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
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
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
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.
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.
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..