Michelin Protek Max Tubes

Within the space of four days, we had three rear-tire flats:

  • A tire liner wear-through, after which I didn’t replace the liner
  • Four miles later, a blowout through a tread gash previously covered by the tire liner
  • A puncture flat directly through the tread

Basically, erosion from the (last remaining, I think) liner in the rear tire of Mary’s bike caused the first flat; I patched the tube and didn’t notice the gash. After the blowout, I patched the tube again, booted the gash (with a snippet from a roll of PET bottle plastic I carry around for exactly that purpose), stuck an ordinary patch atop the boot to cover its edges, and the whole mess has held air just fine for the last week. I’m reluctant to mess with success.

Not having a tire liner caused the third flat, this time on my bike. The wound looked like a nail or glass shard punched directly through the Kevlar armor behind the tread. Fortunately, it happened (or, more exactly, I realized I had a flat) half a mile from home, so I fired a CO2 cartridge into the tube and pedaled like crazy, which got me halfway to the goal and I rolled the rest of the way on a dead-flat tire.

Ya can’t win.

So I picked up a pair of Michelin Protek Max tubes, the weirdest things I’ve ever stuffed into a bike tire:

Michelin Protek Max Tube - carton
Michelin Protek Max Tube – carton

The bumps along the tread surface are much larger and uglier than shown in that picture:

Michelin Protek Max tube
Michelin Protek Max tube

The rubber forming the protrusions has the same thickness as the rest of the tube, so you’re looking at soft, flexible shapes, rather than thick bumps.

The “liquid” inside must be a thin film over the inner surface. I’ve never been a big fan of tire sealants, mostly because they’re reputed to ooze to the bottom of the tire into off-balance puddles.

For future reference, the Official Quasi-Instruction Manual / Blurb (clicky for more dots):

Michelin Protek Max Tube - instructions
Michelin Protek Max Tube – instructions

We’ll see how well these work…