This page is intended to serve as an informational “White Paper”.  Here’s where we explain the how’s and the why’s of mounting a tire on a tubeless rim. Here’s where we explain the need for a BeadSetR. 

For info on CO2 cartridge inflation, scroll down the page about half way.

This page is long.  Don’t get distracted, please read it to the end. We’ll explain things thoroughly, we’ll challenge your thinking, we’ll educate and inform, and when you’re done you’ll have a better understanding about the processes involved in mounting a tire, and why you need a BeadSetR in your kit.

If you don’t want to read the entire page and just want to order the BeadSetR, click here.  Or if you’re patient you can read to the bottom of the page and click on that link to order.

The BeadSetR is a tubeless tire mounting system.  It “sets” the tire sidewalls against the rim and establishes an initial airtight seal.  Once you have that airtight seal you can begin to build air pressure in the tire.  Without that initial seal the tire will never expand, inflate, or seat properly against the rim.

Here’s a YouTube video showing the BeadSetR in action:  BeadSetR

At first glance the BeadSetR may look like a regular ratchet strap…. but it’s not.   Instead, it’s a 1″ ratcheting strap WITHIN a 2″ outer strap.  This eliminates friction between the rubber tread and the tensioning strap.  A plastic slider eliminates friction between the ratchet and the tread.  The result is an easy, uniform expansion of the tire sidewalls, without collapsing the tread.



The BeadSetR is designed for use on tubeless tires, but its also compatible with tubed tires. Regardless of which style tire you have on your bike, the BeadSetR is a handy tool to have in your saddlebags.  It can also be used for a camp strap, a tie-down strap, or an emergency tow strap.

Tubeless tires are easy to remove, repair, or replace, using our TireIron BeadBrakR.  Theyre also easy to inflate using the CyclePump once the initial seal is started.  Yes, the CyclePump WILL develop enough pressure to fully seat the bead, we’ve done it hundreds of times.

The trick is to get the bead started

Starting the intitial airtight seal between tire and rim

The one step in the tire repair or replacement process that’s the most difficult and frustrating is starting that initial seal between the sidewall and the rim.


 Just because the tires mounted on the rim doesnt mean it will inflate.  Usually, the sidewall is NOT in full contact with the rim on both sides, so theres no airtight seal. When you try to inflate the tire, it loses air faster than you can fill it.  Youre going nowhere, and you’re getting there Fast.


When youre working in the shop you can use a blast of high-pressure air from your 50-gallon compressor. That sudden burst of 100psi air will usually blow the sidewalls outward against the rim and create the initial airtight seal.  I say “usually” because it doesn’t always work that way.  That’s why professional tire changing shops use sophisticated bead setters, or inflation donuts, or other special tools and gadgets.

When you finally start the seal then its a leisurely matter of adding more air until the sidewalls pop loudly into place against the rim.

But what if you aren’t in the shop?  What if your compressor is 200 miles away?  It might as well be on Mars.  Dig out your cell phone and call for help… but if you had a BeadSetR you’d be back on the road in minutes.

On the road or trail

When youre riding the street or trail you dont have the luxury of a high-pressure air source to blow those sidewalls outward.  No matter how much air you add with a 12-volt inflator, the initial seal cant be made. What do you do then?  What’s your “Plan B”?

Remember, the gear sitting in your shop won’t do you any good when you’re on some lonely road, or on top of some ridge, miles from the nearest tire service center.  You’re on your own.

Here’s Gabe Bolton working out some tire issues somewhere along the infamous “Road of Bones” in Siberia.  There was no service station to call for help, no one to lend a hand.  Gabe was prepared and carried tools and patch kits and a CyclePump. Remember – if the gear you need to make tire repairs isn’t on the bike, it doesn’t do any good.

We made the BeadSetR so you can carry it with you on the bike, all the time.  You’re never without the ability to set (or start) the bead.  And with the BeadSetR you’ll always have a handy multi-purpose ratchet strap and an emergency tow line.

Want to order a BeadSetR?   CLICK HERE.


CO2 Cartridges 

Some riders advocate the use of CO2 cartridges. Tire repair kits often contain 3 small 16-gram cartridges, each weighing 2 ounces. When you puncture the seal on the cartridge, a sudden rush of compressed gas causes the sidewalls to bulge momentarily.  Hopefully, that bulge achieves an initial seal.  It might work… it should work… just maybe it will work… but often it doesnt work.  We know, weve tried, they failed.  We don’t use them anymore.

You could carry multiple CO2 cartridges and keep working the problem. You’d want at least 6, or 9 to be on the safe side. At 2 ounces apiece they add up to over a pound of dead weight.  If the first one doesn’t do the job, perhaps the next one will?  Cross your fingers and hope for the best.  If the first one doesn’t work, maybe the next one will, or the next one, or the one after that. 

We did some testing with 16-gram cartridges to see how they’d inflate a tire.  The tire was off the rear of a BMW R1200GS, a Continental TKC 80, size 150/70-17.  Costs are approximate, based on purchase of an air chuck (control valve) and cartridge paks.


16 gram


Cost to inflate to
indicated pressure










 Costs based on kit pricing. Refills only available in 3-paks.

 To improve their chance of success, some riders have resorted to oversized 45-gram cartridges that have a larger, longer burst of compressed gas.  A pair of those cartridges and the nozzle weighs 15 ounces.  How many of those big ones should you carry?  Two? Four?  The cartridge website says this, “Two 45 gram cartridges will fill any road tire to optimal pressure.”  From the charts below you can see that their definition of “optimal pressure” is well below any safe tire pressure recommendation found in our motorcycle owner’s manual.  Two cartridges didn’t fill the tire to proper highway pressures. You’d need at least 3 to achieve safe tire inflation, but you’ll have to buy 4 of them because they’re not available in singles.

Again we tested the same tire, but this time we used 45-gram cartridges.  Here’s what we found:

45 gram


 Cost to inflate
to indicated pressure










 Costs based on kit prices. Refills only available in pairs.  Ya’ can’t buy 3, we had to buy 4.

 The truth of the matter is that CO2 cartridges are big, heavy, and they only give you a single use, then they become nothing more than trash. Please recycle them.

Theyre also Very Expensive – Let’s put those costs in perspective: If you’re using CO2 to set a bead or inflate a tire, it’s gonna cost you anywhere from $38 – $75 to fill ONE tire, ONE time. Can you say Ouch?  That really hurts the pocketbook.   Cartridges are a desperate one-shot, Hail-Mary solution for tire inflation, or bead setting. They’re better than nothing, but not by much. If you decide to use them you’ll need to get it right the first time because theres no second chances, no do-overs.  If you cant seat the bead and inflate the tire on your first try, you’ll be walking home.

Why not spend your money and get a BeadSetR which will “set the bead” reliably, every time?  And why not invest in a CyclePump which will inflate your tires hundreds of times?  The logic seems compelling.  The math is irrefutable.