Are Tubeless tires good for ebikes? I explain HOW and WHY

What if you could make your 
electric bike lighter, faster,   have more range, make it more resistant to 
flats, and you didn't have to add anything   to the bike? In fact, you would 
actually remove something instead. What I'm talking about is a tubeless conversion 
of your tire. And in case you don't know   what that is, that's okay. That's 
exactly what this video is for.   I want to explain to you not 
only WHY you would want to have a   tubeless setup on an electric bike, but how 
to do it on the Bolton Ebikes Blackbird. Now I mentioned a few things; I said 
lighter, faster, more range and more   puncture resistant. Let me explain what I mean 
by that. Lighter definitely is a benefit because   fat bike tubes in particular are fairly 
heavy. If you can remove the tube from   each tire, you can save a few pounds 
off your bike with really no downside.

So lighter, definitely something that we can 
do. In fact, we can weigh the bike before   and after this conversion to see 
how much weight we can actually   save. Now, second I said faster, and 
that's because a tubeless setup has less   rolling resistance and it may be a little bit. 
Odd to think about that as the tire actually rolls   and rotates at the very bottom of the tire, 
it's going to compress with every rotation. So at some point the tire and the tube inside are 
always being compressed down and then expanding   back out. And there's a certain amount of friction 
when that happens. When you remove the tube,   you actually remove a bunch of the friction 
for the tire rolling. And so the tire will   actually roll easier without the tube 
inside than with the tube in there.

So less rolling resistance means there's 
two different benefits. One in theory,   you should be able to go slightly faster. 
On a certain amount of power. And that's   why tubeless setups are very popular and 
common in racing type bicycles. Not just   ebikes. Ebikes I think it's more rare. As 
well, If you have less rolling resistance,   that of course is going to mean more range, 
which is very important on an electric bike. Finally, I mentioned flat resistance. Well, how 
is a tubeless setup more resistant to flats than   something that has a tube in it? When you have a 
tube, there's a few different ways to get a flat.   One of them gets eliminated completely. And that's 
called a pinch flat. If you hit your tire hard on   something like on a curb or on a big rock or a 
root, it's possible that you compress the tire. The tube actually pinches itself and that's what 
they call a pinch flat.

Or when I was growing up,   we always call them snake bites because you 
sometimes get two little holes in one spot,   and that's a sign that you definitely had 
a pinch flat. If you don't have a tube,   you can eliminate those 
types of flats all together. One of the benefits to a tubeless set up, 
because you can eliminate pinch flats as it,   you can run tubeless tires at lower pressure. 
So if you're riding in sand or snow or any sort   of loose conditions, you can let more air 
out of the tire and not have the tire go   flat because of a pinch flat then you 
could with a tube set setup.

The other   types of flats you can get are typically from 
thorns and nails and screws and everything. A tubeless set up isn't going to prevent 
everything, but it does actually help against   thorns. One of the things that you need in a 
tubeless setup is a little bit of a sealant,   and that keeps any tiny little air gaps sealed up. 
It kind of doubles as a flat protection because   if you get a thorn in the tire and you remove 
it, the sealant that's inside the tire is going   to plug that hole up and seal it back up and keep 
most of your air inside the tire where it belongs. One of the benefits that I've discovered as 
well is that sometimes tubeless setups are   easier to repair if you do get 
a flat. So if you have a tire,   like this one, and let's say a 
nail or a screw goes through it,   something big enough to where the sealant 
can't seal it up, there are plugs.

You can get plugs that actually go 
in from the outside of the tire.   So you don't remove the wheel from 
the bike. You don't remove the tire   or anything. You could actually plug 
it from the outside, pump it back up,   and then continue on your ride. And I've 
seen people do this in a manner of seconds.   Now the Bolton Ebikes Blackbird comes with 
tubeless ready tires and tubeless ready rims. That makes it a lot easier to make this 
conversion happen. If you don't have tubeless   ready tires and rims, I've seen people do 
a conversion. I can't guarantee, however,   if it will work and some of the techniques I'm 
going to show in this video may not work at all. This video is intended if you have tubeless ready, 
fat bike rims and tires. The Blackbird also comes   with some sealant. This is what's going to go 
inside the tire and the rim to keep all of the air   inside where we want it. This is tubeless ready 
tape that you can buy online or at a local bike   shop.

And if you can't find this or don't have 
access to this for some reason, and you need some,   the good news is there is an alternative 
you can find at your local hardware store. I've seen many people online, reputable bike tool 
companies, their own videos, where instead of   using the official tubeless tape. They're actually 
just using standard Gorilla tape that you can buy   at your local hardware store. So just know that 
if you need some tubeless tape or a replacement,   this is an easy alternative that 
you can easily get your hands on. The other thing that the Blackbird comes with is 
a new valve stem. This one has a rubber grommet   at the bottom and this is what you use instead 
of the valve stem that is normally on your   tube. Finally, to make things easier in 
The Blackbird boxes, we always include   a valve stem adapter. That's just in case you 
don't have a pump that can pump up a Presta valve.

Like this one, this adapts this 
to a Schrader. That's the same   as on most bicycles and most cars. 
So most pumps can connect to this. Let's go ahead and get this converted over to 
our tubeless setup. We're going to remove the   cap on the valve stem. And then there is a second 
nut on a Presta valve that you just loosen up. It doesn't come all the way 
off. And then when you press it,   that lets all the air out. Once you've got 
all the air out, you need to break the bead,   but make sure to only do that on one side 
of the tire. So on the tubeless rims,   there's a special little groove all the way around 
the inside edge that holds the tire in place.

We want to pop that out of 
place, but only on one side,   that's very important. Otherwise this 
will be much more difficult later.   Once you've got the bead loose. At this point, you 
may need a couple of tire irons. I would highly   recommend it. Go ahead and pop the bead 
completely off and outside the edge on   one side of the rim. Remember that we're 
leaving the bead on the opposite side intact.   The Presta valves have a small nut that 
holds the valve uptight against the rim. You'll need to remove that. And then you can 
go ahead and pull the tube all the way out   this aside. We don't need it anymore. Now I'm 
going to show you what you need to do if you   don't have the tubeless tape installed. 
So this right here, this rim strip,   you can see where it says sunringle. That 
is just a rim strip. It's just the liner to   cover the holes in the rim. That is 
not the tubeless tape that we need. Now, if you have the tubeless tape already 
installed right here.

You can skip these   next couple of steps of putting the 
tape on and pressing it into place.   If you don't have the tubeless tape on,   you need to break the bead on the other side 
of the tire and get the tire completely off. And then you're going to take the tape and 
put it all the way around the entire rim   and make sure it goes all the way 
up to the edges on both sides.   Also, if you're using the Gorilla Tape method, 
instead of the tubeless tape, make sure that the   tape overlaps nicely and that there's no way 
that air can get in between any of the gaps. Once you have the tape on, you're going to 
do something a little bit counter intuitive,   but it's going to make this a lot easier 
later.

pexels photo 7018257

You want to actually put the tire   back on and reinstall and re-inflate the 
tube. What this is going to do is push   all of this tape down into all of the little 
nooks and crannies, make sure it's seated nicely,   and it's going to get one of our beads 
on the tire seated back into place. Now that we have the tube back on and the tire 
is on the rim, you want to inflate it fully   so that the bead is seated on both 
sides.

And you're going to hear it   pop into place. You also want to watch 
along the edge and just make sure you   don't see any gaps here if you do, or if 
the tires lopsided or a little bit uneven. What you can do is take a spray bottle 
with some soapy water and just spray it   right along the edge of the rim and the bead. 
And that will help it to slide into place.   Now, the bead is secure on both sides. We know 
that the tape is going to be pressed down,   into place. We can kind of go back to step one 
of this video. Let the air out of the tire,   hold the tube out, but make sure when you pull 
the tube out, only break one side of the bead   because this time that one side is going to 
stay, we'll get the, to pull all the way out. And as a tip, you may want to save this 
and keep it in your spare parts bag,   because if you ever do get a flat on 
your tubeless set up, that you can't fix   a simple quick fix is to just throw a tube back 
in there.

You want to take the new valve stem   that has the rubber grommet at the bottom 
and insert that into the hole in your rim. Now I did poke a hole in the tubeless tape 
right there. If you haven't done that already,   you'll need to take a sharp knife or 
something with a nice round point is ideal.   And just poke that through, the nut on the 
inside of the rim and tighten that all the   way down. Now comes the sealant. You're just 
going to pour this directly into the tire. An alternative way to do this is actually to 
remove the core of the valve stem. And you can put   it in through the valve if you'd like, but this 
is the simplest way to do it on a fat tire. Pour   it right in at this point, you want to go ahead 
and put the bead back into the inside of the rim. Just be mindful when you're moving things 
around that you have a big puddling pool   of sealant at the bottom of the tire, 
and we don't want that to spill out.

Once you've got the bead back on. 
Now, it's time to put some air back   in the tire. This may take a fair amount of 
pressure. So if you have an air compressor,   probably going to be the easiest solution, 
dealing with a hand pump or small portable   pump may or may not work, just be aware that 
there may be mixed results in the air compressor. If you've got one that is going to have 
the best chances of success. Make sure   that when you inflate that the tire 
gets seated back into that bead,   so any little gaps like this need to go away.

Now 
you've got air in the tire sealant in the tire,   but we need to make sure the seal is getting 
into all little nooks and crannies inside. The tire where the bead is where the 
valve stem is. So what you want to do   is take the tire like this, and just kind of 
rotate it around. You see, when you pour the   sealant in how liquidy it is and how it can get 
everywhere, which is what it's supposed to do   to rotate it around this way. And then you can 
flip it over and rotate it around the other way.

You may have to re-inflate the tire a 
few times over the next several hours,   even possibly a few days as the sealant gets 
into every little spot it needs to get to.   And then the other thing of course 
you can do is take the tire and   roll it this way. And you can do that with 
an on the bike and you can see that already. I've lost a little bit of my pressure 
from when we first filled it up.   So we'll just keep that sealant moving 
around, just check it every few days.   The other thing to be aware of for tubeless 
tires is that they do tend to have just very,   very slow gradual leaks all the time.

Meaning if 
you go to ride your bike after a month or two,   don't be surprised if the pressure is a little 
bit lower, that's perfectly normal and acceptable. You just want to pump your tires up a little 
bit and then go for your ride. Now that the   tubeless conversion is done, let's test out some 
of the benefits that I talked about. I definitely   want to do a top speed run and see, is there 
a noticeable change in top speed with tubeless   tires or not? But before we get to that, one of 
the easy things that we can test is the weight. All we need to do is weigh this bike 
and one that has not had the tubeless   conversion done to it. So off camera, I've got 
a completely stocked with tubes installed bike.   Let's throw that on the scale and see how much 
it weighs. First, I've got just under 29 pounds   for the front half of the bike. We can weigh the 
front half and then the back half of the bike.

And just add those together just about 29 pounds,   maybe a hair under on the front wheel. And 
we're measuring about 39. On the back half,   not the most accurate test, but that's given me 
about 68 pounds, which sounds about right with   all the accessories and everything installed. 
Let's see what the tubeless version weighs. What about 27 and a half pounds? And 
I'm getting about 38 and a half there.   So I'd say we've shaved off roughly three 
pounds adding the. Tubes out on this bike.   Now I know from the previous tests that the stock 
bike does just over 30 miles an hour on throttle,   only with everything unlocked. Now, the big 
question is, are tubeless tires noticeable faster? And I have to say the answer is, No. 
They realistically feel about the same,   at least as far as our speed on the display. I 
know the rolling resistance is less. And we should   get a little more range, possibly a little more 
speed, but it's not a measurable difference on top   speed.

You enjoyed this video on how to convert 
your Blackbird Ebike to a tubeless setup and   make sure to go check out my other video, where I 
explain Electric Bike Laws In The United States..

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