Saturday, December 22, 2018

Product Review: Stan's No Tubes Tire Sealant

I'm not a tubeless guy... maybe someday, but I just don't see it.  I do love having good tubulars on my vintage steel bike though.  Usually I'm happy if I can get a full life from a good sew-up before I get a flat.  Currently though, I've got a ~3-year old tire on the rear and it's almost down to the threads and I got a pin hole leak... didn't even notice any issue when I got home Saturday but it was flat before I put it away.  So I decided to try some of this sealant stuff that the tubeless guys all rave about.

After doing a little research, I decided on Stan's... work is it works well on latex tubes and tubular tires.  And it comes in little bottles that are supposed to be easy to use.  The tubeless guys put this stuff in to stop the flats as they happen, but I'm trying to fix a flat... I'm not sure how much difference that makes or if I'll use it in my tires before I get flats to prevent them.

I also got a little tool to remove the valve core, so $8.50 for the tool and $3.25 for the sealant.  Seems like not too risky of a gamble considering my tire's *almost* worn out anyway.  If I get another three bucks worth of use out of it I'll be happy and I will have learned a new skill for the future.

I put my wheel in the truing stand for this application.  The little valve tool was really easy to use - slip it on and screw it out.  The sealant bottle had instructions to shake vigorously and squirt it in while inverted.  It looks like milk... I know this because I spilled some... but didn't cry about it and it wiped up pretty easy.  I got almost all the goop in the tire.  Then I pumped it up to 100 psig and spun it around, imagining the milky substance to be seeking out the puncture.  Since the pinhole leak was so small, I didn't see any of the stuff squirting out of the puncture the way some of the other reviewers of this stuff have noted.

After 4-hours I decided the test was successful and used my second bottle on another tire I had been saving for a possible TireAlert re-tubing... that's a lot more expensive so only for tires that have a lot of life left in the tread.  I think this second tire was used about three years ago for one season.Second tire (Tire X) was also a success.  So for $7 (plus the tool) I got new life out of two tires.  

Here's how to think about the cost:  Divide the sealant cost by the cost of a new tire to determine how much value you're getting. Analysis - if a new tire is $80, a bottle of Stan's is $3.25, that represents 4% of the cost of replacement.  If you hope for 3,000 miles from a new tire, and you might get 120 miles out of the sealant-repair, you broke even.  That's a pretty good gamble; if it doesn't work, you only lost $3.25.  If you don't have at least 120 miles of tread left in your flat tubular, then it doesn't make sense.  120 miles is like three Saturday Morning Summits for me.  My advice - "give it a try".

Update:  both tires passed the overnight test also!  Stuff works. 
Update 2:  rear didn't hold.  Stuff works kinda.

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