Mr. Wolf first started appearing on my facebook feed a few weeks ago, a strange Stig-like man in a fake tux and a Tesla. At the Bike Festival Riva, the Banger was shown to the public for the first time. "Isn't that just a foam tube? Motocross riders have had those for years."
It is, and it isn't, and at €249 for a pair, they had better be more than a pool noodle from the local baths.
First impressions at the show were interesting, and it did feel
like it could do a good job, it's squishy to the touch but soft and almost malleable with controlled rebound. Mr. Wolf wouldn't tell us any more than this: It's a high-end, dual-compound polymer, and they have spent over five years researching and testing to find the perfect material and manufacturer.
Setup Mr. Wolf Banger Details
• Dual-compound polymer 'mousse' designed to prevent punctures, rim damage and improve ride characteristics
• Weight: 330 grams (each)
• Sizes: 26" / 27.5" / 29"
• Four widths to suit tire and rim size
• MSRP: €249 (pair inc. valves and tubeless fluid)
The Banger is simple to install, adding a small amount of extra effort to fit a tire, but nothing compared to installing a ProCore system or CushCore. T-head tubeless valves are provided in the kit, to help the air pass around the foam for inflation.
The actual weight of the 27.5+ Banger was 330 grams, a horrific lump of rotational weight to consider adding to a wheel for some people. But, Mr. Wolf is determined to make a point that the Banger isn't only to protect against rim damage and punctures, but more importantly to improve ride quality, grip, safety, and speed. It's also claimed that only 20-30ml of tubeless sealant is needed per tire, I normally run at least 100ml, so that would offset some of that added weight.
Without any air, the feeling of the tire with the Banger installed is said to be around 0.7 bar / 10psi, so not enough to ride on properly, but enough to continue along the trail in case of emergency. Mr. Wolf suggests the tires should be run at 0.1 bar / 4psi less than standard tubeless to gain a similar feeling.
There will also be a mobile app available, where riders can input their wheel and tire dimensions and be informed of which size they would need. The Banger is an oil-based product, but is 100% recyclable. Following our test ride and questioning about this, Mr. Wolf got back to me this week to say they are looking into a recycling program where they can use the material to make new Banger's and even give a discount to customers who return the old ones.Ride Impressions
Mr. Wolf came to visit last week for a short test ride. I did a number of runs, on an (electric) plus-tire bike, and on a standard 27.5" bike with 2.4" tires. There is a marked difference in the feel of the bike. During the initial rides, the bike seemed to track the ground better, the tires felt calmer in the really rough stuff and it was easier to hold a line and to track corners. Even though it added damping, and I was running less pressure, it also gave the feeling of more support, making the bike more playful and giving extra pop.
The Banger does heavily damp impacts against the rim, but using a 40mm rim and 2.8" with a square profile it was still possible to hear metal pinging on rocks, a couple of times, but the frequency of this was reduced. This is also more common with a wide rim profile as the tire provides less protection for the rim.
I couldn't burp the tire despite my best efforts. Although the risk of burping is diminished, I think there is still a possibility it could occur. Mr. Wolf argued that with the weight of the rider on the tire, the Banger will push outwards and help to keep the tire locked on to the rim.
We checked all four Bangers after the test runs and they were still intact, minus a couple of slices. It seems that it would be possible to cause lots of damage to the Banger, but still maintain most of the performance.
My initial impressions after that one day of riding are positive, and I am very interested to see how they perform in the long run. Of course, there are still questions that need to be answered: Will still it be possible to burp the tires? How long will they last against the limestone of Liguria? Will the tubeless sealant be able to flow freely enough to seal tire cuts? Will it be possible to use lighter weight tires and still have the required feeling and support? Hopefully we will have production Bangers in for long-term testing soon.
Choice 1: Mr Wolf banger, 250 USD.
Choice 2: Xfusion manic dropper + remote : 200 USD + 1 huck Norris set bought with a mate (you only need one for the rear wheel) : 50 USD
Not so difficult...
So when that happens I will spring for 27.5 & 26 inserts for about $230. That's $230 for four wheels!
Just like Charlie Sheen.
Own a £400 set of wheels but weighs 1800g.... justifies spending £1400 on new Enve rims to get weight down to 1500g
....worried about damaging Enve rims so spends £250 on some foam ring that weights 300g
.... goes riding having happily spent £1700 for a new wheel set & latest tech with no weight saving over stock wheels.
..... still, looks trick...
the way i see optimal carbon wheel - rim 27 mm internal , 350grams rim + bladed spokes + huck norris rim protector + 900-1100g tyre
.....and it was a rear tyre
Pneumatic tires require pumping up from time to time, and can go flat, but their advantages overwhelm these difficulties.
Airless tire schemes have also been used by con artists to gull unsuspecting investors. My advice is to avoid this long-obsolete system."
Clearly not true - read the article.
Edit: Haven't looked a pool noodle in a while. Some have holes too. So choose your density!!!!
My tires are fine the way they are, but for some reason I want to try this.
Let's make high volume air shock cans then we fill them with spacers so you can replace them fast with coils metrics
Let's set a new standard with 650b then throw it in the dumpster after only a few years for bigger it's better lame thing
.... and now :
Let's go tubeless for some weight saving then we put crap inside them to make them heavier than before
(goes back and checks again) ahhhhahahahahahahahahaha!!!
$7.63 for a 2.125" OD version. I think there's larger versions available.
My point is, you can always call a product "just foam", "just aluminum" or "just plastic". MTB stuff is, and always has been, expensive. And into some of this stuff has gone a lot of research, which also Mr. Wolf claims for their overpriced foam. Nothing wrong with complaining about a price that you consider to high, but all those pool noodle and home depot foam comments were funny only the first time.
But I can not understand, why a lot of comments here refer only to the raw material price. I've never seen that kind of critique, when Maxxis presented a ne tyre (where the cost for the rubber is probably close to the cost of the foam in this product).
I have no idea if Mr. Wolf did or did not spend five years for testing. I do not know if this foam has any of the advertised characteristics (I can only take this Pinkbike review as reference that it seems to basically do what it is supposed to). I do not think, there is a market for this, and if there is, it will be very small, someone wanting to ride their expensive Enve wheels on days at the bike park maybe...
But I won't make comments that any of the products shown here are overpriced, based only on their raw material cost.
Maybe I've just been around for too long and still remember the days when spending a ridiculous amount of money got you only ugly anodized aluminium parts that would fail horribly after a few runs and frames some overhyped welder had assembled from scrap metal in his shed after his friday night six pack of beer and no research at all went into a product, but people where still happy to spend their last buck for their hobby.
It's not just material cost, it's the entire process. Lots of manual work. Let's do a simple 1/4 MSRP cost analysis. A $2000 CF frame might cost $500 to produce ($2000/4). Does $500 seem fair to you for the $60-90K amarotized mold cost, engineering, hand layup, sanding, painting and QC? Seems more justified to me! By that generic example, how do we get to €62 (1/4 of €250) to manufacture (crap out) a piece of closed cell foam tube?
One thing I can agree with you on is that people in our industry spend a ton of money on their passion. I definitely do! I'm sure there's an audience for this expensive product as already proven by their kickstarter.
Maybe three sets in case I get it wrong or I loose one.
No four sets as I need back up for option one.
Stuff it. 6 sets. Then I gave back up for my different tyre widths and two sets for the display cabinet and as a future collectors item.
Now I just spent £1494 or $2606aud on rubber I can't afford my new bike to put them in. Then again last time I didn't buy any rubbers I had two children, and that worked out awsome. I think I will now pass.
Maxxis DD and WTB Enduro casing tires may be heavy, but they're bombproof.
This style of foam insert does nothing to protect the casing of a tire from getting sliced (granite or shale in these parts) so I'd still have to run 1000-1200 gram tires AND one of these?
What I want to see is a reasonably light bead-to-bead breaker ply on a tire that will resist carcass cuts from rolling over pointy rocks at speed.
Maybe a product like this makes sense for the full-on DH crowd, but I see no way that adding 660 grams to a wheelset (that's about 1 1/2 fricking pounds!!) makes sense.
Finally-rolling resistance is caused by hysteresis (friction translated to energy loss as heat). Ain't no way this thing is doing anything but adding rolling resistance. Any claims of reduced rolling resistance are patently false.
I'll keep filling my tires with air and Stans-pass on the snake oil.
Yet so many of these foam insert manufacturers are recommending running a lighter tire to offset the weight gain.
We won't tell people not to run one of these but try to do our part with DD and DH casing tires to ensure that they're not a requirement but more of a tuning option, like volume spacers in your suspension.
The price and weight would be better suited for an April 1st Pinkbike article. I'm done for the night.
I just want to ride my bike not spend more on what sane people spend on a whole bike just for some foam tubes.
If I wanted tubes I would got get a pair for $20 bucks and stop worrying about sealant, leaky valve stems or pumping my tires every time I hop on the bike..
I know for sure some italian gravity atlethes are using them, if you google "Pepi's Tire Noodle" and "Bike Suspension Center" you'll find something more.
If it's as easy as mounting a tire with a semi-inflated tube,that's ok,but I guess it should be way harder.
no wait what? What the f*cks the point in this over priced crap?
5 years developing a "complex polymer foam" my arse.
Let me give you a quick rundown on what to do:
1. Buy a digital pressure gauge (i.e. Schwalbe or Toppeak)
2. Measure your tire pressure an get it right
The good news is, every HomeDepot can be your LBS now ! goo.gl/b0DzvI
shit sounds like a buisness plan
Maybe he should stop talking while he's ahead
Over priced not needed product.