(or at least until you run out of fuel)
A puncture on the trail is no fun. At the least it takes time to fix that you would otherwise spend riding. At the worst, it means the end of your ride. Here are 4 ways to reduce the chance of getting a flat tire on the trails.
Use (Ultra) Heavy Duty inner tubes
The walls of a regular inner tube is about 1.5-2mm thick. A so called “Heavy Duty” inner tube is usually about 2-3mm thick while a “Super Heavy Duty” (SHD) or “Ultra Heavy Duty” (UHD) inner tube is between 3-5mm thick. The thicker tire wall means it is harder to puncture through. So, it makes sense to put in a heavier duty tire. I run ultra heavy duty’s in Bigfoot.
But, thicker walls mean more material, thus a heavier tire. And since it is rotating mass and unsprung weight, your bike may feel a bit different if you are used to regular inner tubes.
Using a tire sealant
Adding a sealant does not actually prevent a puncture, but it can repair punctures automatically. I use Slime in my Ultra-Heavy-Duty inner tubes. It is a fluid mixed with fibers that you add to your inner tube. Just release all the air from the tube, put the sealant in, rotate the tire a few times, and reinflate. Job done.
If the tube gets punctured, the escaping air will move sealant to the hole. The fluids in the sealant will escape while the remaining fibers will form a plug and you can continue to ride.
More info: Slime.com
Nuetech’s Tubliss system
Sounds like tubeless, right? That is of course no coincidence. Although there is no tube, there is something tubelike you insert into the tire. This system, by Nuetech, replaces the tradition inner tube with a two piece tube-like insert.
Around the rim, a thin rubber tube is placed that gets pumped up to about 100 psi. Around that is a thick rubber shield that has its own valve that allows the tire pressure to be set.
The thin tube at 100 psi will set the bead on the tire, the outer shield, with its own valve allows you to pump up the tire. It allows you to run at extremely low pressure (0 psi), without the tire spinning around the rim. Additionally the 100 psi adds a little extra protection for the rim. A picture says more than a thousand words, so check out the “How it works” section on the Nuetech website.
More info: Tubliss.com
Replace air with foam by using a mousse inner tube
A mousse if basically an inner tube filled with foam instead of air. It is very much focussed on offroad use and running it at speed on tarmac will heat up the mousse and it will melt or disintegrate. When looking for mousse tires, you will quickly find either Bib Mousse or Nitro Mousse, which as basically manufacture specific products. Nitro Mousse is a product from Nuetech (you know the ones from the Tubliss system above) and Bib Mousse is a Michelin product. Bib is short for “Bibendum”, the ‘Michelin Man’. Actually I think Michelin originally invented the mousse. So, not a solution for road touring, but for offroading this seems to be a very popular setup.
My current setup: heavy duty tubes filled with tire sealant (Slime)
Bigfoot Odometer: 25.196km.
Currently, I use Ultra Heavy Duty tubes with a tire sealant (Slime). It is a heavy setup, but it allows to me to run my bike both on- and offroad. The UHD tubes were already on the bike when I got it and I added the Slime just after I put on the Motoz Rall Z. I’ll keep you posted on how it performs.
Disclosure: None of the products or manufacturers mentioned in this article have supported this article in any way. The products I use myself, have been paid for by me.
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