I have started running mousses more and more for my racing and trail riding. I resisted it for years. I just couldn’t bring myself to shell out the money for the precious foam doughnuts. But as the saying goes, penny wise – pound foolish. I just talked with a rider at Sunday’s race and he was showing me how his Tubeless system had failed. Just one more to add to list of things that are not as fool proof as the mousse.
Look at it this way, how much money did it take to get all the equipment you need to race? All that considered, a couple of hundred dollars more for a no-flat insurance policy isn’t too bad. The key is to get the most for your money. With the price of premium heavy duty tubes climbing, you only need a few trail side flats to come out even. Well, I guess you still have the trail side flats to change, there’s always that.
I used to treat foam inserts like they were something very precious and fragile. Even for the the ISDE, it was a big deal to make sure everything was just right. I even took a mousse to Portugal with me and did not use it because it was too big for the tire sizes. At that point, I had never seen the kind of blasphemy that the extreme enduro riders perpetrate when they drill and cut a mousse down to size to make it the exact size they want. Once I saw that in person, I started to change my views of just how to use and abuse the foam.
Here are a few of the things I have learned over the years;
For desert racing I buy a 140 sized mousse and run it in a 120 tire. When the mousse starts to shrink after a few months, I move it to a 110 tire. All mousses lose size quickly, over a course of months. They are euro sized, so a 120 equals a 110 US tire size. Regardless, a new one will feel big and be a challenge to mount.
I use automotive tire mounting lube as the lubricant. Apply a very generous handful to both the tire and mousse. It works at least as well as the Michelin brand grease, but is a water based soap and will rinse clean with the garden hose.
When the insert gets too small to keep the tire expanded on the rim, just cut a piece from an old insert and add it in. Start by cutting the good one and placing it inside the tire to gauge how much you will need to add. Then cut a similar piece, just a bit oversize and stuff it in. I have even whittled down a piece from a rear to put in the front.
If it is still too small, place the whole thing inside a cut inner tube, that will add a little more volume. Most inserts don’t wear out, they just get too small to use, this will increase the usable life greatly.
If a rear insert is a too big, drill holes in it with a conical drill bit, drill half way in from each side. This will decrease the size without causing too much additional wear to the insert.
To store inserts, cover them with lube and wrap tightly in a garbage bag, this will help slow the shrinkage.
Don’t worry about cuts or the ends coming apart, as you can see I don’t.
For mounting, the Ty Davis irons are the best, there are imitations, but the spoon curve does not work quite as well. I always took my own to the ISDE so I would have the exact ones I wanted.
Get a good mounting board, mine is from Tech Tube, but I don’t know if they still sell this. It is just made from a piece of plastic culvert.
I use the Motion Pro bead buddy and vise grips if needed to hold tire.
Inserts are fine for dual sport and light highway use, as long as the speeds are kept to about 60 mph. But be aware that they may not perform very well on pavement for cornering and braking. Inserts have a bad rap for race failures, but that is only at extended speeds over 70 mph.
The mousse you see here has over 1,500 miles on it since I cut it, added a piece and put it in the liner. That is to say, it appeared worn out before I did those things. It has just been mounted in a new tire and will probably see another 1,000 miles of dual sport life.
old mouse, extra piece and inner tube liner
collection of used mousses and parts
buy this at tire store
tire lube, or “soap”
start by inserting bead buddy next to rimlock
small bites, hand over hand, iron at 180 degrees is helping the tire drop in
finish at rimlock, here I am using one iron to push the rimlock while turning over the last part