Caffélatex and Végétalex work perfectly with tubulars. Here is a detailed evaluation of the different aspects and options.
Why Caffélatex and Végétalex, rather than other sealants?
Both Végétalex and Caffélatex have some important features which make them a good choice as puncture preventative inside tubulars:
non-corrosive: the complete absence of ammonia or any other aggressive chemical make Caffélatex and Végétalex perfect even for very sensitive latex inner-tubes (quite common inside professional tubulars). No problem with tubulars with butyl tubes or tubeless-tubulars constructions (like Tufo);
long life span: since tubulars have very little porosity compared to a tubeless tyre, Caffélatex life span (as a liquid) can reach one year. CAUTION when using CO2 cartridges, though (see here). Végétalex has an even longer lifespan, easily exceeding one year. They can both be topped up in case of need, to restore protection;
- low weight: refer to iCaffélaex app or to this page to see the quantity we recommend for your tubular size. Caffélatex is the winner here, as you’ll need less per wheel (than Végétalex) to ensure proper protection.
Tubulars and sealants: potential issues
Some issues related to tubulars should be kept into consideration:
valve clogging: in case of tubulars, the cleaning of the valve can be more problematic compared to a tubeless one. As for using valve extensions, please read more here;
sealant solidification: even if Caffélatex life span in tubulars is extended, it may be necessary to restore the level of the sealant before the tread is completely worn out. Unlike tubeless, where residues of dry sealant can be removed from tyre, this is not possible with tubulars. When Caffélatex dries up, you can add some fresh Caffélatex to restore effective puncture protection. There are no contraindications in adding fresh Caffélatex, since there are no negative interactions between dried-up Caffélatex (or partially solidified) and the fresh liquid. Végétalex will last much longer than Caffélatex, in similar conditions;
- wheel storage: when not used, it’s important to hang the wheels, so that the deflated tubular is not compressed on the floor. This arrangement will avoid annoying gluing of the inner tube (it is a good practice even in the absence of sealant). It’s better to keep the valve in a position between 3 and 9 o’clock, to avoid stagnant sealant at the valve base.
The advantage of having a preventative sealant is the continuous protection against small punctures, which are often repaired without even realizing it…while for larger punctures a small loss of pressure may happen, but without having to stop, saving precious time during a race.
Tyre sealants or inflate and repair canisters: which is the best choice for tubulars?
This is almost a philosophical choice.
The tyre sealant meant as puncture preventive is ideal in case of:
- frequent use of the tubular (due to the fact that realistically the tread will wear out before having to restore the sealant);
- for cyclocross (where punctures are more likely).
In case of road wheels used only “on great occasions”, we tend not to insert a sealant as preventive but rather take with us an Espresso cartridge: no need to worry about valve clogging or dried-up sealant while still carrying a valuable solution to repair and inflate if needed.
Caffélatex ZOT! Nano sealant catalyst functions with either Caffélatex or Espresso, as further puncture repair help (caution: it won’t work with Végétalex).
An alternative to Caffélatex ZOT! Nano, Tappabuco tyre plug tool will work with any sealant and is especially effective for tubeless-tubular tyres, whose construction doesn’t include a separate inner tube (the tubular casing is airtight).
How to check the condition of the sealant inside a tubular
Here’s a quick way to check whether there is still liquid Caffélatex or Végétalex inside a tubular.
- Deflate the tubular completely;
- close the valve;
- let the tubular sit for some minutes with valve in the lowest position (6 o’clock);
- without moving the tubular, open the valve and gently squeeze the tubular below the valve.
If some sealant comes out of the valve or if you can feel the liquid while squeezing the tubular, then the puncture prevention is still active. Be sure to clean the valve after this operation, by inflating the tubular or removing the valve mechanism and cleaning it with a cloth.
Recommended quantity of Caffélatex or Végétalex for your tubulars:
You can find all the relevant information here.