Tubeless Wire Wheels
Gene Berrier

{Gadget Note: As of September 2005 Gene has put more than 40,000 miles on his 'tubeless' wire wheels with absolutely no additional maintenance.   Just follow his instructions below to the letter and you too will be able to enjoy the looks of wire with the cooler running and other benefits of riding without tubes}


Ok riders, lets begin with the safety (keep everyone out of court) disclaimer/lecture shall we?
You are going to be doing something with your spoked wheels that they aren't really designed to do...hold air. You will (especially at first) have to check air pressure literally every single time you take the bike around the block just to be certain there are no leaks. You might even want to check occasionally while gassing the bike up and even carry a portable compressor with you just in case. Failure to do this could leave you stranded or worse so, be careful out there and understand once again, you are modifying your wheels at your own risk.

Also note, this method will make spoke adjustment in the future nearly impossible (without going through the entire process again) so get the adjustment right in the beginning.

After you have a few weeks of riding time on the wheels (just sitting around in the garage doesn't count, you have to be flexing them) and are confident they're holding air then you can probably back off a little.

What You'll Need

1-Tube Silicone II Aluminum and Metal formulation

1-Tubeless tire valve


Make Your Wire Wheels Tubeless

1. Check wheel run out, correct if necessary.

2. Tighten all spokes to specified torque.

3. Thoroughly clean and degrease inside of wheel. Even a small spot of dirt or grease could keep the Silicone from adhering properly and you'll have a leak.

4. Break the glaze on the chrome inside the wheel with sanding cloth.

5. Install the tubeless valve stem correctly and with care.  You may have to drill a larger hole.  Place a small piece of tape over the inside opening to protect the opening from the silicone.

6. Fill all spoke socket holes completely with "Silicone II Aluminum and Metal formulation"

7. Fill around spoke sockets completely.

8. Allow to cure for 24 hours.  This is critical.

9. Apply a coating of silicone to the entire spoke socket area at least 1/8" thick. Make several passes with a putty knife in both directions for an even and thorough fill.

10. Allow to cure for 24 hours.  This is critical.

11. Clean your old tube liner with paint thinner and allow to dry.

12. Apply a thin coat of the silicone on top of the previously applied and cured silicone.

13. Install the tube liner and press in place.

14. Apply additional silicone along the edges of the tube liner and seal the edges.

15. Allow to cure for 24 hours.  This is critical.

16. Remove the tape from the inside of the valve stem.

17. Mount the tire, inflate to maximum pressure as stated on tire.

18. Thoroughly check for leaks with soap bubbles.  Leaks will likely be where the spoke comes out of the spoke socket.  They will be very slow and difficult to find.

19.  If you have followed the directions and allowed the specified cure time, you will not have any leaks and none will develop later.

20. Adjust pressure to specified level.

21. Balance the wheel.

22. Install wheel on bike and ride.

Gene Berrier

2000 Classic Fi