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BIKE TECH: Burped Tubeless Tires - A Quick Trailside Fix!

Stu and Matt teaming up on a quick trailside fix of a burped tubeless MTB tire (note Matt using his trailside repair stand trick).

Today's mountain bike tires allow riders to get by using less air than ever, making for a smoother ride, better traction, and in some cases less need for suspension (thus we're seeing a bit of a renaissance in the rigid MTB category).

Sometimes when running low pressure, we are tempted to go a bit too low and can "burp" the tire while riding through a tight corner.  Burping a tire means that due to the force of your mass pushing outward through the angle of your turn, the tire bead becomes dis-engaged from the rim bead - resulting in a burst of air coming out of the tire - or a burp.  In extreme cases, the entire bead can blow off of the rim - sounding like a gun shot.

While you'd certainly be much more happy to be rolling down the trail, don't let a burped or blown off tire ruin your ride.  Particularly if you're using a liquid tubeless tire solution such as Stans, Cafe Latex, or others, you can likely get your tire seated back on to the rim and up to pressure.

Following are the steps to follow to get yourself rolling down the trail if facing a tubeless mtb tire burp or blowout situation:
  1. Inspect the tire.  Is the tire bead within the rim?  Is the tire bead seated in the rim?  Is the tire holding air?  Is there dirt or grass stuck in the tire bead / rim interface?
  2. If the tire is holding air, all you'll likely need to do is put more air in to the tire.  See our recommended MTB tire pressures in THIS TECH POST.
  3. If the tire bead is no longer seated within the rim or is audibly leaking, carefully inspect the tire bead / rim interface on both sides - look closely for grass, dirt, or other contaminants that may be breaking the necessary air tight seal.  Do your best to clean this up.
  4. If the entire tire bead is unseated from the rim, squeeze the tire, recentering both tire beads all of the way around the wheel.  This will make it easier to inflate in the next step.
  5. Inflate the tire as quickly as possible - the best method is using a CO2 cartridge as this is the quickest way of getting a tire up to pressure and encouraging the bead to "pop" into place.  
  6. Check to make sure that your tire is inflated to the appropriate pressure as outlined in THIS TECH POST.
  7. The worst case scenario of not being able to get the tubeless tire to hold air is to simply remove the valve stem and put a tube in, exactly how you would normally fix a flat.
Matt using a CO2 Cartridge to get the tire bead to "pop" back into place.  In this situation, he was rolling in 2-3 minutes after his tubeless tire blowout.

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