During our years adventure riding, we have come up with a few unusual methods and techniques that we’re surprised aren’t more common. It’s hard to know what we’re doing different until people send in questions typically saying “what the hell is that?”, so we’ll keep growing this list as the questions come in.
As Enduro riders that have come to adventure riding, not the other way around, a lot of this advice may seem more obvious to Enduro riders.
How to Run Mousse Tubes on the Road and Long Distance
I thought mousse was a modern miracle, when in 2007 we ordered 3 sets of Michelin Mousse front and rear to match the Michelin Desert’s profile. This was for the Australasian Safari and I was the “mechanic” for my old man. It was important that we didn’t lose time on avoidable events such as punctures and flats.
The mousse looked even more miraculous when we visited a very generous sponsor’s premises and were met with 6 boxes that had all the mousse tubes and a further 12 boxes of tyres. They kept looking miraculous right until I went to fit them, and bugger me, that was absolutely torturous.
The miracle of mousse seemed even less when we were on the side of the road between Broome and Sand Fire in remote Western Australia. The liaison section was on the highway and even though we had lubed the inside of the tyre as well as the mousse, the bitumen/asphalt combined with 45°C/113°F was enough to overheat the mousse causing the millions of nitrogen bubbles to expand, pushing the bead off the rim. One of the huge trade-offs with mousse is that yes it has great protection against flats, but if the tyre does come off the rim, it is a hell of a task to get it back on. It’s like trying to fit a tyre over an inflated tube.
Long Distance on Mousse
What factory teams do in the Dakar, Baja etc. is to simply just put a bucket load of lube in the tyre and on the mousse and it usually does the trick. They’re changing their tyres and mousse nightly though, and it would be hard to pre-lube a tyre sufficiently for a round the world trip where you might be doing 7,000km between tyre changes.
The trick is very simple, and that’s just to keep the mousse lubed without having to take the tyre off. Here’s how:
Modifying the Rim for Regular Mousse Lubing
I’ve had many a debate at the pub after a ride, about whether or not to use a rim lock with mousse and I am of the opinion that Michelin’s own advice is correct and I do not use a rim lock. Feel free to do differently, the rest of the steps will be the same.
- Apply an adhesive, fibre reinforced tape such as Gaffa tape all the way around the rim, in a direction that a spinning tyre wont undo, and be sure to cover all the spoke holes. This will be done instead of using rubber rim tape, as we don’t need to protect a tube from abrasion and we don’t want the tape to spin.
- Poke holes in the tape, where the holes for the valve and rim locks are in the rim.
- Mount grease nipples in all the holes (except for the rim lock, if you are going to use one).
Lubing the Mousse From the Road
I’ve found that a mini grease gun, takes up even less space than spare tubes, patches, valve tool, spare valve and vulcanizing fluid.
There’s several models of compact grease gun available and it doesn’t matter which one you take so long as it seems robust and works. The only thing you need to do is to make sure it’s not a cartridge type gun, as it’s very hard to get silicon grease cartridges and normal grease will wreck your mousse. If you’re using a type where you pack in the grease yourself, you can fill it with a proprietary lube such as Michelin’s Mousse Gel, so as not to take a risk with anything that may adversely affect the mousse.
That’s pretty much it. Apply some extra lube every 500km or so and don’t put in so much that it pours out the spoke wholes. Or do, the only harm is dirt will stick to it, but that’s better than shredding your mousse.