Published on February 16th, 2017 | by admin0
BulletProof Tyres – Stan’s Sealant
If you have ever owned a Tubular wheelset then of course you will have experienced tubular tyres and the worry of getting a puncture miles away from home. Unlike normal tyres, with tubular tyres, the inner tube is sewn in to the actual tyre so can’t be replaced when punctured. There are though a range of different products available that will enable a hole in the tubular tyre to self-seal, although the range of effectiveness of the products are far from equal. My main summer bike is equipped with Zipp Tubular tyres so at first I was always, to say the least, very apprehensive, when cycling miles away from home.
Stan’s Sealant For Road Bikes
A couple of years or so ago, whilst reading some posts on an ultra-cycling forum I picked up on the fact that many ultra-cyclists were actually switching to tubeless tyres which were in effect road version of “off road” tyres filled with sealant. Some road wheelset, although not all, can handle “tubeless tyres” simply by using rim tape which creates an airtight seal once the tubeless tyre is fitted.
A tubeless tyre which also has been injected with Stan’s Sealant is just about as “bullet proof” as a tyre can be. Even tacks and nail holes quickly seal so no time is lost repairing punctures.
Stan’s Sealant in Inner Tubes
But what about if you want to make your tyres “bullet proof” but you don’t want the trouble of changing to either a Tubular wheelset or converting to Tubeless tyres? Well if you buy inner tubes with removable cores, that is of course, inner tubes that allow you to unscrew and remove the valve, then you can simply inject Stan’s Sealant directly into the inner tube. I have tested this method and can 100% state that it works very well indeed as I saved myself the trouble of changing a tube during my Newcastle to London ride last year. I was using Continental inner tubes with a Park Tool Valve Core Remover plus a cheap syringe of which I purchased a pack from eBay. During one of the stops, I checked my tyres only to find a small nail in the rear wheel. I pulled out the nail and spun the wheel and although a little of the sealant spat out, the hole in the tube quickly sealed. I only lost about 5 to 10 psi which I quickly pumped back in again. That tube lasted for a good few months even after one or two more punctures.
Stan’s Sealant Pros and Cons
I have been using Stan’s Sealant now for a couple of years so have a decent amount of experience of using it. Compared to other products, of which I have already said there are many, Stan’s is simply the best. There are though are couple of drawbacks.
Stan’s Sealant works of course by rolling around the inside of the tyre and sealing any holes that may occur. Adding the sealant to each tyre increases weight and rolling resistance which to some degree reduces speed. For me though this seems to be minimal and of no concern so not a problem, although in all honesty I’m more of a long distance plodder than a racer.
Stan’s Sealant – Clogging
The main problem I had with Stan’s, which indeed has caused problems for me is the sealant drying out around the valve and actually clogging the valve hole. On my rear Zipp tubular tyre, Stan’s did a great job of auto sealing a decent sized hole during a 150 mile solo ride. I did not even notice the “seal” until I was cleaning my bike a day or so after the ride. I topped up the air pressure in the tyre and thought no more of it. A month or so later I wanted to again top-up the air pressure in the rear tyre but was unable to get any air into it. I thought the valve must be faulty so removed it and to my amazement the tyre remain inflated even without the valve! The valve seemed to be “gunged” up with dried up Stan’s Sealant as was the actual valve hole. I had to carefully push a blunt object into the valve hole to break the crusty seal that the sealant had made so that eventually the air expelled and with a new valve I could inflate the tyre to the correct pressure. Now remember I live in Spain so I’m pretty sure the intense heat was part of the problem although I have seen others, even in the UK report the same problem.
Using Stan’s Sealant
When riding my summer bike which has Tubular Tyres, I don’t inject Stan’s Sealant into the tyres until I get a puncture. I do though carry with me in my saddle bag, a small bottle of Stan’s Sealant, a small syringe, a Valve Core Remover, spare valve, Powerlink plus a C02 pump and a couple of cartridges. These items fit snuggly into a small saddle bag.
When I get a puncture I will inject the sealant. Once the sealant is in the tyre I will ensure each week that I remove the valve to clean it and make sure the valve hole is not clogged. I will also ensure that when my bike is in its stand that Stan’s Sealant is not resting around the valve areas by turning the wheel so the valve is towards the top and the sealant of course will be at the bottom.
For my other bikes with regular clincher tyres and tubes normally I will not inject the tubes with Stan’s. For long or overnight rides though I will add Stan’s to both tubes just to save the hassle of having to change tubes.