Slime Tubeless System
Words & Photos by Chili Dog
I still remember the first time my friend told me about tubeless tires – it was a guy with a moto background, who told me about this mysterious green fluid from a company called Slime. He claimed the strange mixture sealed punctures from thorns and other objects instantly, and eliminated inner tubes entirely. I was confused and curious, but wanted to know more and tried some out for myself.
Of course back then things weren’t exactly flawless. Tires would leak, the sealant was a mess and I honestly wondered if running tubes was easier than having to pump your tires back up before every ride. We’ve sure come a long way since then. Tubeless is now as standard as any bike industry standard can be. If you’ve recently purchased a bike that didn’t come set up tubeless, or happen to have napped through the last 8 years of mountain biking, this Slime kit is worth checking out.
Slime has been in the tubeless game for a long time, and their experience shows with a near flawless product. Slime offers everything you need to convert your bike to tubeless if it didn’t come that way when you bought it. On their site, you’ll find new valve stems, valve cores, a valve core tool, Slime branded tubeless tape to seal your rims and a bottle of Slime sealant. The best part is that they sell enough sealant and tape to do multiple wheels, and even top off your sealant every few months.
While tubeless conversion is pretty well documented, the basic how to is as follows:
Step 1: Remove the wheels from the bike, and pull your tires and tubes off. If your tires say that they are tubeless ready, you can keep them, if not you’ll need some fresh rubber.
Step 2: If your rims have tape on them from the factory, you’re good to go. If not, take the tubeless tape and follow the center spoke bed of the wheel all the way around with an overlap once you pass your starting point. This part is the most important, so take your time.
Step 3: Poke a hole in the tape that’s covering your valve stem holes, and pass your new valve stems through. Mount your new tires.
Step 4: You can either pour the sealant through the valve stems, or fill up the tire just before you finish mounting the last section on the rim. Then seat and inflate the tire with an air compressor or other pump capable of seating a bead.
I received a set of prototype 29er Spēd test wheels straight from the factory, meaning they hadn’t been set up tubeless yet. The wheels were the perfect chance to test out the entire Slime system. That was almost ten months ago, and since then the wheels have been passed between four different riders in three different states. During that time, there have been precisely zero flats, but more than a few rides saved by Slime’s ability to seal thorn punctures and other normal damage.
Over the course of our testing, I found Slime’s sealant to be just as effective as the offerings from Stan’s, which I view as one of the best in the MTB world. Though I never had a truly catastrophic sidewall cut, Slime quickly and permanently sealed any punctures we did get before there was any significant air loss. The sealant also does a great job of maintaining air pressure without the need to re-inflate between rides. I’ve also yet to break the rear valve stem with an errant rock, which I’ve done to two separate sets of Stan’s valves this season.
Instead of having to seek out all the tools and pieces necessary, Slime’s kit keeps things easy and simple. Even if you’ve never done a tubeless conversion before, the included instructions and tools make it just about as straightforward as it gets.
While most reputable tubeless systems these days are incredibly reliable, I can say with confidence that Slime hasn’t rested on their laurels after their early success. Their system is both effective and easy to install while coming with everything necessary for the at home mechanic to get it done in the garage at home. Their sealant is also just as effective as the other top brands like Stan’s, sealing punctures quickly. There’s minimal mess inside the tires too, compared to some other other brands we’ve tried that tend to congeal into clumps as time wears on.
8oz Sealant: $10.99
Valve Core tool: $14.99
Valve Stems: $17.99
Rim Tape: $14.99