We recently introduced Végétalex, a quickly biodegradable, plant-based tyre sealant, containing finely ground olives stones as repairing ingredients. How does it compare with Caffélatex, our other sealant? Is one superior to the other, or are they simply targeted at different users? Let’s find out.
A little bit of history
Caffélatex has a strong palmarès of victories to demonstrate its performance, together with a solid and constantly growing base of happy users, worldwide. It was the first commercially available tyre sealant to use synthetic latex (instead of natural latex) and with a foaming behaviour, so that it tends to fill the complete tyre cavity if agitated, ensuring an higher puncture repairing efficiency. Thanks to its formula, Caffélatex allows to reduce the quantity of product needed for a proper protection against flats, making it the ideal choice for weight-conscious riders and racers.
Effetto Mariposa started working on a plant-based sealant more than two years ago. The result was Végétalex, a sealant that’s both good with nature and very effective against punctures.
Végétalex contains plant-based particles and fibers - finely ground olive stones and cellulose fibers - to deliver a tremendous puncture clogging effect. This mix, held together by xanthan gum (produced from simple sugars), fixes punctures ranging from small tyre porosities to bigger cuts (up to 5 mm) fast and in a permanent way.
Effetto Mariposa has been developing, fine tuning its own sealants and checking on competitors’ sealants for more than ten years.
In the end, the main parameters are just four:
- Puncture repairing speed
- Added weight per wheel
- Environmental friendliness
Other notable features of tyre sealants are the ability to clean the sealant from tyres and surfaces, and the compatibility with CO2 cartridges.
Let’s see how Caffélatex and Végétalex compare and if there’s a clear winner.
1. Puncture repairing speed
4,5/5 - Caffélatex relies mainly on the solidification of a liquid polymer to fix punctures. As it turns to foam inside tyres, it’s very evenly spread and it is right on the spot when a damage occurs. The constant fine tuning of Caffélatex formula - thanks to years of feedback of world-class racers - has made it a reference for fast, reliable flat protection.
4/5 - Végétalex uses a mix of natural fibers and particles, plus Xanthan gum, to repair flats. While its movements inside the tyre are not as fast as Caffélatex, Végétalex tends to create an even layer on the inner surface of the tyre: the moment air escapes from a puncture, the viscous layer of Végétalex is dragged inside the hole by the air flow, immediately starting to clog it.
Both sealants can be furtherly enhanced by adding Vitamina CL inside the tyre.
2. Added weight per wheel
5/5 - It’s very difficult to beat Caffélatex in terms of efficiency, as a small quantity of this sealant will protect a big surface.
4/5 - Végétalex has been finely tuned to obtain a high mobility, so that a small quantity goes a long way in terms of coverage of the inner surface of the tyre. Anyway, for Végétalex, we suggest using about 20% more than the quantities recommended by the iCaffelatex app for Caffélatex. As an example, for a 29x2.10 (54-622) tubeless-ready tyre iCaffelatex recommends a minimum of 70 ml (approx. 2 ½ oz.) of Caffélatex or 84 ml (approx. 3 oz.) of Végétalex.
3/5 - Being known for its light weight and race-ready formula, Caffélatex has been optimised more for high performance rather than extreme durability.
4,5/5 - Végétalex, as it doesn’t rely on the solidification of a liquid polymer to fix punctures, has a long ‘active’ lifespan inside tyres. Starting at 3 months in worst-case scenarios (very porous tyres in hot weather and small quantity of sealant), Végétalex will keep repairing punctures for more than 6 months inside most tyres. This makes it also suitable for inner-tube applications.
4. Environmental friendliness
2,5/5 – Caffélatex, based on synthetic latex, doesn’t contain ammonia (not even traces of it) or other aggressive chemicals, nor any toxic ingredient.
5/5 - Also Végétalex doesn’t contain ammonia or any aggressive or toxic chemicals. Further to that, Végétalex doesn’t contain macro or micro plastics, no rubber particles: all its ingredients are highly biodegradable. Végétalex doesn’t trigger allergic reactions in people who are allergic to products made with natural rubber latex. However, it may contain traces of nut.
Easy to clean and CO2 friendly?
Végétalex doesn’t contain pigments or quickly solidifying polymers so it is very easy to remove from surfaces. Even when dry, Végétalex can be cleaned with soapy water and a brush. This is unfortunately not the case with Caffélatex and other latex-based sealants, requiring specific cleaning products (like our Caffélatex Remover).
Végétalex isn’t damaged by the use of CO2 cartridges: even if frozen, it will revert to its original functioning as soon as the temperature increases. Caffélatex will instead be damaged by the use of CO2 cartridges, unless the valve is at 12 o clock and the sealant has had time to flow away from it.
Vitamina-CL and Végétalex
Vitamina CL is a sealant additive that increases the repairing ability of Caffélatex. It will also function with Végétalex although – as it’s made of polymers – it defeats the purpose of a plant-based, plastic-free sealant.
Caffélatex ZOT! Nano and Végétalex
Caffélatex ZOT! Nano catalyst is specifically formulated to function with Caffélatex and it won’t work with Végétalex. An equivalent product within Effetto Mariposa range is Tappabuco tyre plug tool, perfect to fix bigger damages both with Caffélatex and Végétalex.
Shaking and other good-to-know tips
It’s important to shake Végétalex bottle well before injecting the sealant into tyres, to make sure fibers and particles are evenly spread.
Caffélatex, on the other hand, should not be shaken, to avoid having it turn into foam and becoming very difficult to measure. Simply turning Caffélatex bottle upside down a couple of times will provide all the mixing it will ever need.
If extra protection is needed - for example taking a multiple days ride on rocky, thorny terrain – we suggest adding 30 ml of product to the recommended quantity.
Both Caffélatex and Végétalex are Made in Italy