I don’t often plug products but I’m going to break with tradition today and plug a product that does its own share of plugging. I’m talking about Stan’s No Tubes tire sealant. If you’re running tubeless tires, you probably already know that this stuff is seriously good. If not, maybe this will give you the impetus to give tubeless a try.
There are other brands of tire sealant to choose from and they may be as good as Stan’s. I don’t really know as I haven’t tried them yet. I probably won’t now because of the story I’m about to share with you. But first, a little background…
I set up my Raleigh Tamland gravel bike without tubes about six weeks ago. It was my first tubeless setup and I found it pretty easy to do by myself. I would be remiss not to offer thanks to Razzy’s Bike Shop in Des Moines. They were really helpful in terms of things to watch for. I ended up having to replace the factory installed tape on one rim, but other than that the setup came off without a hitch. This is a big part of the reason why it’s so important to support local bike shops. I’ve always found them to be helpful and ready to share, and I’m happy to buy my gear from them rather than online even if it costs a little more.
Fast forward to this past Friday. I had a chain slip and damage the rear wheel on my Salsa Fargo a while back. The long and short of it is that I had to replace the wheel, and so when the new one arrived I decided to set the Fargo up tubeless as well. After throwing the cassette back on the wheel, I mounted the tire, inserted a tubeless valve and set the bead. As I did, I could hear air escaping through the tread. There was a serious hole in the tire. Turns out it was more than just a hole. It was a gash. It wasn’t hard to find. I just spun it until I could feel the breeze.
As far as tire gashes go, this one was as bad as I’ve seen. It was maybe 2/3 of an inch across. The tire, a Vittoria Mezcal 29 x 2.25, was already pretty worn. I’ve put a lot of hard miles in on these tires. I figured that there was no way I was going to get it sealed, but I decided to try anyway. This is how I learn new things.
So I pulled the valve core, loaded a syringe with Stan’s, injected it, replaced the core and pumped the tire up to about 20 psi. I could hear the air escaping and I saw the white sealant bubbling through the gash. I deflated the tire and spun it around, both laterally and horizontally to make sure that the sealant coated everything on the inside. Then I reinflated the tire. Sealant was still escaping, but more slowly. I repeated the process two more times and what do you know…the tire held.
I inflated the tire to 36 psi and rode down to the donut shop on the square in Jefferson. I picked up a couple of glazed donuts and rode home. The tire held. Next I went out and put in 45 miles on a mixture of pavement and rough gravel. The tire held. This morning when I went outside, pressure was still at 36 psi.
So here’s to you, Stan. Thank you for this amazing product that does everything you said it would do. And while I’m giving thanks, here’s to you, too, Vittoria. This is my first go-round with your tires and I have to say that the Mezcal has been a real joy. It’s supple, grippy and durable too. That’s no small thing. In an era where so many companies manage to disappoint, it’s nice to find people who can still deliver the goods.