This is when it is ok to remove the compressor, re-install the valve core, and inflate as normal with a floor pump.
The next best option is to use a tubeless air cannister. These are dedicated air tanks that have a quick release function to release a much larger volume of air than a normal floor pump. They can be a bit tricky but when used correctly they are a great option. Some come free standing and some are attached to a floor pump already. Either way will work and should get your tubeless tire seated.
The final recommendation should only be used if there is no way of getting to any of the other options. This is a CO2 cannister. It can typically get enough air into the tubeless tire to seat the bead but it does come with a few downsides. First of all it is a little wasteful to use a CO2 canister since it is single use, but the big issue is that any natural latex sealant is PH sensitive. CO2 in the tire will cause a reaction with the sealant by dropping the PH and drying out the sealant much quicker than would otherwise happen. For this reason if you do choose to use a CO2 canister to seat your tubeless tire, let all of that CO2 out of the tire immediately after getting it seated. Then you can re-inflate with a floor pump.
Step 8: Check for any leaks
Now that your tire is fully inflated to the pressure you intend to run the wheel, check for any places that need to be sealed. You might hear a leak and you can simply rotate the wheel so the tubeless sealant pools in that area and seals that spot. Shaking the wheel often helps as well. If you are experiencing a slower leak spraying window cleaner or soapy water on the tire/wheel will cause bubbles to come out anywhere there is a leak and you can identify which places need help sealing and rotate the wheel to get a little bit more tubeless tire sealant to that area.
Now you have your new Tubeless set up and you are ready to ride. We would love to hear how it went for you and if you want to see more on Tubeless Tire Installation check out our YouTube video, for more on tubeless tire sealant maintenance check out our other blog posts on the topic. Happy riding!
Tubeless Sealant Installation Video
For those of you who would rather see tubeless sealant installed on video, below you can see our instructional video on how to install tubeless sealant without spilling a drop of that precious tubeless sealant.