How to Tell if MTB Tires are Tubeless Easily 2023

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​Do you want to know how to tell if MTB tires are tubeless?

I know from experience that, sometimes it’s hard to catch if an mtb rim is actually tubeless or not.

Don’t worry. I will share some dead simple tips to catch if a tire is tube supported or tubless here in this article.

MTB riders are the first group of bikers that used tubeless bicycle tires when was first introduced to the market.

The tubeless MTB tires have evolved and improved a lot since it was first made. They are now lighter, stable and give MTB riders a more comfortable ride.

How To Tell if MTB Tires Are Tubeless?

A tubeless MTB tire would normally have the marking that says “Tubeless” but in its absence, there are some ways to check if an MTB tire is tubeless.

Tubeless MTB Tires don’t have an Inner Tube.

A tubeless MTB tire does not have an inner tube and is pneumatic that are based on air mechanism. Without the inner tube, the tire is lighter resulting in low rolling resistance.

But being tubeless doesn’t mean that it won’t require air to be filled in. Although oxygen can also be used, similar to tube tires, nitrogen is preferred because nitrogen is less likely to leave through the tire’s rubber.

The tire pressure will be stable for a longer period of time. Tubeless MTB tires filled with nitrogen is able to resist decrease in tire pressure when there’s a sudden change in temperature. The high compressed air supplies the inner edge of the tire, expands it and stays tightly on the edge of the rim.

Check the Rim

To know if the MTB tire is tubeless, look at its rim. Tubeless MTB tires would normally be mounted on a single-piece cast rim. If the rim has spokes, it is possible that the tire is tubeless but a tube was installed.

​The rim and the tire beads are shaped differently- profiles are interlocked to form a seal when pressure is applied- very similar to how a ziplock sandwich bag work.

​Check the Valve

​Check the edge of the valve. A tubeless MTB tire’s valve is securely attached to the wheel. It can also be noted that there’s no gap between the valve and the wheel.

A black plastic-type cap would normally hold the valve firmly in place. Valves of normal tube tires, on the other hand, are loose because they are connected to the tube and not to the wheel.

​Check the Stem

​If you look closely at the stem that goes through the rim, you can tell if it’s a tube stem or a tubeless tire one. If it’s short, the MTB tire is tubeless. If it is notably long, with a nut outside, then it’s definitely a tube. A nut can be found on the valve stem of inner tubes to prevent them from being pulled into the rim of the tire.

Is it High Profile or Low Profile?

​A tire’s profile determines the distance of the tire’s contact path from the ground.  Tube tires are usually high profile tires while tubeless ones are slim and low profile.

​Is there a Liquid Sealant?

A layer in the tire casing or liquid sealant is used to make the tire impermeable to air.

Tubeless MTB set-ups have an injected liquid sealant that attaches the bead to the rim. When the tire gets punctured, the liquid sealant would fill the area and would dry up within the gap and the tire will keep rolling.

​Tubeless MTB tires are designed in a way that the tire itself functions like a tube. They have an inner lining made up of halogen butyl rubber that has a specialized property of sealing small punctures that could come from a nail or any sharp object.

When puncturing happens, air leaks from the fissure but would give the rider an ample time to reach a tire repair facility.


A tubeless MTB tire set up doesn’t have an inner tube but the tire, rim and valve stem and designed to perfectly seal to prevent deflation. The tire’s bead is locked to the rim. The set up should be airtight. A liquid sealant inside prevents air leaks and is the key to making it all work together.

Tubeless tires are easier to install and repair thus saving time. Tube tire repairs are costly if you break a valve stem on a tube tire, you need to break open the entire thing, either glue a new stem or worse, replace the tube. On a tubeless MTB tire, it’s just a simple breaking of the bead and adding a new stem in.

And although not entirely puncture-proof, a tubeless tire system is based on the tubeless circular mechanism that prevents sudden air loss when a puncture happens. And that’s How to Tell if MTB Tires are Tubeless!

Related: Why Are MTB Tires So Expensive?

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