Sealant for road bike and MTB tires: Pros, cons, and choosing guide

Posted at: May 16, 2022

This section summarizes what sealants are for road bikes and MTBs, their advantages and disadvantages, and how to select sealants.

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What is a sealant?

Sealant is a fluid used to fill gaps and is not only used in road biking and MTB, but is also used by dentists and woodworkers in familiar areas.

Sealant in road biking and MTB is a special fluid that is placed inside the tire tube and is used in the following ways

  1. to fill a puncture in tubular tires
  2. fill a gap in a tubeless lady tire

In the case of tubeless lady tires, it is used to fill the gap between the rim and the tire, unlike tubeless tires, but like tubular tires, it also has the effect of filling a puncture.

Advantages of using sealants

If it’s a small puncture, you can run back home.

Sealant fills gaps, so it fills small holes left by punctures and other problems. This is not a perfect puncture repair, but if you fill the sealant well, it has enough corrective power to keep the air out even if you point multiple nails at it.

Black Ox, the company that markets the sealant, even uploaded a video showing that a rifle shot through a sealant-filled MTB tire did not cause a puncture.

Since tubular tires are integrated with the tube and tire, “puncture = tire change” and if you get multiple flats on the road, you may run out of spare tires. If you put sealant in a tubeless tire, the sealant will fill the open hole and you will be able to ride to some extent.

It is difficult to go out for a long ride with the tire still in place, but you can ride from your destination to your home or to a nearby train station. Some people say, “If I get a flat tire, I just put in sealant and come back with air.

Keep a bottle for when you convert to tubeless.

There is little difference between tubular and tubeless sealants.

Therefore, tubular users can use the sealant they bought when they convert to tubeless-ready tires later on. Sealant costs about $3 to $6 per tire, so even if you have some left over, you can use it again.

Also, if you use different bikes, such as a tubular road bike for racing and a tubeless-ready gravel bike for cycling, using sealant for both bikes will make it easier to deal with a flat tire and reduce the amount of luggage you need.

Disadvantages of using sealants

It gets messy when you are not used to it.

This is not a problem when sealant is used by a pro store or by someone who is used to using sealant, but if you are not used to it, you may fail to put the sealant in properly and end up with the room covered in sealant. In particular, injecting sealant without properly venting the air can be catastrophic. However, this is not a problem if the manufacturer’s specified procedure is followed properly.

In the case of tubeless ready tires, if you get a flat tire on the road, you will have to repair it with a new tire and sealant, but you will certainly get dirty because you will be touching the old tire with sealant. You will need to be creative and include rubber gloves in your repair kit.

Weight increase.

Sealant will add about 30-60 ml per tire, so two tires will increase the weight by up to 100 g. It is only 100g, but it is a big number for those who focus on bike weight reduction on their road bikes.

Sealant cannot be diluted or used less because it must be filled into the tire/tube thoroughly or it will lose its effectiveness.

Need to be refilled regularly.

Sealants are not effective forever once injected. Depending on the manufacturer, sealants generally become volatile after six months to a year. Therefore, sealants need to be injected periodically.

Tubular tires can be driven without sealant, so this is not a major problem, but tubeless ready tires will lose air without sealant, so regular maintenance is essential.

This is a disadvantage that clinchers, which can be used for one or two years without a puncture, do not have.

How to choose sealant for road and MTB bikes

Choose a standard product from a standard manufacturer!

The best sealant for road bikes and MTBs is to use standard products from bicycle-specific manufacturers.

The following are some of the standard manufacturers of sealants.

  1. Muc-Off
  2. Panaracer
  3. Vittoria
  4. STANS
  6. Mavic
  7. IRC

It is difficult to say which sealant is better because of the compatibility of tires, tubes, punctures, etc. However, it is safer to use a standard manufacturer than a no-name manufacturer.

Some tires and wheels may be specified by the manufacturer

It is important to note that for tubeless lady tires and tubeless lady wheels, the wheel manufacturer may specify the tire and sealant to be used.

It does not mean that they cannot be used if they are not specified by the manufacturer, but the performance claimed by the manufacturer is measured by the manufacturer’s specification, so if you want to make the most of the performance, use the one specified by the manufacturer.

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