David extends his tyre insert experience even further, with yet another test. This time, it’s banana yellow Smooth Tyre Inserts from Slicy Products.
Another foamy contender enters the ring. Hoop? Wheel.
Cyclorise do these in two widths, a small one for tyre 2.2in – 2.6in, and a wider one for 2.7in – 3.0in. The ones you see here are the narrower ones, which I ran with 2.4in tyres on a selection of 27.5in wheels.
These inserts are purely designed as impact protection, sitting quite high off the rim and only interacting with the bead seats during impacts.
Cyclorise sent these with valves and sealant, also by Slicy. So while I’m mostly reviewing the inserts, I’ll also tell you a bit about those.
Fitting the Smooth Tyre Inserts
These inserts come rolled up rather than folded, which makes them unfurl into a suitable round shape without any pre-stretching. The ends are joined by a hook and loop loop. I mean a loop of hook and loop, that’s not a bad Pingu impression. Look, “Velcro” is trademarked, okay?
Being of the type the sits up off the rim, these are extremely easy to get into your tyres. Nothing obstructs the tyre while you’re mounting, simply take one bead off, slip the insert in, and reseal. Of course, the design also means they don’t lock your tyre beads down either, so unlike some inserts these only offer pinch flat protection.
The insert arrives sized for a 29in rim, so I had to cut it down to size for the 27.5in wheels I ran it in. Easy job with a knife, especially given there are clearly marked notches to indicate lengths for 27.5in and 26in.
Slicy Valves And Sealant
The valves come in insert and non insert specific versions. The insert specific valves have the same base as the valves that ship with Cushcore and Rimpact, giving horizontal holes that can’t be blocked by an insert pushing down on it. Both types of valve have a cap with a valve tool machined into it, which I wish was more common. I’m not a big fan of integrated tools, but something this small makes total sense to me.
The sealant is made from recycled tyres, smells of bananas, claims to seal holes up to 6mm, and apparently will last six months before drying out. It also has no ammonia in, making it compatible with pretty much any tyre insert. It also mentions refill programme, which revolves around local bike shops rather than posting your package back to Cyclorise. At present the Slicy website only lists dealers in France, but hopefully it’ll come over here too.
I didn’t get on with the valves, which is a shame because I love that they come with caps that have valve tools integrated into them. I found the bases are very soft though, and not so grippy, so had to tighten them to a golidlocks level of tightness. Too loose, they leak, too tight and they also leak air from the base, as I found on a resultingly suboptimal ride. The right amount of tightness did not stop them from spinning while connecting a pump.
I also found with a carbon rim slightly deeper than average, but not massively so, the valves were short and barely had enough thread showing to get the nut and cap on.
The Banana Sealant I also really wanted to like. Keep this well away from your kids. It looks and smells like banana milkshake, comes in packaging similar to some drinks brands, and the “DO NOT DRINK” warning label on the back blends in far too well.
In use, after a few rides I got a hole in my tyre, around 1mm long, that it just couldn’t seal. I’d put plenty of sealant in, but no luck. It is quite thick sealant, lining the tyre rather than sloshing around it, so after it failed to plug that hole, I added a little water. That did help get more sealant to the hole, but every time I pumped it up above 18PSI, it would extrude a little worm of whatever is meant to accrete in the sealant, then leak air again. Even after getting it to seal, leaving it for a day, then pumping it all the way up, it still couldn’t hold air at higher pressures. To make sure it wasn’t the tyre, I washed it out, cleaned the rim and added my usual (and ubiquitous) brand. The tyre went up to 30PSI and is still up, weeks later.
I do like the smell of this sealant, that’s there’s no ammonia, that parts of it are recycled, and that Slicy do refills. All admirable. If Slicy can improve the performance, I’d consider switching.
I have reviewed so many inserts now, it’s hard to tell you anything unique about one. This is basically in the same ilk as Huck Norris, but slightly thicker, and I found it performed very similarly. This is hardly surprising, considering they’re very similar shapes and setups, but Slicy is a bit thicker and offers slightly more padding that the first iteration of Huck Norris did. Just like its forerunner, instead of hugging the rim, it floats around in-between tread and rim, for me just about filling the width of the 2.4in tyres I ran it with.
There are cutouts at the centre and sides to give plenty of sealant transit. While I did get the flat mentioned above, that might have been a sharp object rather than an impact, and I got no rim damage at all while running them.
On opening the tyre up after a couple of months, also like Huck Norris, it did have an assortment of slits and holes in it. What surprised me was that I hadn’t heard any telltale dinks at any time; whatever’s got through, the inserts seemed to do a fair amount of sound deadening. Unlike some inserts that can be audible in your tyre when riding, I never heard a peep from these.
Slicy Smooth is not as burly an insert as some, but nor is it as heavy. It’s a serviceable insert that’ll help keep you rolling. You can compare it to all the others I’ve reviewed in this spreadsheet. Despite loving the caps, I’d pass on the valves, and Slicy’s sealant could do with improvement. The inserts themselves work absolutely fine though.
Follow us on Instagram
|Product:||Smooth Tyre Inserts, Sealant, Valves|
|Price:||£39.99 per insert, £17.99 sealant, £19.99-£24.99 valves|
|Tested:||by David Hayward for 3 months|
Sign up as a Singletrack Member and you can leave comments on stories, use the classified ads, and post in our forums, do quizzes and more.
Join us, join in, it’s free, and fun.