Bicycles

SLiME Smart Tubes - a remedy for bicycle flats?

SLiME Smart Tubes - a remedy f...
The regular-thickness SLiME self-sealing Smart Tube
The regular-thickness SLiME self-sealing Smart Tube
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The regular-thickness SLiME self-sealing Smart Tube
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The regular-thickness SLiME self-sealing Smart Tube
The Super Thick SLiME self-sealing Smart Tube
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The Super Thick SLiME self-sealing Smart Tube
The Lite SLiME self-sealing Smart Tube
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The Lite SLiME self-sealing Smart Tube
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If you’re a mountain biker, then you are no doubt aware of the increasing popularity of tubeless tires. For the uninitiated, these are tires that have no inner tubes, but that are instead partially filled with any one of various brands of slimy polymer goo. When the tire is punctured, some of the goo seeps out through the hole, and firms up upon contact with the air. They’re self-sealing tires, essentially. Because they don’t incorporate tubes, they also weigh somewhat less than a traditional tire/tube combo. On the downside, though, some brands are notoriously messy to install, and to keep airtight. They also don’t work with all types of rims. Well, if you like the self-sealing idea, but not the possible hassle of tubeless tires, there’s a product you might want to try: SLiME Smart Tubes - slime-filled inner tubes.

SLiME is one of the gooey products sold for use in tubeless tires, both bicycle and automotive. It consists of a non-toxic latex-based liquid carrier, which contains fibers and rubber particles that do the actual hole-plugging. With their Smart Tubes, they’ve simply pumped a modified version of the stuff into inner tubes, which you then install just like a regular tube. According to the company website, “Smart Tubes instantly seek out and seal punctures as they occur, preventing flats, repeatedly and continuously for up to two years.” They’re available in a variety of sizes for both mountain and road bikes, with either schrader or presta valves. They also come in lightweight, regular and Super Thick versions.

The Lite SLiME self-sealing Smart Tube
The Lite SLiME self-sealing Smart Tube

One question that immediately comes to mind with these things (Besides “Do they actually work?”) is one of weight. Obviously, because they combine both a tube and slime, keeping them light is going to be a bit of a challenge. Just how heavy are they? The SLiME website only gives the weight of the Lite tube, which is a claimed 219 grams for any of the mountain bike sizes - by comparison, a generic MTB tube weighs around 195 grams. That’s actually not much of a difference, although it would be good to know just how sturdy the Lite tubes are. At the other end of the scale, the Super Thick tube is five times thicker than the regular Smart Tube - no exact thickness is given, but one would assume they’re no featherweights.

The Super Thick SLiME self-sealing Smart Tube
The Super Thick SLiME self-sealing Smart Tube

But yes, do SLiME Smart Tubes actually work? A cursory Googling reveals mixed user reviews, although that’s usually the case with just about any product. We’re working on getting our mitts on some, so we can give you a first-hand review.

Watch this space...

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14 comments
lane
ive used these for 2 years with no flats, regular tubes on the other hand...
foghorn
The word on the street is that the slime doesn\'t work. What does work is Stan\'s No Tubes sealant. With tubes or tubeless, Stans will seal a surprisingly large cut in a tire or tube. I have even had good success with a concoction of my own before Stan\'s became available.
fenriq
I\'ve used Slime in my mountain bike tires for more than 10 years now and love the stuff. I never flat out because the Slime is always there to seal the little punctures. This stuff is awesome and I\'m outfitting my wife\'s bike with these Slime tubes right now. Yes, the stuff does make the tube and wheel and rotating mass heavier but its worth it virtually never having to stop to change or patch a blown tube.
bas
The idea seems viable, but... I cycled a fair amount of trips carrying baggage through Europe. I rarely had flat tyres, even some trips in excess of 2000 km went without a single flat. That was using kevlar reinforced tyres and regular (brand) tubes. The idea is that you should keep the tyre pressure at maximum so the tyre is hard enough to break or bend whatever causes punctures. And.. you will really be surprised at the reduction of roll resistance with hard tyres. Especially the mountainbike variety.
silverneedle
Just get the armoured tyres which work very well, they do the same job without all the extra potentialy environmentaly damaging rubber goo. Plus a puncture only takes ten minuits to fix once youve done it a few times you wont be afraid of getting one any more.
Facebook User
Got kids? Got neighbors that won\'t keep their puncture weeds (AKA goat heads) killed off? Put some Slime in their tubes or get the pre filled Slime tubes and you won\'t be wasting time and money fixing and replacing the kid\'s bike tubes. \'Course the best fix is to get the kids to not ride through the weeds.
Glenn Ryan
Use slime on my pushbike for approx 10yrs, the only time I have fixed a puncture since using slime I rode 10Kms home on a mostly deflated tyre[still got me home]when I pulled out the tube it had 7 holes in it one with the broken stick still in the tube [approx8-10mm thick]so whacked some patches all round shaking my head over the number of sealed punctures and rode to work in the morning.Brilliant stuff highly recommended.
Gadgeteer
Slime tubes have been around for years. I know plenty of people who hate them, saying they don\'t work. Another good alternative is True Goo, which claims to work much better and faster than Slime. Quite a few good reviews of that. As for greenness and safety, ccording to its website: \"True Goo Tire Sealant is non-toxic, non-flammable, non-reactive, non-irritating and environmentally friendly. When spilled, True Goo can be wiped up and True Goo is safe to be rinsed to a drain. True Goo should not be ingested.\"
Will, the tink
True Goo should not be ingested? Well, I don\'t want it then! It\'s not totally totally GREEN! Don\'t you just love the \"green\" movement? In everything, moderation is the key!
MD
Has nobody sort of noticed that All of these Goo slime or other 'latexy' antileak compounds are coloured Green, is there a message.... Don't trust anything that has to be coloured green (especially fluoro-green to be Environmentally friendly.... Now they just need non toxic leak proof anti *[viral;retro-viral;bacteria;little squiggly thing] prophylactics... BTW ,I have used stuff like this for over 15 years.. Not a Puncture to repair.. the tires only leak slowly if the bike isn't ridden for a few months, regular riding keeps it all firmed up... (Every brand had Proponents and opponents) AND it works in road bikes as well... If anyone has ridden in England during hedge trimming season ,they will know the value of 'slime'. Hawthorn Kills tyres.