Flats-I tried something different today...for me.

Harvey Miller

On Karen's Breezy Park ride to Caumsett today, within minutes of starting, the rider adjacent to me shouted that smoke was coming from my bicycle. Looking down I saw tiny white dots on my black chain stay, proof that Stan's sealant was doing its job on my rear tubeless tire, appearing as smoke rushing out from its mysterious origin until sealed. Calling out "mechanical (!)", I stopped to squeeze the tire. I lost some but it was rideable, probably having about 45 lbs. of pressure in my rear 38x700c Pathfinder. On tires like that you can get away with 45 lbs. Anyway, the leak stopped. 

This was the second time in two weeks that this happened to me and, unless the valve was not sealing properly (my theory), I had to have had a puncture. When I got home and examined the tire closely I realized that I'll never be able to brag how puncture proof the Pathfinders are. It wasn't the valve. After pumping the pressure to 70 lbs. the foreboding hiss of air was easily heard. Apparently Stan's Sealant works well but when the tire pressure is high enough and the puncture is big enough, not so well.

I was prepared to take the tire off, clean the resulting sealant mess, and place a large tire patch over the pinpoint hole on the inside but, instead, I tried something else, something that I had been riding with in my tool bag for the last 7,700 miles and never used. It's called Stan's NoTube Dart Tool, one of, now, several methods used to easily patch leaks in tubeless bicycle tires but the one that's the most sophisticated. I also carry the DynaPlug as a backup, a great second choice.

The way the Dart Tool works is this: find the leak, push the tool into the hole, remove the Dart while allowing the small, black leaflike material to plug the leak while sticking out of the tire. Unlike the old method of using "bacon strips", you don't have to cut off the part that sticks out as the Stan's "leaf" wears away without any bumpy road feel to it. But the best part is that the part that remains inside chemically combines with the sealant to form what is, in effect, new, reinforced tire material. It becomes the tire, with no chance of a leak due to high pressure. So, even high pressure road tubeless tires can use it. 

I did it and time will tell if everything I've read about the glory of the Dart is true. But, it was easy, fast, clean and, if it works as well as the reviews say it will, fantastic. The hardest part was finding the leak. Using a pin helped me confirm the exact position but I've since discovered an item sold by DynaPlug that stays in the hole temporarily to prevent further air leakage while pin-pointing the leak so to apply the Dart (it's called the Air Stopper from Dynaplug, found at:http://www.dynaplug.com/airstopper.html ) so I'll have to add that to the retinue of small items to carry that few ever think of carrying. 

For a link to it go to:

How it's used:


One place it's sold:


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