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  1. #1
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    Tubeless Troubleshooting-Valve Leakage

    Ok, I went tubeless for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I used the Stan's All Mountain Kit, which is the widest they go with Presta valve strips, although it specifies 24-28mm external rim width and mine are 29mm internal. Guy at the shop approved. I figure this stuff isn't micrometer precise, so I'm ok.

    I was a bit shocked at how narrow the tape was, so i put in two layers, shifting it a couple mm on the second wind to give a mm or so each side of the spoke holes. Seemed all good, the rim strips seemed appropriate for the rims as far as width. Note, the rims don't have a well, but rather are curved or radiused between the shoulders, so there wasn't a discrete place to put the tape, just covering the spoke holes.

    Well, I don't have a compressor with a presta fitting, tried a couple of CO2 carts and couldn't get them seated dry (no sealant). So I took them to a local shop who checked everything and got them filled and seated. The only thing the shop guy mentioned is that the rim strip had gotten slightly misaligned on one of the wheels when I was putting the tire on or trying to get it seated.

    Both held air at 35 psi for a week. I had a 10 mile ride the day after fitting them, on gravel, so I left the pressure up. Then, a few days later (the trails here are all flooded) a street ride with a bit of jumping and dropping.

    This morning, 10 days after tubeless installation, and without riding for maybe five days, the front tire is flat and is leaking around the valve. Fairly obviously, wiggling the valve makes it leak, pulling on it slows it down, but I spun the tire around and it stopped leaking. Snug the valve nut up so it can't move, doesn't leak.

    Is my tape job jacked up? I pierced a small hole in the tape and forced the valve through, but maybe it tore? And why 10 days later (it has gotten significantly cooler)? To an extent you might expect this I guess.

    Anyway, for now, it seems to be holding, after spinning the tire around a few times and snugging down the valve nut. Should I be worried or is this kind of par for the course?

    Because I cannot seem to seat the bead on this tire/rim combo, just tearing into it for exploratory surgery is not a realistic option. I can take it back to the shop, but maybe there's no need?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwiceHorn View Post
    Ok, I went tubeless for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I used the Stan's All Mountain Kit, which is the widest they go with Presta valve strips, although it specifies 24-28mm external rim width and mine are 29mm internal. Guy at the shop approved. I figure this stuff isn't micrometer precise, so I'm ok.

    I was a bit shocked at how narrow the tape was, so i put in two layers, shifting it a couple mm on the second wind to give a mm or so each side of the spoke holes. Seemed all good, the rim strips seemed appropriate for the rims as far as width. Note, the rims don't have a well, but rather are curved or radiused between the shoulders, so there wasn't a discrete place to put the tape, just covering the spoke holes.

    Well, I don't have a compressor with a presta fitting, tried a couple of CO2 carts and couldn't get them seated dry (no sealant). So I took them to a local shop who checked everything and got them filled and seated. The only thing the shop guy mentioned is that the rim strip had gotten slightly misaligned on one of the wheels when I was putting the tire on or trying to get it seated.

    Both held air at 35 psi for a week. I had a 10 mile ride the day after fitting them, on gravel, so I left the pressure up. Then, a few days later (the trails here are all flooded) a street ride with a bit of jumping and dropping.

    This morning, 10 days after tubeless installation, and without riding for maybe five days, the front tire is flat and is leaking around the valve. Fairly obviously, wiggling the valve makes it leak, pulling on it slows it down, but I spun the tire around and it stopped leaking. Snug the valve nut up so it can't move, doesn't leak.

    Is my tape job jacked up? I pierced a small hole in the tape and forced the valve through, but maybe it tore? And why 10 days later (it has gotten significantly cooler)? To an extent you might expect this I guess.

    Anyway, for now, it seems to be holding, after spinning the tire around a few times and snugging down the valve nut. Should I be worried or is this kind of par for the course?

    Because I cannot seam to seat the bead on this tire/rim combo, just tearing into it for exploratory surgery is not a realistic option. I can take it back to the shop, but maybe there's no need?
    Try tightening the nut on the valve stem. If loose it will let air around it.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    Try tightening the nut on the valve stem. If loose it will let air around it.
    I think it was tight. When I swabbed it down with soapy water and saw the bubbles, I fiddled with it and then snugged it down again. As I said, I think it could be expected that the rim strip and the valve will have to be sealed by sealant and could go dry or come loose. Anyway, we'll keep our fingers crossed and see if it holds over night.

  4. #4
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    Air that gets past the tape and into the rim will most often come out around the valve stem. Nipple heads make a pretty good seal on the inside of the rim so the only place for the air to escape once it's in the rim is around the valve. The nut on the stem is to pull the base of the valve against the tape to make it seal. It won't seal against the rim. Some rims have vent holes and the air will escape there.
    Do the math.

  5. #5
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    It seems that these Stans kits are somewhat outmoded by the new wider rims. The rim strips, which do seem like a good idea, seem to be wide enough, but the narrow tape they sell with it seems dumb, for lack of a better term.

    I'm gonna be kinda pissed if I have to redo this.

  6. #6
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    You have to be careful when mounting or dismounting the tire because any damage to the tape will generally cause air/sealant to leak into the wheel and it will usually escape around the valve stem (like the lone ranger explained)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkgobe View Post
    You have to be careful when mounting or dismounting the tire because any damage to the tape will generally cause air/sealant to leak into the wheel and it will usually escape around the valve stem (like the lone ranger explained)
    Hopefully the rim strip protected the tape. So far still holding air. When I found it this morning, I pumped it up and it was flat in a couple of hours before I pumped it a second time to discover the leak.

    The only issues, I would think, are that the "Universal" tape is only 12mm wide. I didn't quite double its width, maybe half overlap so 18mm in a 29mm internal width. I was nervous that it wasn't leaving enough over the edges of the spoke holes, but didn't have enough to triple it. I was really expecting tape at least 3/4" wide. And the aforementioned valve hole in the tape.

    I'm a bit perplexed why it went flat all of a sudden after 10 days. Maybe not riding for a few days? The cold?

    Going forward, assuming rim strips and valves are a good idea, I might recommend that people that buy Stans kits buy some wider tape for the more modern wide rims.
    Last edited by TwiceHorn; 3 Weeks Ago at 09:07 PM.

  8. #8
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    There are many, many threads on this. If you have air coming out the valve area it's almost certainly because air is getting around the rim strip or tape, then entering the inside cavity of the rim and coming out the valve area which is the biggest hole on the outside of the rim. Remember, the valve seals the inside of the rim, not the outside of the rim. Also rim strips are already sealed to the valve.

    Anyway, if you have a rim that was purchased within the last 5 or so years on a name brand bike it's very likely a tubeless ready rim, which only requires tape and valve to setup. A tape and valve setup is much easier than a rubber rim strip setup, especially if the rim strip doesn't fit the rim perfectly.

  9. #9
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    Take those rim strips & tape out. Clean up the rim, now clean it again with isopropyl alcohol. Re-tape the rim with 30mm tape. Heat up the tip of a medium philips head screwdriver as hot as you can get it & poke it through the tape at the valve stem hole. Install valve stem & tighten nut by hand as much as you can. Put tire on rim. Rotate wheel so valve stem is at 12 oclock & attach pump. Dribble liberal amount of soapy water around both beads. Smush tire down above valve stem with your hand & pump away til your beads seat with a satisfying *snap* Inflate to ~30 psi. Check around rim to be sure tire is seated evenly on rim. Remove valve core, add sealant. Replace valve stem & pump up tire again. Slosh sealant around to seal any leaks around bead & you're done.

  10. #10
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    Here's the problem... Stan's valves suck red monkey ass. There. I said it.

    Truckerco stems are WAY better. I will sometimes use Stan's sealant but I will not under any circumstances use their stems.
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  11. #11
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    Stan's uses the same generic core everyone else does. How bad can they be?

    You used the wrong tape. It doesn't work because it leaks! You need 32-35mm tape. I don't think tubeless is really all that reliable or simple unless you're using tape a few mm wider than your internal width.

    Holding air for a bit then sudden leaking from the valve area is how tape failure shows.

  12. #12
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    I meant the interface with the rim. Not the valve itself.
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  13. #13
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    Well, then, furk Stans. I know there are many threads on tubeless topics, but it is difficult to wade through page after page until you find your solution.

    So is the consensus that Stans tubeless kits suck? Because it seems like they do.

    Are the rim strips a positive or negative?

    What's the generic name for that tape? Looks like it's this stuff that is the best compromise between stick and toughness and ease of removal. https://www.amazon.com/Scotch-Film-S...ords=Tesa+4289

  14. #14
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    Check out 3M 8898 blue strapping tape. That's what I use. And Truckerco stems and sealant.
    I like turtles

  15. #15
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    Final question. If I can get it to reseal without much difficulty, does that mean it's going to be a recurring or long-term problem? Or just a temporary glitch?

  16. #16
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    Tubeless Troubleshooting-Valve Leakage

    I had an e13 rim that i couldn’t get to completely hold air. It always leaked around the valve stem, never from the bead. I’d used 25mm scotch strapping tape on the wider rim, multiple wraps. I assumed it was getting in the seam somehow.

    I retapped with 30mm tape, same problem. Bubbles from the valve stem.

    Turns out, the valve hole was slightly undersized and the rubber part of the core wasn’t fitting inside of it. The proper sized drill bit solved the issue.

  17. #17
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    If it is indeed the valve base leaking at the tape/rim, splashing sealant around where the valve base goes through the tape and rim can often get it seal. Gotta hold the wheel/tire vertical with the valve at the bottom and vigorously shake to get the sealant up around the valve base. I do this as a matter of course whenever setting up tubeless.
    Do the math.

  18. #18
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    I second the recommendation for Truckerco stems. That design is way better. I also have had good luck with Silca valves as well as Silca tape. I would not use rims strips.

    Good luck!


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  19. #19
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    A couple of years ago I used Stan's conversion kit on my 26" Heckler...I had non-tubeless rims (Azonic Outlaws) but they were one of the rims referenced on the Stans conversion website so I tried it. I bought the 'All Mountain' kit and after opening it I discovered it had schrader valves on rim strip which surprised me but I went with it.

    This was my first tubeless setup so I was learning too. I was also surprised at the narrow tape width but I focused on a good seal around the spoke holes and did not worry about getting it all the way to edges of rims. I followed Stan's video's....totally cleaned rims with isopropyl alcohol, cleaned off any burrs, and verified the valve stem hole was big enough for Schrader, etc. I checked for leaks with soapy water and appeared to be good to go.

    First ride I had same issues as you. On one tire there was a slow leak around the valve stem. Over time I was able to work in sealant and it eventually sealed up very well. I was concerned every time I topped off air pressure being afraid of disturbing the seal around valve stem but the problem went away...the sealant did it's job.

    Sounds like you have done a good job setting things up and just need to solve this one slow leak. I would give it time and ensure you have enough sealant inside to let it do it's thing to seal the leak vs a total 're-do'.

    You mentioned difficulty with using compressor for Presta valves...go to Walmart or any 'big box' sporting goods store and get these:

    https://www.amazon.com/Slime-23042-P...SIN=B007OX6E3S
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  20. #20
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    Scuff your rim beds with steel wool or scotchbrite. Then clean with alcohol. Use wider tape. If your rims are tubeless ready throw away the rim strips. The stan's valves are fine, I got by for years with them. Although now I use the truckerco ones because the larger nut is easier to tighten.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by sturge View Post
    A couple of years ago I used Stan's conversion kit on my 26" Heckler...I had non-tubeless rims (Azonic Outlaws) but they were one of the rims referenced on the Stans conversion website so I tried it. I bought the 'All Mountain' kit and after opening it I discovered it had schrader valves on rim strip which surprised me but I went with it.

    This was my first tubeless setup so I was learning too. I was also surprised at the narrow tape width but I focused on a good seal around the spoke holes and did not worry about getting it all the way to edges of rims. I followed Stan's video's....totally cleaned rims with isopropyl alcohol, cleaned off any burrs, and verified the valve stem hole was big enough for Schrader, etc. I checked for leaks with soapy water and appeared to be good to go.

    First ride I had same issues as you. On one tire there was a slow leak around the valve stem. Over time I was able to work in sealant and it eventually sealed up very well. I was concerned every time I topped off air pressure being afraid of disturbing the seal around valve stem but the problem went away...the sealant did it's job.

    Sounds like you have done a good job setting things up and just need to solve this one slow leak. I would give it time and ensure you have enough sealant inside to let it do it's thing to seal the leak vs a total 're-do'.

    You mentioned difficulty with using compressor for Presta valves...go to Walmart or any 'big box' sporting goods store and get these:

    https://www.amazon.com/Slime-23042-P...SIN=B007OX6E3S
    I had one of those with a hand pump several years back and was always careful to keep track of it because all my bikes were Presta. I figured I could find something at HD or somewhere, but didn't realize anyone sold them individually. Great find.

    And thanks for the reassurance. As noted above, I loosened then snugged the nut and spun and bounced the tire to splash sealant around and around the valve stem and so far so good.

    I did not realize or remember that the Stans Kits were for converting non-tubeless. I just thought it was a handy dandy way to get all the chit you need in one place. I was aware that it used rim strips vs. individual valves, but thought that could only be a help.

    Thanks for all the input on my redundant, repetitive thread.

    As with everything, I'll know better next time.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwiceHorn View Post
    It seems that these Stans kits are somewhat outmoded by the new wider rims. The rim strips, which do seem like a good idea, seem to be wide enough, but the narrow tape they sell with it seems dumb, for lack of a better term.

    I'm gonna be kinda pissed if I have to redo this.

    I feel the same way. Stan's tape is like old typewriter correction tape, crinkly and flimsy. Duct / Gorilla tape seems a lot more solid.

    I had a weird issue as well with the valve stem, it would not hold more than about 25 psi when I tried to pump it up to get rid of a wobble. Once it got to a certain psi the valve started leaking and then stopped after a while. Very frustrating. I'd love to go tubeless permanently but so far it's been a lot of problems, even when 'professionally' done by an LBS. To me the only advantage is weight loss of about 1/2 pound per tire from no tube, otherwise I don't feel any performance difference (I feel the ground more with no tube, but downhill times are not any better), and I can get a 2.5 front tire down to 14-18 psi with a tube and no flats. Sorry, I'm not 100% done drinking the KoolAid on tubeless yet.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwiceHorn View Post
    Well, then, furk Stans. I know there are many threads on tubeless topics, but it is difficult to wade through page after page until you find your solution.

    So is the consensus that Stans tubeless kits suck? Because it seems like they do.

    Are the rim strips a positive or negative?

    What's the generic name for that tape? Looks like it's this stuff that is the best compromise between stick and toughness and ease of removal. https://www.amazon.com/Scotch-Film-S...ords=Tesa+4289

    Wouldn't it be so nice to have a sticky on this forum with all major tubeless methods, including a detailed video (or two) and a troubleshooting list for each? Instead of it being fragmented into 100 threads of varying opinions?
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  24. #24
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    Perhaps I have been fortunate. I have been tubeless for many years and many, many miles with lots of tubeless tire installs, swaps and more installs.

    I have experienced very few difficult situations. I seem to feel that it's more about finding a technique that works for you more than a specific application that works. There's too many variables to assign a method to any one variable or issue that arises.
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  25. #25
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    I was confused by how you taped the rim. You state there was no real 'well, so you doubled it up to cover both sides of the spoke hole. Where I am confused is if you ran the tape up to the bead or not.

    I too had to run double tape on my Specialized wheels with 1" Gorilla Tape. This made a fantastic seal as the double layer was thick and the beat seated no problem.

    As mentioned previously, air is likely seeping beyond the tape and escaping through the valve hole. To tighten the valve, press on it as much as you can from the inside and snug up the nut. Do not use tools.
    The bike I ride now is my only tubeless experience, which I set up. The specialized valve seal is silly. I went and purchased the loose bin Stans valves and have not had a problem in 2.5 years. Not sure what the problem is with the other folks. "They suck" don't really shed light as to why they are not reliable.

    I would not recommend using Gorilla Tape, now that I have the experience with it. It worked perfectly, however when I broke down the wheel to retape, the glue removal process was not worth the money savings between proper tape and Duct Tape.

    I do not envy you for having to redo the tape, but to me it sounds like the way to go. Again, I only have experience with the one wheel set, and 2 sets of tires (same brand tires both times).
    Just prep the rim surface before taping.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    I was confused by how you taped the rim. You state there was no real 'well, so you doubled it up to cover both sides of the spoke hole. Where I am confused is if you ran the tape up to the bead or not.

    I too had to run double tape on my Specialized wheels with 1" Gorilla Tape. This made a fantastic seal as the double layer was thick and the beat seated no problem.

    As mentioned previously, air is likely seeping beyond the tape and escaping through the valve hole. To tighten the valve, press on it as much as you can from the inside and snug up the nut. Do not use tools.
    The bike I ride now is my only tubeless experience, which I set up. The specialized valve seal is silly. I went and purchased the loose bin Stans valves and have not had a problem in 2.5 years. Not sure what the problem is with the other folks. "They suck" don't really shed light as to why they are not reliable.

    I would not recommend using Gorilla Tape, now that I have the experience with it. It worked perfectly, however when I broke down the wheel to retape, the glue removal process was not worth the money savings between proper tape and Duct Tape.

    I do not envy you for having to redo the tape, but to me it sounds like the way to go. Again, I only have experience with the one wheel set, and 2 sets of tires (same brand tires both times).
    Just prep the rim surface before taping.
    No I did not do it to the bead. I just covered the spoke holes with a few mm each side of them.

    Remember this is a KIT, which I am realizing/remembering really isn't suited for tubeless-ready rims. The tape that comes with the KIT is only 12mm wide, which I guess was geared for old rims with a narrow well containing the spoke holes? But it has the rim strip, so I don't think the tape has to bear the full pressure of the air.

    Anyway, it's held air for 3-plus days now and a couple of short, pretty low-key rides, since tightening up the valve nut and spinning/bouncing it around.

    I'm going thru my tires like poop through a goose thanks to the torrential rains here the last couple of months or so, so I will have the opportunity to redo this sooner than later and I will use "bead-width" tape and maybe discrete valves instead of the strip valves. Hopefully my new tires are a bit more pump/CO2 friendly.

  27. #27
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    I suppose as long as you are using the rim strip, the tire should form a good seal against that. I was thinking the tire was mating directly do the aluminum surface.
    Hopefully in time, any small voids will be sealed, or nearly sealed, with your sealant.

    I do need to air up tubeless tires at least once a week. Depending on what todays ride will consist of, I may not check air if it's only been a few days.

  28. #28
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    Yes, correct tape width does help a lot with tubeless setup :-) As for valve leak, it usually happens if you start taping the rim near valve hole, go around and then finish with cross over the tape. End result is that you have double thick tape across valve hole and then hand tightening the valve (must use pliers) is usually not enough because of the double thick tape around valve hole. Solution is to start taping rim on opposite side of valve hole so you end up with single thick tape over valve hole.

  29. #29
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    I'm not sure I agree with that. I like having the double layer at the valve.

    If anyone is still using Stan's valves and you have not yet tried Truckerco valves, do yourself a favor and try em. I have ZERO tubeless problems on every wheel... Fat, plus, regular mtb... I only wish Truckerco made a tube so I could split it for Surly rims. The valves on the tubes look like Stan's valves and annoy me.
    Last edited by NYrr496; 2 Weeks Ago at 05:53 AM.
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  30. #30
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    Using pliers to secure a tubeless valve stem should be done with caution.

    Safe if you carry pliers in your pack. If you don't have a way to remove the overly tightened valve stem there could be an issue removing it to install a tube in the field.

    Just something to keep in mind.

  31. #31
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    Just to add my 2c worth, on the tubeless conversions I done I've used various brands of tubeless valve but I've always cut a square of approx 15-20mm from an old inner tube, punched a hole through it (smaller than the valve stem diameter) and used this as a washer between the rubber on the valve and the tape/rim. Also after a day or so I check that that the valve lock ring is still hand tight as everything seats in. After 2 years on one set of wheels, I've never had air leak from around the valve.
    What a perfect waste of time

  32. #32
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    I have never needed to use anything beyond finger-tight on a valve stem.
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  33. #33
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    Still holding since OP. Trails are coming back open. Fingers crossed.

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    I always dab on a little RTV silicone, or even bathtub caulk for where the valve base meets the tape/hole. I would try sealing the valve base to the tape/hole before cleaning off and retaping.
    Last time I taped, I heated up an empty 22 shell (holding it with pliers) to make the hole in the tape; that worked well.
    My Vittoria tires hold air the best (not as good on the cx bike). I have a Spec control casing that I can only get a few hours out of, if it's wet, there's bubbles all over the place. I check pressure before every ride on all 3 of my tubeless bikes (and 2 tubeless kids bikes), I just thought that was the way it was.
    Just ride it, and bring a small pump.
    + 1 more on the Truckerco stems.
    Like also stated above, be very careful with the tire levers, it's easy to nick or even puncture the tape.
    carry clippers! cut something off the trail every time you ride.

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