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Tire Sealant for Tubular Tires

Last updated 2011-04-20 - Send Feedback
Related: gear, Maintenance, Road Bikes, tubular

As discussed in Why I Ride Tubular Tires Exclusively, I ride tubular (sew up) tires exclusively for safety and other reasons. But they sometimes do get punctured, and thus tire sealant is a mandatory item to carry on the bike, along with a pre-glued spare tire.

In my experience over six years or so, tire sealant shown on this page never really fixes punctures, contrary to claims of vendors of tire sealant. It does work for a short while, but has always failed me within a few days when I try to use 115-120 psi; typically the puncture suddenly blows, and the sealant sprays out in a misty white spray.

Tire sealant reinflates the tire and allows riding home, thus precluding the need to field-change the tire. For that reason, I consider it a must-have item, along with a pre-glued spare tire. Keep both in an under-seat bag on your bike at all times.

Update: As of 2011/2012, I have moved to carrying a valve stem extractor tool (tiny) and Stan’s No Tubes tire sealant. Not only is this combo far smaller and lighter, it fixes 90% of the flats so well that the tire can remain in service for its full lifetime. And I can do so in under 5 minutes. You will need to use tires (and/or valve extenders) that have a removable valve core, so avoid any tire that does not.

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Vittoria Pit Stop

48 grams (as weighed)
About $12.99

I’ve used perhaps a dozen cans of Vittoria PIT STOP sealant over the years. It has worked well in most case—when the nozzle hasn’t failed—but the nozzle has a tendency to pop up, spewing a sticky latex mess all over you hands and wheel. It’s also longer/taller than desirable, making it just barely fit into an longer-than-usual underseat bag, which more than once has caused it to emit sealant just trying to stow it (sideways pressure on the outer cap can do so).

On the plus side, its 48 gram weight means there’s no excuse for not carrying a can of it.

Effetto Mariposa Espresso

89 grams (as weighed, older design with cap and right angle tubing)
About $14.95

The Espresso is 16mm shorter so it’s easier to stow, but the design has been changed so that the latex tube projects upward, and thus newer cans might be taller than the one shown below.

In use, the latex tube pushes onto the valve, and is thus far more reliable in getting the sealant into the tire, instead of all over hands and wheel.

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