MR. WOLF MOUSSE BALLS
By Chad de Alva
Mr. Wolf’s Mousse Balls are a new take on the foam inner tube replacement commonly referred to as a mousse that riders use in place of an inflatable inner tube. The big advantage that mousses offer over inner tubes is that they can’t go flat, which is why they’re the go-to tire inflation system for racers of all disciplines, and riders who don’t want to deal with flats. But like any other product, mousses have their drawbacks. The biggest downside to running mousses is that they’re size specific, meaning that a given mousse only works with certain size tires from certain manufactures. However, Moose Balls are a universal fit, so just like an inner tube, they can work in all sizes of tires from all manufacturers. If you’re looking for a way to obtain flat proof performance out of almost any tire, Moose Balls may be exactly what you’re looking for.
To be clear on what a mousse is, imagine a tire sized foam doughnut, or a torus in proper geometric parlance. Now cut that torus into a couple dozen equally sized segments and you’ll have a set of Mousse Balls. And yes, I realize the almost limitless potential for making jokes about balls here – but it’s easier to write balls than torus segments so we’re going with it.
Mousse balls come in two sets: one for front tires, and one for rear tires. Since Mr. Wolf claims Mousse Balls work with almost any size tire, my first move was to start shoving balls into all of the various sized tires I could get my hands on. Front tires don’t vary in size as much a rear tires do, so it was no surprise that a Mousse Ball appeared to fit well in everything from a 80/100-21 up to a 90/100-21. For the rear balls, I tried everything from a 140/80-18 down to a 110/100-18 and observed the same results – Mousse balls appear to fill tires of different sizes and from different manufacturers quite well. Yet, it’s important to note that fit-checking a single ball isn’t the same as actually riding a given tire with a full set of balls, so the “Your Mileage May Vary” disclaimer comes into play here.
Installing a set of Mousse Balls in a tire takes longer than installing a mousse, as each individual Mousse ball needs to be completely lubed up before being inserted into the tire. The same will hold true on successive installations – you’ll need to get each ball out of the old tire and re-lube it before installing in a new tire. As with a traditional mousse, proper lubrication is key, so make sure you use all of the lube in the tube on your balls. Mr. Wolf claims that the feel or air pressure equivalent of Mousse Balls can be adjusted by how many balls you put in a tire, and a softer feel is achieved by spacing the balls out in the tire. However, properly lubed balls are slippery, and recognizing the potential for the balls to move around inside the tire while riding, I opted for no space between balls. Mounting Mousse Ball laden tires is very similar to mounting any other tire with a mousse, and good technique makes all the difference in ease of installation. Balancing a ready to ride wheel took less weight than setups with other mousses I’ve balanced in the past.
Like any other mousse, Mousse Balls have a break in period – so give your balls a few rides to settle in. Other mousses are known for feeling dead (think of how memory foam doesn’t rebound) but Mousse Balls are the most lively feeling mousse system I’ve used, meaning that they feel more like tubes than other mousses. Leaving no space between balls is supposed to give a 16 + PSI feel, but I would argue that they feel more like 10-12 PSI once broken in. I’m happy with the feel and performance I’m getting with no space between the balls in the rear, but I’m still getting a bit of deflection out of the front - so I wish things were a touch softer. Opting to leave space between balls during install can set a rider up for a failure, as lubed balls can move around inside the tire while riding. This can lead to flat spots or worse, so I would not recommend spacing your balls out. If you want to soften your Mousse Balls further, get a mousse drill.
The lifespan of a set of Mousse Balls is entirely subjective. How you ride them, where you ride them, and the ambient temperature will all factor in to how long a set lasts for a given rider. The good news is that you can get 3 packs of replacement Mousse Balls, so if a few balls are starting to look a little tired, you can freshen up your set without having to buy another complete set. This is a much better alternative than playing the game of cut and stuff that many riders play to get one more tire of use out of a mousse.
All said and done, Mr. Wolf Mousse Balls have changed the mousse game in that they are the first universal foam inner tube replacement on the market. With Mousse Balls, riders can run whatever tires they want, and enjoy flat proof performance out of those tires – which is a hard thing to beat. After breaking in, our Mousse Balls feel like tubes set at 10 to 12 PSI, and have proven to provide great rim protection. Traction isn’t as good as other systems on the market, however. We’re looking forward to seeing how many tires we can go through before consuming a set of Mousse Balls, and I’m going to play with drilling the balls to find more traction. Mousse Balls certainly aren’t cheap, but given their flat proof performance and universal tire compatibility, they’re certainly worth it.
AVAILIBLE ON THE UPSHIFT STORE
For Mr. Wolf Mousse Balls Front (MB-1000): CLICK HERE
For Mr. Wolf Mousse Balls Rear (MB-2000): CLICK HERE
For Mr. Wolf Mousse Balls Rear Soft (MB-2001): CLICK HERE