Saturday, December 12, 2015

Going Tubeless with a Rolling Darryl Rim and a Nate Tire

Disclaimer:  The following worked for me. I cannot guarantee that it will yield similar results for other rim/tire combos.

Some folks were curious how I converted my Rolling Darryls and Nates to a tubeless setup. This is a brief rundown of the process. No videos and even the pictures are not of the best quality! Sorry!!

I have been running tubeless since April with great success. During this time I was using Gorilla Tape to seal the rims.  It worked fine, although it has a tendency to absorb some of the sealant. It is also a very tenacious tape and is a PITA to try a and remove. I had a small issue in November when my rear tire ran dry of the sealant and started to leak air. I broke down the setup but had no Gorilla Tape on hand so I tried a new tape - just for poops and giggles - to see if it would work!! Surprisingly, it worked incredibly well. The new tape is the 3M Safety Stripe. It is a PVC tape that is stretchy (unlike the Gorilla) so it can be worked into all the nooks and crannies of the rims. Plus it seals upon itself quite good. I used it for a few weeks before I broke it all down again. There was no apparent damage from the sealant, no absorption - all was the same as the day I put it in!  Short term test was a success!!

Fast forward to this weekend when I decided that it was time to stud the Nates!! I figured that if I am going to break down the tires, I might as well redo the tape and all. So here we go . . .

What I used:

3M tekk Safety Stripe Tale - purchased from Princess Auto.

Stan's NoTubes Sealant - purchased at Fun 'n ' Fast

Stan's NoTubes valves - purchased at Fun 'n ' Fast

Air compressor - the bigger the better

Hopbot IPA (optional) - purchased at the NLC store

The stuff that you need!!
The optional stuff!!
 What I did:

1)  Remove the wheel from the bike (d'uh!)

2)  Remove the tire and tube if applicable  (double d'uh!)

3)  I had to deal with the hassle of removing the existing Gorilla Tape strip and associated gobs of adhesive left behind (ugh!)

4)  If necessary, trim your rim tape if it necessary. There needs to be enough of  the rim's shoulder exposed so that the tape has something to stick to. (See second image below!)

Trimmed rim tape and ready for sealing tape!

 5)  Run a single strip of 3M tape all the way around. Make sure that the tape spans both the rim tape and the rim. This is crucial in order to get a good seal!! Ensure that there is a bit of overlap between the ends of the tape as well!

Running the first strip. Notice that sealing tape spans both the rim tape and the bare rim. (See step 4 above) 

6)  Apply good pressure to the tape to make sure that it stretches and gets worked onto the rim and the rim tape!!

Rubbing the tape hard enough to create heat seems to aid with it sticking and conforming to the required shape!

7)  Apply a second layer of tape as per the first!!  Make sure that you have a tight seal where the two layers overlap down the centre line of the rim!  This is one of the areas where leaking can happen.

Applying the second layer.

8)  Poke a hole through the tape for the valve.

9)  Reinstall the tire AND the tube*. Yes, the tube!! Inflate to a high pressure - 20 psi or so. Let sit for a while.

*This is a pretty critical function of the whole procedure. By reinstalling the tire and tube and reinflating to a high pressure, you are getting the tire beads to set nicely.

Reinstall the tire and tube.

Inflate that sucker till it feels like a road tire - almost!!

10)  After letting the tire sit for a while (15 minutes or so should be fine) deflate the tire completely and break ONLY ONE SIDE OF THE TIRE BEAD to remove the tube!!  By doing this, you are leaving the tire with one bead nicely set and that is half the battle!!  If the other bead breaks while removing the tube, reinflate and let sit for a bit longer.

11)  Install the Stans NoTubes presta valve in the rim. Hand tight should be fine for now.

Valve installed.

12)   Lay the wheel, loose bead down,  on a 5 gal bucket or other such device that will support the centre of wheel. This allows gravity to help!!  The loose bead will droop towards the rim and aid in the initial sealing - hopefully!!

That is only muddy ice water in the bucket!!!  Note the use of schraeder adapter for the valve.

13)   Inflate the tire with the compressor.  Hopefully the bead will be snug enough to hold air immediately. If so, continue to inflate to a good pressure - again, 20 psi is nice!!

The higher the capacity of the compressor, the better your chances of getting a seal right away as it forces more air into the tire quickly.

14)  Both beads should now be set!  Remove the valve core (not the whole stem) and let the tire deflate.

15)  Rig up a way to get the Stan's sealant into the tire through the valve stem. There are any numbers of way to do this. (View image below to see how I did it)

Homemade Stan's injector
16)  Inject sealant into the tire. There are a number of "recommended" amounts to put in there. Some say 4oz, some say 8oz. Personally, I am not sure if it needs to be exact. I'd be inclined to say more is better than less. But no so much that you can feel it sloshing around in the tire!!

17)  Reinstall the valve core and reinflate the tire to a nice high pressure - 20 psi or so.

18)  Perform the Stan's Dance!!  Spin and bounce the tire off the floor. This helps slosh the sealant around and aids in its finding any leaks to seal!

Safety Dance!!  Best to wear gloves when doing the Stan's Dance with a DIY studded tire!!

19)  It is a good idea to get out for a ride right away to help with the sealing process. I urge you to take a pump with you - just in case!!

20)  Monitor the tire to see how well it retains air.

So, there you have it!!  Hopefully I have not omitted anything of importance!!  If so, there is a plethora of videos and such on the Interwebs showing exactly how to do this!  Some even have videos!! LOL!

Thanks for dropping by!!


  1. Thanks for sharing. Looks pretty straight forward.

  2. It was until I went to do the rear wheel!!! The ding I put in the rim a few weeks back made it hard to reseat the bead!! After some cursing and a few sips of IPA, I finally managed to get it set!!! Grrrrrrr!!

  3. Very nice and helpful information has been given in this article. I like the way you explain the things. Keep posting. Thanks..tubeless road wheels

  4. Thanks for your excellent post. Are you seeing much for air loss? Do the tires lose significant pressure with time?

  5. Excellent write up, thank you!

    What width was the 3M tape you used? Also, how did your tires hold pressure long-term?

  6. I only used this setup on these wheels for two months before I went with carbon fibre rims that were tubeless-ready. I did have some issues with the Nates/Rolling Darryls burping air at really lower pressures for riding on snow. From what I recall, they were good otherwise. I have used 3M tape on other wheel setups with good success. I actually use it on my carbon rims to cover the spoke holes - just one layer and it's good to go. It's the standard 2" wide roll.

    I also run my Surly Rabbit Holes rims tubeless (even though the are not really made for that) but I used the split tube method. If I had to recommend a tubeless method for non-tubeless rims, I would suggest split tube, aka, ghetto tubeless.