When it comes to setting up your tires as tubeless, running a good tire sealant is key to making sure you’re not constantly pumping tires back up or stuck trail side with a flat. Stan’s Tire Sealant has been our go-to since we made the switch, but after talking to a rather charismatic fellow at the Orange Seal booth (at Sea Otter) last year, I left with a sample of their tubeless sealant ready to give it a shot. In fact, he was so pumped on his product (what can I say, he was a good salesman) I purchased an additional bottle of sealant to take home with me. It’s been over a season of riding with Orange Seal, and other than a massive sidewall gash that destroyed a new tire, (and obviously didn’t seal) I’ve been flat free.
Back when I was running tubes, I always had to run Slime or some type of sealant, otherwise I’d inevitably be stuck with a slow leak due to thorns. I used to constantly inspect my tires after every ride as well. For me, the best part about running a tubeless setup — other than the big drop in rotating weight, increased performance and that other best part, no more pinch flats — is that thorns are a complete non-issue.
Although getting tubeless set up on a bike can be a massive pain in the ass at times, once you’re up and running they’re relatively trouble free. Sealant is the magic that makes tubeless work. Without sealant, your tubeless tire is much like an extremely porous balloon that loses all its air overnight. With sealant, your tires simply need to be topped off at the start of every ride, which you should be doing anyway, especially if you’re an aggressive rider.
At this point I’m clearly a tubeless fan. The big question though has been, “How does Orange Seal compare to Stan’s?”
To find out, I started by installing a set of new WTB TCS tubeless tires and used Stan’s in one tire, and Orange Seal in the other.
Unfortunately, I’m the worst sealant reviewer ever, because I can’t find my notes on which brand I put into which tire. However, other than the incident in the first week where I tore a big chunk out of my rear tire, (which was replaced with a new tire) I found myself without issues on either.
This was a great problem to have, but it didn’t help me determine which sealant performed better. However, the previous season I had gone three three tubeless ready tires due to punctures that didn’t seal using Stan’s.
I found myself wondering how different things would have gone had I been running Orange Seal.
Tire sealant test #1: both tires held air= a tie for both sealants.
Again, I installed and sealed one tire with Stan’s, and the other with Orange Seal. As with my first test, I never experienced issues with leaks with either, and any small punctures were taken care of by the sealants.
In May I did a fast run down Missing Links in Ashland, Oregon with my brother where we attacked a rock garden pretty hard. He pinch flatted his tube, and I made it through cleanly— or so I thought. I found my rear tire lost 10+ psi over night, which was out of the norm for my setup. Turns out I also banged the rocks pretty hard, adding some good sized dings to my rear rim. A bit of a bummer, but no biggie. I continued to top off my tires as usual before each ride to my usual pressures and when I got home I added more sealant which stopped the air loss.
Tire sealant test #2: both tires held air. Yay, no headaches. Tire sealant is good.
Last week I did a change up in my tire setup and changed to the 2.4 Maxxis Ardent in the front, keeping the High Roller in the rear. Inspection of the inside of the tire casings shows two very different types of residue from the sealants. Stan’s left a big mess of dried up latex with the famous latex boogers. Orange Seal did not.
Clearly I’m having good luck with tire sealants and tires this year, part of which I’m attributing to the fact I’m running heavier tires than before. The Bronson, with 6″ of front and rear travel calls for some real meats, otherwise I’m sure I would have experienced a lot more issues with leaks and damage to tires. Good for me, bad for determining which sealant plugs leaks the fastest.
I’m finding both sealants to work very well for me, and would recommend them both, as they’re both good products and do what they promise to do. Our conditions here aren’t very extreme in either direction, so based on pricing, Stan’s is the most economical choice as it’s only a few bucks more for a quart. According to Orange Seal their product weighs in a bit less, so for the extra cost you lose a bit of rotating weight. Other riders I’ve talked to consider to be much better at sealing punctures. I’m planning to keep bottles of both in stock in the Bermstyle kitchen bike shop. Based on past experiences, I have more confidence in the Orange Seal, and not having nasty residue is worth the extra cost to me.
Orange Seal Tire Sealant runs $12.99 for an 8oz bottle.
Tire Sealant Test #3 (July 2014 start)
Starting fresh one more time, I’m setting up two sets of wheels. On my 26″ Santa Cruz TRc I’m running Stan’s to seal two tires: a Hans Damf in the front and a WTB Moto 2.4″ in the rear on Charger Pro Wheels.
On my new Santa Cruz Nomad I’m running 650b Charger Pro Wheels as well, with Orange Seal in both the front and rear. Let the best sealant win!