All You Need to Know about a Bib Mousse, and using a Tire Changer

by Tonu Kallast
2 Comment(s)
All You Need to Know about a Bib Mousse, and using a Tire Changer

What is a bib mousse?

Before we jump into too many details about the qualities of a bib mousse and bib mousse tire changer. I will first explain what a bib mousse is. A bib mousse, commonly referred to as ‘mousse', is a tire insert that works in place of a regular motocross inner tube. It is essentially a solid foam ring that holds its shape well enough that nothing else, such as air, is needed to support the tire. The mousse's foam consists of multiple closed cell honeycomb shaped pockets. Each cell is filled with nitrogen gas which works to support the overall structure of the mousse. Covering the outside of the mousse is a smooth skin like coating that is designed so that is slides into a tire the same way a regular air tube does. As a result of the mousse's solid structure, there is no way of adjusting the feel of the tire when using one. Unlike with a regular air tube, where you can change the PSI for different riding environments, a bib mousse retains one feel all of the time (until it starts to deteriorate). The benefit is of course that you cannot pop a bib mousse like you can a regular air tube.

Ride qualities of a bib mousse

Bib mousse tires certainly have a distinct ride feel about them. As a result, it does take some time to get used to riding with them. Typically, a bib mousse feels much softer than a regular air filled tire does. In fact, the typical mousse will ride similar to an air tube tire at approximately 8 psi. T his overall ‘low air' feeling translates into a dead or unlively feeling when hitting bumps, roots, rocks, and other square edges on the track or trail. Generally, a mousse filled tire will favor hard packed tracks and surfaces. The low pressure allows the tire to sit just a small amount flatter against the ground than an air filled tire does. This in turn translates to more traction for the rider. You might have noticed that bib mousse inserts are much more common in Europe than America. In fact, many racers in the European motocross GP series run bib mousse inserts on every single track! Those racers have become accustomed to the feel of a mousse, and would likely take a bit of time to get used to using air tubes again if they ever had to. Most American riders however are the exact opposite, they prefer the feeling of a standard air filled tube. This is because under heavy cornering loads, using a bib mousse results in more sidewall rollover than an air tube. Even so, the chance of getting a flat on some of the rougher tracks in America warrants the use of bib mousse filled tires. However, when a bib mousse is used by professional American motocross racers, it is only used on the rear wheel. Enduro and cross-county riders tend to benefit the most from bib mousse inserts. This is because of the awesome grip that a mousse lends you on terrain such as rocks. And because flat tires are extremely common in these disciplines of riding you need proper bib mousse tire changer.

Why should I ride a bib mousse?

The number one reason for someone to ride with bib mousse inserts instead of tubes is to avoid flat tires. Nobody likes going out for a ride on their dirt bike and having to push back because of a flat. With a bib mousse, you don't have to worry about getting a flat tire what so ever, but when tire wears off, you need quality bib mousse tire changer. Another reason to ride bib mousse is because once you get used to how it feels, you may actually prefer how it helps the tire grip compared to how a regular air filled tube does. There are really only two major downfalls of bib mousse inserts. The first is that one bib mousse insert is well over a pound heavier than a standard air tube. The second downfall is that mousse inserts cost a lot of money compared to a regular air filled tube. Bib mousse inserts can also be a bit of a pain to install. However, with the help of a high quality tire changer such as Rabaconda, even the average Joe will be able to change a bib mousse.

What is the best bib mousse tire changer to use?

There is one bib mousse tire changer that stands out from the rest. It has made a name for itself as the fastest way to change a motocross tire, especially when changing a challenging bib mousse. That bib mousse tire changer is the Rabaconda. The Rabaconda makes use 3 solid standing points and a powerful bead breaker that will have you changing tires in minutes! More info about Rabaconda Bib Mousse Tire Changer.

How do you change a bib mousse?

There are a couple of different techniques to change a bib mousse. However, for the sake of this article, we will describe the quickest and easiest method. First of all, set up your Rabaconda bib mousse tire changer and place your wheel securely on the stand. Taking off the old tire: First use the bead breaker to help you insert multiple tire irons (around 4) around about an 8th to ÂĽ of the tire's circumference.Now push your knee against the side of the tire that is opposite to the irons. Pull the irons towards you and one side of the tire's bead should start to pop overtop of the rim. Flip the wheel over so that it rests on the tire changing stand again.Use the bead breaker to push down on the tire right above where the bead started to pop off on the other side. The tire should now start to come off. Once the initially dismounted bead of tire is completely down, keep turning the wheel and pressing with bead breaker to push down the rest of the tire (mousse). Once this is done the tire is hanging on the upper bead that has not been dismounted yet. Pull the bead breaker as close as possible to rim and find a good spot to push down the side over rim to completely remove it. When it starts to come off, spin the wheel and use the bead breaker to push the tire rest of the way off all around until it falls down. Tip: If the bead breaker starts slipping over the side of tire when trying to push over rim, keep turning and searching for a sweet spot where it finally gets the right grip and you can push the side down over rim. If you have a rim lock, you can push the link on the Rabaconda bread breaker up so that it pushes over the rim lock to remove the final amount of tire.

Mounting a bib mousse and tire:

  1. Start by placing your wheel on the Rabaconda wheel stand.
  2. Clean both the mousse and tire as mud and dirt will deteriorate the mousse.
  3. Lubricate the inside of the tire with bib mousse lube.Put the bib mousse inside of the tire that you want to install.
  4. Take the tire and put it on top of the wheel that is sitting on the stand.
  5. Lube the part of the mousse that will later come in contact with the rim. Make sure to use proper mousse lube as it is will not deteriorate the mousse.
  6. While supporting the tire with your knee, use a tire iron to push part of the lower bead over the rim. Now slowly work your way around until the entire bottom bead of the tire is over the rim.
  7. Now put a tire iron into the tire right beside the rim lock and leave it there (in between the tire and rim). Lock this iron under a hook next to tire changer handle.
  8. Now use multiple tire irons to start pushing the top bead of the tire into the rim. It is important to take small steps with the irons so that the tire stretches over the rim relatively easily.
  9. Once you get back to the tire iron that was beside the rim lock, remove it. Now push in the rim lock using an iron and press the last section of tire onto the rim using the bead breaker.
  10. Your bib mousse and tire should now be properly mounted and ready to ride!

How long do bib mousse last?

It is hard to say exactly how long a bib mousse will last because it is greatly dependent on the rider, the conditions that the mousse are ridden in and maintenance of the mousse. For the average occasional rider, it is safe to say that a mousse should only have to be changed about once every 6 months (or even less). However, professional racers will change their mousse every race or two. It is important to think about what you will expose your mousse to when estimating how long it will last. For example, mousse tires do not like being ridden on roads at constant high speeds. The extra friction will cause them to heat up and start to deteriorate more quickly than usual. The best thing to say is that a mousse should be replaced as soon as it starts to feel too soft. Also, if you are not riding for a while, demount your mousse and clean it as dirt and mud will cause it to deteriorate over time.

What size bib mousse should I buy?

Choosing the correct size mousse for your tire(s) is the best way to make sure you get the best life possible out of your mousse. For regular enduro riding, your mousse size should be matched exactly to your tire size. So a 120 mousse will work best in a 120 tire. For other riding such as extreme enduros, some riders choose to put a smaller mousse into a bigger tire in order to have a softer overall feel. This is okay if you know what you are doing, however it can damage your rim or allow mud and dirt into your tire which will in turn damage your mousse. Going by the manufacture recommendation is another good way to get good performance if you aren't exactly sure what you are looking for.

Bib mousse maintenance

Without following a few simple care rules, a bib mousse can easily deteriorate or stretch. It is best to always clean your mousse off after riding so that the dirt and mud cannot deteriorate it. We know this can be a bit of a pain, but especially try to do it after muddy rides or before an extended period of time where you will not be riding. This will ensure that the mousse is not broken down by anything but pure dirt bike riding. With Rabaconda bib mousse tire changer it takes only 3 minutes to dismount and mount a tire with bib mousse. Another important thing to take into consideration is the storage temperature of your bib mousse. A bib mousse will typically start to expand at temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius / 86 degrees Fahrenheit. So it is best to keep them stored in an air conditioned or generally cooler room.

Should I use a rim lock with a bib mousse?

A rim lock is definitely recommended with a bib mousse as it stops the tire from spinning on the rim. Many riders do not use one on the front as it is not a drive wheel. This is usually okay, however, a rear wheel with a mousse in it should always have a rim lock. This is because the power is directed through the rear wheel. That force alone is enough to possibly cause the tire to spin on the rim (also be sure not to get lube on the tire bead as it can also cause spin). The smaller a mousse is inside a tire, the more likely there will be spin. Some mousse companies do not specify that rim locks are needed. Even so, better safe than sorry right? At times you might notice that some professional extreme riders are using 2 rim locks on one wheel if going for a very soft mousse for better grip!

Bib mousse sizes and weight?

As mentioned above it is typical for 1 bib mousse to weigh about a pound more than a standard heavy duty motocross tube. You can find bib mousse inserts available in all sizes to suit small wheels all the way up to large wheels. It is typical for most companies to start at 18” for mousse inserts. However, there are a select few companies that do offer smaller sizes. Some riders cut down larger mousse inserts to fit smaller tires. This is not recommended but can work under the right circumstances.

Final Thoughts

Switching from a regular air tube to a bib mousse will create a totally different tire feel. This does take some getting used to, so put a good few rides on them before you decide if you like it or not. Remember to keep your mousse inserts clean and out of the heat in order to prolong their life as much as possible. Finally, enjoy not having to worry about flatting while out on your motocross bike! And if you choose bib mousse then you better buy proper Bib Mousse Tire Changer.- Learn what is new to our 4th generation dirt bike tire.
by Tonu Kallast



“Can a mousse insert be used on a motorcycle that is ridden in the winter? Down to about -20c?”

Hi there. Yes, mousse inserts can be used also when riding in the winter. Most pro racers use bib mousses in the winter time because they can’t afford a flat tire. However it might feel lightly stiffer due to the cold.
- Rabaconda

Rick Tivet
Rick Tivet

Can a mousse insert be used on a motorcycle that is ridden in the winter? Down to about -20c?

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