What is the cost range for converting to tubeless tires on a mountain bike?

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    On a mountainbike you can usually do with normal rims, even if not officially tubeless ready unless you are really unlucky. Do not fill it to the max pressure printed on the tyre, it is meant when used with a tube. You can even go below the printed minimum. – Vladimir F Oct 17 '19 at 12:40
  • @VladimirF are there any guidelines on which MTB rims can be converted to tubeless, or which rims should not be? Or is it really that any MTB rim can work? We discussed on a previous thread that you would definitely want a proper tubeless rim on road, but there's more flexibility in cyclocross applications. New2mtb, could you update the question with information on your current bike and wheelset? – Weiwen Ng Oct 17 '19 at 15:07
  • @WeiwenNg There is so much information on the internet so the main problem is to choose whom to believe and who is more conservative just to be safe. The risks are overall much smaller, if it burbs or does not seal, one needs a better system, but it is not a big safety risk as on the road. ParkTool: "Converting from an inner tube system to a tubeless system can be done, but there are limitations. Ideally, the tire and rim should be designated ... in order get an acceptable bead seal to the rim." This seems to be a good explanation neugentcycling.com/TubelessRimsExplained.html – Vladimir F Oct 17 '19 at 15:26
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    Question asks for costs, which is pretty much completely off topic for here. Instead, try asking about how you would convert to some variant of tubeless, and the relative costs are merely a detail of that. Costs are OT because the web is global, and my region will have different costs to yours. Also, costs change over time, quickly obsoleting any numbers quoted. – Criggie Oct 18 '19 at 7:02
  • If you consider rewriting question away from costs then this could be re-opened. – Criggie Oct 20 '19 at 7:45

If you have older rims that you can't set up tubeless for some reason. ( i.e. pinned not welded joints), there is the rather unfortunately named "ghetto tubeless" setup option. There are two main methods for this:

  1. use an inner tube from the next smaller tire size (i.e. 24 in for 26 in), inflate, mount on rim and then cut along outside diameter so the tube folds over the rim. Trim and then mount tire so that it overlaps.

  2. Use layers of gorilla or similar packing tape to completely seal the rim up to the side walls.

Neither of these is a complete description, I suggest you google for more detailed methods. I wouldn't use either of these methods for tire pressures over 40 PSI.

For any MTB rim/tire that has been made in the last 5 years or so that I have tried, I've had good luck setting them up tubeless for low PSI just using sealant and a standard rim tape/valve kit. The sealant does a reasonable job of sealing the sidewalls on even non tubeless ready tires.

There are a bunch of tricks to getting "standard" tires to setup and seal enough for the sealant to do its magic. If you want things to just work, tubeless ready tires and rims make the whole thing much simpler.

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Technically you would need tubeless ready rims, tubeless ready tyres, sealant, rim tape and a valve.

If you were in a position to rebuild your current hub, you'd save money just by purchasing a rim.

Stans for instance, provide rim, tape, valve and sealant, and depending on the spec, all that, including Tubeless ready tyres could be had for GBP250 (both rims, tape, sealant, valves and tyres).

Arguably, you could call it a day there, as long as you are competent to swap a rim to an existing hub and spokes. When out riding, all but the extreme fearless will still carry a tube and canister in case of a puncture that cannot be solves by sealant alone.

However, in 6+ years of both MTB and Road tubeless tyres, I've never had a puncture in either that hasn't been solved by sealant. In fact, tubeless allows you to run lower pressures too so the likelihood of a puncture occurring is less.

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  • Unless you forget to pump the tyres after two or three weeks away from home. When the rim hits a sharp stone on the slope in front of you, the sealant won't help (been there). – Vladimir F Oct 17 '19 at 12:42
  • Building on @VladimirF's comment, the OP might want to consider tubeless tire plugs to be part of the conversion cost. Not that they're very large or expensive, but it is one more item to add to the flat kit. – Weiwen Ng Oct 17 '19 at 15:09
  • Tubeless plugs are for holes that are a bit too big for sealant to close unassisted. You basically stab a big needle threaded with some cord into the hole. You withdraw the needle, and the cord plugs the hole. The sealant will make that fix airtight. – Weiwen Ng Oct 17 '19 at 18:44
  • If cost is a concern carry the tube you removed and no need for plugs. – mattnz Oct 17 '19 at 19:17

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