Friday, December 24, 2010
We've Been Slimed!
Today, I am featuring an interview with Bria Di Cicco, brand marketing director for Slime, one of the major players in the tubeless sealant market.
Jason: I was looking through your product offerings on your web site. The "Slime Pro" product seems specifically designed for tubeless tires, and you even recommend it for road tubeless bicycle tires. What challenges do you see in dealing with the triple digit pressures encountered in road tubeless that are never seen in automotive, motorcycle, or mountain bike tubeless applications?
Bria: Yes, Slime Pro Tubeless is designed and tested specifically for bicycles with tubeless and conversion set-ups. The biggest challenge sealing high pressure is that our sealant does not dry out when it reaches the punctures, but rather clots in the same way blood clots. Our fibers, binders and clotting agents (Fibro-Seal technology) build-up and intertwine within the puncture and form a plug. When there is a higher pressure forcing against the plug build up the formula has to work extra hard, and our does- sealing punctures effectively at high pressures common in road bikes.
Jason: It must be the cold weather, but lately I have been thinking about the effective operating ranges of different sealants. Is there an effective operating temperature range for the Slime Pro product? What is it's freezing point?
Bria: SlimePro Tubeless has an operational temperature of around -20 degrees Celsius (-4 F), making it competitive with other products on the market.
Jason: I have yet to try the Slime Pro product. How would you contrast the properties of the Slime Pro product versus the regular Slime tube sealant? How does it compare to your competitor's tubeless sealant products?
Bria: There is no nasty ammonia smell, rather a pleasant pina colada scent. Our formal contains powerful and rust and corrosion inhibitors, so it is safe for expensive tubeless wheels. It has a competitive lifespan and also works on conversion set-ups.
Jason: One of the challenges I have faced using Stan's sealant is that it dries up every 2-3 months, requiring removal of the dried sealant, and replacement with (expensive) new sealant. What is your experience with the Slime Pro product? About how often must it be replenished in a road tubeless tire? What is the product's shelf life?
Bria: Lifespan is a hard number to pint down as it is so dependant on the average temperature, humidity, tire type and riding style. Slime Pro longevity is on par with other products, and we have also received testimonials that it outlasts many competing products.
Jason: One of the real stumbling blocks with road tubeless technology gaining traction in the market is it's price. Even on sale, tires sell for $50-$80 each, and it seems like the money saved on tubes is quickly consumed by money spent on sealant. While this is not a factor for a sponsored racer, it can hit recreational riders hard. According to your website, Slime Pro retails for $18.99/16 oz. and $49.99/gal (128 oz). That works out $1.18 per ounce in the 16 oz vs 39 cents per ounce in the gallon size, with no size in between. I've heard of volume discounts, but why is the 16 oz bottle 3 times the price per ounce of the gallon version?
Bria: Right now our Slime Pro Tubeless is sold only in a 16oz bottle. The Slime Pro formula available in 1 and 5 gallon sizes is our OTR-Over the Road formula for fleet trucks. Although the Slime Pro brand is there, the formulas could not be more different.
Jason: Thanks for clearing that up!
Posted by Jason at 10:27 AM