I recently purchased a pair of new wheels and decided to mount on them a pair tubeless ready tires that I had in my stock — the tires are one year old but barely used (about 100km when I bought them, with air chambers — I unmounted them after and kept them). The tubeless part of the install went well.

I noticed that I was loosing about 2 bars/30psi of pressure (from 4 bars/60psi) in a few hours. The tires seem properly seated then I rode 5km on gravel rough gravel to spread the sealant. I searched online and found the trick of untightening the valve, but the result was the same. Then I sprayed some soapy water and saw small bubbles forming everywhere, clearly showing that the tires themselves are permeable.

So I was wondering:

  • is it possible that given that I used the tires with tubes, the tubes have a bit worn out the inside of the tire, which would make them more permeable - in 100km, that would seem very short?
  • the tires are tubeless ready, not tubeless: from I understood, I should expect some leaks, that should compensated by the sealant (I added 45ml of sealant in each wheel). When I shake the wheel, I don't hear anything, like if all the sealant have been consumed (in 24h), is it possible?
  • is adding more sealant the solution? If yes, how much and what is the best way to spread it?

2 Answers 2


Yes, lots of small leaks everywhere typically means you just need more sealant.

Tires vary quite a bit in how thin/supple versus thick/strong their casings are. Some tires simply take more sealant before they stop leaking through the casing. Usually what you find going along with the symptom you're having is there's also not much free liquid sealant left, which you need some of to block punctures. Sealant manufacturers love to low-ball the amount needed per tire because it presents the most optimistic case for weight savings, but this is an area where they can veer into dishonesty.

Everyone would like it if choosing a sealant fill or refill amount was totally prescriptive, but that's simply not the case. Add until it stops leaking and you're satisfied with the amount of free liquid sloshing around, which itself is a weight vs time-until-replenishment consideration. For a light gravel/allroad tire generally go about 25ml at a time if you're trying to be weight-conscious or 50ml if you want to just get it done. For higher volume tires doing this kind of thing I would go straight to 50ml increments. (These numbers are for Stans and Orange, which are the main sealants in my life, but should be pretty close to the same for most sealants).

  • Does something need to be done to coat the sidewalls better? I don't run tubeless so it's a guess, but with the volumes in question and the wheel spinning like a centrifuge I wouldn't expect it to comes all the way up reliably
    – Chris H
    Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 7:46
  • Can you comment on whether it's okay to set up a used tubeless-ready tyre as tubeless for the first time?
    – Szabolcs
    Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 7:55
  • 1
    @ChrisH There's a 'shake and turn' technique where you lay the tyre on its side, give it a shake and then place on something like a bucket so wheel remains flat on its side. Have found it useful a couple of times, but in general i find going for a short ride the most effective/reliable
    – Andy P
    Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 7:58
  • @AndyP fair enough; partly I wasn't sure about a road/mountain difference and partly I thought a note should be included for completeness if there might be a need to distribute it
    – Chris H
    Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 8:00
  • 1
    @Criggie Could the "wear" in the sidewalks appear from the storage? The tires are the foldable, they were stored in a big box (very loosely packed) that was in a shed.
    – Rеnаud
    Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 11:45

I've tried that with Continental Race King and Cross King tires. Rode them for 6 month with tubes and then tried using them tubeless.

The sidewalls of these tires were leaking sealant at first and lots of small cuts showed up.

It should work and the sealant should close all the cuts that have been in the tire - but in my experience it worked okay for the front tire, but the back tire already had too many cuts for it to work great.

I was using Stans (which is pretty thin) and these tires had thin sidewalls, so that may have aggravated the problem.

Short answer: it can work, but for best performance you start with new or nearly new tires

  • My first foray into the tubeless club was on a pair of Conti Race Kings. The good: they inflated with a floor pump (lucky). The strange: just like stated in this answer, the sidewalls were permeating sealant like crazy. Seemingly thousands of tiny white dots of sealant. They did however seal up and never gave me a problem once I completed the initial "sealing of the sidewalls."
    – Ted Hohl
    Commented Jun 2, 2022 at 2:06
  • I never got tubeless tires to set with the floor pump (lucky you). What sealant did you use ? I've heard that Stans is too thin for the Continental Race Kings - the Conti sealant is a little bit thicker I guess Commented Jun 3, 2022 at 5:10
  • bernhardrush lucky for sure. Rarely does that happen. It blew my tubeless “mentor” away as well when I did it (circa 2013). I used Stan’s regular stuff. It was before Stan’s had all its different formulations to choose from. Stan’s worked fine for me. It was just the initial sealing that was so unique with Stan’s oozing (and sealing) the many porous holes in the sidewalls that was visually impressive (after my doubts were relieved). I use Orange Seal sealant now, but only because it was touted to last just a little longer than Stans, but that is just a personal preference.
    – Ted Hohl
    Commented Jun 3, 2022 at 14:59

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