MR WOLF BANGERS

Australian Mountain Bike - - Tested - WORDS: CHRIS PANOZZO IM­AGES: MATT ROUSU

By now one of your mates has prob­a­bly asked if you are run­ning pool noo­dles in your wheels, a sim­i­lar call to when your un­cle used to walk past your bike and asked where the mo­tor was. Yeah good one Dave, real orig­i­nal… Yes, tyre in­serts are here to stay, and if you haven’t used one yet you are in the mi­nor­ity these days, not the ma­jor­ity. There are mul­ti­ple op­tions that are com­mer­cially avail­able, each tak­ing a sim­i­lar philo­soph­i­cal ap­proach to both pro­tect­ing your wheelset and en­sur­ing the tyre stays cor­rectly mounted to the rim. There are also Pro only mod­els out there, com­pa­nies spend­ing rel­a­tively small amounts of their R&D bud­get to gain an ad­van­tage over the com­pe­ti­tion with­out of­fer­ing their dis­cov­er­ies to the wider pub­lic. Then there are home-made in­serts, sim­ple foam cut outs that do a sim­i­lar job to the com­mer­cial stuff, al­beit at a frac­tion of the cost but with gen­er­ally a much shorter life span. This is where a gap opened up in what is a rel­a­tively new mar­ket for moun­tain bikes and in stepped Mr Wolf. Yes, Mr Wolf might not sound like your nor­mal go to for the lat­est and great­est mar­ket in­no­va­tion, but he’s onto some­thing here. It’s called the Banger Tube­less Sys­tem, or more to the point, a Mousse Tube. A bit of his­tory here first, mousse tubes as they are to be known, aren’t new to bike rac­ing, Miche­lin has had them in their mo­tocross tyres for their top ath­letes and week­end war­riors alike since 1983, back when Moun­tain bik­ing was only just start­ing out! They seem to work, given that they’ve had more than 20 Paris Dakar Wins and 22 World En­duro Mo­tocross Cham­pi­onships with Mousse Tubes in the wheels. So, it seems Mr Wolf isn’t try­ing to sell us an in­no­va­tion that claims to cure all our prob­lems, but rather bring to mar­ket an adapted ver­sion that has been so suc­cess­ful in such a sim­i­lar sport. What are they? Ba­si­cally, they are a pool noo­dle, (thanks Un­cle Dave…) vary­ing in den­sity and weight de­pend­ing on the vol­ume of tyre you are run­ning. The type of foam, or “technopoly­mer” is de­signed to take up 95% of the vol­ume of the tyre, with the re­main­ing void left to tune the feel of the tyre via air pres­sure, the same as a nor­mal tyre. This is what dif­fer­e­ni­ates the Banger sys­tem from all the other tyre in­serts, while pro­vid­ing pro­tec­tion and in­surance to the wheel and tyre, it re­ally does take up 95% of the vol­ume of the tyre, and in do­ing so does af­fect the be­hav­iour of the tyre from what we are used too. One of the sell­ing points of the Mousse Tubes is that you can po­ten­tially run a lighter cas­ing tyre, with more of the struc­tural strength com­ing from the Mousse Tube. That might be the case for your ca­sual ride en­thu­si­ast, but I’d say that the ma­jor­ity will be bet­ter off run­ning their pre­ferred tyre cas­ing as per usual and en­joy ex­tra ben­e­fits the Mouse Tube pro­vides. Those that have tried to mount tyre in­serts be­fore will know how hard it can be to mount cor­rectly, it is a dark art of sorts, ex­cept for one or two tips, the only way to be­come pro­fi­cient is by prac­tice and I can as­sure you that even the most hard­ened of me­chan­ics avoid in­serts more than their mother in-laws. The Banger sys­tem is just as bad, if not worse to in­stall. I have changed it out now 5 times, and in fair­ness the changeover times are com­ing down, but the first time, fol­low­ing the in­struc­tions there was a nearly a blowout, men­tally. I’ll only touch on the in­stall briefly as it brings up bad mem­o­ries, I’ve tried a mix of Dou­ble Down and DH Maxxis cas­ing tyres with the Mousse Tubes, and if you can imag­ine try­ing to in­stall a tyre and tube that is al­ready in­flated to 20psi, you can em­pathise. Is it worth the has­sle for those not chas­ing sec­onds, or mil­lisec­onds in a race en­vi­ron­ment

to go through the has­sle and ex­pense of the Mousse Tubes? Yes. Is it worth it for the rac­ers? Yes. Sim­ple then… I’ve had my share of tyre fail­ures over the past 2 years and it is for that rea­son these make a dif­fer­ence. With­out any air the tyre feels like it has 20 PSI hold­ing it up, the struc­ture of the tyre is much more sta­ble and the whole setup pro­vides much more damp­en­ing than you’d ex­pect. I’ve been run­ning 22 PSI in the front and 25 in the back. Pres­sures that I can guar­an­tee un­der load I could burp or sim­ply press the rear tire straight off the rim on a hard-packed berm. The damp­en­ing pro­vided can’t be un­der es­ti­mated, it’s been enough where I have been able to ad­just the sus­pen­sion to make bet­ter use of the damp­en­ing and bet­ter trac­tion on of­fer, which in turn will go a long way to help fight fa­tigue after those long days in the sad­dle, es­pe­cially if the EWS keeps throw­ing in 20-minute DH stages. There is a weight gain to the wheel set, de­pend­ing on the vol­ume of your tyre, the in­serts vary from 198 to 285 grams. The price isn’t cheap, but nei­ther is any of the lat­est gear to hit the mar­ket these days. For any rider look­ing to gain an ad­van­tage over their mates or ri­vals, safe guard­ing their new whe lset, or just look­ing to try bul­let proof their bike so they can max­imise their rid­ing time, the Bangers are for you.

HITS

- Im­proved ride charach­ter­is­tics. - High-level flat pro­tec­tion. - Re­duced fa­tigue and in­creased grip.

MISSES

- A pain to fit, and some weight gain

RRP: From $195 FROM: mr­wolf.bike

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