Testing Peaty's tubeless system!
Words and photos: Mike Blewitt
Steve Peat has been a big name in mountain biking since I was in high school, and that's a long time ago. While Peat might not be racing the Downhill World Cup, he still has a big impact in mountain biking. With 17 World Cup wins to his name and a career length that eclipsed so many other riders, Steve Peat has lots of connections in the bike industry, and a lot of experience about what works and what doesn't. And all that has rolled into his product range.
In their marketing, Peaty's state that they want to be eco friendly while helping athletes reach the top of a podium. And at the same time, they want their products to be user-friendly with less time involved in setup and maintenance, so you can ride more. This sounds like a really diverse mission statement, but after reading up a little it's easy to see why these aren't just bold claims.
The Peaty's sealant is a synthetic rubber, which avoids the need for planting rubber trees (which require land clearing). And while the sealant uses glitter to help plug holes, it is biodegradeable. The pouches use recyclable meterial, but the idea is to refill the 120mL trail pouch. It's a good size to carry as a spare in a pack, and you can refill them from a 1L container. With large shop tubs available a bike shop can then refill your 1L container. This takes wide scale investment in the brand but if it catches on, it works. And this is something it would be great to see other brands offer - having refillable containers from a huge container at your local store. It would be cheaper, and create less waste.
Their packaging is also recyclable cardboard, and the valves are made from 7075 aluminium and backed with a lifetime guarantee, thanks to being made by Chris King. There are other items in the range, but right now this is a review of the tubeless products. And the question is, do they work well?
In the workshop with Peaty's
Rim tape can make or break a tubeless system. If it lifts too easily or isn't pliable enough to stretch on for a good fit, you end up with a weak point in a tubeless system. The Peaty's Rim Job tape is on a plastic roll that is large enough to hold firmly when you fit the tape. Good tension and a tiny bit of stretch in the tape makes for a precise fit, and the roll size really helps (the plastic core can be recycled). The adhesive is strong, and thanks to the clear finish you can still read a rim serial number. This is useful for a bad day if you damage a rim and need to report a serial number. It was easy to get this tape to fit snugly the first go, without the tape lifting part way round, or shifting to the side.
The valves are long, and have a removable core for maintenance and filling. The rubber head also sits cleaning into a valve hole and is the 'universal' tapered round shape to fit just about any rim.
I inflated some test wheels dry, before adding the sealant in the next day. The tape and valve had made an airtight seal with the Maxxis EXO+ tyres used for testing.
On the trail
So how do you judge a tubeless system? For me it's about being easy to setup and remaining airtight without sealant, if your tyres support that. In this instance, Peaty's passed with flying colours. But what about the sealant? It has a slightly sloppy consistency compared to others, but being a tiny bit thicker should allow a sealant to seal a bigger hole. And Peaty's claim it can seal a 6mm hole.
The fact is, that through the entire test period I never stopped for a flat. So, had I tested the sealant? I knew Ryan Walsch had used the Peaty's sealant extensively so I gave him a call. Ryan reckoned the sealant did a great job sealing up, but given it wasn't using a natural rubber it did make a bit of a mess. He told me of a crash when he broke a rim that left sealant everywhere, including in his hair, where the clean up of his bike was delayed after having some injuries checked out properly. The sealant had set like plastic on parts of his bike, almost needing the edge of a blade to lift them off. Most latex based sealants do the same but the remnants are easy to peel off.
I went back to the test rig and looked closely at the back of the seat tube and inside of the stays. Sure enough, there were lots of little flecks of dried Peaty's sealant. With some perseverance I could get them off, but the fact was they had repaired the puncture without me noticing. And if you're familiar with the spray of sealant to your face, or the back of your leg, with a more watery sealant you'll know that this is a nice surprise. Clearly the sealant had worked on some small holes I didn't even know about.
So, is Peaty's tubeless range reliable? Yes, certainly. I really found the tape to be some of the best I have used, and coming in 21m, 25mm, 30mm and 35mm just about everyone should find some to fit. The valves are very well made (and come in colours!) and with a few spare valve cores on hand, they should go the distance. And the sealant? Well it works, and works really well. But it would be upto you as to whether the harder clean up is worthwhile.
And what about the eco-credentials? Much of this is not just up to you, but your local bike shop and of course the Australian importers. Will you get sealant pouches refilled, and will your shop offer that as a service? Can the importer incentivise stores to stock the 25L sealant containers so they can refill bottles and pouches for customers? And will you recycle the recyclable packaging? Peaty's have done the work developing the products and using processes and materials with a nod towards sustainability. But it's up to anyone who purchases the products to make that final step.
RRP: Valves $54.95 | Tape $34.95 | Sealant $24.95 for 120mL pouch
- Excellent tubeless tape
- Valves to last a lifetime
- Great puncture sealing
- Eco credentials
- Valves are pricey
- Sealant sets HARD