Sick of flats!

November 16th, 2010

After having to push back out of the woods last Saturday (yeah, left without tools, tubes, patches, etc) I started looking at what it would take to convert to tubeless. Deciding to go “cheap” versus using a commercially available “system”, I chose the “pipe wrap” method of what’s commonly known as “Ghetto Tubeless”, or what I prefer to refer to as “Hillbilly tubeless”, since I live in the Ozarks.

The concept is to seal up the existing rims so that they will hold air, add some sealant, and bingo…it’s now tubeless. The tires that I am using are “standard” tires, so the sidewalls are not as tough as actual tubeless tires, but according to the research I have done, they should be fine.

Here’s the summary of the process that I posted on


1. Left stock rim strip in place.
2. Wrapped the rim with 3M 2″ wide 10Mil black pipe wrap. (nobody seems to stock Harvey’s here in Springtown)
3. Pressed the tape with my thumbs around the entire rim, removing bubbles as best as I could.
4. Sealed the tape under the bead lip as best as I could.
5. Trimmed the excess tape off by “shaving” around the rim on both sides, leaving just a small bit wrapping the edge of the rim.
6. Cut down and taped in a standard bike schrader valve from a pinch flatted tube.
7. Poked a hole to insert the schrader through and taped it down with a 9″ piece of pipe tape, cut to fit within the edges of the rim, to try and prevent any leakage.
8. Installed the tire and seated the beads (dry~forgot to use soapy water)
9. Broke the bead loose and added probably too much sealant.
10. Did the shake and rotate dance.
11. Put the tire on it’s side and let it sit 30 minutes.
12. Flipped it and checked for seepage. None thus far…
13. Came inside and posted this post that everyone else has already experienced.

Depending on if the schrader holds or not, I will probably go ahead and do the front one tomorrow evening. What stresses would affect the schrader valve since it’s all taped into the rim? On an under inflated tube, I have had the tire slip and yank a valve out of a tube before, but I really don’t see what would cause a problem, other than tape failure, allowing spooge to escape.

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