Think about the the last time you got a flat tire, was it convenient? Generally we don’t get flats as we’re rolling up to the truck after a long day of riding. You probably went flat five minutes into a full day of trail riding or during the first lap of your last XC race. Maybe you got multiple flats during the Corduroy Enduro last year. These are all true stories and will never be convenient even if you do possess the skills to do a trailside tube swap.
For those of you wondering what the heck a mousse might be, it’s a pool noodle in your tire. The mousse replaces your tires inflatable inner tube with a solid foam tube. This eliminates the risk of flat tires and the need to check air pressures.
I made the decision to switch to mousses last year as I was finally fed up with dealing with flats. It was a difficult decision for me not because of the added cost of mousses or the additional rotating mass, it was because I knew they are a royal pain in the ass to change! My first attempt at installing mousses were a complete failure. I watched youtube videos of people making it look like the easiest process imaginable, how did they do it? Skill? Talent? Black Magic? Whatever it was, I didn’t have it! I was forced to do the unthinkable and take my rims into a local shop for installation. As someone who has been changing their own tires for almost twenty years, this was devastating. After riding the remainder of the season, I feared the future mousse change ahead of me, I had to find a solution fast. The Rabaconda mousse changer seemed like the best option but unfortunately they are scarce in Canada and by the time they would get here, would end up being a bit out of my budget.
Alas! The Moose Racing mousse bib tire changer is released. It has the features I was looking for and is available through a Canadian distributor within a few days. I change tires a lot so I bit the bullet and put one on order right away.
The Moose Racing mousse bib tire changer provides a solid tire stand at knee level height and features a bead breaker with plenty of leverage. The bead breaker not only helps with easing the insertion of the first irons, it will literally push the tire and mousse right off the rim once you have successfully removed part of the bead from the rim. It also comes in handy when fumbling around trying to get the rimrocks in place. It works on 18″, 19″ and 21″ rims and comes apart easily with no tools to fit into a nice carrying bag.
At first glance, it doesn’t look much different from a standard tire stand with a bead breaker. The bead breaking alone makes life much easier when replacing mousses but there are two other reasons I really like this tool. The first is thanks to a hanger mounted to the support arm of the bead breaker, this hanger holds your first iron into the rim when reinstalling your new tire. Without this hanger holding your iron in place, your bead will keep popping out as you try and work your way around the rim. I also believe the working height of this tool is a benefit. Once assembled you may only see future lower back spasms. However I believe this is planned that way. Your knees are almost as important as your tire irons for this job and the height allows you to use your knees to give support and leverage when needed.
Build quality is decent, seems strong and the finish is tough enough for garage use. My biggest concern with this product is the “quick release” bolts. For me, I found these bolts difficult to keep secure and it was tough to find the sweet spot. One of my bolts wouldn’t secure at all and came loose frequently during my first use which was frustrating. Sure, Moose Racing would have replaced the faulty bolt but I wanted a more sturdy solution anyway. I purchased a few carriage bolts, washers and wing nuts from our local hardware store and replaced all the quick release bolts. This resulted in a much stronger structure and is still easy to switch from one rim size to another with a few turns of the wing nuts.
Does it make changing mousses easier? It does, but it still requires technique and finesse just like any tire change. It makes it possible for one average rider with average skills to remove and install mousse in less than 10 minutes, easily less than 5 minutes once you nail the procedure. I did find that short tire irons were almost useless when trying to remove or install the bead. I’d highly recommend the 15″-16″ irons with the curved end. It’s best if you have five but four can still get the job done.
At the time of this post the Moose Racing mousse bib tire changer sells for a Canadian retail price of $389.95-$425.95. This is going to be on the expensive side for most of us. However, I feel little to no buyers remorse and with each mousse change I do, I’m getting faster and more efficient.
- Makes a mousse change possible for anyone, no third hand required
- Easy to assemble
- Quick release bolts difficult to set up and can break
- Expensive for most weekend warriors
I figured that every video I saw on youtube was using multiple takes/edits, installing larger tires on smaller rims or some kind of KY concoction I haven’t heard of yet. The video below demonstrates what an average person looks like changing a mousse for the second time using the mousse changer. This is obviously not a how-to video… but, it did get done in time for a ride with minimal cursing!
Let us know what you think of this product, we will be adding to this review with a long term update after a full season of abuse.