Thursday, August 31, 2006 11.00pm
By Michael Stenning
Self-healing inner tubes are not a new idea, but they've tended to be on the weighty side and blow-outs used to mean a very sticky mess. But the Eclipse could solve all of that.
Designed for tyres between 19 and 23mm wide, the kit comprises of an otherwise standard inner tube and a bottle of sealant. Fitting is just like any standard tube; the only difference being you unscrew the valve and empty the sealant directly into the valve stem (which should be compatible with even the deepest section rims). Refit the valve and inflate to a maximum of 8bar (125psi).
Eclipse claim the fluid will immediately seal punctures with minimal loss in pressure (about 1.5 bar) - and in practise, it has stood up to glass strewn streets, and even thorns have failed to make much impact. However, the instructions advise that the sealant has a useful life of between eight and 12 months, which means that while this shouldn't mean a new tube, it will need fresh sealant to remain effective. A maximum pressure of 8bar seems fine for most road applications and I didn't detect any increased rolling resistance.
I've been reasonably impressed by its performance in the short term, although I'm not confident enough to leave the pump and spare tube behind. The coming months and varying temperatures might tell a different story, however.
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