Bike-Seal Puncture Prevention: Space Technology
Tyred of puntures and worried about getting stranded?
Safety is often considered the less sexy relation when it comes to motorcycle topics, but the reality is, we all know the bottom twitching or worse that comes when we suddenly feel unsafe when on the bike. Whether that be because some optically challenged individual pulls out in front of us, we enter a bend with a little too much amperage or, we get a puncture in motion. Arguably all of these things are avoidable, but we do have some control over two out of the three things mentioned, and here specifically we will be looking at puncture prevention. Not the usual slimes and gunks that we are sure you have seen, or at least heard of, but something really quite clever!
Just to be clear, this is NOT a paid advert, we just like it.
We’ve all been there…
Nothing puts a downer on a day like getting a puncture. If you’re reading this and you have never had a puncture, you are one of the lucky ones. Us bikers have a disadvantage when it comes to punctures, in fact we have several! If we get a puncture in a car then we have (hopefully) 3 reliable tyres still intact with the surface to keep us steady. On a bike, the instant deflation of one tyre is likely to lead to instant ouchie, or goodnight Vienna. If we are lucky enough to sail to a safe halt, then we face an hour of roadside self repair, hours waiting for “specialist recovery” and probably a punch in the pocket either way. As us bikers are lucky folk, when it happens it will probably be raining and we’ll be half a mile from the nearest bridge we can shelter under too.
Prevention and cure?
We’ve known of Bike-Seal for years, and it’s really good stuff. It’s one of those “hidden gems” that no matter when you discover it in your biking career, you can’t believe you didn’t know about it before. Bike-Seal is a liquid that is designed to live inside your motorcycle tyres, and in the event of the puncture, it instantly, and permanently plugs the hole with kevlar fibres to repair the tyre. Essentially you can put the stuff in your tyres and have some peace of mind that if you get a puncture where the object doesn’t stick, Bike-Seal will plug a hole up to 15mm. If an item causes a puncture and sticks, say a nail, or a screw, you can remove it, spin the wheel, and carry on riding. Sounds impressive right? Perhaps not, maybe you are thinking of something along the lines of a tyre sealant - essentially a tyre full of glue that splurges the hole and cakes the inside of the tyre, condemning it to the scrapheap. Well...it’s actually nothing like that.
One of the major problems with other "tyre sealants" is that they are chemical. This means that by their very nature there will be some kind of reaction with either the rubber or the metal wheel rims. With the rubber, you can expect some kind of adhesion and if it sticks to the tyre it will probably stick to the rim too. This can corrode the rim and if there is buildup, it will cause imbalance too. On the topic of imbalance, from testing that we have seen with our own eyes, the chemical solutions also change state over time and turn into gel globules or solidify. Again, this is at odds with the balance of the tyre. See for yourself... below we have a car tyre with a chemical tyre sealant in.
Here's what the usual chemical stuff can do to your wheels (not Bike Seal)...
So how does Bike-Seal work?
The solution is basically kevlar fibres and rubber filler particles suspended in a fluid. The solution is eco friendly and not chemical, so no fears of it smelling, sticking, or solidifying. The liquid is installed through the tyre valve before inflation and once the tyre is pumped up, as it rotates, the solution covers the inside of the tyre across the tread area. That means that as a puncture occurs, the fibres and fluid are in contact with the inner tyre and are forced into the puncture breach due to the pressure. The materials then seal the breach forming a permanent physical fix. A fix that lasts for the legal life of the tyre. What is most impressive about this solution (other than saving your tail) is that the liquid is basically water, it can be simply wiped or rinsed out of the tyre at the end of its life without any real environmental impact. In contrast to the above, you can see this pair of Ducati rims looking as sweet as the day the beast rolled off the production line. The left hand side has dried Bike-Seal solution, and the right hand side after a quick wipe with a damp cloth.
Why is Bike-Seal different?
The product has an impressive technical history. It was first formulated in the 1960’s for NASA. It was intended to be used in the spacesuits of astronauts. It was successfully used in the course of preventing leaks and punctures to keep the suits airtight and the astronauts safe. Now, you can imagine the kind of research and development that goes into anything that ends up in space, not to mention the investment. It is a widely accepted fact, and common sense to a degree, that anything that is instrumental in the exploration of space, will be something that is the best of the best. The product attributes were obviously crucial, the product had to be something that was easily deployed, safe to use, and wouldn't affect the life of the equipment.
The good word on this technical product spread and in the 1970’s the US Military deployed the product in their vehicles, the intention was to protect vehicle tyres when shot at! Later it was then tested and introduced to the UK military and then deployed within NATO member forces too. Aside from the impressive government use worldwide, today the product is in use in several private industries including private contracted firms in conflict zones. So in short, it’s proper stuff!
Worldwide experts in product engineering, testing and development, MIRA, have also extensively tested the product. The product has faced significant independent testing by different organisations throughout the world, including “real world” tests such as speed trials, whereby it was tested and approved for use within the UK’s ‘Blue Light Emergency Services’. It is the only such product to ever have been tested and authorised in this way by the emergency services.
These days Bike-Seal and its sister brand Auto-Seal, is endorsed by blue light services and advanced motoring organisations like the IAM. It is relied upon by numerous companies who rely on their vehicles to conduct their business and has a large following in the biking community, particularly on the show and events circuit. The team at Bike-Seal are very sociable and get about a bit, they share some of their antics on social media and they have some demo videos on Youtube for further interest too!
Who should consider Bike-Seal?
Anybody with a vehicle with tyres to be fair…
For bikers it’s useful no matter whether you are out for a leisurely ride or depend on your bike to commute. Arguably the more miles you cover, the more appealing it might be, that said, it all boils down to chance. If you cover a lot of miles touring or do a lot of miles to and from work then the added peace of mind and reduced risk of a puncture will no doubt be appealing. Bike-Seal even produce a super swift kevlar plug kit and bike powered pump for those that want ultimate protection (or expect to meet punctures larger than 15mm).
Specifications and limitations:
Product cost: £35 on average
Product size: 550ml - sufficient for two bike tyres in most cases
Tubed or Tubeless Tyres: Both, up to 90% effective on tubeless and up to 70% on tubed.
Size of punctures treated: Up to 15mm on average so quite a size!
Temperatures: No limitations of note
Weather: Does not impact use, it will work on wet rides too.
Speed: If you regularly compete or travel at over 130mph, call them for specific application amount.
Shelf life: Indefinite
Corrosion: Bike-Seal has corrosion inhibitors and will not harm rims
Tyre Balance: Correct installation amount does not affect balance of wheel
Environmental: The product is ECO Friendly and free from caustic or acidic material. It can be washed away with water.
The sealant being a unique system, and not like any other tyre sealant on the market. Its seemingly unrivalled because:
- It provides a physical fix rather than a chemical one
- It’s not chemical so doesn't harm rims with corrosion or degrade rubber
- Provides a permanent fix so it doesn’t just help you limp home
- Isn’t noxious so it doesn't upset tyre shops and garages
- The reviews aren’t mixed, they are unanimous
- It is a product with a unique history and pedigree
Is it worth the £35 to avoid roadside agony or worse? Absolutely!! In fact, a group of us went away last summer and of the 19 bikes, 1 didn't have Bike-Seal in the tyres, who got the puncture? Yep, you guessed it. Hundreds of pounds spent to “save 35 quid”. Check out the Bike-Seal website or grab the product on Amazon. Overall, from an economic point, is a dramatic reduction in the chances of getting a puncture for the cost of a couple of pizzas good value? We’d argue it is!!