Tire Liners

After putting Mary’s newly covered seat on her Tour Easy, I replaced the tire liner in the front wheel; the previous tube had gone flat, as mentioned there, due to erosion from the end of the liner.

Here’s what the taped liner looked like: smashed as flat as you’d expect from 100 psi applied evenly over the surface. The tube had a rectangular imprint on it, with what looked like minute abrasions, around the outline of the tape. Nothing major, but it shouldn’t ought to look that way.

Taped tire liner

Taped tire liner

I rolled that liner up, popped it in the Bike Tire Stuff drawer and replaced it with a Slime liner. This picture shows the ends of the two liners: the brown one (bottom) is about 90 mils thick in the center, the Slime liner (top, fluorescent green) is 60-ish.

Tire liner comparison

Tire liner comparison

As nearly as I can tell, I’ve never had an abrasion flat with a Slime liner, while various other brands have caused troubles.

I broke the edges of the Slime liner with a bit of sandpaper, just to see what that’ll do. Most likely, bad things, seeing as how I’ve never done that before…

  1. #1 by randomdreams on 2010-02-24 - 11:25

    I meant to mention this in the previous thread about tubes and liners: if you can find Continental tubes in the right size for the ‘bent, you can remove the valves on their presta tubes and pour slime or other fluid-based leak-stopping compound. There may be other Presta tubes that unscrew but I haven’t seen any. It’s been my experience that slime, or more specifically Specialized Airlock tubes, do a better job of resisting damage than anything else I’ve tried. When I was mountain bike racing, those tubes would survive repeated direct cactus hits that left dozens of centimeter-long spines going through the tire and tube: when the tube finally did die (which they would, eventually) I had to throw the tire away because it had too many thorns to be worth cleaning up.

    • #2 by Ed on 2010-02-24 - 11:49

      Zowie! The tube that would not die!

      A quick check at Hostel Shoppe shows they have Schwalbe tubes with removable cores; I know those are new. Best of all, they’re available in the 20-inch (37-406) size for the front tires. They have Conti tubes with removable cores, but not in that size.

      The Schwalbes are not quite a factor of two more expensive than the generic cheap tubes I’ve been buying, either. Next time I put in an order, I’ll get a set & a bottle or two of Slime.

      Let’s see. Kevlar belts, Slime liners, liquid-anointed tubes: that bike will accelerate like the proverbial lead sled! Once you get all that dead weight lashing along, though, it’ll be tough to haul it back down…

      • #3 by randomdreams on 2010-02-25 - 11:35

        I do like Schwalbe tubes: they’re second to Conti’s as regards favorites. I’ve been having a *lot* of trouble with lower-end name-brand tubes just coming apart, along the casting seams or at random spots. I’ll get a flat and go to fix it and there will be a two-inch-long line of tiny pits in the tube, one of which will have finally gone through, and if I patch that one, another one will go through soon enough, and no sign of anything in the tire casing causing it. I’ve had this happen with three or four different brands, too, but thus far not with the Conti’s on my bike or the Schwalbe’s on either of my gf’s recumbents. It’s dragged me reluctantly towards paying 50%-100% more for a bike tube, which is pretty frustrating, but beats flats.

        • #4 by Ed on 2010-02-25 - 13:36

          had this happen with three or four different brands

          I’m beginning to suspect that there are only three or four factories for anything in the whole wide world. All the various brands come from the same factory; you just pay more or less, depending on which brand you prefer.

          That’s obviously not strictly true, but whenever there’s a recall I’ve noticed that widely disparate brands have the same problem… who’d’a thunk it?

          And I wish I was certain that paying more would buy you a better product (from a different factory, perhaps), but I’m getting cynical about that, too.

          Sometimes I think I’ve bought “fourth-shift” product from a name-brand outlet.

          if I patch that one, another one will go through soon enough

          I do one patch per tube, maybe two in a pinch, then replace it. With the Kevlar belts and tire liners, that works out to about two years per tube and that’s long enough!

          • #5 by randomdreams on 2010-02-26 - 15:31

            I buy rema patches in boxes of 100, so I’ll go to about 10 patches per tube before I think I’m putting more money into patching than replacement. Of course, with ultralight tubes and 20mm high-pressure conti tires, that’s also about where the tube/tires begin to feel like I’m riding on gravel no matter how smooth the road.

            Bruce Schneier, among others, has written about lousy quality metrics, how a market where consumers don’t have enough information to make judgments about actual quality will encourage them to use price as their primary metric, and once the quality feedback loop is broken, manufacturers all have to cut costs so they all make crap products. This is my attempt to make a Continental-surcharge-has-for-me-meant-quality contribution to the feedback system.

            My company recently closed our semi fab in China. The official reason was because we didn’t have enough business to justify five fabs, but rumor has it we were tired of competing with ourselves and our fourth-shift output. It’s interesting to see how the company has been set up so it’s very difficult to do fourth-shift production, since all the major steps in production are located in different countries. At first glance that looks like inefficiency, but I think it’s actually a pretty clever plan. I’d go on at greater length but I spam your blog far too much as it is.

            • #6 by Ed on 2010-02-26 - 20:00

              a market where consumers don’t have enough information to make judgments about actual quality will encourage them to use price as their primary metric

              That, I’m afraid, is the situation I’m in. I know that some brands are better than other, but there’s simply no way to tell. Consumer Reports used to be a good source of that information, albeit for much stuff that we rarely-to-never buy, but they simply can’t test fast enough to keep up with model churn: ordering the same part number may buy something completely different each time.

              ultralight tubes and 20mm high-pressure conti tires

              Which would get me the better part of a mile around here…

              I spam your blog far too much as it is.

              Not that I’ve noticed. A fine set of tales, well told, and good reasoning besides. Carry on!

  1. Tire Liner Abrasion « The Smell of Molten Projects in the Morning