Author Topic: Slime tubes for off-road touring?  (Read 2192 times)

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Offline MrBent

Slime tubes for off-road touring?
« on: July 25, 2018, 01:44:38 pm »
Hey, Riders:

Researching tech issues for my hoped-for Great Divide ride next year.  What are your thoughts on slime/sealant in tubes?  I bought a bunch of Slime tubes, but I'm second guessing myself--heavy, etc.  Your thoughts?

Offline John Nettles

Re: Slime tubes for off-road touring?
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2018, 01:57:34 pm »
I am not fond of the mess you get with slime tubes.  When going into remote areas or areas with little bike parts, I prefer to keep it tried and true.  If you want puncture resistant tubes, just use the non-slime version.  That way should you need to patch it, it really won't be difficult.  Whatever you do, be sure to carry a spare tube or two since the only flats I have had while on off-pavement have been blow outs due to sidewall cuts which no tube can patched if that happens.
Have a great tour!

Offline RonK

Re: Slime tubes for off-road touring?
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2018, 04:59:22 pm »
I tour with no tubes. Stans Notubes.
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

Offline John Nettles

Re: Slime tubes for off-road touring?
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2018, 05:02:22 pm »
I tour with no tubes. Stans Notubes.
But is that off-pavement touring like the great divide?  Just asking.

Offline RonK

Slime tubes for off-road touring?
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2018, 05:28:40 pm »
I tour with no tubes. Stans Notubes.
But is that off-pavement touring like the great divide?  Just asking.
Yes, for exactly that kind of touring. Most offroaders ride tubeless these days.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2018, 05:31:58 pm by RonK »
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

Offline staehpj1

Re: Slime tubes for off-road touring?
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2018, 06:27:51 am »
I tried slime tubes years ago when touring on the road and hated them.  They were heavy, messy, and still flatted.

I have more recently started using tubeless for all my off road riding and love it.  I am running a Stans No Tubes setup. It has pretty much eliminated the once a week thorn flats that I had been getting.  I highly recommend it.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Slime tubes for off-road touring?
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2018, 08:45:33 am »
Thanks for answering the no tubes question. That is good to know.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Slime tubes for off-road touring?
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2018, 09:06:56 am »
By the way, I have found the mess to be a non issue with tubeless.  I get very pretty much no flats now, but when I picked up a stick that broke a spoke and I had  to dismount the tire to change a spoke nipple that had a bit of spoke broken off in it I didn't get any of the solution on me or my clothing.  It washes off with water so even if you do it isn't a big deal.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Slime tubes for off-road touring?
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2018, 09:19:12 am »
Pete, how big of a hole/tear before the sealant does not seal, i.e. size of a pencil, dime, quarter, etc.?  Thanks, John

Offline staehpj1

Re: Slime tubes for off-road touring?
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2018, 09:30:55 am »
Pete, how big of a hole/tear before the sealant does not seal, i.e. size of a pencil, dime, quarter, etc.?  Thanks, John
Not sure.  I have not had any that didn't seal, but I have probably not had any that were vary big.  Most of the flats on the trails here are thorn flats or pinch flats, but the pinch flats are typically not an issue with tubeless.

Offline Iowagriz

Re: Slime tubes for off-road touring?
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2018, 02:18:10 pm »
Agree with the above that tubeless is the way to go for any off-road.  I have both my gravel bike (45s?) and MTB tires (1.95 to 2.3") setup tubeless.  Been that way for at least 10yrs and wouldn't go back to tubes.  Most of the holes plugged are the standard thorns or glass cut sizes.  Never seen one bigger than approx 1/8"; but have seen 1" cuts that were sidewall type that ended up sealing.  I've personally had 2 or 3 times that I had to put a boot into the tire and then the tube to get back home, but those were rare instances.

My only advice is to learn to set them up yourself.  Or, at least watch and learn with the mechanic.  Many tubeless failures are operator error. Leaky valve stem, improper seating of the tire, etc.  By doing it yourself and/or learning with someone, you'll know how to do the field repair.

For instance, I've heard a few large punctures during a race (you hear the air and sealant leaking).  Immediately stop, locate the hole and spin the tire so it is down (thus getting the sealant over the hole).  Shake it around some and it will usually seal before you lose all air.  Add air if needed and repeat and let it sit for a minute or two before going again (hard to do while racing, but we are talking touring in this forum).

Always crazy to pull the tire when it is worn out and inspect. I'll see 10-20 spots where it appears the tire has sealed from a thorn, cut, etc.

Offline Iowagriz

Re: Slime tubes for off-road touring?
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2018, 02:28:57 pm »
I just remembered....add a Dyna-plug or similar type plug kit to your repair kit (on the bike).  This will help patch the larger holes and perhaps even up to the pencil size referenced above.

Offline RonK

Re: Slime tubes for off-road touring?
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2018, 05:52:35 pm »
In my tubeless repair kit I have a dynaplug kit, a heavy darning needle and unwaxed dental floss to stitch up sidewall cuts. A 2oz bottle of sealant.  A Tubolito tube in case I cannot make a repair.
I have not had to use any of it in over 5 years of tubeless use.
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

Offline pmac

Re: Slime tubes for off-road touring?
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2018, 05:16:17 pm »
I don't think I would use slime tubes on GD, but using tubeless tires with some good sealant is a great idea.  The slime tubes are pretty heavy and get pretty mediocre reviews.  If you are going to use a sealant, use tubeless tires.

I've used tubeless tires on the Idaho Hot Springs route and on about 800 miles of the Great Divide.    I was using 2.2 conti tubeless tires and orange seal endurance sealant.  While the tires are "tubeless ready" the rims, which are several years old, were not.  I used 1" gorilla tape to seal the rim.  It worked great.

However, about 6 months ago I was coming down a gravel hill on a gravel bike with 40 mm tubeless tires (and tubeless rims)  and had a stone cut the sidewall, which the sealant couldn't seal.  I did have a sidewall patch and spare tube to get me home.  After I got home I repaired the sidewall by sewing it up using a curved furniture sewing needle with 20 lb fishing line.  I also put an auto tubeless repair patch on the inside, added some new sealant and the tire was good to go.  It has worked fine for about 500 miles.

If you're using tubeless tires on the GD I suggest you carry a spare tube or two, along with the sewing needle/fishing line, an old piece of sidewall, a conventional patch kit and a pump.  Fortunately, I never had a flat on either the Hot Springs or GD. While the sealant will seal off all of the small routine punctures, it will not seal a sidewall cut.  I have not tried the tubeless tires repair kits, so I don't know how effective they are.

I think getting a tubeless tire to properly set the bead just using a hand pump after a flat would be very difficult.  So the spare tube and sidewall repair kit is pretty important on the GD.  If the tire goes flat, but you don't have to remove the tire and the bead is still good, you might have have some luck just adding more sealant and using a hand pump. 

If you do decide to go tubeless, spend some time before your trip getting a feel for putting the tubeless tires on and removing the core to insert the sealant.  The big benefit of tubeless is that you can run the pressure pretty low, helping you roll over some of rocks you will be encountering.   

While the whole tubeless thing sounds a bit daunting at first, it really isn't that big of a deal once you  you do it a couple of times.  I think the benefits on a ride like the GD are substantial since it will really minimize your flats.  But you gotta be prepared for the "shit happens" aspect of a ride on the GD.