I have been using Caffelatex sealant in my 29er tubeless mountain bike tires for almost a year now, but had not experienced any situations where the sealant came into play until last weekend at the Austin Rattler 100.
After the race was long over and I was cleaning up my bike the next day, I started picking at a spot on my front tire that looked like it was mud stuck to the tire. I realized that it was actually dried latex when I peeled some off with my fingernail and saw a little bit of bubbling as it resealed. That means that the product was a complete success, because it sealed so well and so quickly that I didn’t even hear the air come out or see any latex squirting through.
The reason I began using Caffelatex to begin with was when I bought a new set of wheels and was over at a friend’s house who was helping me set them up. I didn’t have any Stan’s sealant with me, and he only used Caffelatex. He told me that Caffelatex had no ammonia in it, and the ammonia in other sealants can actually eat away at the metal on some wheels that it reacts poorly with. I wasn’t sure if this was bullshit or a real thing, but since I had brand new wheels and that’s what he had at his house, I decided to try it and have been very happy with it. And indeed, on the bottle itself, they advertise the “no ammonia” aspect of the sealant.
One thing you’ll notice about Caffelatex is that it seems a lot thinner than Stan’s when you pour it. That would make you think that it would work poorly as a sealant in comparison, but the reason for the thinner liquid is that Caffelatex is designed to foam up inside the tire when you are riding. This foaming action will allow the sealant to seal sidewall cuts better and faster than sealants that don’t foam up. I haven’t had a cut sidewall yet, so I can’t verify if this actually works as well as they claim it should.
One thing about sealant is that it will eventually dry up and evaporate inside your tire, leaving you with a thin layer of latex looking stuff on the inside of the tire, but no liquid rolling around in there. How long before the liquid dries up and evaporates depends upon where you store your bike (someplace hot and dry?), the humidity where you live, how much you ride and other factors.
I went seven months between checking my sealant — from just before the Leadville 100 last year until March or so of this year. My tires were still holding air just fine, but they were completely dry in there when I popped them open and looked inside. So I added the recommended amount for 29er tires and easily got them back on and sealed up with a low end compressor that I have around the house.
There’s a special ingredient that I read about that I add to my sealant. It’s plain old glitter, like you buy at a hobby shop. I put about a teaspoon’s worth of glitter inside the tire when I add sealant. The reason for this is that I read that the little pieces of glitter will clog up the hole faster and more effectively than just plain sealant by itself. My tire did indeed seal up so quickly that I didn’t even know that it had worked, but I have no idea if the glitter actually helped or not. I figure it didn’t hurt, so I will probably continue adding glitter to my mountain bike and cyclocross tubeless tires.
I am happy with Caffelatex, and will continue using it as my tire sealant on all of my tubeless tires and wheels.
Do you have an opinion or question about Caffelatex? Leave a comment!