The Stan's NoTubes Road Bike Tubeless Kit is a good all-in-one option for getting your bike setup tubeless. Well executed, and great value to boot.
- Pros: Everything you need, in one bag, at a great price
- Cons: None, really
When you buy a bike marketed as 'endurance' or 'gravel' these days, chances are it will come with tubeless-ready wheels, tyres or both. And if you don't have tubeless tyres, they're now common as the muck they're great at riding through, fearing no earthly protrusion or tube-pinching obstacle.
Stan's UK distributor Paligap told me it had spotted a gap in the growing UK tubeless market, where customers were getting frustrated during the tubeless setup process. The problem being you need sealant. And special tape. And special valves. And even if you have these things, are they the correct width or length for your rims? Tubeless setup depends on the rim tape covering the entire rim bed, but not riding up the rim sides and reducing the area of rim lip that the tyre bead can grip against. And a valve too long looks silly, while too short will be uninflatable. You don't want to find out midway through your Saturday evening fettling session ahead of a Sunday morning ride that you need different tape, or valves.
Pailgap's solution was to package up the bits you need, help you decide which kit fits your wheels, and sell it to you at a price you couldn't beat shopping around the various UK online outlets. Seriously, I tried – even if you could score free shipping on everything at the most-discounted prices (unlikely), it would likely only just match the Paligap retail price for the entire kit in one bag, with guaranteed compatibility. The RRP on the components in the bag is £41, a saving of £9.
Paligap lists 178 different rims it has confirmed will work with the variants of the Road or MTB Tubeless Kit. For the £32 Road kit there are two rim tape sizes of 21 or 25mm, and three valve lengths of 35, 44 or 55mm. Rims 21mm or narrower get the 21mm tape; over 21mm you get 25mm tape. The MTB kit gets two additional width options of 27 and 30mm, plus a pint of sealant, costing £40 all-up.
Paligap found customers were using cheap tape that was porous, dried out, or was awful to remove. I can testify that completely removing all trace of Gorilla Tape for this review took about an hour per rim. The Stan's tape is indeed the Good Stuff. Various alternative tapes are to be had if you know exactly what to look for and aren't being sold some poor substitute, but most punters won't want to risk trial-and-error that could ruin their day or cost them a lot of time and sealant if they don't get it right, to save a few quid on tape.
Paligap includes instructions in the bag and there's the standard Stan's video on its site. I appreciate it's trying to cover all variants of wheel/tyre plus competencies of customer, so it is rather generic and features mountain bike tyres and someone using the pint bottle not the valve-friendly 2oz one in the kit. For example, the instructions suggest two layers of rim tape (often only one is needed) and also tell you to insert the sealant first then use soapy water to seat the tyre. There are as many opinions on the correct tubeless setup as there are cycling pundits to offer them, suffice to say I had great, immediate success with one layer of tape and no soapy water, adding the sealant via the valve.
My setup was a pair of Raleigh Probuild 17mm-width wheels, using Hutchinson Sector 28 Tubeless tyres. The Road Tubeless kit contained 10 yards of 21mm tape and two 44mm tubeless valves. I found that the 21mm tape was perfect for a 17mm rim, completely filling the rim bed when stretched tight.
No tube knowhow
Starting opposite the valve hole and working my way around, the process of taping the rim was strangely satisfying. A firm rub around with a cloth was followed by running a plastic tyre lever around the internal rim edges to properly seat the tape. Then a small cut in the valve hole parallel to the rim, and in went the valve, only finger-tight. This is important, as if you need to use an inner tube because of a large cut that won't seal, if you've cranked down on the valve ring with pliers you'll never get it off 20 miles from home on the roadside.
As with any tubeless valve install, I'd recommend using pliers on the valve core to completely unwind the brass head off the valve core inner, so you can clean it out on the roadside should it become clogged with sealant. Again, replace finger-tight.
In this case the Hutch S28s went on just using thumbs. I then removed the valve cores and inflated without sealant first to check fit using the rather fab BETO air tank. Both tyres popped on no problems. I like to do this to see if there's any gross mismatch, as it's easier to then add an extra layer of tape or explore other options if you haven't just emptied all your sealant into the tyre.
As they had seated fine, I then squirted the whole lot (60ml) of sealant per bottle into the tyre through the empty valve. There are no markings on the bottle but it's so small it's not an issue – go with the lot, I say; in tubeless, more is better. Then I reinflated with valve cores this time, as the tyres remained seated so the slower inrush of air worked.
Only one wheel experienced a small bit of rim seepage. On spinning the wheel, one hole I had no idea was there was found and sealed immediately. Initially inflated to 80psi, both wheels had only lost 5psi 14hrs later, this without riding them (to bed in the tyre-rim interface with sealant through the flexing of an actual ride, even a short one).
Different tyre, rim and sealant combinations lose air at different rates, but I was fairly happy that over a week mine only lost about 20psi. I'm used to checking my tyres are spot on before every ride anyway.
Out on the road at pressures around 55psi (I'm 73kg) the setup performed exactly as expected: tyres remained sealed, with no need to do anything except enjoy the smugness of a plush, grippy, easy-rolling flat-free ride.
Doing the maths, going tubeless using this combination of tyre and Stan's Road Bike Tubeless Kit saved weight over an inner-tube setup.
The old tyre was a not-to-be-sniffed-at folding-bead Continental GP 4Season 28mm plus tube, weighing 420g all-up. The Hutchinson Sector 28 is 280g, the sealant 56g for all 2oz, and the valve 8g. That's 344g, for an all-up saving over both wheels of 152g – don't let anyone tell you tubeless is heavier. And the Sector 28 is an old tyre; there are lighter models around. Using Stan's latex-based sealant means you can run a tyre that doesn't have the additional weight of a butyl liner either.
All-up, the Stan's Road Bike Tubeless Kit is a well-thought-out, convenient and cost-effective way to get your bike running tubeless.
A great way to go tubeless, with all the bits you need at a great price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Stan's Road Bike Tubeless Kit
Size tested: 21mm tape, 44mm valves
Tell us what the product is for
It's for people wanting to go tubeless, who have the rim and tyre, and want the right stuff to do the job in a cost-effective package.
Stan's UK distributor Paligap says:
Everything you need to complete your tubeless ready wheelset.
In this pack you will find everything you need to complete your tubeless ready wheelset as well as detailed instructions of how to do it.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
x2 2oz Sealant – Pre-measured and ready to apply to one road bicycle tyre – seals punctures up to 6.5mm virtually instantly. Can be applied directly through valve using the tapered nozzle by removing the valve core
x1 Rim Tape – 10 yard roll of lightweight rim tape, used to make your tubeless rims air tight. Enough to tape 2 road rims with a double layer
x2 Presta Valves – Valve stems with removable valve cores. Fits up to 8mm valve hole.
The packaging is pro.
The kit, as a kit, is only let down by the instructions, which could be less generic and more focused to road setups.
A saving of 152g overall is excellent, and very cheap compared to losing weight on other components.
Tubeless is always comfy
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Can't fault it. Everything worked.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The value – cracking £9 saving over the component parts.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing, apart from the instructions seeming a bit too generic/conservative.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
I'd give it 5 stars, but the instructions could be clearer/better-focused on road use. I think if the 2oz bottle has a valve-friendly applicator nozzle, don't be showing a pint bottle poured into a mountain bike tyre in the Road Kit.
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling