Vitpilen 401 Tubeless Conversion


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  • #37637
    bweasels
    Participant

    Hey all, I just completed the tubeless conversion on my 2021 Vitpilen 401’s wheels, and I figure I should share some notes and tips as well as a little guide on how to do it and price of materials. Both wheels have the safety lip on the bead, so I don’t think there is a risk of the tire falling into the wheel – just a risk of poor sealing. I’ll also update overtime with air tightness etc. and any other developments. Everything written here is a rehash of the information from here combined with info from this video presented in a protocol for someone who has never broken down moto tires before (ie me last week). That site is a wonderful guide and is a must read, and I really liked the video too.

    Log so Far:

    Installed on 5/26 – no leaks when checked on consecutive days.
    Rode 140 miles on 5/29 (high of 75F)  and 120 miles on 5/30 (high of 85F) – no loss of pressure when checked cold on 6/1.

    Materials to seal the wheels:
    sealant: [$15] 3M Marine Adhesive 5200 Fast Cure
    tape: 3m 4411n Extreme Sealing Tape – Could not find any reasonable widths (2″ or more) in stock.
    alt tape: [$15] TapeCase 423-5 UHMW Abrasion resistant tape, 2″ wide, 5 yards. Its weaker than 3M (3M: 15 lb/inch adhesion, TapeCase: 7.5 lb/inch) and might have lower temperature tolerance (3M: 200F for long term, TapeCase: 200F unspecified duration), but the tape is a secondary sealant to the 3M Marine Adhesive 5200.
    Stem: [$25] Amazon stems, right angled, 8.3mm – looks identical to these ones that others had recommended and I forgot to order them, so used the fast amazon prime ones.

    Tools:
    2x Tire Irons: Cheap af Harbor Freight 24″ Tire Irons – I regret using these and really scuffed my rims with them, but it may be due to my tire replacing inexperience more than anything else.
    Wheel Balancing kit: I used an Alpha Moto portable one perched on two jack stands and leveled with a bubble level
    2x 3″ G Clamps: to pop the bead off on the front wheels
    2x 9″ adjustable woodworking screw clamps: to pop the bead off on the rear wheels
    Spray bottle with soapy water:  Check for leaks and help get the bead off/on
    90% Isopropanol: Cleaning After 3m 5200 curing. IPA interferes with 5200’s curing process so don’t use before
    Zepp Heavy Duty Degreaser: Initial wheel cleaning, can use any similar heavy duty degreaser (ie super 88)
    Offbrand dremel tool kit: For smoothing mars in the mating surface from tire irons and clean corrosion out of nipples
    Air Compressor: Mine was 160PSI, 65 gal, but I feel like the mobile, 120PSI ones should be fine. Also had a lil air nozzle to blast away water/degreaser/dry wheels
    Motorcycle Rear Stand and a couple 6×4 pieces of wood: hold up the bike while both wheels are off. Could prolly get away with 4 pieces of wood if you’re feeling real spicy.

    Steps

    • Day 1:
      • Remove wheels –
        • Lift moto up
        • Front Wheel: loosen two allen key bolts on left fork to reduce tension on the axle. Use massive allen key from toolkit to unscrew axle from the wheel
        • Rear Wheel: Undo lock nut on rear axle and slide out with some effort.
      • Break the bead and remove tires – I braced the C Clamp against the rim on one side and pressed into the tire on the other side. I alternated clamps, adjusting the adjustable ones closer in until I pushed the bead off of its seat. The fronts were a massive pain to get off, but the rears went off easily. If Bret can do it one handed in this video, you can too! (with much more swearing and frustration).
      • Clean the wheel seat and nipple heads very thoroughly with the degreaser and wipe with paper towels. I noticed some uneven tension on the spokes on the front wheel (hitting spokes with a wrench), so I evened that out.
      • Uneven tensioned spokes had let water into nipple heads which corroded the aluminum and left a white powder. Blasted out corrosion grim with a wire cup attachment with the faux-dremel. Went over wheel again with degreaser.
      • Spray down with water to dilute/get rid rid of any hidden degreaser in the spoke seats.
      • Blast everything with compressed air to get left over water out of spoke seats, and leave overnight to dry.
    • Day 2
      • Applied 3m 5200 to the spoke seats. First circled the spoke seats, and then filled the nipple heads. Did about 1/3 of a wheel before leaving the wheel with the newly sealed spokes point up for 15 min to cure a little. Alternated wheels during curing times. Really liked this dude’s video for a visual guide.
    • Day 3
      • Re applied 3m 5200 to any voids that opened up or areas that seemed potentially sus. Took a walk in a nice park.
    • Day 4
      • Wiped down wheel with isopropanol to get off any dust/accidental finger oil that got onto the wheel while curing
      • Again using this guy’s video set up the taping station and taped the wheel. 2″ is definitely wide enough for the front wheel, but maybe a hair too thin for the rear. I didn’t have a tire wheel to press the tape down, so I used a screwdriver handle instead. Seems to work fine.
      • Collapsed pockets around stems by poking with a blade and pressing down to seal.
      • Inserted valve stem and sealed with 3m 5200.
    • Day 5
      • Put tires back on and blew compressed air into the wheel to seat.
      • Pressurized and sprayed soapy water all over the tire and nipples to look for leaks. Found some in the bead, so I broke the tires down, sprayed the tire with soapy water and reseated. No more leaks 😀
      • Put wheels back on motorcycle and tightened bolts to specs in the manual
        • I’m probably paranoid, but I unbolted the ABS sensors before putting the wheel back in just in case I hit it with the rotor. Given supply chain issues, I don’t wanna be out ABS for the next 3 months to the life of the bike.
        • The rear wheel sucked so hard to get on. If anyone has tips on how to do so gracefully please comment. I ended up lying the bike on its right side and swearing at it for 45 min til it went in.
    #37710
    AMv8(1day)
    Participant

    Great write up!

    I’m a noob with tube tires though, what’s the advantage here? at a little over 5k mi, noticing the tread wear, I’m looking for alternative tire options, and assume tubeless tires will be cheaper. Seeing as I do zero dirt riding, I don’t see much purpose in paying extra for tube tires if I can swap out the OEMs for decent, longer life touring tires on my Vit.

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