I’ve been interested in trying tubeless tires on my mountain bike for a long time. I bought the Mavic CrossTrail UST Disc wheelset for my bike many years ago partly with the idea that I’d eventually try it out. I had a fairly new set of tubed tires at the time and I didn’t want to spring for $120 worth of rubber with those wheels at the time.
Well, I’ve been rocking those tires for awhile and decided to get some new tires this season. I wanted to get the Continental Mountain Kings because they looked and sounded like they’d be a good tread pattern for my local trails. I also wanted some big tires to help float over the sand.
Right, so I took care of business on a couple fronts. I got the Continental Mountain King tires from a Performance Bike store that had just opened and was having a nice sale on Continental tires. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the UST version in stock, but the $35/tire price on the non-UST was just too attractive to me. I went home with a 2.4 for the front and a 2.2 for the rear. Both are larger than the 2.0 Specialized Fast Track Pro tires I have been using for awhile now, and because I still mostly ride XC, I figured the 2.2 rear was probably going to be enough for me.
I decided that though I wanted to try a pure UST dry version first, I’d try these tires out with a sealant instead…it’d be lighter.
I went about reading on ghetto tubeless and tubeless-ready and all that and I got to wondering. Could I seat a standard tire on UST wheels without sealant?
I decided to run an experiment. I used the front wheel as my experiment with the 2.4 Mtn King. I removed the tube from the tire, installed the tubeless valve (with removable core, so I can still use sealant if I want without unseating the bead), soaped the beads with Dawn dish soap and water and had a go with using a floor pump because some folks seem to manage to get this to work. Well, no dice with the floor pump. No biggie. There’s a gas station down the street with a free air compressor.
I toss the wheel in my car and head ~1mi down the road and inflate the tire with the compressor. BTW, my Mavic wheels handily came with both the tubeless valve cores AND shraeder adapters, which not only allowed me to use the compressor, but also allowed me to monitor the pressure with my tire gauge.
I inflated the tire to 30psi in a number of small bursts to avoid rapid decompression in case the bead failed.
It took a second to seat the bead, and the soapy water bubbled a little, but it eventually got the pressure up. That was at precisely 8:30pm. I’ll be monitoring the pressure to see how rapidly it drops off before I do this on the other tire.
At this point, if I use a sealant at all, I don’t see why a simple ghetto diluted latex variety from the craft store won’t work.