Introduction: Improving a Tubeless System / Converting Non-Tubeless to Tubeless and Stealthing Out Tires for the Look of It.

On this DIY i am going to describe how too improve your Stans Wheel set and explain how to convert a regular wheel set into a tubeless wheel set! On the Internet there is the Ghetto method that converts a regular wheel set into a tubeless system. My method is different and weighs less than both systems. I call it Topless-Tubeless and experimented around anno 2005 and it worked for me. I done this with regular foldable tires and no Tubeless Ready ones. The pictures are ZTR rims especially developed for "Stans Tubeless System" Tubeless Ready, so there is no need for amalgamating tape usage on them.)

Things to make and do:

  • 1 roll self amalgamating tape (only needed for standard rims)
  • 1 roll transparent packing-tape
  • 1 roll rim tape (Weight Weenies: It can be left away for Tubless Ready Rims and only use packing tape if wished)
  • 2 tubeless Presta valves (Bontrager or NoStans are best)
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Tubeless milk, Stans or something similar (best is one on water basis for the mix)
  • Polymarine Sealflex, optional
  • Stanley knife
  • Compressor or the tank station.
  • Needle nose pliers

The Preparation And Sealing Situation:

Wash and clean the tires both in- and outside.
Clean your rims with the isopropyl - alcohol.
Stick the rim tape as I did from one side to the other and cut shorten with a Stanley knife, go on for each hole including the valve opening.

The Rim Flange Situation on standard rims:

The amalgamating tape is needed to decrease the height of the standard rim flange and to give the tires a firm and secure fit, this is important because the tire needs to have a firm fit so that the latex milk can do a good job sealing. The amount of amalgamating tape needed will vary from rim brand to rim brand, with that you are left on your own and need to find out what amount is best for your rim brand, that wont be a costly problem because all needed parts are rather cheap and widely available. Start out with laying the amalgamating tape once around the rim and cut shorten, for each side of the rim flange one length of amalgamating tape. Proceed with this step until the accordable height is reduced.

Refer to instructions on the packaging on how to use amalgamating tape. After you are comfortable with the amount of tape needed you can then proceed with the transparent packing tape, please refer to the pictures. The more centred out you use the transparent tape the better, more on that later. The transparent tape should overlap the rims on both sides evenly, leave it that way for the first and get your tires on the rim. Only one round of transparent tape around the rim is enough, let it overlap the beginning a few inches (A dog biting his tail). The transparent tape fulfils three jobs.

1: Replaces the soapy water.
2: Protects the amalgamating tape from damage due to the tight fit the tires must have.
3: Check out the "Spraying Situation"

The Valve Situation:

Explanation:I have two pictures of valves included, the one type has a square sealing and the other a round one. My experiments back in 2005 revealed the valve as a weak and vulnerable point in the tubeless system. Stans and Bontrager (Trek) have round sealings, please refer to the pictures.Ones with square sealing might work for a while but sooner or later they gonna turn on you and that's gonna suck!

Next step is to make a small hole for the valve to fit through, be sure to keep it a small opening. Push the valve through and tighten it, if necessary press against the valve and tighten it. No need here for any soapy water or anything similar, this is a clean job! The transparent tape is slippy enough.) Get your tire and flip it on and find out if you have enough amalgamating tape around the rim flanges! Pump it up and wait for it to go plopp plopp plopp. With no plopp its going to be a flop, get the transparent tape off and more amalgamating tape on to make it go plopp.

Tip: If you need to remove the tire don't pull the tire lever along the rim, not to damage the carcase of the tire too much.

Sealing Situation The 2:

Now that it made plopp its time to find out if the valve is 100% sealed. For this we are going to need some water, if you like to waist water then fill the bath tub with just enough to cover the rim. Check and see if any air is leaking through the valve opening on the rim, if not you good to go otherwise tighten it. If you don't like waisting water like me then a wet sponge should do the job, don't worry if lots of air is leaking through the tires along the rim flanges and carcase. Now its time to get the latex milk plus the Sealflex if you like. Dry the tire and remove the inner core of the Presta valve via Needle nose pliers and pour in 60ml of Stans milk. If you like to use Sealflex, a mixture of 40ml milk / 20ml Sealflex=Lacryl is good and works for me. Put in the valve and pump up the tire tight tight and shake the wheel back and forth as you go around once, refer to the tube for more detailed information on that. Every 15 minutes repeat the shaking and if needed pump up again. After 2-3 days maximum the wheels should hold the air awesomely well. In fact i was able to do some riding around the block on day one, but for safety I advise too wait and shake. After doing some riding check to see if everything is O.K with the sponge method, it might be necessary to do some shaking around and pumping up. Stans milk really works fine for me and seals quick.

Thats it and you should now have a tubeless wheel set, on the pictures you can see rims from ZTR which are especially developed for Stans Tubeless System. There are two reasons why i didn't choose Stans or Bontragers ventiles, they are weight and color for appr. the same price as my American Classic ventiles, which weigh in under 4gr./pc.. Furthermore the American Classic valves have this plastic part which presses against the rim which is very good to get a tight sealing fit of the valve. I did use self amalgamating tape on the valve to insure a 100% sealing, as one can see on the pictures it wont really do a 100% sealing due to the shape. My tires are Ritchey Z-Max Evolution foldable.

Lets move on to the next and final step ladies and gents.

The Blackened Situation:

Things needed:

  • Spray paint in matte black
  • Blow dryer
  • Plastic bag
  • Transparent packing-tape
  • Kitchen knife

Nowadays tires have some serious advertisement spinning around the globe, the wheel and not everybody likes the looks or maybe even the colours chosen by different manufacturers. If you like what you see on your tires you well done, if not read on. Now, if you like the advertisement and are comfortable with it, cut of the overlapping transparent tape on your wheel set on both sides of the rim! If you want to get rid of advertisement, use the overlapping transparent tape to stick the plastic bag under.) Careful, don't use a Stanleys knife or anything similar, otherwise you are sure to damage the tire carcase!! Get a kitchen knife, yes i know its sharp as well, mmmhhh. What am I to do you might think, now you in a dead end dude, sorry for that. Maybe burning away will do you might think? Think think forget the burning. Got it, take the kitchen knife and cut with the blunt side of it facing the tire as you "cut" along, this way you cannot damage the tire and it does the job perfectly. Pull off the tape, clean the rims and you good to go. Excuse me for thinking out loud.

For the stealthing situation you will need a clean tire, matte spray paint in black of course and a plastic bag from your wife's excessive shopping sensation she had. I don't buy H&M but the plastic bag is good for this job. Use the transparent tape and tape around the parts you want blackened, don't forget using the overlapping tape on the rim. Pump up the tire to the maximum tire pressure you prefer and do some spraying, then take the blow dryer too quickly dry the spray painted part and move on to the next. That's it and you done.

Tip: If you want too save tape and be a smartass, tape only one side of the tire, then when you start for example with the word "Ritchey", i advise you to spray paint all "Ritchey" words in a row. Just reuse the plastic bag taped over and over, do the same for any other advertisement. This will not only save tape but more important, time!!

Weight for the Topless Tubeless version on a ZTR rim is appr. 70gramms! If the rim tape is left away, its less.

Thanks for reading and Congrats!

Update : Since 10 Days my wheels are holding the air almost constant, no refilling during this period, as soon as i need too fill up the pressure ill notify all.)
Today 1008012 I updated some cosmetic on this DIY and the tires are still holding the air, now its getting spooky! Summa Summarum today (1508012) I needed too refill air because the back tire started feeling to wobbly and thats nearly a month with no pumping!! On two trails yesterday I had some serious thorns I had to crack through, most probably that's where the most air was lost within the 4 Weeks, I am surprised.

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