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 clock is ticking to finish (or perhaps start?) your Christmas shopping! Do you have someone on your gift list who loves to bike? Don’t fret, we have the perfect gift ideas to please every bicyclist, including the commuter, road warrior, mountain trail enthusiast, family of bicyclists, and every rider in between. Below is a list of our favorite (and most popular) bike gifts:
CO2 inflators are some of the (literally) coolest bike products currently on the market. Featuring controllable inflation technology, lightweight design and compatibility with a variety of CO2 sizes and valve stems, Genuine Innovations has a CO2 inflator to fit every bicyclist.
The new AirChuck+ features the same lightweight, push-to-inflate technology as its predecessor, in a more ergonomic design that keeps your hand off the cartridge. Available in silver or blue, this American beauty is easy to use and fully controllable. Who says you can’t get back on the trail quickly and look good while doing it?
Comfortable to hold and built to last, riders also love the Ultraflate Plus CO2 inflator. Featuring trigger-controlled inflation technology, the Ultraflate is a lightweight cupped inflator with sturdy construction and extremely reliable inflation performance.
Don’t forget the CO2! Before placing your inflators under the tree, be sure to throw in some additional CO2 cartridges. CO2 comes in a variety of sizes (16 gram, 20 gram and 25 gram), as well as non-threaded or threaded styles, so be sure to match your inflator to the right type of CO2.
Tools & Accessories
Tubeless Tackle Kit
Pair your CO2 inflator with the ultimate tubeless tire repair tool. Compact and versatile, this self-contained tire repair kit comes with repair plugs, Presta core valves and integrated valve core removal and plugger tools, all packaged in an alloy weatherproof storage capsule. Never get stuck on the side of the trail again!
Side of Bacon
Don’t forget the refill! Our top selling Side of Bacon rope plugs pair perfectly with our Tubeless Tackle Kit to keep your loved ones’ wheels in motion (eggs and toast not included).
Tubeless Premium Sealant
Giving to a tubeless rider? You can guarantee that they need a dependable tubeless sealant. Slime’s new Tubeless Premium Sealant is the next generation in sealant advancements. Protecting tires from tears and slits, the sealant is uniquely engineered to be CO2 compatible and evenly disperse from bead to bead for consistent, wider coverage. Simply stated, the tubeless sealant stays liquid longer, seals faster and extends the lifespan of your tires.
Presta/Schrader Valve Tool
With a Schrader core remover on one end and a Presta remover on the other, you can’t go wrong with this zinc alloy valve core remover tool. This great Slime stocking stuffer threads apart in the middle and contains two Presta cores with a rubber O-ring for a watertight closure.
Aluminum Presta Valve Stems
Give a little bling this Christmas! These green anodized aluminum valve stems from Slime feature a conical grommet for solid valve hole contact and a tighter air seal. Available as a 2-pack, these Presta valve stems are sized 44mm in length and include a removable valve core for versatility among different rim types.
Unsure what your bicyclist needs or loves? Don’t worry, you can never go wrong with a Slime gift card or Genuine Innovations gift card! Available in a range of amounts, from $10 to $100, you can let your spouse, family member, friend or co-worker pick out their own favorite bike accessories.
Happy gifting everyone!
Slime and Genuine Innovations is celebrating the holidays with a special 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway! As a thank you to our amazing customers, a different gift pack from Slime and Genuine Innovations will be given away for 12 consecutive days in December.
Simply visit www.slimecycling.com/12DaysofChristmas and fill out the short form to be entered into the giveaway. One winner will be selected every day for 12 days beginning on December 4! Gift packs include:
Day 1: (2) 4 oz. tubeless sealant pouches, (1) Roll of 27mm mountain rim tape, (2) Green
Presta valve stems
Day 2: Flat Tire Repair Kit (Analog)
Day 3: $25 gift card to GenuineInnovations.com
Day 4: Tubeless Tackle Kit and Side of Bacon
Day 5: $25 gift card to Slime.com
Day 6: AirChuck+ CO2 Inflator and a 2-Pack of 20G Threaded CO2
Day 7: (2) 4 oz. tubeless sealant pouches, (1) Roll of 18mm road rim tape, (2) Green Presta
Day 8: Flat Tire Repair Kit (Digital)
Day 9: Ultraflate CO2 Inflator and a 2-Pack of 20G Non-Threaded CO2
Day 10: $25 gift card to Slime.com
Day 11: Tubeless Tackle Kit and Side of Bacon
Day 12 – GRAND PRIZE: (2) 4 oz. tubeless sealant pouches, (1) Roll of 27mm mountain rim
tape, (2) Green Presta valve stems, Tubeless Tackle Kit and Side of Bacon
Enter to win one of the holiday gift packs here. Happy Holidays from everyone at Slime and Genuine Innovations!
Let's be honest – tubes are a bit weird. Wiggly black bands of rubber, tubes are tedious to install, constantly need to be re-inflated and can be defeated by the tiniest thorns. When it comes time to purchase a new tube, how do you know which one to select? Between the dozens of size options and the various valve stem types (Presta, what is that?), selecting the correct tube for your bike can be challenging. That’s why we have put together this quick guide to help you select the perfect tire tube for your bicycle:
Step 1: Picking the Right Tube Size
There are two important dimensions you must know when selecting a tube: The diameter of your wheel and the width of your tire. You need both to select the correct tube size. These dimensions can be found on your tire: Diameter x Width
The first number is the diameter of your wheel. Sizes such as 26, 24, 20, 27.5, 29 and 700c are common tire diameters. The second number (after the X) is the width of your tire. The range for widths is usually between 1 and 3 inches. For example, a 26 x 1.75 size means the tire diameter is 26 inches and the tire width is 1.75 inches.
While your diameter measurement needs to be exact, your width measurement does not. Because inner tubes stretch, they typically come in a range of widths. For example, one of our most popular tubes is the 26 x 1.75-2.125” which means it fits a 26-inch diameter tire with a width in the range of 1.75 to 2.125 inches.
Some tires have dimensions in millimeters, but the basic measurement structure is still the same: Diameter x Width. Instead of inches, you will instead see something like 700c x 18 mm. The letter at the end of the tire diameter is a carryover from an old French system that used letters a, b and c to designate inner wheel rim diameters.
Step 2: Picking the Right Valve Stem
After you know your tube size, you need to select your valve stem type. The valve stem is the metal part of the bicycle wheel that sticks out and allows air to go into (and stay in) your tire. There are three types of valve stems: Schrader, Presta and Woods/Dunlop. The Woods (or Dunlop) valve stem is extremely rare and typically only found in the Netherlands or Asia, so we won’t spend any time on it here.
Schrader valves, on the other hand, are the most common valve stems found on bicycles. The most recognizable of the bunch, sometimes they are referred to as standard valves. An easy way to remember if you have a Schrader valve is to think of the “S.” Schrader valves are short, sturdy and standard. If you don’t know what valve stem you have, it is likely a Schrader.
The last valve stem type is Presta. Presta valves are traditionally found on higher-end bicycles preferred by professional cyclists. Think of the “P” in Presta standing for professional, performance and premium. If you have a Presta valve, you usually know it.
Step 3: Durability -- Self-Sealing or Basic Tubes?
The last consideration you need to keep in mind when selecting a tube is durability. There is no reason for you to suffer from flat tires - Riding flat free can be a reality. Self-sealing tubes are heavy duty and designed to stop flats for up to two years! To gain that type of protection, you need to purchase tubes that come pre-installed with Slime tire sealant.
Alternatively, if you already have empty tubes, but want the protection that self-sealing tubes provide, you can insert the tube sealant yourself. Learn more about tube protecting sealant here.
Congratulations, you are now a tube expert! When purchasing tubes, if you consider tire size, valve stem type and durability needs, then you will never select the wrong tube again. Go forth and start riding!
We are excited to announce the Grand Opening of our online bike store! Now, you can easily get your favorite Slime bicycle sealant, tubes and other bike accessories directly from our website.
To celebrate our Grand Opening, we are offering 20% off all Slime bicycle products. Simply enter the discount code GRANDOPENING at checkout to take advantage of the deal (Sale also applies to our newly released Flat Tire Repair Kits!).
To sweeten the pot, over the course of the next week, we will randomly select three orders and completely refund the cost of the purchase! You might be that lucky winner who gets their entire Slime bicycle order for free.
Hurry, our Grand Opening sale only lasts one week (through 10/31), so don’t delay. Head over to Slime.com today.
The Genuine Innovations Build Your Own AirChuck+ program at Interbike 2017 kept our booth busy! As the show days went on, you kept donating and we kept making. We assembled hundreds of custom AirChuck+ inflator heads at Interbike and raised an amazing amount of money for the United Way. How much money?
$5,642 collected at Interbike 2017
x3 Slime and Genuine Innovations Company Match
Total raised for United Way:
WOW! A huge thank you to each and every one of you that donated. Together, we rock! Enjoy your AirChuck+
Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountain range, Cartecay Bike Shop is right at home surrounded by top-notch mountain bike trails. Just a short drive from the Mulberry Gap mountain bike trail system in Ellijay, GA, Cartecay offers all the typical amenities of a full-service shop.
Owners Dondi Fontenot and Ben Schlosser bought the shop recently and have kept bikes rolling and smiles flowing to tourists and regulars alike. In recent years, both Dondi and Ben have noticed an increasing demand for plus-sized tires.
One of the latest tire trends to hit the market, plus-sized tires offer a larger volume tire, allowing a rider to run lower tire pressures, increasing ride compliance, traction and ultimately rider confidence. They expressed how these plus bikes are flying out of the shop, as new and experienced riders are both turning to this tire genre for a bike that can handle the root-riddled and rocky terrain in the Appalachians (Conveniently enough, we offer the 25 gram CO2 cartridges for the plus-sized tires out there).
So whether you’re capping off a bike trip through the Appalachian Mountains, or starting a northward tour into the heart of the premiere mountain biking trails in the east, be sure to stop at Cartecay Bike Shop. You’ll not only be greeted by very knowledgeable staff, but also a shop pup. Who doesn’t like a good shop pup every now and then?
Next week, Las Vegas will be overrun with bicycle enthusiasts from around the world for Interbike 2017! Dubbed the largest annual gathering of the bicycle industry in North America, Interbike is the premier event to celebrate, educate and conduct the business of cycling.
Attendees can meet with 1,400 bicycle brands – all on one floor – “pedaling” everything the bicycle industry has to offer, including: road, mountain, triathlon, electric bikes, nutrition, apparel, safety, accessories, power and more.
Slime and Genuine Innovations share a booth at Interbike, and we have some exciting surprises in store for our booth visitors. Below are the top three reasons you should visit our Booth #7255 at Interbike:
No. 1: Build Your Own AirChuck+
Genuine Innovations is the leader in CO2 inflation technology. Our newest inflator, the AirChuck+, features lightweight, push-to-inflate technology and an ergonomic design to keep your hand off the cartridge.
Visit our booth to create your own custom AirChuck+ CO2 inflator head. Hundreds of color combinations available exclusive to Interbike! Match your bike, match your sports team or even match your favorite superhero.
Want to reserve your unique AirChuck+ in advance? Click here to design your own and have it waiting for you at Booth #7255.
No. 2: Tubeless Sealant Demos
Protecting you from tears, punctures and slits, Slime’s new tubeless premium sealant is designed to stay liquid longer, seal faster, extend the lifespan of your tires and carry you farther.
Cyclist feedback on the new tubeless sealant has been overwhelmingly positive. Visit Booth #7255 to see the sealant in action in all types of tires! Compare it to other popular sealants and maybe even take a trial pouch home to try for yourself.
The future of tubeless is here. Join the Slime tubeless revolution at Booth #7255.
No. 3: Bike Shop Specials
For many bike shop owners, merchandising store product does not top the list of favorite job responsibilities. Rather than spending your time leafing through online catalogs to select products and then hours arranging merchandise on your store shelves, Slime and Genuine Innovations want to make it easy for you to sell products.
Stop by Booth #7255 to see our retail-ready displays on special at Interbike for bike shop owners. Our new Pop-Up Stores offer a one-stop shopping experience for your customers. Simply open the package and display our most popular products in one attractive place. Let our retail-ready displays do the selling.
Interbike 2017 is September 20-22, 2017 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada. See you at Booth #7255!
The real view from the field.