What are Tubeless Tyres?
Tubeless Tyres have been massively growing in popularity in recent years - these tyre setups are used by road cyclists, mountain bikers and gravel bikers - and it’s no surprise. Tubeless tyres self seal punctures on the move, using a sealant inside the tyre which turns into a solid and plugs a gap, when it comes into contact with air through a hole in the tyre.
Tubeless Tyre Sealant Explained
Most tyre sealant is latex based - this sealant then dries up inside the tyre when it’s exposed to air. Different tyre sealant brands use different formulas in order to provide optimal results - and there are two types of sealant - regular tyre sealant as well as race sealant, which plugs gaps and punctures in tyres quicker.
How much Sealant to use
When using tyre sealant, it’s always better to use too much VS too little. There is no such thing as too much tyre sealant, whereas using too little will likely lead to ineffective sealant and a puncture whilst out riding. Be generous with what you use, and expect to use between four and five ounces for a MTB tyre or a gravel bike tyre. For tyres with sealant in, it’s well worth topping up the tyre regularly - as especially when filling a tyre for the first time, a new tyre can absorb and use a lot of sealant once it’s settled.
How to add Bike Tyre Sealant
By far the best way to add tyre sealant into a bike tyre is through the valve. A couple of bits of equipment are needed to add the sealant, including a valve core remover as well as a sealant injector/applicator. If this sounds like too much hard work, you can simply separate the tyre from the rim and pour into the tyre. Once the sealant is in the tyre, inflate to the usual tyre pressure and be careful not to overinflate.
Tyre Sealant Not Worked
If you are out riding and experience a puncture which the sealant has not effectively plugged, you need to use a tubeless tyre plug to fill the puncture in. These plugs should be inserted directly into the puncture in the tyre and will react with the sealant inside the tyre and plug the hole. Alternatively, if you experience a gash in the tyre - and have room for a spare inner tube - you can install an inner tube to get you home. A common cause of tubeless tyre punctures that do not seal, is too much tyre pressure - so make sure your tyres are not overinflated and enjoy the comfort and extra traction that tubeless tyres allow.
Topping up Tyre Sealant
Even without punctures on the tyre, bike tyres are thin and sealant can evaporate and escape the tyre - making the sealant dry out. Top up your sealant every 8-12 weeks to keep it effective. Once every year, it’s a good idea to completely replace the tyre sealant.