Friday, November 8, 2013

Fatbikes: Tubeless Conversion, Oh Goodness

I will start with a little background, I have been working on bikes for around 13 years now, this way might not work for you but I am having great luck with this way for me.  Setting up tubeless on fatbikes are a bit harder than picking up a Stan's rim and dumping some sealant in...


(disclaimer:  I do not hold any liability for you performing this tubeless conversion, what worked for me may not have worked for you. I am not responsible for any bodily damage, damage to your products or loss of life.  NO manufacturer is currently offering a tubeless ready fatbike rim or tire combo at this point, therefore I cannot recommend using any of their products or doing this conversion)


I have people riding on different versions of tubeless fat bike setups right now, but the other night I got to thinking about crossing a ghetto tubeless (foam, tube, etc) with a gorilla tape job.  My goal was to get something that could be sealed back up on the trail with a CO2 inflator and without the use of something to compress the tire.  I personally didn't want to go tubeless on my fatbike until next year.  Riding Tuesday night without a pack, no frame bag, no tools left me stranded without many options and thus in pitch black walking out of the trails.  When I got home I realized I had double punctures in both tires, for me this pushed up my timeline a bit.  

I will also be testing two different types of tubeless sealant, the venerable Stan's Sealant and the newcomer to the market Orange Seal.  This I will be reporting on this fall/winter, realistically more like winter/spring.

Click after the brake to see more

So what do you need, other than a capable shop with some know how, there are some other ways if you don't have one.







1.  Gorilla Tape I recommend 2.88" because there is much more overlap on my 100mm clownshoe rims.

2.  Poly Liner by the roll 3.25"  worked best for this application as you will see it will need to cut down

3.  Some sort of tubeless bicycle sealant (front tire with Orange Seal/Rear Tire with Stan's)

4.  Pressure guage (I like this SKS one which I've had the last few years, and recommend to customers in the shop)

5.  Tire Lever (a regular one will do)

6. Plastic Scraper (or your fingers)

7.  CO2 inflator,  I was able to use a floor pump, but I also test this method for on trail use.


Step 1; Tire liner, hope you picked one you really like this will be a little less than fun to replace in the future.





Step 2: Take one layer of gorilla tape over that (try to stay centered)






Step 3:  First layer of foam


I precut the first width with a razor you can use scissors if you don't want to go too deep.

gap at the valve hole
measured out to about "this" wide


cut out around valve
idea of widths





Step 4:  Second layer of foam, a little wider this time


close to bead

Step Five:  overlapping layers

make sure to keep the tape tight near the bead

get as close to the bead as possible





Step 6:  Install Valve


Poker, then used a slightly smaller
than valve hole drill bit to finish it off at
slow speed in the drill.

make sure to have enough threads on locking, this
can be achieved with spacers













Step 7; Dry Inflation (no sealant)










Step 8:  Add Sealant, re-inflate and enjoy.









(disclaimer:  I do not hold any liability for you performing this tubeless conversion, what worked for me may not have worked for you. I am not responsible for any bodily damage, damage to your products or loss of life.  NO manufacturer is currently offering a tubeless ready fatbike rim or tire combo at this point, therefore I cannot recommend using any of their products or doing this conversion)

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