I have a puncture on my MTB tire. It says tubeless ready, but how do I know if it has a tube in it? Rims are sealed, it is a new bike around 6 months old.
First you may check whether sealant fluid came out of the punctured tyre. It could indicate a tubeless tyre, though it is not always the case. The sure way to tell is by checking the valve.
If your valve is held by a thin screw-on collar that you can screw off with two finger or no collar at all and that you can easily push back into the rim-bed your tyres have inner tubes. Same if your valves have no threaded shaft,
Tubeless valves will look like those in the picture. They are tightly screwed on and require tools for removal. And as you also see in the picture, the core, the silvery bit comes out. Although this my also be be the case with traditional tubes but not always.
In general bikes come from the factory with tubes fitted even if tubeless ready. Easiest way to find out is pop the wheel off, shake it about and listen for sloshy sounds which will be the sealant.
“Tubeless ready” tends to mean that the rim has tubeless compatible rim tape and a suitable rim profile combined with tubeless compatible tyres so when you’re ready you can upgrade to tubeless valves and sealant. You may have even been supplied with the valves described by Carel with the bike.
Upgrading to true tubeless is a mixed bag but in balance is worth the bother. To do this at home you’ll need to spend money on:
- Sealant, needs to be replaced/topped up periodically.
- Tubeless valves if you don’t have them.
- A decent high volume floor pump.
The process is described in many places online but is reasonably simple and quick and nothing to fear.
In return you’ll practically never get punctures that deflate the tyre and the ability to run lower tyre pressures for more traction and comfort. In a emergency you can always go back to using a tube, it’s not a one way journey.
The best way is to simply pop the tyre off the rim at some place (you do not have to take off the entire tyre) and see if there is a tube underneath. To do this just take the wheel/tyre in your hands (as if holding your hands on a car steering wheel - you do not have to take the wheel off the bike) and squeeze the tyre sidewall with your thumbs until it detaches from the rim.
If you don't want to do this first, you can try unscrewing the little nut holding the valve snug to the rim and pushing the valve a little into the rim (some valves are not threaded and do not have this nut, in which case you can tell right away that you have a tube, and not tubeless). You'll either be able to see through the hole whether the valve is attached to a tube (in which case, obviously, you have a tube) or not (in which case you have tubeless), or feel the same thing (if it is attached to a tube it will give you a little resistance while pushing it in and wiggling it, if it is not you will be able to push and wiggle it with no resistance).