Vittoria has released a new tubeless sealant that claims to offer sealing for large holes and work on road and mountain bikes. During testing, it has proved very effective and has not dried out.
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The vast majority of tubeless sealants currently available have a solvent element, usually ammonia and a latex-based coagulant, to seal the hole. Still, for some, the use of a solvent can be a problem due to ammonia's hazardous and toxic nature, which can lead to tyre damage or affect and potentially affect tyre inserts that you may use.
The Vittoria Universal sealant is available in sizes from 80ml (£8.99), which is enough for a single mountain bike tyre, 150ml (£11.99), 250ml (£14.99), 500ml (£19.99) and 1l (£29.99). So it is very much a case of getting more for your money as the sizes increase.
Vittoria has named it Universal, designed for all bicycles, from mountain bikes to road tyres. There are no pressure limits given the recommended amount being 80ml per tyre for a mountain bike wheel or 40ml for a road tyre. These levels sit towards the bottom of the recommended amounts, especially for road tyres.
Testing Vittoria Universal sealant
I have had the sealant installed in various bikes for several months at the required amounts stated for mountain bikes and road. For the gravel bike, I placed 60ml in each tyre due to the larger volume. During the test period, I hadn't noticed a single puncture, which does not mean that no punctures have occurred. If they have, the sealant has worked.
I also used a wheel with an old mountain bike tyre pumped to 25psi and a tubeless road tyre to 75psi and purposefully punctured to test the sealant's claims. For the tyres tested, the wheel was placed in a stand and rotated to recreate a rolling wheel. I used a pin approximately 1mm in diameter to represent a thorn size for both tyres and punctured the tyre on the central tread and high on the sidewall. If the sealant successfully sealed the hole, I then used a 3mm wide non-circular nail in similar locations on the tyre.
Initially testing the mountain bike tyre, the small pinhole was instantly sealed on the main tread area and sidewall. Both of these sealed instantly with no noticeable loss of air or fluid. The stakes were then increased using a 3mm panel pin in similar locations. Both again were sealed very quickly with fluid visible on the hole but no significant loss of either air or the fluid.
Some sealants can often struggle on road tyres due to the lower air volume but higher pressures used. When testing the Vittoria sealant, the pressure was 75psi, which is a little above the normal pressure that I use on a road bike with tubeless tyres fitted. The 1mm pin again sealed instantly with only a tiny spot of fluid that could be noticed on the surface for both sidewall and the rolling surface, showing that pressure alone was an issue.
When puncturing the road tyre using the 3mm nail, the sealant still worked. There was some loss of fluid and air, but enough was retained in the tyre that continuing to ride would have been fine. The 3mm hole in the sidewall was the most problematic. Had this happened while riding, it might have needed a stop. While the sealant slowed down the air loss quickly, it did not completely stop until the tyre was rotated to ensure that it was rotated sealant was immediately above the hole created.
With a good level of success across all tests, I upped the challenge. I used a 6mm external bolt to test the claims Vittoria provided of being able to seal up to a 6mm hole. This puncture size would likely be very unfortunate and, in almost all cases in my riding experience, would have required a tube. For this puncture, the pressure was set at 25psi, and the screw was solely in the centre of the tread.
When the screw was removed, a large amount of sealant was released. To my surprise, with the wheel held in a way to allow the sealant to pool over the hole, it did seal and dry. The remaining air inside was 10psi, and when re-inflated to 25psi, the seal remained intact. The fact it sealed at all is impressive and more than I personally expected.
Value and verdict
While the performance of Vittoria Universal is good, the price is a little higher than the well known Stans No Tubes sealant at £4 for a small 60ml bottle rising to £26 for a 946ml bottle. Another popular option, Orange Seal, is available in 114ml for £7, 227ml for £13 and 455ml for £20, making it similar for the sizes available.
Even with the eco-credentials of not having ammonia or latex within the sealant, the performance of Vittoria Universal sealant has been very good, equaling claims and sealing all punctures tested over a range of tyre sizes and pressures. It is lasting well, not drying up quickly, and while it's not the cheapest, it is at least priced to a similar level as other sealants available, making it a great all-around option for all types of bikes.