Hutchinson Protect'Air Max is a latex-based tyre sealant that is designed for all types of bikes, including gravel and mountain bikes. Unlike some of the other options in the best tubeless sealant segment, the claims are more modest and this was seen in the tests, with limited success.
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Hutchinson Protect'Air Max Sealant – Technical details
Opening the bottle there is no doubt that Protect'Air Max is a latex-based sealant, with a distinct smell. Hutchinson gives very little information on the solution, other than it can be used for both road or off-road bikes, with claims of sealing a puncture up to 3mm. It is available in 120ml and 1000ml bottles, as well as workshop-sized five-litre containers.
The recommended amount to use is less than most other sealants used, and there was only 50ml put into the 650x47mm tyre used for the puncture tests.
Hutchinson Protect'Air Max Sealant - Performance
To test sealant performance, we created a standardised puncture test to assess each contender. The same exact tyre on the same rim for each sealant. The tyre used was a Halo GXC, measuring 47mm. Tyre sealant was added in the amount suggested by the manufacturer, and the tyre was inflated to 40psi. This pressure was chosen to give a realistic tyre pressure for all areas of off-road riding. A digital tyre pressure gauge was used to ensure that the pressure was identical on each test. After that, the tyre was rotated sufficiently to ensure that it was distributed evenly throughout the tyre. The tyres were all punctured by driving a 3mm nail through the carcass. The wheel was rotated to assess if the sealant had successfully sealed the hole. If the sealant worked, the test was repeated using a 5mm diameter nail, and if successful on the larger hole the remaining air pressure was measured with a digital pressure gauge and the result was recorded.
The sealant didn’t give the best performance compared to other sealants we have tested, with significant spray released with the 3 mm-sized hole but it did seal eventually. On the larger 5mm puncture, it failed to seal. With the wheel stationary and the fluid allowed to pool the air did initially stop, but as soon as the tyre was rotated again the seal was broken and more air was released.
The sealant has performed slightly better at higher pressures, especially with smaller punctures, where it was successful at 80psi.
Its lifespan underperforms against some other sealants, and I found that it was sticking to the inside walls, with noticeably less sealant pooled within four weeks. If left for over a week you could also see the dried edge of where it had pooled while not being moved.
Hutchinson Protect'Air Max Sealant – Verdict
At £25 for a 1-litre bottle, it may look expensive compared to others available in a 500ml size. The price is the same as the larger 32oz (946ml) bottle of WTB sealant, and £10 less than the Vittoria Universal Sealant – although it can’t match either for performance.
The overall Hutchinson Protect'Air Max Sealant delivers reasonable performance on smaller punctures, although on the larger puncture test it failed. It does perform well at slightly higher pressures, so if you are after one sealant for use on a road bike as well as gravel or MTB, it may be worth considering.