How to Inflate Tubeless Tires

How to Inflate Tubeless Tires
Many mountain bikes employ tubeless tire technology. This system, formally called universal system tubeless (UST), requires a special rim and a tire with a butyl rubber liner molded into the casing. This design eliminates the need for an inner tube, saving weight and reducing the risk of pinch flats. While the technology differs, the process for inflating a tubeless tire is largely similar to inflating an inner tube-style tire.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Inflation device
  • Schrader to Presta valve adapter (as needed)
Step 1
Check that both beads of your tire are nestled in the center of the rim. If any portion of the bead is sticking out, tuck it in now. The bead is the bottom portion of the tire that fits into the rim.
Step 2
Remove the valve stem cap from the tire and unscrew the locknut at the tip of the valve. If your pump has a Schrader head, screw a Schrader-to-Presta valve adapter onto the head of your valve until it is fully seated. Presta valves can be identified by their narrow body and locknut. A Schrader pump head will be too large for a Presta valve without an adaptor.
Step 3
Attach the head of your pump to the valve or valve adaptor, and lock the pump head in place.
Step 4
Pump the tire to approximately 20 psi. The tire should be taking shape, with the beads pressing loosely against the sides of the rim.
Step 5
Add more air until the beads "pop" audibly into the bead seats along the rim.
Step 6
Inspect the tire to ensure that the tire sidewalls are seated uniformly.
Step 7
Continue to add air to the tire's recommended psi. The recommended psi will be printed on the sidewall of the tire. The tire will be fully inflated when the textured ring along the sidewall of the tire, called the bead-seat indicator, is equally exposed around both sides of the tire.
Step 8
Remove the head of the pump quickly, so as not to release too much air, and tighten the locknut back down onto the valve. Replace the plastic cap.

Tips & Warnings

Test ride your tires after inflating. Fully inflating your tire might make for a bit of a harsh ride. Letting a small amount of air out of your tire can soften the ride.

Article Written By Matthew Ferguson

Matthew Ferguson is a writer living in Savannah, Ga. He has been writing for over 10 years and his work has appeared on various online publications. A collection of his short stories was published in spring 2010. He is a graduate of Appalachian State University.

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