Take the Hassle Out of Tubeless, with the Tubeless Tower Pro Workstation

Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (27)

Believe it or not, there are still those out there that don’t embrace tubeless technology. More surprising, is that at least according to Tubeless Solutions there are even shops out there who are uncomfortable with performing tubeless conversions. Their reasoning? Mostly the potential mess, the amount of time it takes, and the uncertainty of ensuring a complete seal before the tire walks out the door.

Like many stories behind intriguing products, the Tubeless Tower started with the thought that there had to be a better way to install tubeless tires. Roughly three years ago, Tim Voegeli and his brother Phil starting kicking around the idea and wanted to figure out a way to make the process easier. At the time Tim was riding tubeless on every one of his bikes – Phil on the other hand who is admittedly an “anal retentive electrical engineer” was still happily riding with tubes. Eventually Tim convinced Phil to give tubeless a try and after an entire year on his commuter without flats (25 miles round trip), he says he was sold.

After the first prototypes were drawn up, the design has been tweaked, put through design panels at Pitt State University, redesigned with design work and CAD modeling from their friend Byron Loibl, patented, and is finally nearing production form. Almost every step of the way, all of those involved say they were instantly sold after seeing Tim install a tire on the stand. That’s not really surprising. Even we were a bit skeptical, but once you see everything the stand does, you really will wonder why no one has thought of this before…

Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (4)

Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (3) Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (2)

Just what is the Tubeless Tower and who is it for? Think of it as an all-in-one tubeless tire work shop – just add air and sealant. While the kit we were sent is still very much a prototype, the production version may be available in different models or pieced out individually. As the “Pro Model” as we’ll call it sits here, the Tubeless tower includes the shop quality base, and from left to right for the top photo – the dual locking pin, Wheel Truing Adapter hook, Thru Axle Adapter, Tire Brush, Tower Extension, Hook Tool, and Rim Clip Tire Tools and the Rim Clips. Everything packs neatly in the ABS plastic case which brings up an interesting point with the Tubeless Tower – with room for a C02 filling device and sealant in the case, this is a truly portable tubeless work station.

Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (5)

 

IMG_20150717_022221531[1] IMG_20150717_021520605[1]

Lower photos c. Tubless Solutions

Tim tells us that the part of the base that looks like a cup holder is actually a perfect fit for a 22oz Co2 bottle. Using a Co2 cylinder normally for paintball use but filled with Nitrogen, a Powertank Co2 regulator, an HVAC high pressure hose, and a Prestacycle Pretaflator Mini, shops like Big Poppi in Manhattan, Kansas are able to seat up to 15 tubeless tires. They apparently take the system with them in their mobile repair van and claim that if you can’t seat a tubeless tire with the Co2 inflator it probably can’t be done.

Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (7) Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (6)

Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (9) Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (8)

As mentioned this is still a prototype so forgive the rough appearance of the aluminum parts, but the Tower uses a solid aluminum plate for the base with the attachments welded in place. The only exception is the catch pan which is attached with velcro so it can be easily removed for cleaning, or with the largest tires (fat bikes, 29+).

Designed to be used in a number of different ways, the simplest is to just place the Tubeless Tower on a workbench and allow the 4 rubber feet to hold it in place. Want to get more secure? Remove the feet and bolt it directly to a work bench with the pre-drilled holes. When using the Tubeless Tower on the road you can simply clamp your repair stand directly to the tower extension provided the jaws will open far enough. Once installed the tower extension is held in place with two pins, one at the base, and another to hold the wheel support in place – more on that in a minute.

Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (10)

Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (11) Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (1)_1

To secure a quick release wheel in the wheel support, the included Hook Tool acts as a perfect spacer so that you don’t have to adjust the quick release skewer. Just place on the opposite side of the hub from the wheel support and lock the skewer. It actually holds the wheel surprisingly tight. As an added bonus, when you’re not using the Hook Tool as a QR spacer it can be used as a rotor truing device as well.

Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (14) Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (12)

Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (13)

Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (15) Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (16)

Making use of the incredibly well thought out adapter, Thru Axle hubs of any shape or size (with the exception of a Lefty) should fit without issue. Key to the design is a threaded axle that first attaches to the wheel support with a quick release of its own. The hub then slides onto the threaded support rod which is 9.5mm in diameter and effectively 230mm long. After a washer is installed to protect the hub, the lock nut slides all the way on thanks to the way the threads are cut. Tilting the lock nut to one side causes the opposing threads to disengage. Once you’ve positioned it close to the hub, tilt it the other way, engage the threads, and tighten it down. Because of the design of the lock nut you can flip the wheel from one side to the other in about 10 seconds.

Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (22) Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (21)

Due to the length of the thru axle adapter it will fit the widest 197×12 mm hubs which makes the Tubeless Tower Fat Bike compatible. The only thing we wished for with the prototype was a bit more height out of the stand, but Tubeless Solutions says that issue has already been addressed and the production stand will sit at least an inch higher.

Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (17)

There is even a wheel truing adapter that will be available which functions like many single sided truing tools. One end secures to the hub (either under the thru axle nut, or in place of the Hook Tool for QR wheels) and the other end provides an adjustable, spring loaded feeler gauge to make simple adjustments to the wheel. The adapter also includes a rotor truing indicator which is where the slotted Hook Tool comes in.

Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (23)

While the rim clips and rim clip tire tools are still just 3D printed prototypes, they are interesting little devices that should help with ornery tires. Starting with one clip on the rim, you continue to install the tire until the addition of a second clip can be used to hold the tire in place providing a pocket to pour in the sealant. Once you’re done adding the sealant they are easily removed so you can continued the process of installing the tire. The tire tool adds just that – a tool that will help slide stubborn tires onto the rim.

Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (29) Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (28)

Over the years in shops and on my personal bikes, I’ve probably seated and converted at least a thousand tubeless tires, all of which without any kind of workstation or special tools other than an air compressor.

Naturally my first question was what problem does this solve? Who is it for?

Quite simply, the Tubeless Tower makes the process easier and maybe above all else, it makes it cleaner. Short of a full on tire explosion, any excess sealant will drip down into the catch tray below the tire. I’m usually pretty clean on my installs, but even a few drops on your clothes, shoes, carpet, etc. can be a pain. The catch pan also acts as a reservoir for soapy water which we’ll get to in a second.

In addition to making the process cleaner, the Tubeless Tower makes it quite a bit easier since the wheel is firmly clamped into a stand. No pressing the hub against the shop floor, or the work bench to get the bead over the lip. Also, because the stand can be positioned at workbench height, it puts the wheel in position that’s easier to work with, easier to see, and doesn’t require you to support the wheel at the same time you’re trying to wrestle the tire over the rim. With that in mind, Tim tells us that users like Lennard Zinn who also has a prototype stand likes to use it for any tight rim and tire combination, not just for tubeless tires.

Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (25) Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (24)

Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (26)

And when it comes to inflating the tires, because the wheel is supported by the hub and not resting on part of the tire, it seems to seat better and more quickly. In this case, both of our WTB Trail Boss 27.5 x 2.8″ tires seated to the Sun Ringle MuleFut SL 50 rims with a Birzman floor pump. Once the tire has been seated, you can pull the pin out of the wheel support and lay the wheel flat. That allows you to use the included brush (dipped in the soapy water mentioned earlier) and trace the rim and sidewall to find any pinhole leaks. It also allows the sealant to pool on the side of the rim/bead/sidewall of the tire while you spin it for better sealing action. This is all part of providing shops the ability to offer a wheel that they know has sealed before it leaves the shop.

Because of that, Tim tells us that he has taken shops in Kansas that previously stayed away from tubeless conversions and after training them on the Tubeless Tower, they’ve turned into the place to get your tubeless fix.

Really aimed at more of a shop level product, the pricing for the Tubeless Tower is still being finalized but for the kit seen above Tim expects it to come in around $500-600. One of their goals has always been to produce the workstations in Kansas and they are working to make the rim clips and tire tools in Kansas as well. Tim admits they could make it cheaper, but it would be exactly that. The first model will be effectively the Pro Model with a more affordable version down the line if things go well. That price may very well keep it out of reach for most consumers, but in addition to shops we could see a number of race teams picking one of these up to bring to events.

If you’re looking for the decidedly pro way of installing tubeless tires, Tubeless Solutions seems to be onto the answer.

tubelesssolutions.com

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46 Comments
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William
William
7 years ago

AWESOME !!!!

I really like your set-up!

Ydnar
Ydnar
7 years ago

Want!

J
J
7 years ago

Thats a steep price, but given that it can true rotors and rims, its multifunction ability is high, and thus, desirable. Mounting to a work bench would add some nice stability too.

RC
RC
7 years ago

Whaddya mean it can’t make pancakes??????

Pistolero
Pistolero
7 years ago

i will never buy this, I don’t need it myself, and it is expensive, but boy, this video is cool. Relaxed guy, all in control, here we go, ready to go… well done sir!!! nice bike industry video, better than any kickstarter video ever.

Ryan
Ryan
7 years ago

The amount of sealant used is cute. You dainty roadies, lol.

craigsj
craigsj
7 years ago

Just because you CAN seat a tire with CO2 doesn’t mean you should. CO2 should not be used with tubeless sealant.

James S
James S
7 years ago

You can attach the Feedback truing stand to the workstand and hold the wheel by the axle that way. That will accomplish a lot of what this product does. Personally, I just hang the wheel vertically with a piece of nylon cord. Heck of a lot cheaper and works with all axle configurations.

Like so many mentioned in this article, I hesitated for a long time to go tubeless. When I finally did it wasn’t that big of a deal. A bike shop should have a compressor, so I really can’t understand why they were so afraid of tubeless. A bike shop will also already have a truing stand, so the fact that this thing has “multifunctionality” is not a great selling point.

Timbo
Timbo
7 years ago

I’m pretty sure he said ‘nitrogen system’ in the video. Is that realistic or did he just mis-speak?

Roy
Roy
7 years ago

for a little more than the price of a box of Genuine Innovation Co2 cartridges one can go buy a decent compressor at Lowes and have it for uhhh a decade or more. Tubeless rules, only an idiot would argue that it does not, and if one is committed to tubeless a compressor is a small price to pay for years and years of quick and predictable new tire set up.
This is an awesome piece of thought and manufacturing, just add sealant and a COMPRESSOR!

Tim
Tim
7 years ago

The gas used in the videos is nitrogen. Check out Prestacyle for more information.

Glenn
Glenn
7 years ago

It’s nitrogen – you can get it from your local paintball place. Air is mostly nitrogen – it’s no big deal. Inert, cheap.

Ryan
Ryan
7 years ago

I’ve never had a problem setting up my tubeless with just a floor pump (stans + schwalbe). Am I doing it wrong?…should I spill sealant everywhere, miss the bead, and blow it up with my mouth? Maybe my rims and tires love each other and I’m just really lucky. I’ve swapped tires numerous times and set/air them up one-handed with a cheap floor pump. Only thing I do is spray the bead with soapy water first. I never understand the stigma attached to tubeless.

Charlie Best
Charlie Best
7 years ago

problems:0
solutions:1

The wrenches in our shop can set up tubeless tires in about 2 minutes per wheel
including valve installation, no special tools, no mess.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
7 years ago

Does this come in enduro and gravel specific models?

Seriously the idea of a dedicated mounting station does make sense, as does CO2 in the field and a compressor at home.

Chasejj
Chasejj
7 years ago

Functionally very similar to my Feedback Truing stand but it tilts, which is nice but I cannot see it being a critical game changer.

I am always amused at the quantity of small garage projects that BR publicizes. Fascinating.

Chasejj
Chasejj
7 years ago

Glenn- You may already know this, but Nitrogen is preferable to regular old air (O2 and N2 mixture) or CO2 since it’s molecular size is larger , thus when it leaks out over time (hanging in the garage) it does so at a slower rate.

This one reason why suspension techs use it, in addition it is a pure source with no moisture component .

SNIPE-HUNTER
7 years ago

YUP, I read that correctly; The United States Patent Office must agree with the uniqueness of our product as the “Tubeless Tower ” has been issued a patent for its great design. ( U.S. Patent Number 9,004,137.)

It’s about as unique as a truing stand, or a pencil with an eraser on the end of it.

WannaBeSTi
WannaBeSTi
7 years ago

I would blow out my depends if I saw one of these in a shop.

I don’t know about other shops, but we just hang the wheel on our Park stand’s clamp lever. BTW, a PRS-3.2-1 MSRPs for less….and can hold a bike!

Nelson Muntz
Nelson Muntz
7 years ago

I have set up hundreds of tubeless wheels.
And I did it without any of that.
How did I ever survive?

Sevo
Sevo
7 years ago

Brilliant. Nice job

Micah
7 years ago

Count me as another vote for just using a floor pump without any issues…

padrote
padrote
7 years ago

most bike shops are broke, why would they pony up $500 for something they don’t need?

Jonah DiPasquale
Jonah DiPasquale
7 years ago

For those tubeless techies out there this is a definitely “level-up”game changer. For myself, the price as well as the over-all functionality, I will stick to my floor pump, and or a compressor. Thank you for the post.

BillBob
7 years ago

While that’s definitely a nice, quality stand for a shop. The existence of something like this just further confirms my desire to continue avoiding tubeless because of the hassle and mess.

Fizzy
Fizzy
7 years ago

Yeah price is pretty steep for that thing but definitely innovative. The cool thing about it is that seems to be the price for the PRO kit which has EVERYTHING in it, so you are looking at the tower, bin, sealant provided, compressor tank, truing stand and everything else he shows in the video. If you price all that together then it seems to be pretty good. Other cool thing is article said you can buy PIECEMEAL so only the parts you want.

sascetti
sascetti
7 years ago

If you’re making a mess at home while doing a tubeless set-up you’re doing it wrong and need practice. If you’re making a mess at the shop while doing tubeless for a customer you’re doing it wrong and shouldn’t be working on their bike period…

Topmounter
Topmounter
7 years ago

This is the electric can opener of shop tools.

I usually stick a wooden dowel in my vice, roll one side of the tire on to the rim, hang the wheel on the dowel, add sealant, roll the other side of the tire on and hit it with a quick blast from my Powertank (just enough for the initial seat) and finish up with a floor pump.

WannaBeSTi
WannaBeSTi
7 years ago

BillBob, stop being a Fred.
You probably don’t remember it, but as a baby you were a messy eater. You’d learn how not to be so messy.

STS
STS
7 years ago

@Ryan Believe me bro, you’re doing something wrong. It’s not that easy, you definitely need to buy all this stuff ;-).

Can’t believe anyone will buy this. Even if you do install tubeless tires as a professional mechanic the only tool you will ever need is either a compressor or Bontrager’s Flash Charger floor pump and you will be able to seat any tubeless tire / rim combination.

rupert3k
rupert3k
7 years ago

All you need is your hands and a decent floor pump.
MAYBE resort to a tyre lever for a moment but I just will it on with my bloody hands and pour latex through the valve stem.
Why would you arse around trying to pour it into the tyre before it’s even fitted?
Messy enough as it is without encouraging it to slop everywhere using that method.
I love tubeless but it’s true the road tubeless tyres seem to cost twice as much *sobs*.
Ounce of prevention, innit?

Regards, the head Drongo.

PS: death to front mechs!

Hank mardukas
Hank mardukas
7 years ago

Yup, we hang wheels by the repair stand handle or just the handlebar. It’s incredibly easy to set up a tire tubeless….this thing is ridiculous.

ShreddieP
ShreddieP
7 years ago

So, why not just remove valve core and use an injector? Mess-free. No pouring of sealant, so you know exactly how much goes in. Both sides of bead can be seated beforehand, with tire sans sealant, so you can leave wheel on workbench and it’s not a problem. Park VCT-1 is $5. Injector is $15. And you’re done.

Oh, and you can press a shrader chuck on a presta valve that doesn’t have the core in it, in order to get more air flow.

Darryl
Darryl
7 years ago

You cannot get the big chuncky stuff through a valve, pouring it in is the only way.

This stand is a solution to a non-existant problem.
Put tyre on rim, infalte with floor pump to seat, let air out, hang up wheel and pop a portion of one bead off, pour in sealant, pump up with floor pump again and spin it around a bit.

If it isn’t that easy it won’t be reliable on the trail, so get rims and tyres that work in the first place.

Wally
Wally
7 years ago

Only things you need is a floor pump, a tire and some sealant. Never had any issues, never made a mess. The new generation TL easy tires is even better than the old ones. Always works with a normal pump. CO2: nogo as it degrades your sealant.
Save the bucks for some other bike stuff 🙂

sd8489tsdhf4
sd8489tsdhf4
7 years ago

No, just no.

righteous
righteous
7 years ago

I am a bike mechanic. This is rad. Yes, yes, I know that ‘you’ can drop your pants, hang the wheel off your super man chub, seal and seat the tire one handed while truing the rim with the other hand faster than I can snatch a wheel out of the dropouts, ‘you’ are amazing. A dedicated tubeless station would be sick in my shop. Kudos to the new tool fella’s.

Darryl
Darryl
7 years ago

Righteous, as a shop you shouldn’t be messing with ghetto, not reliable if there is a claim for damages, takes more labour cost to do than simply buying correct tyres and rims and you simply don’t need this for a proper setup using proper equipment.
A shop would be silly to get one and encourage time wasting jobs with potentially bad outcomes.

nico
nico
7 years ago

dont know if i would fork out 500 for a catch tray, hanging the wheel by the rim in the clamp of a bike stand seems to do the trick just fine, although for that one time you do get the tire backwards……

cool idea
any moto inspiration here?

billy mcgillicuddy
billy mcgillicuddy
7 years ago

nothin beats a trashcan in a kiddy pool with a two liter coke bottle inflator and some slime

Groghunter
Groghunter
7 years ago

Been thinking about this thing off & on all weekend, & came up with 3 important points: It costs 3 times what a park TS-2.2 does, & will take up more bench space for a task that can be done fairly easily without it.

I’m not sure how many shops are going to be down for that.

wuffles
wuffles
7 years ago

“Oh cool, this might be a nifty thing. Wonder how much it is? $50 would be steep, but maybe….”

$500-$600????

Hah. No.

Obama
Obama
7 years ago

After reading some of the above comments, I believe an important issue needs to be addressed. It appears that everyone here is an expert. I will admit wholeheartedly that I am no expert. However, I do offer the old “don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.” If it works as well as advertised, I’d love to have it. Plus, I’m sure there are other options available for pricing. I believe it the $500-$600 was for the complete set. Weinahs and sunshine, ya’ll.

Gixxer
Gixxer
7 years ago

Flip the bike upside down and use as a stand.

80
80
7 years ago

I need to ask a legit question; is a tubeless setup supposed to feel like the bike is riding on marshmallows?

I had a bike last year with tubeless and it sucked. I had to put air in the tires every other day, air ‘burped’ out of the tires any time I cornered aggressively, and the bike just felt like crap because of the wallowing low pressure tires.

I believe that the sealing issues I had could have been fixed by someone willing to spend the time on it – which I just wasn’t willing to do – but if having such a wobbly ride is the trade-off for not getting pinch flats, I’m not interested. I never felt any improved traction from lower tire pressures, so it simply became a riding experience that wasn’t any fun at all.