There comes a time in every rider’s life when the combination of a tight tire, and a tight rim can make the installation of said tire quite the chore. Over the years many mechanics have devised their own solutions to the problem with soapy water, Simple Green, and other tire bead lubricants, but Rich Travis thought there was a better way. Inspired by the compounds used in the auto industry to change tires, Rich came up with his Uncle Dick’s Bead Slip – a brush on paste designed to aid in tire installation.
We’ve had a few tins for a while now, is it worth the price? Find out next…
As we quickly found out, in spite of seeming like a straight forward product, it is very important to read the directions. Bead Slip comes packed into a metal tin and if you simply use the application brush to dab the container and brush it on the tire, you will have poor results.
The key to using it properly is to use the brush to whip up the mixture until it becomes soft and fluffy. This makes it much easier to spread on the the bead without over or under applying it. After the technique change, things started looking up for Uncle Dick.
So why use Bead Slip over other options? Since it is a paste instead of a spray, it stays more or less right where you put it. The brushes help to coat the bead, and while a little time consuming, it guarantees the bead is properly coated. In our experience, Bead Slip has been most beneficial on especially tight tire/rim combos, or on tires that don’t like to cleanly seat in the rim. A particular fat bike tire comes to mind that no matter how many times I tried to seat and reseat the tire, it was never perfectly round. A quick application of Bead Slip fixed it right up. Not bad.
Overall, on tires that had proven difficult to install in the past Bead Slip made installation noticeably easier. Addressing the concerns of tires slipping once installed, or tubeless tires not properly sealing, those aren’t things that we have seen after use. Though if you over apply it, it may be possible. This is where the proper application comes into play.
According to the label, Bead Slip is a proprietary blend of soap, solvent, and water meaning that once applied eventually the water and solvent should evaporate leaving just a soapy residue.
So does it work? Yes, absolutely. At $19.99 for a 2.7 oz tin (includes 1 application brush), Uncle Dick’s Bead Slip might be seen as a bit of overkill and on the expensive side. But for any shops or racers changing tough tires on a regular basis, Bead Slip could be a worth while investment.