Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
Winter’s on the way here in the USA and I only recently learned that the tubeless tire sealant company Orange Seal makes a product specifically designed for frigid temperatures, their Subzero Sealant. I thought I’d tell you a little more about it and share how well Orange Seal products have worked for me as a pro mechanic and rider.
Subzero comes in 8 and 16 ounce bottles for $17.04 and $24.19 respectively [editor’s note: those aren’t typos, they’re the actual prices listed on their site]. Subzero is designed to continue sealing punctures of up to ⅛” and slices of up to ¼” for from 60 to 180 days (Subzero is Orange Seal’s longest lasting sealant).
The 8 ounce bottle of Subzero is shown in the photo next to a 16 ounce Endurance Sealant and 24 ounce Regular Sealant. In the chart you can see how the products compare. The Subzero works down to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-28.89 C). From 1 to 4 ounces is recommended for the different size tires. Sealant is mostly used in tubeless tires. Most won’t seal without sealant.
But, sealant can be used in tubes and tubular tires too (also known as “sew-up” tires). With tubeless tires you can pour the sealant into the tire as you’re installing the tire. If the tire is already installed on the rim you can also squirt the sealant in through the tubeless valve (after removing the valve core) with an injector such as shown in the photo.
For tubes and tubular (sew-up) tires, you inject the sealant through the valve. So, if you plan to use sealant, be sure to buy tubes and tubeless tires with removable valve cores. If you have tubes that don’t have replaceable valve cores that you want to add sealant to, you can puncture the tube with an awl to create a hole to get the injector into and add sealant. Then you can patch the hole you made in the tube to seal it. (Not everyone feels good about riding on patched tubes, so if that’s you, buy tubes with removable valve cores to put the sealant in.)
Orange Seal just works
My experience with Orange Seal sealants goes back about 10 years now. It was our go-to sealant at Praxis where I was the head mechanic, wheel builder and QC engineer. I used it in my tires (and still use it) and set up the rest of the team with it too. I err on the side of too much sealant, especially when sealing new tires on new wheels. So instead of 1 to 2 ounces for road tires, I would go with 3.
The only information on what’s in Orange Seal is written on the product and it says “Natural latex,” that’s all. It has worked well on every tire I’ve put it in for my riders and my own use. I haven’t tried the new Subzero sealant because I don’t need it here in Northern California. I’ve used the Regular and Endurance sealants and they’ve always sealed new tubeless tires quickly and consistently and seem to work well preventing punctures day to day.
I said “seem” because you usually don’t know if the sealant is the reason you’re not getting flats. You could just be lucky and not be running over any sharp objects.
But, I did have a run in with a jumping cholla cactus in Tucson that stuck me pretty good and left my rear tire with a handful of needles in the sidewall. While the tire lost some pressure, the Endurance sealant found and stopped the leaks and I’ve been riding on that same tire for over a year without any further leaking.
It’s nice to see Orange Seal’s new Subzero for winter use. If you run tubeless tires or are looking for a sealant for tubes or tubular tires, I think you’ll find Orange Seal a perfect companion for all your riding.
Lots of people ask me about tubeless tires. If you have any questions about your setup, let me know in a comment and I’ll see if I can help.
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. A pro mechanic & cycling writer for more than 40 years, he’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Tune in to Jim’s popular YouTube channel for wheel building & bike repair how-to’s. Jim’s also known for his cycling streak that ended in February 2022 with a total of 10,269 consecutive daily rides (28 years, 1 month and 11 days of never missing a ride). Click to read Jim’s full bio.
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