Surly Knard & Rabbit Hole Tubeless…

Surly Knard + Rabbit Hole tubeless...

Surly Knard + Rabbit Hole tubeless…

I’ve been thinking about setting up my Krampus’ wheels tubeless for a while, but it really only made sense at the start of the spring/summer touring season. That slipped by last year without getting the project done so when this spring rolled by I jumped on it.

Going tubeless has a number of advantages:

  • less likely to flat
  • better traction
  • less rolling resistance

You’ll notice I didn’t mention weight savings. I didn’t do the math to 8 decimals places, but my feeling is that going from a 29er MTB tube to this method of tubeless doesn’t save much weight.

Why the split tube method?

  • easiest and most reliable method for rims/tires not designed to be run tubeless
  • reliability is critical on a touring bike
  • easy to remount bead and seal on the trail with a small pump


What I used...

What I used…

What you need:

  • Surly Knard tire [I use the 120 tpi version]
  • Surly Rabbit Hole rim
  • duct tape or other rim strip material
  • a 26″ bike tube
  • tire levers
  • scissors
  • sharp knife
  • Stan’s sealant
  • CO2 cartridge x 3 [1 is minimum, but having some spares is nice]
  • floor pump
  • bucket or something else to lay wheel on its side to seal up
Sealing tire/rim after seating bead...

Sealing tire/rim after seating bead…

How to:

  • remove tire from rim
  • remove existing tube [save it as an emergency spare for your pack]
  • inspect rim strip and replace if needed
  • cut 26″ tube in half so it forms a rubber strip with a valve stem in it
  • lay split 26″ tube in your rim roughly centered
  • install one side of tire bead so that bead pinches split tube against rim [excess split tube can flap around for now]
  • then install most of the 2nd bead inside the split tube
  • I find the next step easier if the wheel is hanging off a work stand or get a friend to hold it
  • shake your Stan’s bottle really well and fire 3 scoops into your Knard through the section of bead still open
  • pop the 2nd onto the rim
  • make sure the split tube is showing all the way around [doesn’t have to be even]
  • use a CO2 cartridge or a compressor to inflate the tire and seat the beads
  • optional – lube beads with soapy water before you seat them
  • tip – if bead won’t seat [CO2 blowing out sides] use a cargo strap of tape all the way around the tire to compress it a bit
  • use more CO2 or a floor pump to get tire nice and hard – say 30psi
  • shake tire for 3-4 mins to get sealant well distributed
  • let wheel sit on each side for 10-15 mins at a time
  • shake well and flip to other side
  • trim excess split tube with a sharp knife [sharper the better]
  • open beer and celebrate being finished! 😉

17 thoughts on “Surly Knard & Rabbit Hole Tubeless…

  1. Ok Vik… I’m pissed! Not really, but I am confused…

    I tried to do layers of Gorilla tape and avoid the split tube to save weight but it just wouldn’t seal.

    I cleaned everything up, and bought a pair of 24″ tubes to do the split tube method. Tossed them in, seated the tire, inflated to 35 PSI, deflated, added sealant, and pumped back to 35. I went for a 10 minute ride to work the sealant around. Then I took the tires off, spun the tires on each side, sat them on a bucket for 2X 15 minute intervals on each side, and they’re still going flat.

    I did two things differently. I found my floor pump seated the tires perfectly, they inflated and it only took about 60 pumps to get to 35 PSI, which is normal for this air pressure. Would I have had different results from seating the tire faster with a compressor?

    The other thing I did, as there is no Stan’s Sealant in stock in Jasper, was use automotive sealant. The label and the manufacturer’s website says it’ll work in bike tires, so I am not sure what the difference is, but I used SLIME, not STANS.

    Do you think it’s the sealant, the air compressor vs air pump, or just bad luck? Could it be not enough sealant?

    hmmm… To be noted, I am drinking the beer out of frustration rather than celebration, but I am drinking it 🙂

  2. @Jeff – Stan’s and Slime are totally different so that could be the issue.

    Can you tell where the tire is leaking from? You can use soapy water to track leaks.

    The compressor/CO2 shouldn’t really do anything different than what your floor pump is doing.

    You can lube the beads with soapy water at the start so they pop into place easier.

    I’d get some Stan’s even if you have to mail order. It’s handy to have around. I buy 1L at a time.

    Lube up the beads, throw in 3-4 scoops of Stan’s and try with your floor pump again.

    Everything you are doing sounds right other than the Slime.

    Buy more beer in anticipation of victory! 😉

  3. Sounds like a solid plan. They do have New Belgium Ranger IPA at my local liquor store now, so more beer it is. I’ll track down some Stans.


  4. Worked great! Floor pump only.
    New tube up front went without a hitch, a small hole in the tire was leaking until the Stan’s hit it, then good to go.
    The rear I used an old tube out of one of the kids’ old bikes. Discovered the rear tire also had a large hole, spitting out Stan’s. Let it rest with 20 psi and the pool of Stan’s over the hole for a third of a beer, then pumped to 30 psi and out came all of the Stan’s all over the driveway. Pretty funny actually, like a seagull with GI issues. Patched the inside of the tire with shoe goo (it’s all I had) and a tube patch. Tried again and it seems to be holding.
    Lessons? For FOOL fool proof: use new tubes, new tires. I’m definitely on a budget so this was what it had to be.
    Thanks to Vik and Gypsy-by-Trade for posting the method.

  5. Is there any reason this wouldn’t work with the stock 27 tpi tires? That’s what I’m gonna go with.

    • @Arvin – your results may vary as the 27 tpi tire is stiffer, but I think it would still give you an acceptable result. The cost of trying is low so it’s worth a shot.

  6. I’m probably gonna jinx myself, but man was that easy! It took me much longer to research around the web than to actually do the job. I mounted an On One Chunky Monkey to a Rabbit Hole. I used the Surly rimstrip already in place, a superlight 26″ split down the middle, about 50-60ml of Stan’s, and one 20g CO2 cartridge. It aired right up, beads popped into place and it SEEMS to be holding air. Now all I need to do is find my X-acto knife. Thanks for the great tutorial Vik!

  7. Pingback: vikapproved | Surly Knard Tire Review

  8. Vik,

    Did you use a 26″ tube because it will push tighter against the rim, or because it’s wider, or both?

  9. @Matthew – fits tighter against rim and is what I had on hand. If I had a 29er tube spare I wouldn’t hesitate to use it.

    Any reasonable width MTB tube should be plenty wide. You’ll end up trimming excess material off

    • Follow up question (also on mtbr):

      I don’t have a wheelset yet, and I’m at an impass:

      I’ve chosen the Maxxis Chronicle TR tire, but I need to make a decision on the rims: Should I go with RH and mod them as above, or should I go with a tubeless rim, like the Light Bicycles Carbon 50mm. I don’t know much about rims, or carbon, but would these rims suffice for bikepacking? Starting fresh with a TR tire, what rim would you choose?


  10. @Matthew – copied from MTBR:

    If I had to do it again I would skip all 45mm+ rims.

    I go with Light Bicycle 35mm rims or their 38mm rims. Lots of sidewall support for bikepacking. Lighter and more versatile with regards to using them on other bikes.

    Nothing wrong with RHs. They’ve been robust for me and tubeless is no problem. I just don’t think that extra width buys you anything for bikepacking and it comes with some downsides.

  11. Sorry for late comment, but just wanted to note that Stans recommends NOT using CO2 with their sealant.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s