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Gettin’ Slimed

April 27, 2009

Just what is the deal with rear tires on my scooters, anyway?

I went to the garage to fetch the PX, and my pre-ride kick of the rear tire felt rather squishy. The pressure gauge read 15 lbs. What?

A week or so ago, the rear tire looked quite soft, so I pulled the wheel off, pulled it apart, and did the dunk-the-tube-in-the bucket thing. No bubbles. Nowhere. I pumped the tube up to 30 lbs, and no hole. This was a tube I’d patched, and the patch was firmly attached, and not leaking.

Slime yer tyres, mate!

Okay, this is it. I’m buying a bottle of Slime. The bike store down the street doesn’t have it, but Gregg’s Green Lake bicycle store does. In fact, it’s on sale, 10% off. Score!

Slime’s Web site sez a scooter tire will need 8 oz, which just happens to be the size of the bottle. The process of “installing” the stuff is pretty simple:

Remove the valve core. The bottle cap has a tool, but you might find a valve stem tool like the one pictured works better. Less than two bucks at any bike shop, so get one and put it in your tool kit.

Valve tool

Ease the valve core out of the valve stem; let some of the air out slowly before you remove it. That way, the valve core won’t go flying into a parallel universe. And if it does, you can get a package of them for a buck or so. They’re on the rack next to the valve stem tools.

Connect the bottle to the newly-empty valve stem with the plastic tube stuffed into the notch on the front of the bottle. Make sure the connection is tight at both ends; on the valve stem, push the tube until the end is slightly below the threads.

Installing Slime

Squeeze! Keep squeezing until no more green stuff flows through the tube. This can be like trying to get the last little bit of ketchup out of the bottle, but they said eight ounces, so keep squeezing until there ain’t no more.

Reinstall the valve core. It will be sealed by a nice bit of green stuff. Make sure it’s tight, but also make sure not to over-tighten it. You don’t want to be stripping threads.

Install the valve core

Orin O'Neill photos

Pump the tire back up to the required pressure. Letting the air out caused the beads to retreat from the rim edges, so I pumped the tire up to about 45 lbs to seat the beads, then adjusted the pressure with my tire gauge’s bleed valve.

Slime sez give the wheel a spin if you’re repairing a puncture. Just jack up the rear and leave the bike in neutral. I gave the wheel a couple of really hard spins, then went for a ride.

I took a pressure reading immediately afterward, and found 31 lbs. No problem, a hot tire will show a higher pressure reading—increase the temperature of a gas, and the pressure will increase. You learned that in junior-high science class, right?

Another pressure reading the following morning showed 26 lbs, which is where I’d set it the previous evening. So far, so good.

Because the PX’s tires have tubes, I used Slime Tube Sealant. If you have tubeless tires, you need Slime Tire Sealant (blue trim on the label, instead of red). Either product can be used for repairs, or as a preventative measure.

If you’re going to ride down to Amerivespa, something to think about…

(BTW, I otherwise love the Continental Zippy 1s. IMHO, these really are the best all-around scooter tires. The problem here is not with the tire, but with the tube.) Favicon

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One Comment
  1. Jim permalink
    April 28, 2009 9:59 am

    Great article, well writtern, you have convinced me!

Comments are closed.