How to fix a flat tubeless road bike tyre

Tubeless road bikes tyres are a popular choice among racers on riders who prefer them to the traditional inner-tube and tyre set-up. Tubeless road tyres are comfortable on the roads, have less rolling resistance and crucially, are less likely to puncture.

In this guide, we describe how to fix a flat tubeless road bike tyre. If you’re already rolling tubeless road tyres or interesting in learning what’s involved in fixing a flat, then this guide is for you.

Why choose tubeless road tyres?

Tubeless road tyres are an innovation that has found a loyal fanbase. As well as a smooth and comfortable ride, tubeless tyres offer better puncture protection than the traditional tube and tyre set-up.

The sealant inside the tyre fills small gaps that may be caused by shards of glass, stones, or debris on the road. The tyre effectively protects itself from punctures. Tubeless tyres can cope with holes of up to 6mm.

Tubeless road tyres offer much higher resistance than road tyres with inner tubes. You also have greater control of tyre pressure.

However, the pay off is that fixing flats on tubeless road tyres is a slightly longer and more complicated process.

Let's break it down into simple steps.

Step-by-step guide to fixing a flat tubeless road tyre

Here's what you will need:

  • Tyre sealant
  • A tubeless tyre
  • A tubeless valve
  • A pump or CO2 tyre inflator

Before we start, we’ll assume that because you’re fixing a flat, you’re running undrilled tubeless-ready rims or have already sealed the rim with seal tape or a one-piece rubber seal.

We will also assume that you’ve already got a valve fitted too.

Fit the tyre

First ensure you’ve got the tyre facing in the right direction and you can begin to fit it. Tubeless tyres snap on to rims in the same way as traditional clincher tyres do, but they can be much stiffer. The reason is that the bead needs to be as tight as possible against the rim to ensure that no air escapes.

You can attempt to do this by hand, but in the end, you’re likely to need a set of tyre levers. We also recommend wearing gloves to avoid damaging your hands.

When using tyre levers you can apply some force to the tyre without the risk of snagging or splitting the tube. Be careful not to damage or dent the wheel.

One the tyre is on, ensure the tyre is completely seated on both sides of the rim by giving it a gentle rub all the way round.

Apply sealant

Now that the tyre is in place and seated on the rim it’s time to add the sealant.

There are various methods you can use, but the simplest and most effective is to apply sealant through the valve stem.

Tubeless valve stems have a removable core that you can take out to apply the sealant and replace once you’re done. You can purchase core-removers for this purpose, but a gentle hand and a set of pliers will work just as well.

Using a sealant syringe or applicator bottle, squeeze the recommended amount of sealant into the tyre. Rotate the wheel gently to ensure that sealant covers the inside.

Pump it up!

With the sealant inside you can inflate the tyre. Fit a track pump to the valve and with a few stiff pushes, your tubeless tyre should pop into place.

Keep pumping until the whole tyre pings into place and is seated correctly around the entire of the wheel.

Once it’s in place, remove the pump head and refit the core. Lift the wheel and give it a shake to ensure the sealant fully coats the inside of the tyre.

Now refit the track pump and inflate your tyre to the recommended pressure.

Fit the wheel and you’re ready to go!