Nitromousse foam tire inserts for Dirt Bikes - No more flats
For someone who hasn’t ran a mousse tube as an alternative to a conventional inner tube, there is a few things you should know and consider while you decide if they are right for you. First, let’s go over some details outlined perfectly by Nitromousse:
WHAT IS A MOUSSE
EXPLANATION: A “Mousse” – (“mousse” is French for foam), simply put is just a solid foam inner tube. They were originally introduced to the off road motorcycle market in 1984 by the French tire company Michelin. There are several companies over the years that have created different formulations of a mousse, however the composition and nature of the foam can have a huge impact on performance and longevity, so not all mousses are equal.
PROS AND CONS: In general a mousse is known to do one thing very well, NOT go flat. However they are also known to have several downsides, such as having a slow rebounding or non-progressive effect in their rideability. In the industry, this is often referred to as a “DEAD” feel. This loose or unstable feeling can affect the motorcycles handling and traction applications and unfortunately you just have to live with it because they are not adjustable (Like pneumatic systems or inner tubes), other than that they do adjust themselves as they diminish and wear. Being a solid foam unit, mousses are generally heavier than most tubes, and the dead feeling only contributes to this effect and feel. Other negatives can be their short life span, made worse by their high cost (Nitromousse is a big improvement compared to past mousses).
THE NITROMOUSSE DIFFERENCE
We have put more than a decade of research and development into improving the less than desirable aspects of a mousse. In general mousses are known to be a compromise in performance on some level, but Nitromousse dramatically enhances the positives while greatly reducing the negatives.
Nitromousse combines a high concentration of nitrogen into an incredibly tough micro-matrix of proprietary elastomers. This eliminates the dead feel and provides a much more lively, lighter and traction enhanced feel from the very first ride, as they do not need a break in period. Additionally, our proprietary formula and manufacturing process provides a mousse that will last up to twice as long at a much lower cost.
Nitromousse provides a much more progressive, predictable, and secure feel from the very first ride that will never leave you stuck with a flat!
I wanted to pay close attention for my first experience with Nitromousse and note the differences in handling characteristics. So much so that I mounted and installed only the front mousse for the first couple hundred miles. I figure if I can keep the rear the same I would have a familiar feeling that wouldn’t confuse the feedback I’m getting from the front.
My initial ride I was really expecting a change in my bike’s behavior and started a little conservative. I didn’t know what to expect but for some reason imagined a washy, almost flat sensation. I’m running an oversize 90/100-21 so the Nitromousse used is huge. If any mousse tube is going to suck in terms of handling this would be the one. Roughly 10 minutes or so into some PNW single track I noticed that there really wasn’t much of a difference in how my bike was handling. Naturally I began to push harder with no significant difference in handling. There was a slightly different “feel” so to speak, but none of the stigma that comes with a standard mousse.
I continued to ride through the weekend logging a couple hundred miles of trails, some fire roads and back country highways. The performance of the Nitromousse was impressive to say the least. I was really surprised how well it handled. To top it off, I let someone ride my bike for 30 miles that wasn’t aware the front was equipped. He handed the bike back all smiles remarking how well it had performed. Mentioning that the front had a Nitromousse and wasn’t a standard inner tube blew his mind.
I’m thoroughly convinced that Nitromousse is the answer to off road riders and racers. Performance and handling mimics the traditional characteristics of an inner tube without the burden of flats.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Here’s some spitballing on things you should know about Mousse tubes that you might not- and are kind of important.
Regardless if it’s a Nitromousse, Michelin or Goldentyre Mousse- they all require lubrication. When you purchase a mousse, they will come with some sort of tube or packet of a silicone like gel. You need to put this on the tube as well as all over the inside of the tire when it’s installed. Your mousse will last a very long time, but as soon as it loses some of that lubrication it’s going to fail prematurely usually due to heat the friction will create. You’ll want to dismount and re-lube often. I really like what Nitromousse offers for gel and is 100% silicone. Use it or lose it!
Speaking of mounting and dismounting, these things are a massive pain in the ass if you think changing normal tubes and tires are hard. So much so, do not attempt without the proper equipment or you’ll likely break the bead of your tire or flip a tire iron in your face. I like to use the rabaconda, which is purpose built for changing mousses. Just make sure you go into it prepared and don’t skimp on your tools for the job.
Not running a inner tube means you’ll have an extra hole in your rim. When the tire is off, do away with your rim band and run a strip of quality duct tape around the wheel covering the spoke nipples. Go around twice just to be sure. This is the hot setup for tube type applications as well.
Sizing is massively important and if you take away anything from this blog know that you need to get this part right. The size of your tire and the size of your mousse insert changes the way your bike will handle and perform. You can kind of think of it like running different PSI, sort of. It’s also really important to run the correct size in general because there is less room for error. You can get away with putting a inner tube that is too small in a large tire because it will expand and fill the void. This will not happen with a mousse. Nitromousse has taken an enormous amount of time measuring and remeasuring tires to ensure proper fitment. Not all companies go to this length and you’ll find inconsistencies in sizing. In addition, not all tire sizes across brands are created equal. a 120/80-18 in Dunlop may measure different than the same size in a Goldentyre. This makes things difficult and just another reason to refer to Nitromousse. That being said you can change characteristics to suit your needs by changing mousse sizes. Sometimes a smaller mousse in a gummy type tire will create a recipe for insane traction. Will that same combo work for high speed? No. You’ll need to do some homework and figure what will be best for you.
Once you install a set of mousse tubes, you can keep them in the bike. It is advisable to keep the bike on a stand when it’s not getting ridden. That keeps the tires off the ground and the chance for flat spots to form. Other than that, they are pretty much trouble free. Periodically check to make sure they are lubed up properly. If you are good about this, it means you’ll like want to invest in some good tools. I highly suggest the Rabaconda Tire Changer. Don’t worry about removing them when not in use. I’ve heard this a few times and that they need to be stored in a black garbage bag in a cool place. Keep them in the tire, they’ll be fine.
Mousses wear out quickly and are only for race applications. Not True! Mousse tubes, especially Nitromousses last much longer than you would think. This is extended by proper care and of course, they type of riding you are doing. The nice thing about a mousse is that you’ll be able to tell when they are on their way out. As they breakdown, the tire will have a more flat, loose feeling- but gradually. I don’t have personal mileage since I just put these in but I’m hearing impressive numbers. Expect them to outlast several tires.