I'm running a tube in my tubeless compatible WTB rim and WTB Byway tire and am finding it nearly impossible to break the seal when I've gotten flats. If I get standard (non- tubeless compatible?) tires, will make it easier to change flats? Any advice appreciated.

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    Aside - you have tubeless rim and tyre - what's stopping you going tubeless completely? Just need a valve and some sealant.
    – Criggie
    Apr 18, 2021 at 4:14
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    Creature of habit mostly. I’ll look into it's advantages, but the difficulty of roadside/ trail side flat fixes is already a strike against. (However, if there’s no way around it with this set of rims, maybe I’ll try it. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em...) Apr 18, 2021 at 9:51
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    you would carry a spare tube/boots/plugs anyway, in case the sealant can't do its thing.
    – Criggie
    Apr 18, 2021 at 11:29
  • Just to check, are you pushing both tire beads into the center well? It is a lot easier to remove if you do this, and I’m not certain if this practice is known to everyone.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Apr 18, 2021 at 22:53
  • @WeiwenNg that seems worth checking because it is a big help with tight tolerances from tubeless setups. Also, in the same vein, levering the tyre off around the valve first helps provide the most slack as the rest of the tyre is in the uninterrupted well. That said, and stormyparker can confirm, but I read the problem as breaking the bead away from the rim wall itself, just to get it started even
    – Swifty
    Apr 19, 2021 at 6:46

3 Answers 3


The difficulty rating varies by tire and rim and which combinations are used. Some tires may come off easier on some wheels and be more difficult on others. In general tubeless rims make it more difficult to break the bead loose. The reason is that tubeless rims have an extra bump next to the spoke holes. The purpose of which is to keep the tire from unseating in the event of a flat. You may want to try putting the tires on and off a few times to find a technique that works best. I recently bought a Crank Brothers Speedier Tire Lever which is different from the standard levers. The rims I have used it on weren't tubeless but it did seem easier to get the tire off.

  • I think that tubed tires might make removal easier. Tubeless tires are meant to be snug against the bottom of the rim; tubed tires are meant to clinch against the hooks at the tops of the sidewalls, so they might be able to clear the bumps on the bottom of the rim. Only way to know would be to try.
    – Adam Rice
    Apr 18, 2021 at 18:39
  • Thx Adam - i'm gonna try it out. Or do more thumb exercises! Apr 19, 2021 at 17:36

On average yes it probably will be easier with non-tubeless tires, because the bead of a tubeless tire is trying to form the tightest lock into the rim it can achieve and they're mostly pretty good at that these days. What's harder to say is what tire to get and how much easier it will be. The rims provide a lot of locking force themselves. The other side to this is many of the more desirable tires these days are tubeless tires.

It may seem reckless, but one approach is lay the wheel on the ground, pad the rim on the other side, and use your heels. If you do it thoughtfully you won't hurt anything. There are tires I wouldn't do this to, but Byways aren't all that fragile/light in the sidewall so I think it should be fine.

  • thx Nathan. Once i get it fixed I'm gonna try deflating it and taking it off again to get my technique down so i'm not stranded again. I really love the Byways except for this issue, so I'm gonna try to get it to work. Apr 19, 2021 at 17:42


I recently bought an e-road-bike. It had two 28-spoke wheels with straight gauge 2mm spokes, rims without eyelets and no-name hubs that don't have cup and cone bearings. The rims are tubeless compatible. The stock setup had inner tubes, though.

Then I wanted to put some GP5000 28mm non-tubeless tires on the rims. Removing the old tires and putting in new tires was a major chore. I estimate I had to fight about 30-40 minutes per wheel and in the process I punctured one inner tube with tire levers and had to replace that tube.

A bit later, the front wheel lost all spoke tension. I presume it was due to having only 28 spokes, not strong enough, and was probably made worse by the spokes being straight gauge.

The bike shop that sold the bike had a clever "solution": put thread glue into the nipples and tension each spoke to a varying not-so-high tension.

Needless to say, my final solution was that I hand built a new wheelset. I specifically chose non tubeless compatible rims having double eyelets and 36 spoke holes, cup and cone bearing hubs and 2.34mm/1.8mm/2.0mm triple butted spokes.

I can repeatedly install the very same tire on the new wheelset, without using any tire levers, in far less than 5 minutes, without ever puncturing the inner tube in the process.

So, most likely you'll need to get rid of the awful tubeless compatible rims and put some non tubeless compatible rims there. The easiest and best way to get a non tubeless compatible rim is to select one having double eyelets -- those are not compatible with tubeless setups. The double eyelet rims are stronger and far less likely to crack around the spoke holes as a bonus.

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    This is a bunch of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. I don’t deny your bad experience with the wheel losing tension, but that’s likely attributable to a poor wheel build. Attributing it to the rim being tubeless is a red herring. I have mounted GP 4 or 5ks on three models of tubeless compatible rim by now, and it’s not been an issue. No doubt some rims will be a tighter fit due to the still evolving standards for both tires and rims, but it is not universally true.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Apr 18, 2021 at 22:59
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    Lately I've been a little too lazy to ride and eat too much chocolate. This helped me to find the reason. I have only 24 spoke wheels, tubeless rims, and cartridge bearings. It's not me after all. Its my bad hardware.
    – gschenk
    Apr 20, 2021 at 14:07

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