For my foam inserts, commonly referred to as Mousse, I typically use tire soap for lubricant.
When purchasing a Michelin Mousse there is always a tube of grease included in the package. This works great, but it is only enough for one application. When it comes time to mount a new tire, you have to purchase more of this grease. If you have not considered this beforehand, it can be a bit inconvenient.
Tire soap, also called mounting lube, provides an easy and simple alternative. It can typically be purchased at any tire store. But don’t be surprised if the guy behind the counter acts a bit puzzled. It is not a product they typically sell retail, it is one of the shop supplies they use.
Recently I received a call from the Enforce Products wanting to send us their product to try. I was just running out of my current supply, so it was perfect timing. Selling to the motorcycle crowd is not their typical marketing, but they have been working with Zip-Ty racing with positive results.
I have had the chance to run the Enforce tire mounting compound on a few foam inserts and tubes and I like the results. This particular lube (made from vegetable oils) has a very creamy consistency. It almost sounds like I am talking about a food product. But what it means is that it sticks and spreads over the tire and mousse very well. It is easy to get an even distribution. It also seems to have good lasting power.
When doing a tire and insert install, I typically plan to use one large handful of soap. Half goes inside the tire, the other half on the insert. I also use the soap on heavy duty inner tubes, particularly natural rubber ones like the Bridgestone. It significantly helps reduce the wear that typically appears on the tube. This is what this product was originally designed for, truck inner tubes.
I have used tire soap for all types of riding and with good success. There are two situations where grease may be the preferred application over soap. The first would be Baja racing. Extended high heat situations may cause the soap to break down and leach out of the tire. But for general Baja riding, it is fine. It is not unusual for me to have a mousse last a couple of thousand miles in Baja using soap for lube. The other is in extremely wet riding, again water infiltration can dilute the soap. But this would not be cause for any kind of failure, it would simply require dismounting and re-lubing the insert.
For most riding, outside of extended high speed racing, tire soap may actually protect the mousse better. A mousse has two real enemies; heat and extreme repeated compression. In Baja, the constant barrage of whoops and rocks may do more damage than the heat. For normal riding, using a large amount of the tire soap may actually help absorb and dissipate the heat better. It may actually lead to a longer life span than using grease.
If a tire sits for an extended period, it would probably be lubed up again to keep everything fresh. The great thing about tire soap is that it is super easy to clean. Just take everything out to the garden hose and wash away.
The 8lb tub is available from Zip Ty Racing for $21.99