Ghetto Tubeless

I’ve been running slime-filled tubes since renewing my acquaintance with a mountain bike in Botswana, but after a pleasant 20km ride and 4km walk decided enough was enough: time to go tubeless.

I tried it once before but on old non-tubeless specific tyres and there was too much leakage through the sidewalls. To be honest they were a bit old…

So, Ghetto Tubless, attempt #2.

On a recent trip to Gaborone I found a bicycle shop (Cyclebase, Gaborone West Industrial, +267-3132936) and, amongst other things, bought a pair of Maxxis Crossmarks and Stan’s Sealant.

Add a pair of 20″ el-cheap Raleigh-branded inner tubes from a shop that will remain nameless and ready to go.  There are plenty of resources on ghetto tubeless: read a few and form your own opinions on the way to go. I like the MTB Techniques summary, although I did without the sticky tape and foam. The MTBR links give some good discussion on the topic, and it recurs on Singletrack World

The 20″ inner tubes, being cheap, are quite thick rubber, especially round the valve stem, so I did some surgery with a Stanley knife to thin it out a bit.

Rims are Sun Ringle Ryde XMB (lightish cross-country/race) drilled out previously to take Schrader valves.

Installation was done with a compressor to seat the tyres and the sealant was injected through the valve after removing the valve-core – about 250ml each seems to have done the job..

Returning to this draft after a few months I can report that the tyres are still full of air, although I haven’t done too many kilometres on them: such is life.

Author: Michael

Parent, husband and civil engineer born and raised in Britain before emigrating to Botswana. Interests in construction, information technology, fitness, mechanics and mapping, among others.

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