As I progressed from beginner to expert, I started experimenting with running low tire pressure, usually about 10psi. I loved the improved traction and the fact that the bike would not deflect or bounce when hitting rocks. However, from time to time I would still get the classic pinch flat, even with running heavier duty inner tubes. Everyone told me not to run the low pressure, to stay up around 12-16psi with heavy duty tubes to avoid pinch flats. So I went along with the conventional wisdom for some 16 years, putting up with the poor traction and deflection issues, wishing there was a way to run low tire pressure.
Along came the solid foam insert, or Mousse Bib as they are known. I thought about going this route while racing, but I never did. For me, they were expensive and looked like a real pain to install. I also found out that they generally only last for about 400 miles or so, as they break down they become softer and softer. Like most riders, the solid foam insert was not for me.
Then came along tire balls. The concept looked pretty sound, and in fact I raced the Baja 1000 in 2004 with tire balls in the front tire. It worked great, however there were some things about tire balls that kept me from using them. For one, it looked like a pain to install, and if you did not like the “pressure” after you installed it, you’d have to disassemble the whole thing and adjust the pressure in each individual ball. Because of the non-friendly adjustability of tire balls, I never went this route.
After tire balls, along came the “tube less” system. It seemed like a well engineered and thought out product, but the more I heard from people who had tried it, I learned its drawbacks. First, it only really works well with a brand new tire, not a good used tire. Second, if it does fail out on the trail, you might not get the pneumatic seal to seat again out on the trail. I have heard of dual sport riders who, on a two day ride, end up packing up and leaving on the first day because their “tube less” system failed. My confirmation of this was when I saw one abandoned way out on a trail. Being able to service a flat tire on the trail is important, not just to you, but to your riding buddies. So I never went this route either.
So for years, I raced and rode with heavy duty tubes at tire pressures much higher than I really wanted.
Something came to me. Why not solve the pinch flat problem that occurs with conventional inner tubes? Every previous attempt to solve the “low pressure pinch flat dilemma” involved getting rid of the inner tube, which necessitated an entirely new learning curve for mounting whatever system you try. Making thicker and heavier inner tubes doesn’t always work, and quite frankly is a very lame approach to the problem.
About five years ago I started experimenting with an insert to solve the pinch flat dilemma. It was such radical thinking at the time, most of my riding buddies thought I was nuts, and so did I. However, after riding and racing with my inserts for five years running 8psi front and rear without one pinch flat, I knew I was on to something.
In 2014, I made the commitment to develop my “radically nutty concept” into a product. My goal was to keep the price as low as possible so as to reach the widest market of riders. After extensive testing with numerous materials, prototypes, and riders, I finally developed a product ready for sale. It is reasonably priced, extremely light, easy to install, easy to adjust the pressure to your liking, and serviceable on the trail. This is what I have been looking for the last 20 years, and now it’s here.
I firmly believe those who try my product won’t be disappointed.
Inventor of Tube Saddle ®