WTB Sealant: Getting Rolling – by Guitar Ted
When it comes to tubeless tire setups for bicycling, there is no reason not to go with a system these days. The choices are excellent and reliable. WTB has had one of the better systems in existence for some time now, but they lacked one thing – Their own sealant.
Sealant is a lot like tires are when it comes to opinions. What is legend and what is fact gets lost in the passionate takes some folks have concerning which one is ‘best‘. So, as far as this opening introduction goes for this new sealant from WTB, many of you may, no doubt, dismiss it out of hand because of your choices. That’s fine. This review is not being done to evangelize anyone. But those who have a more open mind to new ideas should read on. This sealant is a bit different than what has come before in the category.
WTB spent the past two years developing this formula for their sealant. The design goal was to have a product which worked to not only seal a 6mm (1/4″) hole in a tire, but to keep the tire sealed afterward. A tall order for sure. They claim to have achieved this with a formula which has encapsulated fibers and crystalline particles. Not only that, but WTB designed this sealant to work in a bit different way which gives certain advantages to the rider which other sealants struggle to do.
What It Is: WTB’s TCS Tubeless Tire Sealant is formulated with an ammonia-free carrier which features a tackifying process instead of an evaporative process which many other products rely upon to seal punctures. WTB claims this allows the TCS Sealant to close a puncture in difficult situations, for example, as in wet weather, or wet combined with cooler temperatures.
Speaking of temperatures, WTB claims the TCS Sealant is compatible with temperatures down to 15°F (-9.4°C) WTB wanted to maximize sealing capabilities over extending the operating temperature range of their sealant downward. WTB claims that other sealants with cooler temperature ratings do that by adding anti-freeze which WTB claims inhibits the sort of sealing properties they were seeking for the TCS Sealant. WTB also states that by not using anti-freeze they were able to increase the amount of synthetic latex that they are using. This synthetic latex was chosen so as to reduce the allergic reactions some folks have to natural latex.
WTB TCS Sealant is available in 4oz, 8oz, 16oz, and 32oz sizes to cover on the bike needs, single set-up needs, and to supply any work bench with all the TCS Sealant you could need. TCS Sealant is currently available in Europe and should be available in North America soon, with WTB stating a “late Fall” time period for availability.
First Impressions: We received the TCS Sealant in the 16oz and 8oz sizes for testing. I chose to set up a couple sets of tires using the 16oz bottle. One wheel set was set up using standard WTB Resolute tires in the 700 X 42mm size while the other wheel set has the new American Classic 700 X 50mm (really 700 X 46’s) on them. (See our American Classic tire intro here)
This sealant is very viscous. Much like Stan’s, or the new Finish Line sealant, which we are also testing. It is nice that WTB has a recommended usage amount right on the packaging along with a demarcated gauge for determining how much you have removed from the bottle. This is a great help in case you don’t have access to actual measuring cups, spoons, or an injector. I used 4oz per tire according to the recommendation.
I noted that when a couple of the tires snapped up into place on the rims, a small amount of the TCS product was ejected outside of the tire. This is not entirely unusual, but the reason I bring this up was an observation I made concerning the sealant splashed up on the sidewalls of the tire. The stuff was dried up, which is unusual. It had a gritty feel to it between my fingers, which I assume is the crystalline particles WTB says is in this formula. Hmm…. If this sealant dries this well, maybe there is something to these claims then.
After the sealant was injected into the tires, I found that the Resolute tires seemed to stay inflated very well. The American Classic tires seem to be holding air as well, but since I have no other experiences to draw from with these new tires, I am only going by what I have observed with the Resolutes. Generally speaking, the original Resolute wasn’t a superior tire when it came to air retention. it is good, just not outstanding. But the performance in that way has seemed to rise to another level with the TCS sealant in there. I’ll monitor this as time goes on with this test.
Now the riding will occur. Of course, if I manage to cut or puncture a tire, that will be a fantastic occurrence for this review, although I hope it doesn’t happen! I will also be running this sealant for a three month time period to determine how this product holds up over time. Stay tuned…..
To learn more about this and other WTB products see their website here: https://www.wtb.com
NOTE: WTB sent over this product in the review for no charge to Riding Gravel for testing and review. We are not being paid, nor bribed, for this review and we will always strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.