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  1. #1
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    Best Inflation Method For Seating Tubeless Fat Bike Tires At Home

    Got me a fat bike and would like to be able to seat tubeless beads at home. Thought initially I might need an air compressor, but then found out about these air shot floor pumps where you pump a canister up then let it out at once into the tire. Seems most don't have the volume for fat tires, however there's a Lezyne Micro Floor Drive XL MTB Pump 35psi -

    https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/...MaAhH0EALw_wcB

    - that claims to hold fat tire volume. EDIT: Belatedly realized the linked pump isn't the right kind of pump.

    Is this the way to go or are there better options?

    On a related note, how do tubeless fatpackers seat a bead on the road if the need arises, or can they? These adventurous chaps tour out in goathead desert country sometimes a fair way from civilization.
    Last edited by BobBracket; 3 Weeks Ago at 11:15 PM.

  2. #2
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    I feel like chaps who can't afford flats carry a backup tube? But I'm not one of them. If you've got a rim with a tight interface, I suppose you might reset the bead with a co2 canister?

    Anyway... I bought the gf a crank brothers klic and with about forty pumps into the reservoir, I get enough air to fill a 4.0 minion on 47mm rim up to ~14 psi with the flip of a switch.

    If you remove the valve core and pump it up to 150psi(i don't actually check the tank pressure, so I'm not exactly sure how much), I get more air into the tire faster than if I use my compressor, which is set to ~100psi. If the tire is well situated, it'll mount with the klic. Where it falls short is if I have to fiddle with the tire while airing up, in which case the compressor provides air while I get the tire to cooperate.

    I recently mounted a 4.8 on 80mm with it. The interface was not ideal, and it took several attempts, but I got it done.

    You might also consider a portable air tank if you have a nearby shop air source.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    I have the charger pump. It has plenty of volume for fat-tires, but there are other issues that crop up when trying to seat tubeless tires. Because you don't have an unlimited supply of air, it can be frustrating and take many attempts. If you learn all the "tricks", you can greatly increase the chances of it working first time. I've mounted 8 or so fat tires this season.

    I also have a high volume/low pressure pump. I have been able to set non-fat tires with it, but never fat tires. You need something with a valve that you can turn that will empty pressure in the tire and you might need your hands free to do things like pull the bead over, jam up a leak, etc. I would not recommend trying to rely on a high volume pump to fill a fat tire.

    Out on the trail, no way, too many variables to ever expect to pump up a flat tubeless tire, except in the case of using a plug. Plugs work for smaller punctures and if your sealant is good, but for anything larger you need to make a little boot and put a tube in there, it's generally not worth fussing with tubeless to try and make it work on the trail, check for thorns/objects and put a tube in there. CO2s are already a poor way to fill something with as much volume as fat tire. I wouldn't even bother. CO2 also makes any sealant coagulate, so that's kind of self-defeating.

    When using my blackburn pump at home, some tips include:

    Always seat the tire with a tube first, leave it overnight, this helps to compress the rim strip and minimize the chance of sealant working into spoke holes/valve stem AND it securely locks one of the beads in, as when you go to remove the tube ONLY break one bead/side and fish the tube out from that side.

    Use lots of soapy water. Really, you can't use enough.

    Sometimes you need to partially pull the bead over the non-seated side. Sometimes this helps to close up some gaps and put you over the threshold where the tire now holds enough pressure to make a seal and pop into place.

    Over time your rim tape may sink into the spoke-holes and create little gaps where air leaks out. Back in the day, I use to do things like cover each of them with a little piece of scotch tape, with soap on top it worked fine. Recently, I realized I could get the bead partially seated (see above) and then jam my fingers a bit and put it over the threshold I was discussing above. One time, I had to have a shop help me and they used a 2nd air chuck to "squirt" air under the bead while also putting air in via the valve (compressor). Now, I feel confident I can take care of this myself, but it was frustrating a few times.

    I've recently heard from a bunch of local guys that another trick that bypasses much of this is to lay the wheel down with the loose bead down, then gravity assists in making the seal and putting it over the threshold. I haven't tried this, but it sounds logical.

    Some people use a strap to help make the tire tighter on the rim, this has never worked for me, as it only serves to open up gaps in the bead, but again it supposedly works and having more tricks up your sleeve is good.

    Sometimes having some sealant in the tire can help...it can make it messy too, so that one is a double edged sword.

    One of the most common issues when seating is not having the valve stem tight, make sure it's good and tight first.

    Some of the aluminum rims have to be "built up" to ensure they make a good seal, with gorilla tape or something. I find the shape of the chinese fat rims (nextie, light bicycle, etc.) to work very well tubeless, they always make a good seal when the bead locks in place.

    To get the tire off, always step on the deflated tire with the wheel lying on the ground. If you aren't getting enough traction, use your bare foot, trust me, it'll grip and it'll pop right off. I spent hours one day years ago trying ski boots, spd shoes, hiking boots, till I realized the bare foot was actually the best way.

    A few years ago, I had to go use compressors at gas stations and I didn't really know what I was doing, I got frustrated at times. Occasionally it takes me a lot of tries because I have to resort to more exotic methods, but knowing what I know now, I could have saved a ton of time and effort mounting tubeless. The floor pump with canister is perfectly adequate for fat tires, but you usually need to use some of the tricks above.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  4. #4
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    I'm pretty sure I'm a dinosaur in this respect, but I don't believe in compressors for tubeless use. If I can't seat the bead with a floor pump in the shop, I don't want to deal with the hassle out on the trail.

    I've seated the beads on my favorite rim/tire combo's using only a *micro* hand pump. Made sure my wife could do the same before she headed out on the Iditarod.

    There are only a handful of rim/tire combo's that fit this tightly, and you still need good technique -- basically pulling the beads out as far as possible toward the seat.

    Given the low pressures that can be needed to get home if conditions change wildly mid-ride, I wouldn't ride a combo that didn't fit tightly enough to seat with a hand pump. There is a correlation between that tight fit and not weeping/burping at low psi's. to begin with.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post

    Given the low pressures that can be needed to get home if conditions change wildly mid-ride, I wouldn't ride a combo that didn't fit tightly enough to seat with a hand pump. There is a correlation between that tight fit and not weeping/burping at low psi's. to begin with.
    But if it's really that tight, which would be significantly tighter than anything I've ever experienced (to be set with a mini-pump), it would in turn make the tire so tight that it'd be next to impossible just to get it off, right? Plastic tire levers tend to snap easy at those bead-tightness levels?

    Just curious.

    The other aspect is the plug kits allow you to plug a leak without ever breaking the bead, and really, if the leak is so big the plugs won't do it, you generally aren't going to be repairing it in the field anyway, so still have to use the tube.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    But if it's really that tight, which would be significantly tighter than anything I've ever experienced (to be set with a mini-pump), it would in turn make the tire so tight that it'd be next to impossible just to get it off, right? Plastic tire levers tend to snap easy at those bead-tightness levels?

    Curious.

    I take one plastic lever along with and almost never need it. Technique trumps brute force.

    It doesn't have to be as tight as you're envisioning. Good rim design goes a long way.

    They get overlooked because they're not carbon and not dirt cheap, but the Bontrager Jackalope is amazing in this respect. Throw almost any tire on and as long as the beads are on the correct side of the valve stem, as soon as you start pumping with pretty much any pump out there, the tire is taking air and the beads are starting to creep toward the seats. When it comes time to swap tires you can break the beads with your feet, extract the tire by hand, and repeat with the next tire.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobBracket View Post
    These adventurous chaps tour out in goathead desert country sometimes a fair way from civilization.

    Goathead punctures are pretty quickly fixed with sealant in the tire, to the extent that you almost never know that you hit one (or many) until much, much later. Keeping your sealant topped up is the key.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I have the charger pump. It has plenty of volume for fat-tires, but there are other issues that crop up when trying to seat tubeless tires. Because you don't have an unlimited supply of air, it can be frustrating and take many attempts. If you learn all the "tricks", you can greatly increase the chances of it working first time. I've mounted 8 or so fat tires this season.

    I also have a high volume/low pressure pump. I have been able to set non-fat tires with it, but never fat tires. You need something with a valve that you can turn that will empty pressure in the tire and you might need your hands free to do things like pull the bead over, jam up a leak, etc. I would not recommend trying to rely on a high volume pump to fill a fat tire.

    Out on the trail, no way, too many variables to ever expect to pump up a flat tubeless tire, except in the case of using a plug. Plugs work for smaller punctures and if your sealant is good, but for anything larger you need to make a little boot and put a tube in there, it's generally not worth fussing with tubeless to try and make it work on the trail, check for thorns/objects and put a tube in there. CO2s are already a poor way to fill something with as much volume as fat tire. I wouldn't even bother. CO2 also makes any sealant coagulate, so that's kind of self-defeating.

    When using my blackburn pump at home, some tips include:

    Always seat the tire with a tube first, leave it overnight, this helps to compress the rim strip and minimize the chance of sealant working into spoke holes/valve stem AND it securely locks one of the beads in, as when you go to remove the tube ONLY break one bead/side and fish the tube out from that side.

    Use lots of soapy water. Really, you can't use enough.

    Sometimes you need to partially pull the bead over the non-seated side. Sometimes this helps to close up some gaps and put you over the threshold where the tire now holds enough pressure to make a seal and pop into place.

    Over time your rim tape may sink into the spoke-holes and create little gaps where air leaks out. Back in the day, I use to do things like cover each of them with a little piece of scotch tape, with soap on top it worked fine. Recently, I realized I could get the bead partially seated (see above) and then jam my fingers a bit and put it over the threshold I was discussing above. One time, I had to have a shop help me and they used a 2nd air chuck to "squirt" air under the bead while also putting air in via the valve (compressor). Now, I feel confident I can take care of this myself, but it was frustrating a few times.

    I've recently heard from a bunch of local guys that another trick that bypasses much of this is to lay the wheel down with the loose bead down, then gravity assists in making the seal and putting it over the threshold. I haven't tried this, but it sounds logical.

    Some people use a strap to help make the tire tighter on the rim, this has never worked for me, as it only serves to open up gaps in the bead, but again it supposedly works and having more tricks up your sleeve is good.

    Sometimes having some sealant in the tire can help...it can make it messy too, so that one is a double edged sword.

    One of the most common issues when seating is not having the valve stem tight, make sure it's good and tight first.

    Some of the aluminum rims have to be "built up" to ensure they make a good seal, with gorilla tape or something. I find the shape of the chinese fat rims (nextie, light bicycle, etc.) to work very well tubeless, they always make a good seal when the bead locks in place.

    To get the tire off, always step on the deflated tire with the wheel lying on the ground. If you aren't getting enough traction, use your bare foot, trust me, it'll grip and it'll pop right off. I spent hours one day years ago trying ski boots, spd shoes, hiking boots, till I realized the bare foot was actually the best way.

    A few years ago, I had to go use compressors at gas stations and I didn't really know what I was doing, I got frustrated at times. Occasionally it takes me a lot of tries because I have to resort to more exotic methods, but knowing what I know now, I could have saved a ton of time and effort mounting tubeless. The floor pump with canister is perfectly adequate for fat tires, but you usually need to use some of the tricks above.
    Jayem I just realized the pump I linked isn't one of those charger pumps with a storage canister. I've found various ones for mtb use, but what one are you using for your fat bike?

  9. #9
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    If you already have a decent floor pump, then an airshot canister may suffice?

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobBracket View Post
    Jayem I just realized the pump I linked isn't one of those charger pumps with a storage canister. I've found various ones for mtb use, but what one are you using for your fat bike?
    Blackburn Chamber.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  11. #11
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    One solution to this is to buy a 5 gal air tank at any department or home store. For the initial seating, you can fill the tank weeks ahead of time and use the screw valve to seal the air in. With a cheap coily hose and a blow gun you get multiple chances to get the tire to seat. You can refill it with a hand floor pump if you want a workout or get in a bind.

    As far as on the trail, I find it much easier to use CO2 for a quick fill up if the sealant hasn't quite sealed it up yet, or you are going to try a plug. If that fails I just go straight to the spare tube I carry. I find it much easier to re-seat on the trail if only one bead has been broken. As has been noted, that assumes that your rim will hold a bead with a flat tire. If it doesn't you probably are going straight for a tube anyway.

    I use that Lezyne pump without the tank as a way to fill my motorcycle tires on the trail. It works ok. The problem with low pressrue high volume hand pumps in general is that they get pretty hard to pump when the pressures go up. It is a trade off of 200 strokes on a low volume or 50 on a high volume at an average of 3 times the force. If it tells you anything, I leave it in my motorcycle pack. As it stands right now, I'd rather invest in the lightest fat tube I can find and just use my CO2 and regular hand pump all year with every bike.

  12. #12
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    All posters thanks for the great information, it's helped to figure out where to look and what to do in choosing an inflation method. Also incredible tips on dealing with the seating/unseating process.

    Mbr reviewers really like the Blackburn Chamber and seems to be one of the best pump and chamber options https://www.mbr.co.uk/buyers_guide/b...flators-343634

    As I can work with my floor pump I ended up deciding between chamber-only options. The Airshot looked good, but as I'm running very high volume tires I went with the Giant Control Tank as it can hold considerably more compressed air with a capacity of 1.45L at 160psi compared to the Airshot's 1.15L at 130psi. And in practice reviewers seem to be getting more air out of it than most when flipping the switch. I'll let yas know how it goes when the moment of truth arrives!
    Last edited by BobBracket; 3 Weeks Ago at 04:25 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by adaycj View Post
    As it stands right now, I'd rather invest in the lightest fat tube I can find and just use my CO2 and regular hand pump all year with every bike.
    Yep I was looking at tubes as apparently you can use some mtb-plus-sized tubes on fat bikes which end up being a very lightweight fat tube option. I'll use one of those for a spare, however as I'm doing some trail riding on the bike, every bit of rotational weight I take off the wheels is going to make a lot of difference.

    The bike originally came with Vittoria Cannoli 4.8s which are supposed to be a good quality tire but super heavy at just over 2 kg a piece! Very aggressive heavy-duty tire so I replaced it with a light all-rounder (jumbo jim 4.0) for trail riding and save the Cannolis for bikepacking off the beaten path.

    Anyway changing to the jumbo jims saved a kg on each wheel and boy it makes a difference! I think a light tube would be not much heavier than sealant, but there's rolling resistance to think of too and I will use all the help I can get!

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