Brompton Tubeless Tyre Modification

Schwalbe Marathon Plus

Schwalbe Marathon Plus

Although neither the Brompton rims nor the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyre are designed for tubeless running I was able, with careful use of Stan’s Tape, valve and sealant, to use this very successfully with no real issues until last week.

I’ve been running tubeless on the Brompton for about a year. So successful is this that; 1- So far I haven’t had a flat, and 2- the tyres have virtually never needed pumping they are so airtight.

However, on the last regular Tour de New York City run, the rear tyre slowly deflated and I had to install a regular tube to fix things.

Well, this did confirm that in the rare event of having a flat in a tubeless tyre using a regular tube as a repair is perfectly feasible and satisfactory.

However, I did note that when I first removed the tyre there was no liquid Stan’s sealant in the casing, hence, I suppose, the reason the tyre deflated. But there was no evidence that the fluid had done its job and sealed any holes or punctures. It just seemed to have disappeared.

Brompton taking Manhattan from the Brooklyn Veterans' Memorial Pier

Brompton taking Manhattan from the Brooklyn Veterans’ Memorial Pier

Having spoken to Cody, one of the great team of mechanics at Halter’s Cycles, it appears he had a similar issue with a Schwalbe tubeless conversion.

Bear in mind the Marathons are not specced for tubeless use although they work perfectly well. But, most tyres designed for tubeless use are lined with a material impervious to sealants, whereas regular tyres often have a layer which just soaks up any fluid until it’s saturated and there’s no fluid left in the casing to do its job of sealing any holes which may occur as was the case here. In fact there was no actual puncture, but air was escaping via the rim and bead.

So assuming that the tyre has soaked up all the sealant it’s capable of in the past year I’ve reinstalled tyre as tubeless with a new dose of sealant and all seems to be good again. I’ve dosed up the other wheel as well just in case.

This entry was posted in Bicycles, Techie and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Brompton Tubeless Tyre Modification

  1. Kevan says:

    Hi there,

    Enjoyed reading your article, good to hear someone pushing the boundaries!
    I’m considering going tubeless on my Brompton but wanted to take full advantage of the light free rolling Brompton Kevlar tyre but add greater puncture resistance from tubeless as well as running a lower pressure.
    Any advice you could offer on using the Brompton Kevlar to go tubeless would be most appreciated.

    Regards Kevan

    • That British Bloke says:

      I’ve not used the Brompton kevlar, although I use kevlar beads on other bikes with more regular sized wheels.

      The thing is, when using tyres not specifically designed for tubeless running you need to pack the rim, where the rim tape would normally go, with tape – Stan’s or similar, or even electrical tape, to support the bead and sidewalls of the tyre. This is pretty much a question of experience and will vary according to the nature of the tyre.

      Don’t forget, much of a tubeless tyre’s resistance to punctures is down to the sealant. A tubeless tyre without sealant is subject to most the same problems as tubed tyres.

      Lastly, running tubeless isn’t necessarily conducive to running light. Rim tape and sealant may well add up to the same as running a tube. However, in my experience, running tubeless is rather more dependable and certainly more comfortable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *