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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Do those self sealing inner tubes work?

    I need new inner tubes... 26 x 1 3/8.
    I see them at Walmart. I think Bell was the brand.
    Do they really seal themselves if I get a small hole... like from a thorn?

    OR...What tube would you recommend ? Something punchure resistant, if there is such a thing ??

  2. #2
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    You talking about the ones with some sort of "Slime" inside? They seem to great slow down the air loss when a thorn goes in. But not always. They do well for small holes, but not so for larger punctures (greater than 0.2mm diameter) and then the goop inside seems to sputter out and release air, never really sealing. And the slime makes patching the tube more messy. Are they worth it? Not sure. I fix so many flats all the time (not necessarily for myself) that patching a flat isn't a big deal or a long ordeal. But, knock on wood, I haven't had anymore flats since the 3-in-one-day I got after forgetting about my wife on mother's day last month. I'm almost 4 weeks out of the dog house on flats which is good Karma.
    Yes, I can roll my own potsticker skins!

  3. #3
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    Just renewed my emergency bags on my bikes today. Nothing worse than having glue thats too old or patches are that dried out. With QR wheels and the sheer modular nature of bikes these days fixing a flat is super easy.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    I had the Slime spit back into my "household" tire pump.
    A pump that was good for 50-55 PSI is good for about 30 PSI now.

    So much for pumping a friends tire!

    It also settles to the bottom while the bike sits and takes a few miles to redistribute itself.

  5. #5
    Senior Member WickedThump's Avatar
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    My main road bike has Gatorskin tires, which are puncture resistant.
    On my other bikes, I use tire liners, and have not had a puncture while using them.
    I have heard that Gorilla Tape works as a tire liner. I have some, and it seems tough enough, but haven't used it for tires yet.
    In the Denver area we have these awful goathead thorns, so some sort of protection is needed.

  6. #6
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    A point nobody's seemingly mentioned is that the slime gets on the outside of the tube if you do get a puncture big enough, and it then makes patching the tube even harder. Don't bother with them, mechanics also don't like it when they let down a tyre for whatever reason and it blasts slime out of the valve. I've had bikes at my local co-op do that. Not pretty.

  7. #7
    Senior Member catonec's Avatar
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    you can try tire liners instead
    http://mrtuffy.com/ultraLite.php
    2010 Kestrel RT900SL, 800k carbon, chorus/record, speedplay, zonda
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  8. #8
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    thanks for the input.
    Walmart has tire liners. Bell Brand I think.
    Regarding Gorilla tape, how do you install it?

  9. #9
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    I personally use slime tubes on my mtb and have had great luck with them. Being in Denver I used to get goatheads stuck in my tires all the time but the slime tubes took care of it. Now as far as patching the tube I would never try to patch a slime tube if it didn't "heal" itself I would just buy another one. As for the slime leaking out of the valve into a pump I can see that being a problem but in the mtb I usually just pump it up with a compressor since its a schrader valve, but the few times I did use my hand pump I didn't have a problem.

  10. #10
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    The Bell or the Slime does not work with high pressure road tires, but do work great with lower pressure mtb tires. Once a thorn or whatever enters a high pressure road tire with Slime it deflates instantly, so you try pumping it up and it holds till you get between 65 to 70psi then it's flat again. This is because Slime cannot hold high pressure, and while it's leaking its turning your rim tape into a green mess.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by catonec View Post
    you can try tire liners instead
    http://mrtuffy.com/ultraLite.php
    to Mr Tuffy!
    Or you could get some tires with a kevlar belt built into it. Schwalbe makes a great one.

  12. #12
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    If thorns like the goathead are the problem then Mt Tuffy and kevlar belts fail. Kevlar belts do not take to stabbing type of puncture well, slashing type of punctures works great though. Its the same principle of a knife being able to kill a person wearing a kevlar vest, the knife blades separate and cut the fibers. Mr Tuffy you would think would be great, and for the most part they are, but for some reason Goatheads penetrate those liners with very little difficulty. I've had goatheads penetrate a Gatorskin tire with a Mr Tuffy! But I never had a goathead penetrate a Specialized Armadillo All Condition tire without a Mr Tuffy.

  13. #13
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    Tire liners and slime tubes are only stopgap measures to combat tire failure. If you upgrade your tires, not only will a tire liner be unnecessary, but slime tubes will not be needed because of the much higher protection afforded by a high quality tire. Also, tire liners can cause flats if installed improperly, chafing or pinching the tube as they move around within the tire.

    A few good choices are the Vittoria Randonneur, the Continental Touring Plus, and the Schwalbe Marathon Plus. These are heavier tires, and not suitable for a racing bike. However, they have a very thick anti-puncture strip that will stop pretty much anything that isn't a roofing nail or a pinch flat. They are also extremely durable.

    Buying cheaper tires and trying to "improve" them using anti flat strips or slime tubes is false economy -- by the time you are done messing around with that and have worn your tire out, you are likely to have spent more money than the price of a higher quality tire.

    So... upgrade your tires.

  14. #14
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    The slim works well... if your not buying the tires that cost twice what they should. Often there the difference of getting home for the fix.. vs on the road or getting the ride to the home base.

  15. #15
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    Again, Slime does nothing to help road tires, unless your willing to limp home with about 60 psi in the tire after a flat. Like I said before, the high pressure of road tires prevents the Slime from sealing even the smallest pin hole once pressure exceeds 65 to 70psi.

    Also Slime tubes use the worst presta valves I've had the misery of using, they lasted about 6 or so attempts to pump before the valve would fail...and I don't mean clogging, although they would do that, but I mean the valve would actually break. I've never had this problem with any other presta valve.

  16. #16
    "The Veiled Male" Zorba's Avatar
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    Buy your tubes of choice, then add slime. Slime has gotten me home on several occasions, I ride on a TERRIBLE road strewn with all kind of flat inducing debris. As far as I'm concerned, flat tires are unacceptable at any time - this is the 21st century. Combination of slime filled tubes and Marathon tires is what works for me...
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  17. #17
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    I've run Stan's Notubes sealant in tubeless tires for years with great results, and have even gone to road tubeless in recent months. As far as inner tubes with sealant in them, I haven't done that on any of my own bikes.

    We do some "product experimentation" here at the shop sometimes, and I did a little R and D the other day with a cheap tire. I removed the valve core from the inner tube, injected a couple of ounces of Stan's sealant into it, sealed it back up, aired the tire up, and put the wheel on my truing stand and started poking holes in the tire with a thumbtack. As I would puncture the tire I'd hear some air escape, I'd spin the wheel on the stand, and the leak would instantly seal. I probably punctured it twenty times with the tack before I got bored with it, and it was still holding air at that point. Later, I mentioned it to one of my co-workers, and he slashed it with a utility knife a little more severely than the sealant could handle.

    Bottom line: IMO, there's value to Stan's sealant in an inner tube, but there are limits to what it will seal.

  18. #18
    Senior Member WickedThump's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevekk View Post
    thanks for the input.
    Walmart has tire liners. Bell Brand I think.
    Regarding Gorilla tape, how do you install it?
    Note that I have not used it yet. I'd say to clean the inside of the tire and measure how wide the tape needs to be, Cut the tape down to width and just apply it as evenly as possible, overlapping the ends by an inch or two.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
    Again, Slime does nothing to help road tires, unless your willing to limp home with about 60 psi in the tire after a flat. Like I said before, the high pressure of road tires prevents the Slime from sealing even the smallest pin hole once pressure exceeds 65 to 70psi.

    Also Slime tubes use the worst presta valves I've had the misery of using, they lasted about 6 or so attempts to pump before the valve would fail...and I don't mean clogging, although they would do that, but I mean the valve would actually break. I've never had this problem with any other presta valve.
    Slime works relatively well for me in road tires at 95 psi. I'm in goathead territory (NM) and after trying thick tubes, liners, kevlar tires, etc., I settled on cheap presta tubes, cheap tires, and slime. Of course, the slime still fails with anything bigger than a pin-prick and that happens once or twice a year. Now I simply replace tubes every two months, or as needed if sooner, rather than gluing on 4 or 5 patches per week.

    I'm good at patching tubes, but after a while it gets ridiculous, and the downsides of sealant become a non-issue. YMMV.

  20. #20
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Humpy View Post
    Slime works relatively well for me in road tires at 95 psi. I'm in goathead territory (NM) and after trying thick tubes, liners, kevlar tires, etc., I settled on cheap presta tubes, cheap tires, and slime. Of course, the slime still fails with anything bigger than a pin-prick and that happens once or twice a year. Now I simply replace tubes every two months, or as needed if sooner, rather than gluing on 4 or 5 patches per week.

    I'm good at patching tubes, but after a while it gets ridiculous, and the downsides of sealant become a non-issue. YMMV.
    I'm not going argue anymore about the Slime, they didn't work for me on road bikes but did just fine on the MTB's. Anyway enough of that. Why replace tubes every 2 months? Specialized Armadillo All Condition tires will stop all goatheads, and the tires are about $45 and will last about 5,800 to 6,000 miles depending on rider weight and road conditions; then combine that with a normal tube and you would be good to go. All you have to do, if you want, is to buy one and put it on the rear (that's where most flats occur) and ride and compare flats frequency between the Specialized and your combo of tire and Slime. If you like the results of the Specialized then you know what to do. But buying tubes every 2 months is rather expensive and you'll easily exceed the cost of Specialized tire in about 10 months.

    I too got good at fixing flats due to goatheads, but as you say it got to be ridiculous, and add to that the cost of tubes and tires and it became more insane then ridiculous

    Don't forget I use to live in the Mojave Desert of California and Goatheads flourished like a wild fire on a hot dry windy day...which is the conditions of the Mojave Desert most of time!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
    I'm not going argue anymore about the Slime...
    I have contemplated getting the Armadillo's, they seem to get a lot of praise. I'm going to call around right now and see If I get them. If they don't work I'll send them to you and expect a full refund. I would love to be able to ditch the sealant.

    I guess after trying various Continentals, Panaracers, and Schwalbes, with and without an added liner, without success, I don't have faith in any tire being able to stop those pointy little bastards. And it's not so much about the money, it's about being able to ride my bike as much as possible with the least amount of hassle.

  22. #22
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Im using HD thorn resistant tubes in 406-47 Schwalbe marathon plus, tires
    on my BikeFriday, which I commute on...

  23. #23
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Humpy View Post
    I have contemplated getting the Armadillo's, they seem to get a lot of praise. I'm going to call around right now and see If I get them. If they don't work I'll send them to you and expect a full refund. I would love to be able to ditch the sealant.

    I guess after trying various Continentals, Panaracers, and Schwalbes, with and without an added liner, without success, I don't have faith in any tire being able to stop those pointy little bastards. And it's not so much about the money, it's about being able to ride my bike as much as possible with the least amount of hassle.
    HAHAHAHA. Well that's why I suggested just getting just one so I'm not on the hook for a couple of dozen or however many bikes you have!!

    Schwalbes are another great tire against goatheads, but they weren't out when I had my problems so I never got to use them. But I think the Specialized Armadillo All Condition tires are a bit lighter in weight.

  24. #24
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Self sealing tubes are like tires - there are different qualities, the better ones cost more, abd the cheaper ones are much less effective. Stans Tire Sealant and Zefal Z-Sealant can be added to any tube with a Schrader valve. Some brands of tubes with Presta valves make a two piece valve with a removable core that will let you also load a flat preventative liquid.

    Do they work? Yup! The electric bicycles we sell in the shop come equipped with Schwalbe Marathon Suprwme tires. But changing a flat pn an e-bike is expensive due to the added complexity of having to disconnect a hub motor - so to further reduce the possibilities of flats - the Schwalbies are backed up with self-sealing tubes.

  25. #25
    I let the dogs out AlphaDogg's Avatar
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    I once got a random flat tire on the inside (rim side) of my rim and my tube had slime in it. I couldn't patch it, and it was before I used to carry tubes with me (but now do as a result), so I had to limp it to the bike shop to get a new tube.
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
    Weird spell/word check. "***" is "***". I'll never understand this computer. Andy.

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