Ask a Mechanic: How to Convert Normal Rims to Tubeless

Earl wants to know, “ Can you show me how to tape my mountain wheels to run my tires tubeless, and is there anything special that goes in to taping an extra wide rim?”

Taping a mountain wheel to go tubeless is pretty simple. The only issue you may have is finding a tape that covers the entire inner rim channel, what with rim widths getting greater and greater. Here are a few tips for making sure you get a good seal from the tape on any rim.

Start a few inches above the valve hole and work down around the wheel while initially holding the end of the tape in place. You’ll want to have a good amount of tension on the tape so it contours to the rim surface. I always do two full rotations around the rim, and finish a few inches past the valve hole on the opposite end from which you started.

When it comes to a wider rim where the tape doesn’t reach the edges, you’ll have to change the process slightly. I’ll still start above the valve but will favor one side of the rim channel. As you make your way around, stay to that side but be sure you’re still covering the spoke holes in the center. Once you get to the starting point by the valve, transition the tape to the other side of the rim and continue around again. This time you’ll want bias the coverage to the side opposite the first rotation. Once again, be sure you are covering the spoke holes in the center of the rim. Once you get back around after the second rotation, finish on the opposite side of the valve hole. Push your valve through the tape, mount the tire, add sealant, inflate and hit the trail!