How to convert to tubeless bike tyres

Tubeless tyres are becoming increasingly popular – and for good reason! Unlike other options, tubeless tyres don’t need an inner tube. Instead, they grip the inside of the rim to create an airtight seal.

Using tubeless tyres comes with a host of benefits and there are lots of reasons why you might want to switch to a tubeless setup. Here’s everything you need to know.

What are tubeless tyres?

Most bikes come fitted with clincher tyres. These tyres have a bead that grips to the rim to keep them in place, and they require an inner tube.

Tubeless tyres work differently, gripping the inside of the rim to create an airtight seal. This removes the need for an inner tube. Riders can then insert a puncture-resistant sealant which seals punctures as you ride.

Shop all tubeless bike tyres

Why would I want to go tubeless?

Tubeless tyres first gained popularity among mountain bikers but are now common among road riders who appreciate the benefits they offer. These benefits include:

Puncture protection

A tubeless system (tubeless tyres and wheels) eliminates two forms of puncture: pinch flats and tube tears and rips.

Pinch flats occur when the inner tube is squeezed by the tyre after you run over a large object, or drop into a dip or pothole. No tube means no pinch flats.

Tubeless tyres are also filled with a special sealant that will heal any rips or tears that happen. Glass, tacks and nails are much less likely to cause punctures or result in a complete loss of pressure. Most sealants safely seal holes up to 6mm, so you still need to be prepared with a spare inner tube in case you’re unlucky enough to get a larger puncture or tear.


As they remove the possibility of pinch punctures, you can safely run tubeless tyres at much lower tyre pressures than tube and tyre combinations.

Running lower tyre pressures increases grip and offers a more comfortable ride, as more of the tyre meets the surface to soak up the lumps and bumps.

The really great thing? There is little or no impact on performance and speed.

Traditional clinchers can experience a high level of friction, thanks to the interface between the tube and the tyre. This friction can slow you down. Remove the tube and you reduce rolling resistance, which means you’ll be faster.

What do I need to convert to a tubeless set-up?

If you’re converting your bike to a tubeless setup, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Tubeless-ready wheelset - the rim profile of these wheels will differ to standard wheels that use tubes. Look closely or compare the two types and you'll notice a larger tyre bead recess.
  • Tubeless or tubeless-ready tyres - these tyres have fully sealed interiors to prevent air escaping.
  • Tubeless sealant - the sealant prevents air from escaping through the tyre or the rim if it becomes pierced - all tubeless-ready tyres need sealant.
  • Tubeless valve - similar to standard Presta valves, tubeless valves have a small seal at the end of them.
  • Rim tape – it’s important to match the width of the tape to the width of your rim.
  • Tyre levers – to get the tyre onto the wheel.
  • Floor pump – for inflating the tyre to the required pressure. Getting a tubeless tyre to seat on the rim can sometimes take a large burst of air pressure that a floor pump can’t always provide. If you’re struggling with this, a CO2 pump may be needed.

How to convert to a tubeless tyre

Step 1: Prepare the wheel rim

Before you start, make sure that the rim of your tubeless wheel is clean, dry and free of the original rim tape.

Begin taping opposite the valve, applying the tape in strips. You’ll need to apply plenty of tension to ensure a good connection between the tape and the rim.

We’d recommend overlapping the tape by 4-8cm, then cutting the tape and smoothing it out to eliminate any bubbles.

Step 2: Install the valve

Using scissors or a knife, make a precise hole in the rim tape where the valve will be. It’s easier to cut from inside the wheel to the outside.

Then, insert the valve and tighten the valve nut by hand.

Step 3: Seat the tyre

Slide one side of the tyre onto the wheel. A good tip is to line up the logo and tyre information with the valve.

Rotate the wheel and install the other side of the tyre. Depending on how you insert the sealant (see next step), you may need to install 90% of the tyre but leave a small gap which you will insert sealant through.

Step 4: Pour in the sealant

Now it’s time to add the sealant. The amount you need will depend on the size of your tyre. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for exact measurements and be careful not to use too much or too little.

Method 1

Insert the sealant through the valve. Tubeless valve stems have a removable core that you can take out to apply the sealant and replace once you’re done. You can purchase core removers for this purpose, but a gentle hand and a set of pliers will work just as well.

Using a sealant syringe or applicator bottle, squeeze the recommended amount of sealant into the tyre. Rotate the wheel gently to ensure that sealant covers the inside.

Method 2

Alternatively, you can pour the sealant in a small gap between the tyre and the rim (see last step). Just be careful it doesn’t pour back out, and attach the rest of the tyre immediately afterwards.

Once all the tyre is installed, rotate the wheel to ensure the sealant covers all of the tyre.

Step 5: Inflate the tyre

Now comes the tricky bit. You need to create an airtight seal by seating the tyre's bead on the rim.

Before inflating the tyre, spin the wheel to disperse the sealant. This will help create the airtight seal.

Seating the tyre then requires a high volume of air pressure which forces the tyre bead into place. For some tyres, this is possible with a powerful track pump like the Halfords Track Pump. You’ll know it’s in place if the tyre pressure starts increasing and you hear a pop (the sound of the bead seating on the rim).

Sometimes a track pump won’t be enough and a C02 inflator is required. These deliver a high volume of pressure quickly which will be enough to seat the tyre.

Once you’re happy the tyre is seated properly, inflate it to the required pressure. Be careful not to exceed the maximum pressure for the tyre or rim.


What’s the difference between tubeless tyres and tubular tyres?

Tubular tyres are more similar to clincher tyres as they use an inner tube. However, this inner tube is sewn into the tyre itself and can’t be replaced if it punctures. That means that the tyres often have to be replaced after a puncture, which is why they’re only usually used for bike racing.

Can I use tubeless tyres on my current wheels?

Sadly, you can’t just stick a tubeless tyre on your bike. The rim needs to have a bead lock to hold the tyre firmly in place and keep it airtight, and the interior of the rim needs to be sealed, with a rubber seal or tape.

If you want to run tubeless tyres, there are two types of wheels to choose from:

  1. Tubeless-ready or tubeless-compatible
  2. UST

Tubeless-ready wheels have bead locks in place, and the spoke beds will be sealed with tape. The rims are likely to have a square shape rather than the rounded style you’d find on inner-tube systems. There’s no standard for tubeless tyres, so components from different manufacturers may not match.

If you want to convert your wheels to run tubeless tyres, you can use a tubeless kit which includes everything you need to make the switch.

UST or Uniform System Tubeless wheels must meet a certified standard to use the UST label. You can fit any UST tyre to a UST rim, and you don’t even need to use any sealant.

Shop tubeless conversion kits

How do I fix a puncture on a tubeless tyre?

Fixing a flat on a tubeless road bike tyre is a little more complicated than replacing a tyre and a tube, but with our step-by-step guide, you’ll be fine.