Reviewed: Orange Seal tire sealant
Orange Seal’s origins as a home-brew sealant recipe may be humble, but it has quickly risen through the ranks and is now closer than any other option to dethroning the sealant king, Stan’s NoTubes.
Why? Because it works. It stays liquid about 25 percent longer than Stan’s NoTubes or CaféLatex, doesn’t turn into a mass of latex spaghetti inside your tires, comes with an easy-to-use applicator, and, unlike many Stan’s knockoffs, actually seals tires. In fact, it seals big holes and sidewall cuts as well as, if not better than, Stan’s itself.
In the past, it has been ill-advised to use a Stan’s alternative. It would take both hands and feet for me to count the number of times I have stared in disgust as my tires spouted a steady stream of Continental or Specialized or Hutchinson or Vittoria or DT Swiss sealant, all of which are ineffective at sealing anything larger than a pinprick.
Orange Seal, unlike most options on the market, can actually close some large sidewall cuts and tread holes that are the downfall of tubeless mountain bike setups.
The secret? Well, Orange Seal says it’s the use of what it calls “nanites,” described as particles of “multiple sizes and shapes” that help plug holes. To the naked eye, these appear to be to be glitter.
Anyone who has done a bit of experimentation with home-brew sealant recipes has likely run across this bedazzling ingredient — essentially, the tiny flakes help plug larger holes by providing something for the latex to bond to. Like steel rebar in concrete, they combine with the latex to form a more solid, durable structure.
The rest of the proprietary and secret recipe consists of a premium latex and some sort of environmentally friendly solvent (we’d guess it has something to do with oranges) to keep everything in solution.
On the trail, Orange Seal simply works. Since testing began at the beginning of last summer, it has successfully filled an 8mm slice — longer than the .25” gashes Orange Seal claims to be able to handle — and plugged up a square piece of casing that was exposed after a lug was ripped off. It’s filled multiple smaller holes as well, and over a few thousand miles of singletrack, I didn’t once have to swap in a tube to get home.
It’s not entirely clear what keeps Orange Seal in its liquid state longer than Stan’s, or why it doesn’t seem to turn into giant latex boogers as it dries out, as Stan’s and most other sealants do. The one set of tires that was allowed to dry out for this test ended up with a thin sheen of latex coating in the inside of each tire, but very few latex blobs.
Theoretically, the lack of latex booger production should make Orange Seal a better option for filling latex tubulars. However, it’s still a latex-based solution, so we wouldn’t recommend it. There’s still a chance that the sealant could glue the two sides of the tube together, causing a nasty hop in the tire.
Application is easy, particularly if you pick up one of the 4oz single-serve bottles, which come with a thread-on tube that fits neatly over a presta valve. I now leave one of these permanently in my hydration pack; it’s the perfect size for a mid-ride top-up for that riding buddy who only re-fills his sealant every other year.
Orange Seal sells these 4oz bottles — enough for about one 29er wheel a with big tire — or a wheel and a half for the 26/27.5 crowd, for $7. 8oz bottles are also available for $13, and your shop can order even bigger bottles (ask about those if you change tires often). Regardless of the amount bought, Orange Seal is more expensive than Stan’s — almost twice the price per ounce, actually.
Complete tubeless kits are also available, though the valve stems are a bit sub-par. Pick stems and tape up elsewhere, and give Orange Seal a shot before your next dirt outing.
Retail price: $7/4oz or $13/8oz
Availability: Now, online and in bike shops
What we like: No latex buildup, fills many large holes, lasts longer inside tires, excellent applicator
What we don’t: Dyes things orange