As tubeless bicycles become more popular, so has the offering of tubeless bicycle sealants also increased. With more than a dozen to choose from, which one is the best tubeless bicycle sealant?
In its recently released tubeless sealant buyer's guide, Road Bike Action magazine reviews 12 of the latest tire sealants that you can find on the market. Spoiler alert: Slime was thrilled to find that it's new tubeless bicycle sealant placed No. 1! Check it out (click to enlarge)!
After returning from the Sea Otter Classic, I compared Slime’s new tubeless tire sealant against the Finish Line tire sealant. I knew my Stan's tire sealant was already dried in my mountain bike tires, so on Sunday morning, I took the tire off and cleaned out the dried tire sealant. I put about 4 oz. of Slime tire sealant in the front wheel and 4 oz. of Finish Line in the back wheel.
I usually ride three times a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday or Sunday morning). I have three different bikes, so I don't always ride the same bike. The one I ride the most often is my Santa Cruz Tallboy C, which is the one that I tested the tire sealant on. The test bed was for 29er wheels with tubeless-ready Mavic wheels and Continental X-King tires (2.3 in the front and 2.2 in the rear).
The tire setting was quick and easy. The beads went into place easily for both the front and rear tire since both tires and wheels are tubeless ready. There weren’t any major leaks that I could hear, so I went through the motions of making sure the tire sealant covered the entire tire.
Sunday: I checked on the tires and the front tire (Slime) was set and it did not lose any air, but the rear tire pressure was low (Finish Line) so I added some air and shook the tire again, in hopes that any leaks that may have been letting air escape would get sealed up with Finish Line tire sealant.
Monday: I checked on the wheels in the morning and the tire pressure was down on the rear tire again, so I added more air. On Monday evening after work, I checked on the tires again and the rear tire had lost about 10 psi, so I added more air and shook the Finish Line tire sealant again.
Tuesday: I checked on the tires again and the front tire was fine, but the rear had lost a little more air (less then what was lost on Monday). I figured I needed to shake the wheel again to let the sealant splash around to seal any leaks. After that, I went on a two-hour ride and everything held up without any issues on the ride.
Wednesday: In the morning, I checked on the bike wheels and rear tire was low again. This time, I washed the rear wheel and tire and I placed it in water to see if it was leaking air, and it was leaking air very slowly in several areas on the tire bead. The Finish Line tire sealant did not seal the small air leaks between the tire and the wheel.
I took the tire off to make sure the tire bead was clean and it was. I cleaned the tire bead and the rim again to make sure nothing was in the way of the tire setting on the wheel. I went ahead and set the tire and went through the same steps as I did to set the front tire. I shook the tire to make sure the tire sealant would splash all around and this time, I set the wheel on its side to make sure the tire bead had enough tire sealant to seal any air leaks. Wednesday night, I added more some air and I placed the wheel on the other side to make sure the bead would seal on the other side.
Thursday: It looked like it was better as I just lost about 5 psi in the rear tire. I added some air and shook the tire to make sure everything was sealed. Thursday evening, I checked on the tire and it was low, so I added some air and I went for a two-hour ride. During the ride the tire held up.
Friday: I checked on the rear tire and it was low on air again, so I shook the tire to get the sealant all around the tire and wheel. Friday night, the tire was low again, so I added more Finish Line to the tire sealant and pumped the tire, then shook it all around to make it would be able to seal the bead properly.
Saturday: On Saturday morning, the tire was low but I added some air and I went on a ride. My ride was for about four hours. Toward the end of the ride, I could feel the rear tire pressure was low so I stopped on the trail and I added air. The tire held up to finish the ride. I once again shook the rear tire to give the sealant a chance to seal the tire the wheel so it would stop losing air.
Sunday: I checked on rear wheel and again the tire was low. I added more air and placed the tire in water to find that it was leaking from several spots coming out from the tire bead.
Monday: At this point, I had given the rear tire several attempts to seal the air leak. Getting frustrated with this, I took the rear tire off the wheel and removed the Finish Line tire sealant from the wheel and tire and added Slime sealant. I checked on the rear tire to see if there is any air was leaking from the wheel and it was from the side tire bead. I shook the wheel around to get the tire sealant to cover the air leak and placed the wheel on its side.
Tuesday: I checked on the tire and it looked like it lost a little air, but I added some more air and left it on its side to make sure the sealant would cover the air leak. Tuesday evening, I came home and checked on the rear and the air pressure did not go down. I went on my ride and came home with no issues. Thursday morning, I checked on the rear tire and air pressure had stayed the same as Tuesday and it did not drop.
Looks like I won't be able to do a comparison of Slime and Finish Line tire sealant to see which will last longer and seal the air leaks. Or you can already say Slime tire sealant won, since Finish Line was not able to seal the small at leaks between the tire and wheel.
Slime recently released a new tubeless bicycle sealant and it is creating a lot of excitement in the cycling industry. But it is also creating a bit of confusion because Slime already offers a classic tubeless tire sealant that you put in ATVs, riding lawn mowers, tractors, trailers, etc.
Can I put the tubeless bike formula in my wheelbarrow? Can I put the ATV formula in my tubeless fat bike tires?
Slime's two tubeless sealants are both excellent products, but they are very different. And since this is the high season for Slime-ing your tires, we wanted to make sure to clear up any confusion between the two tubeless products. Read on to learn more about which tubeless you need:
Tubeless for non-highway vehicles:
Originally blended by hand with a power drill and a drywall blade in a garage, this tubeless tire sealant has been stopping flat tires in UTVs, lawn mowers, trailers and more since 1989.
Boasting our classic bright green Slime color, this blue label sealant is thick, with physical particles inside that mechanically seal punctures and stop slow leaks. It is designed to prevent flat tires for 2 years!
This sealant is not for bicycles because tubeless bike tires present different challenges than other tubeless tires (see more below).
Tubeless for bicycles:
Slime recently released an exciting new tubeless tire sealant specifically designed for tubeless bicycles. The different needs of tubeless bike tires, such as the butyl rubber tire casing, bead settings and tire pressures, resulted in a formula much different from the original tubeless one above.
A mint chocolate chip color, this new sealant is thinner than the blue label one and offers both a mechanical seal and a chemical seal. Since you are only using a small amount of sealant per tire, this tubeless sealant needs to be more mobile for full tire coverage and it needs to be able to properly seal the bicycle tire bead.
Wondering how Slime’s next generation tubeless sealant compares to the other tubeless competition on the market? Learn more here.
What about the old version of Slime Pro? That tubeless sealant was fine, but we have innovated significantly and the new tubeless sealant is awesomely better! (Also, on a side note, if you have tubes in your bicycle then don’t use any of these sealants. Look for the Slime red label prevent and repair sealant for tubes).
The good news? Both tubeless tire sealants contain Slime’s best features: Both work in extreme temperatures. Both are safe and easy to use. Both are environmentally friendly and clean up with water. Both last longer to ensure better puncture protection.
No more flats with Slime!
Here at Slime, we love the community we live in. That is why we partnered with the United Way of San Luis Obispo County to help give back to our local neighbors and friends in need. This year, every single Slime employee (100%!) volunteered to make a donation straight from our paychecks to United Way.
But it gets better. Our parent company, Illinois Tool Works (ITW), also wants to help us make a difference. So for every dollar raised for United Way, ITW doubles that donation dollar-for-dollar.
That means if someone gives $1, we can make it $3.
Give $5? Now it is $15.
This year, our Slime offices raised more than $56,600 for charity, which ITW upgraded to more than $170,000!
We have tried every fundraising idea we can think of - Paper airplane contests, bake sales, auctions, walk-a-thons, maker projects, dodgeball, egg drop, you name it! This year, we even put together a county-wide Casablanca Casino night.
Slime employees are working hard to make a difference in our community!
The Slime bicycling team just returned from the Sea Otter Classic 2018 in Monterey, CA and it was a terrific time!
The Slime booth was busy as we Slimed bicycles, jogging stollers and wheelchairs; assisted cyclists struggling with tubeless setups before their race; hosted cycling VIPs like Seth from Seth's Bike Hacks; and answered every flat tire question imaginable. But one of the best parts? Handing out our new tubeless sealant.
We gave out hundreds of free 4 oz. tubeless sealant samples over the four days of Sea Otter. After learning about the tubeless sealant's wider coverage and how it lasts longer than the other sealants on the market, attendees couldn't wait to get their hands on the stuff!
All in all, it was a great event filled with great people. It was very clear from the event that the cycling industry is healthy and vibrant. Best Sea Otter ever!
Check out some of our photos below:
We asked bicyclists: “If you could improve your tubeless bicycle sealant, what would you change?” The result is Slime's next generation in tubeless bicycle sealant:
• Lasts longer
• Wider coverage
• Works in extreme temperatures
And many more amazing features. Too many features to list in this blog post, so we created a cool webpage with videos, articles and more information about the tubeless sealant here.
Slime’s new tubeless bicycle sealant is designed to stay liquid longer, seal faster, extend the lifespan of your tires and carry you farther.
Take the tubeless challenge and Switch to Slime! Once you try our next generation tubeless bicycle sealant, you will never go back! For a limited time, you can try the sealant for FREE.
Cyclists and bike shops are the lifeline for innovation at Slime. We rely on feedback, suggestions and criticism from the bike community to drive the direction of our new bike product releases.
Communicating strictly through distributors sometimes means a loss of connection with our valued bike shops. Distributors must focus on an incredible wealth of brands, so we don't always hear what bike shops need and bike shops often do not hear about new product releases and improvements.
To improve this situation, we are pleased to announce a new online marketing portal called IBD Connect. Designed to help bike shops learn and sell more, IBD Connect is the new one-stop-shop for all your Slime product needs. Shop for product, get photos and videos to educate staff and consumers, and learn how to better merchandise in your store. Through IBD Connect, bike shops can:
Interested in signing up for IBD Connect (it's free!)? Watch this short video to learn how:
Anyone who has been riding bikes for a while can tell you that sooner or later, you’re going to get a flat. Even with tire sealant that prevents flat tires for up to two years, it’s just an unavoidable occurrence. When flats occur, the best thing you can do is be educated and prepared to patch the tube so that you can quickly get back on the road. Let's get started:
Consider these different flat tire scenarios: The at-home repair scenario where you're walking your bike into the garage and notice that the back wheel is sagging a little bit—you have a flat. Or, the on-the-trail repair scenario where 20 miles into a 50 mile ride, you go down hard on a rock and get a nasty pinch flat.
We’re going to walk you through some of the materials you’ll need for either situation, and then how to use them for both. Here’s a list of some things you will need to repair your tube.
Follow these 4 easy steps to patch your bicycle tube and repair your flat.
Step 1. Remove Your Tire
Take your tire lever and hook it around the outer edge of the tire (the bead) to get it off of the rim. Once you have the tire lever under the tire rubber, hook the other end of your tire lever around one of your spokes to keep the tire elevated. With a second tire lever, work your way around the rim, taking the tire out of the bead until one side has been completely removed from the rim.
Step 2. Find the Leak
If the puncture or gash in your tube is not easily apparent, you’re going to need to fill the tube back up to locate where the air is escaping from. There are a couple of different ways to find the leak. The layman’s way would just be to run your hand along the tube and try to feel it out.
The bucket of water method that we mentioned earlier, however, is a more accurate way. If you’re at home, fill your sink or a large bucket full of water and submerge each end of the tube. Watch for air bubbles escaping from your tire to locate your problem area.
Make sure you submerge each side, as there may be more than one puncture. Be sure to check the inside of the tire to make sure that the puncture-causing object has been removed. Once located, mark that spot with your tire marking chalk.
Step 3. Patch the Hole
When patching the hole in your bicycle tube, make sure that the area around the puncture is clean so that the patch will stick. Using the scuffer from your patch kit (sand paper or emery paper will also do the trick), rough up the area around the puncture so that your adhesives have something to grip.
If your patches don’t require glue, simply press them firmly over the hole. For patches that do need glue, add a layer of glue and spread it evenly around the area. Wait for the glue to get a little tacky, and then press on your patch. If you have the materials available to you at home, some cyclists will sprinkle talcum powder on top of the patch so that that patch/adhesive doesn’t stick to the inside of the tire.
Step 4. Put It All Back Together
Put a little air into your tube and then put it back in the tire, making sure, again, that there are no foreign objects remaining in the tire. Be sure to insert the tube and tire back into the rim using only your hands, as the tire levers may pinch the tube and cause another flat (we certainly don’t want that after all your hard work).
Once you’ve pushed the tire back in and the valve stem is securely inside the tire, inflate your tube back to maximum pressure, being sure to check the tire one more time to make sure that the bead is installed snugly. Ready to ride!
Thinking about going tubeless? In our previous blog post, we learned about conventional bicycle tire models, as well as what it means to run a tubeless setup on your bike. But the question still remains on whether tubeless is better or worse than the more traditional tire models. Read below to learn about the benefits and drawbacks of going tubeless.
Cuts Back on Flats
One of the biggest advantages touted by tubeless tire supporters is the system's flat tire resistant qualities. With traditional clincher tires, cyclists are susceptible to pinch flats, where the tube can get pinched between a rock (or other hard object) and the rim, resulting in a nasty flat. With the absence of an inner tube, this possibility is nearly eliminated.
To prevent common flat tire issues (thorns, glass, sharp rocks, etc.) tubeless tires are filled with a premium tire sealant during the mounting process, delivering an important layer of tire protection.
Many would argue that a tubeless tire makes you faster – but why? In your standard clincher, the tire and the inner tube are generally in close proximity to one another. While riding, the tube and the tire rub against each other, creating friction, and this friction increases a rider’s rolling resistance, making for a slightly tougher ride.
The absence of this tube in a tubeless system, however, implies the absence of this friction, and effectively reduces your rolling resistance. Some may argue, however, that because tubeless tires require a sturdier, heavier rubber than clincher tires, the resulting difference in speed is nearly negligible.
Another element of smoothness that a tubeless setup can offer is its limited psi capability. Because pinch flats aren’t a factor, tubeless tires can be ridden at a lower psi (it’s recommended up to 13 psi lower than a clincher), allowing more of the tire to come into contact with the road. This additional road contact allows the cyclist more control over their ride (i.e. smoother cornering, better handling, etc.). The limited psi also frees up the tire to absorb small bumps, creating a smoother feeling ride.
A Little Less Weight
Right off the bat, expect to drop around 200 grams by switching to a tubeless set up. There are a number of different avenues when going tubeless, but at the end of the day, losing two whole tubes will almost always drop the weight on your ride. I think all of us, especially you weight watchers out there, can all agree that a little less weight is always a perk.
Still May Need to Carry a Tube
The main drawback with a tubeless tire system is that repairs are not simple. While tubeless tires are resistant to pinch flats and nearly always contain tire sealant, a flat tire is still always a possibility. In an event where the tire sealant cannot repair an especially large puncture or sidewall tear, you’re going to need to have a tubeless tire repair kit (plugger and tire plugs) or an emergency tube on hand to feed into the tire if you want to keep on going.
Mounting is Tougher
A tubeless setup can require a little more time and maintenance than your standard clincher. When setting up your tubeless system, it is of paramount importance that the bead is seated on the rim correctly and creates an airtight seal (typically accomplished with compressed air). Additionally, you need to install rim tape, make sure your valve stems are airtight and add tire sealant to your setup. For those of you going tubeless for the first time, we recommend you find a company that offers all the tubeless components you need. Generally, they are engineered to work best together and will make your setup easier and faster.
While it may not always be the case, it is generally more expensive to run a tubeless setup. There are more components in the mounting process and those components tend to be more costly than standard tubes.
After reading all these tubeless pros and cons, are you sold? Is tubeless the best solution for you? We would love to hear your preferences in the comments below.
The topic of tubeless tires (whether to switch, and if it’s worth the time and the money to go tubeless) has been a big point of debate in the cycling community for the past few years. But does anyone really know for sure which tires are better? Some riders swear by tubeless tires and some say it’s a waste of time -- It’s impossible to know who’s right. Let's take a look at the details and leading opinions on bicycle tires to learn more.
Conventional Bicycle Tire Models:
Before the new tubeless systems entered the picture, cyclists traditionally only had two main types of tire-wheel setups to choose from: clincher and tubular. Here’s a little rundown.
The clincher tire is the traditional, standard tire used for most bicycles. It is called a clincher because the wire bundles in the tire bead keep the tire from expanding with pressure, essentially allowing it to “clinch” to the rim and preventing it from coming off.
In a tubular tire, the tire is actually sewn directly onto the tube, after which the tire is glued onto a specialized rim. Tubular tires are used primarily by professional road racers because of their performance qualities in cornering and run-flat capabilities. A tubular tire will not come off of a rim, even in the event of a flat tire. This allows a racer to safely exit the track, or even ride along slowly before their repair team arrives.
Unfortunately, a tubular tire is much more difficult to repair than your average clincher. While small punctures can be handled with a tire repair sealant, a larger gash will require the entire tire to be replaced.
What Does “Tubeless” Mean?
Unlike the setup you would see in a standard clincher tire, the tubeless tire system comes with no inner tube. This type of tubeless system has been used in car tires for decades, so it’s no wonder that as road and mountain biking become more competitive, the tire systems have begun to evolve as well.
In the tubeless system, the tire and the rim are designed in a way that when they are fitted together, they function to provide an airtight seal. So, rather than thinking of the tires and the wheels as separate parts, think of the tubeless setup as an all-inclusive wheel-tire system. This airtight fit comes as a result of a shoulder that is designed into the inner rim, creating a recess that allows for the tire bead to sit in the rim much more securely than would be found in the regular clincher wheels.
So, Should You Switch?
It’s honestly up to you and your riding preferences. Experts claim that top tubeless tires can outpace clinchers, and yet other’s claim the exact opposite. But it is clear that the movement toward tubeless tires is certainly growing. In our next blog post, we will explore the benefits and pitfalls to setting up, maintaining and riding with a tubeless tire system. The best advice we can give you is to not be afraid to try something new. Ride on!
The real view from the field.