With road tubeless becoming more popular I've been taking a new interest in the wheels and accessories. One of the biggest hassles of running a TLR (Tubeless Ready) wheel and tire is the requirement to add liquid sealant. In cars and motorcycles we don't do this , so why in bikes? Because to make the tire truly tubeless, the inner casing must be sealed against airloss. And this means a thicker and in many cases, stiffer rubber coating. Manufacturers are improving the technology - but still we generally need to add some kind of liquid sealant to prevent excessive air loss. And the other issue is that many rims have spoke hole 'windows' - so you need to tape up the rim bed to keep air from escaping there. And the sealant serves to fill in the micro-gaps and voids in the tape as well.
I have a Velocity Aileron test wheel I made for our Vasara all-road bikes. This is a great example of TLR rim and perfect use case as I ride the bike literally on 'all roads' ranging from normal pavement to scattered rocks, grass, gravel and anything in between.
I have been using a Panaracer GravelKing SK - mounted with Effetto Tubeless Tape (PUV strip) and Cafe Latex (Effetto) Sealant. This is considered one of the highest quality combos for TLR.
In many km of testing I found that the PU tubeless strip really didn't do it's job. It shifts in the rim, burps and sealant tends to accumulate under the tape making it less effective. It's a great idea, but I've grown tired of re-inflating my wheels every 10km.
The Cafe Latex sealant has always been a favorite. Mainly as it foams when you ride. This helps to distribute the sealant more evenly and reduces out of balance conditions while keeping all the nooks and crannies just a bit better sealed. No complaints here.
For my new test - I'm swinging the pendulum to the ghetto side. I prefer to Jam Econo (@Mike Watt) and use commonly available items wherever possible. Functionality over brand. So here's what we're doing:
1) Use gaffer/packing tape instead of the high cost Effetto PU strip. Done. I bought a roll of reinforced packing tape at the local 100yen store for, well, 100yen.
2) Mix my own sealant. This is easy. It's just a few ingredients and you can buy at almost any hobby shop and automotive supply. I'm using a mix of latex, water, anti-freeze, window cleaner, Mr. Bubble and Nail glitter. All this together mixed a really pretty blue tire slime.
You can see the opalescent effect of the nail glitter in this picture.
Next we prep the wheel and tire. Basically clean it really well, then tape up the rim.
Finally , mount the tire , swirl around a bit , then inflate. I generally inflate the tire horizontally. This seems to seal faster as the sealant will collect more readily around the bead.
I easily inflated the tire to 80psi and will check it tomorrow morning to see how much bleed off I get. Then I'll set my riding pressure around 60psi and report after a few runs on the Potato Patch.
The sealant mix I made is really slimey. I think adding the Mr. Bubble and nail powder really added to the tenacity of this mixture. I may have added too much Mr. Bubble. But, I'll find out soon enough!
The whole project cost less than $10! Compared to over $75 If I had used the Effetto TLR kit and Cafe Latex sealant.