I have long been a big proponent of tubeless road and CX set-ups. I like the ride and the lack of tubes which minimize pinch flats and decrease rotational weight. However, as I have said many times, including on last Tuesday’s A Ride, "tubeless is great until it isn’t.”
I have run tubeless for the last three road seasons or more and there has only been one time when I had to call for a ride because I could not get a tire to seal and re-inflate. Once I had to throw a tube in, and it was messy but not too bad.
The time I needed the ride was largely due to the tire being worn out, and it simply would not seal. I had the old Pacenti wheels, and I wasted all my CO2 because I just could not get the tire to seat on the rim with the tube I had, and I pinch flatted it. It was a nightmare, but since switching to the Bontrager Aeolus wheels, I have total confidence that this will likely never happen again.
Nowadays, I generally run a simple seat bag when I am out on my Aeolus wheels and tubeless Sector 28 tires which each hold about 2 oz of TruckerCo or Orange Seal sealant. I carry two CO2 cartridges, a single 80 mm 28-32 tube, a multi-tool, some spare valve stems, a spare charged battery for my eTap, two AAA batteries for the PowerTap P1s, and a Crank Brother’s Speedier lever. It sounds like a lot, but it is a tiny set up.
For a while, the only thing I feared was a large puncture that the tubeless sealant would not be able to clog up. Tubeless tires seal flats when the liquid latex inside the tires squirts through the holes caused by the nail, staple, metal, glass, or other debris that causes a puncture. The latex hardens and seals the hole up. But what happens when the hole is simply too large a gap for the latex to seal?
Some people add glitter to their sealant to give it a little more “body,” and they find that to be effective. I have never tried it, and instead have settled on carrying some plugs on the offhand chance that a nail punctures my tires and I get a catastrophic sized hole.
The Dynaplug Racer is a small kit that allegedly does this seal a big hole trick very well. Much like plugging a car tire, the Dynaplug system uses a small handle to insert a rubber “gummy worm” plug into the hole. The “worm” remains half in and half out of the puncture hole, and this along with the liquid latex seals most bigger holes that one will experience. Unlike many other tubeless kits, the method of insertion for the Dynaplug is a little different. With others, the handle is a prong-like metal end that grips the rubber strip and hopefully leaves it behind when pulled out. I found these “other” tubeless kits to be a letdown.
The Dynaplug approach uses a sort of metal bullet tip on the end that you use to push through the hole left by the puncture. The metal tip remains inside the tire with the rubber end protruding from the hole when the tool is pulled out. It’s an easier process, almost idiot proof. Knock on wood....
Dynaplug offers different models and refill kits. I chose the Racer because it is compact, comes in many colors, and it had the most usable sizes and tips for road and CX use. It has two ends, each which have a tip and rubber strip. This should be plenty for most rides, let alone most seasons! I have yet to use mine yet, but I have seen it used several times on video, and it is simple and effective. I even have space in my small seat bag to bring the extra tips and strips along. I bought the Racer kit in a bright anodized purple finish because this will make it harder to forget on the side of the road, and yes, it almost matches the Campus kit if you must know.
Next time I encounter a large nail or other puncture on the road, I will stop, access the damage, remove the nail, plug the hole with my thumb to stop air loss, and then grab the Dynaplug and insert the tip and rubber strip into the tire. When removed, the plug and sealant should do the trick, and I can add back some air or CO2 if needed. If it doesn’t seal, maybe I will have to stick a tube inside the tire. But I think this is going to be a great way to ensure that Uber gets no business from me and my bike this season. I give it a provisional 5/5 stars.