SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 30th
MUC-OFF INNER TUBE SEALANT
Muc Off Inner Tube Sealant is designed specifically, and moreover, only those with removable valve cores, which can exclude a lot of Presta models these days. However, it will genuinely seal holes up to 4mm wide quickly and very reliably, too.
Pros: Convenient and seemingly effective/reliable, even on bigger holes.
Cons: Not tubeless compatible, blow out will mean big old mess.
This works to the same science as all other sealant products. In the event of a puncture, the rotational forces and escaping air pressure sees it race to the hole, sealing it within a few seconds. Muc-Off tell me is a water, rather than Latex-based formula that contains “cutting edge” molecules to help seal holes and will apparently work in temperatures between –15 and +50.
The lower end may not suit those riding in the depths of a Canadian, or Russian winter but should cater for most riding contexts. Being water based, in theory meaning an easy clean up, should you over-fill, spill, or hit that nine-inch nail with your name on it. This also explains why it doesn’t go “off” like more traditional latex type sealants. Oh and anti-corrosion inhibitors essentially means if you spill some on your rims/spokes/eyelets, there’s no risk of them tarnishing.
Very straightforward. Whip out the valve core (there’s a
Schrader contained in the hose provided) connect the hose and deliver between 50 and 140ml of sealant into the tube. This should be sufficient for two wheels, possibly a single wheel trailer, too, depending on tyre width. I went for 125ml on 26x2.0 tyres and decanted the remainder into my Yak Homage’s 14x1.75 trailer tyre. I’ve tended to add a little air (15-20psi), then spin the wheel to ensure even distribution.
Having done that, inflate as usual. Presta valves are a littler trickier. Remove the valve core and deliver using a syringe. This also enables a very exact delivery and theoretically, no wastage. Overspill is much easier to mop up, compared with latex. Stiff brush and a few squirts of bike wash, or Rock n’ Roll Miracle Red will dismiss without trace. Nonetheless, best applied outside, or over the bath.
Well, I’m pleased to report it has proven dependable and, in some respects, performed better than I had expected given my experiences with the latex filled type, over the last 20 years. Used within temperatures of 12 and 28 degrees, I’ve only noticed it, when it’s been needed. I’ve been running these Continental tyres for 2,500miles (long term test to follow) and though generally very reliable, some very sharp flints have got the better of them, on wet mucky roads.
You’ll still need to extract the object - tweasers, or a small knife, such as that on the Passport CDW Multitool but provided the wheel is turning, the sealant will plug the hole in a matter of seconds. Some loss of pressure is inevitable but varies on tyre section (high pressure meant more rapid loss, high volume, slower).
I’ve had three punctures during the test period, and all have been successfully sealed without me needing to whip out the pump. Checked with a digital gauge, I’ve lost between 5 and 8psi from a 26x2.0 butyl tube. Nonetheless, aside from very short runs, I wouldn’t be tempting fate by leaving pump and spare tube. Holes to date were between 2 and 3mm.
However, it successfully sealed a cut in the valve stem, with a nominal loss of pressure, allowing me to ride the final 8 miles home, uninterrupted. I chose to substitute said tube but it’s still holding pressure, with no hint of pressure loss, several days hence.
As I said during the administration phase, clean-up is very straightforward and less fussy than latex. Some will still spurt from the valve, say when you’re dropping pressure to achieve more grip, or introducing a pump. To date, it hasn’t gummed up the valve, or coated localised sections of rim under pink spatter.
£9.99 for 300ml is steeper than some, cheaper than others. Orange Seal Endurance Sealant can be used in both tubeless and tubed setups £16.99 for 8ozs and will also seal holes up to 3mm and tubeless “slices” up to 12mm wide Weldtite DR Sludge Puncture Protectant Sealant comes in at £6.99 for 250ml. I’ve used it to reasonable effect in the past and it will seal holes up to 3mm with broadly similar efficiency. Slime Bike Tube Sealant comes in at £9.99 for 240ml and will also seal holes up to 3mm and supposedly guaranteed for two years.
Bottom line, the Muc Off Inner Tube Sealant is a solid performer and, in my experience, has a slight edge over comparable competition. That said; it also has similar limitations. A blowout, or ruptured seam spells new tube and a moderately messy clean up. In some instances, money might be better invested in a tyre upgrade. However, it does have some plusses. Running lighter tyres through winter, or trailers/tagalongs where some additional protection is very welcome.
Verdict: 3.25/5 Generally effective sealant for traditional tubed set-ups.
PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 2020
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH