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Banish Flats Forever!!! Practically impossible to get a flat with these tubes!!!
on September 16, 2011
A name-brand tube that you buy at WhateverMart is a flimsy little thing - not even 1/32" thick (I measured with calipers). But this Slime tube --- this is one serious tube. The outer rubber is thicker than the inner (because the outer is where you need the most protection) The outer part is 1/8" thick - more than 4 times as thick as the WhateverMart tube. The inner part of the tube is 1/16" thick. The box it comes in is about 4 times larger than a WhateverMart tube - because the rubber is that much more thick and bulky. This is a seriously heavy-duty tube.
If the super-thick, high-quality rubber is not enough, it includes Slime.
I have ridden 100 miles a week on these tubes for two years. I've had one hole - because I completely wore a hole in my rear tire, exposing the inner tube to the road. Even then, the slime plugged the hole (a difficult hole to plug, because it has tapered edges and no protruding object to bind to). I was able to complete 4 miles to get home.
I had one other failure - I let the tire pressure get too low, and the tube slipped, causing the valve stem to lean at an angle. The joint between the stem and the tube eventually failed (and the slime won't help something like that - for one thing, slime can only seal holes on the outside of the tire, because centrifugal force forces the slime to the outside). I can't blame the tube - that was my own dumb fault for ignoring the slanted stem when I added air to the tire. I guess I was overconfident in the tube - but it won't make up for stupidity.
Before I discovered these tubes, I was getting an average of two flats per month - almost always the rear tire, of course, which bears most of the weight - and is naturally the hardest to fix (especially on the side of the road). In two years, I have avoided something like 48 flat tires. That means I've avoided 48 roadside repairs (of a rear wheel), or 48 phone calls to my wife to bring the car and the bike rack. Half of these flats would be in the morning, as I was hurrying to get to work. I would be late to work and miss a significant number of important morning meetings. Half of the flats would be in the evening - and in Oregon I ride home in the dark in the fall/winter. I hate trying to fix a flat in the dark.
Sure - they're expensive. You get what you pay for, and you're paying for a tube that is practically indestructible (and will get you home even when it isn't).
Make sure you have rim tape (spoke liner) on your wheel. Rim tape covers the ends of the spokes which protrude into the inside of your wheel. It protects the tube from rubbing against the spoke ends. It should already be on your wheel, but cheap factory-installed tape can fall off when changing a tire. Don't ride without rim tape - and use quality tape sized to your wheel that you get from a bike shop - electrical tape or duct tape is a poor substitute - but better than nothing.
The valve stem caps are bright green. Sometimes when I'm stopped at a light another cyclist will point to my bright green caps and give me a thumbs-up. He knows what I know (and his caps are bright green). My ride is heavily tricked-out, but nobody ever has commented on anything except my inner tubes.
Make sure your valve stems are straight and your outer tire is not completely worn out and you can't go wrong with these tubes.
Know what you're buying - not all Slime tubes are created equal. Slime also makes thin-rubber tubes with the Slime sealing agent. Better than the generic tube, but not as indestructible as this thick-rubber tube.
I would pay $50 EACH for these tubes. I would wince, but I would pay. They're that good.