I recently decided to do maintenance on my surly mountain bike. I had not done major work on this since i built it 7 or 8 years ago. So came the work of new tires, hub bearings, pedal rebuild and brakes.
I decided that it was also time to see what this tubeless craze was about. I purchased the Stan’s NoTubes 29Er Xc Tubeless System along with some Stan’s 2.0×29 raven tires.
After failing at successfully converting my existing rims with the Stan’s kit I did some research. Turns out my front rim is on the computability list. As for my rear rim; their web site says there is no compatible rim tape for that rim. Hmm. Guess I’ll come back to it later.
The next day as I make it to 5 different bike shops looking for a simple hydraulic line I heard two people mention that the Stan’s conversion kit is difficult to use and it doesn’t last long. They independently recommended the “Gorilla Tape” method.
So home I went to research this method. First stopping by the hardware store to pick-up some gorilla tape. Next I found this guy on youtube. I followed his method almost exactly except the following deviations.
- After putting each strip of tape on the rim I put a conventional tube and tire back on. I pumped this up hard in order to firmly install the tape and push the tape into all the small spots. This was less critical on a rim with recessed nipples. On my brompton with 16″ wheels the nipple heads are not recessed and without doing this I didn’t get a good seal the first time.
- Make sure you use a valve stem with a removable core. This will make adding new sealant in the future easier.
- You don’t need to measure the length of tape and cut it to width like he did. I cut the with using a razor blade and cut the tape on the roll without taking it off. This allowed me to hold the roll during the application process. Much easier.
- I have done with with UST tires and without. Great success with both. The only thing I learned is make sure the tire you are using is in good shape. I had an older schwalbe kojak with alot of slits from glass. This had a difficult time sealing to the point I’m going to get a new tire.
In the end this conversion should cost you about $20 for two to three wheel sets. I also think this works better than the Stan’s conversion. That said I’m still running some Stan’s tires and Stan’s Tire Sealant. The difference is that this works on any rim, any width, and diameter, etc.
Have a flat less ride!