Mixing my time between gravel and CX, I have historically spent a lot of time on tubulars, and their open tubular equivalent with latex inner tubes, but bigger gravel tyres are best set up tubeless. This year I have put more effort into trying to make tubeless work for training and general riding.
Whether it is the wheels (LOWMASS of course) or the tyres, I’m beginning to think tubeless has turned a corner. In fact, I've had zero tubeless burping or air loss issues since moving across to tubeless for general riding and training.
I also made a change from Stans sealant to Effetto Mariposa, not because the Stans doesn’t work, but because the Caffélatex can also be used in tubs with latex inner tubes - handy to know, and it is cheaper too.
Pretty much every puncture has sealed besides a few sidewall cuts, which proved difficult to seal, and I have had to put a tube in to get home.
Looking at the various plugs available, I haven’t been taken by the idea of the metal point on some of them. I’m not sure that pointed metal studs on the inside of a low (er than MTB) volume tyre, with off-road tyre pressure is a good one.
All of the other options involve pushing some kind of pipe cleaner or sticky noodle into the hole with a pointy tool, again they feel like they're making the hole bigger, not ideal for a sidewall.
I found Effetto Mariposa Caffélatex ZOT! Nano when ordering sealant and figured it could be worth a try.
It is a small 10ml bottle of latex catalyst. The idea is to inject it into a puncture which will not seal and it makes the latex clot/cure in that area, forming a plug.
10mm holes are claimed to be sealable with it. Would ZOT help me get home without having to get an inner tube into a tight fitting tubeless tyre?
Since the ZOT arrived, I’ve been looking forward to trying it out, looking forward to the next puncture is an unusual thought!
A ride on the South Downs Way delivered, with a shallow 1cm slice on the sidewall, which had 2x 1mm holes. The sealant wasn’t sealing well, probably because of the flexing of the sidewall. So out came the ZOT.
First feedback is the included instructions are in the style of a - what to do in the event of a crash - airplane seat pocket card. It would have been good if it had mentioned (or if I had thought) to let all the air out of the tyre before injecting it into the hole. The tyre has quite a bit of air in after a couple of failed goes at getting it to seal, so the ZOT sprayed back out instantly...
With the tyre deflated, 2nd try and with a little ZOT injected into the cut, the sidewall cut sealed first time 🙂.
The repair got me through the ride and home, and has held pressure for a week after.
With the cut being shallow and only small holes, I’m planning on leaving it as it is, to see how long the fix holds for. Whether it is a long term or a just get you home fix remains to be seen - but so far so good.
I’ll update once I know more.
UPDATE - We've been properly impressed with ZOT, the fixes have remained permanent so far. So impressed that we have decided to offer it as a product in the Tubeless section of the site - take a look here.
Take a look at our other articles - https://gravelrider.co.uk/blogs/gravel-rider-ideas-reviews-and-advice