Wednesday, May 31, 2023

WTB Sealant Update

About a year and a half ago now I received WTB sealant to review for Riding Gravel. (Standard Disclaimer) As with most sealants, it initially worked quite well and I liked its life span in my tires. WTB also has seen fit to supply me with their sealant back then, enough so that I still have plenty of it around. 

So, it has found its way into every tubeless tire I have around here by this point. Now, typically we don't see a lot of issues with sidewall cuts, big punctures, or the like, especially with gravel riding. But I've had valve failures, punctures from glass that would not seal up, and sealant that dried up quickly and gave me issues. (Looking at the color "orange" here.) 

So, the other day when I was in my shop I discovered something that is highly unusual and impressive. I was looking for something entirely unrelated to tires and wheels down there when an odd looking feature jumped out at me and caused me to pause my search for the other thing. It was a wet spot on an otherwise dry, dusty tire sidewall. 

This was on the 700c X 45mm Pirelli Cinturato M tire I just reviewed recently. My first inclination was to think that the sealant had started to weep through the sidewall, but in one spot? No.... Then I saw spattered bits of sealant on the carbon rim. Could it be that I punctured?

That wet spot sure was unusual.

Upon closer inspection I saw that the tire sidewall had been cut and that the sealant was actually coagulated outside of the tire casing. It must have sealed up almost instantaneously, because there wasn't much residue on the tire and rim. Then I recalled a moment during the last ride on this bike where I was kicked sideways a bit off a rock, or was it something else sharper than that? 

I am guessing that is when the puncture/cut occurred. So, this is really impressive to me. A sidewall cut is not easily sealed as that is the part of the tire that flexes on every rotation the most. That makes sealant "plugs" want to blow out, but this WTB sealant not only sealed up quickly, but stayed that way for the duration of my ride with no indication that anything had happened while I was riding. 

A close-up of the damage and the sealant poking out there.

Well, I suppose I should take the tire off and boot it from the inside with a patch and then I probably could continue to use this tire, but that puts the wheel set out of commission until I do that, and this was the bike I was going to take to Emporia. 

Hey! It isn't as if I don't have other choices and wheel sets! So, no worries. I found a way around this. But yeah...I am impressed. Now there are a couple of things I don't like about this sealant and chief of those is that it is darn near impossible to keep a smaller syringe clear when setting up a tire with this sealant or when recovering sealant after dismounting a tire. And this sealant needs to be thoroughly shaken before use because if you don't those additional particles settle to the bottom of the container and are a real tough deal to get mixed into the sealant when that happens. It also isn't recommended for really cold usage so fat bikes and Winter commuting may not work with this stuff.

But yeah, this has been an enlightening experience, and it gives me a reason to recommend this sealant if you are searching for a new sealant product.

1 comment:

NY Roll said...

Yup, WTB is quickly becoming my favorite sealant. Again, they chose being able to seal tire quicker over lower temperature riding. So that forces me to put their sealant in bikes I wont ride in winter. It is the classic battle of trade offs, but for my gravel and mtn bikes I fully endorse this sealant. (My endorsement is about as good as a hug from a weird Aunt)