Squirt Seal Tyre Sealant with bead block particles

Squirt Seal tyre sealant

I’ve been a convert to tubeless tyres for over 5 years now. Originally a sceptic I now stress if I’m riding a bike that doesn’t have the security of being set up with tubeless wheels, tyres, valves and an effective sealant. There are always debates on social media about tubes V tubeless and at one time I was the guy saying “but tubes are so easy to change and there’s no hassle or mess setting them up” but, once you’ve had to change or repair an inner tube on a fat bike 3 times in one ride you soon see that the initial work that goes into tubeless is well worth the piece of mind of knowing you are not going to have to stop and change tubes, inevitably at the worst times, usually in torrential rain on a wheel covered in mud in sub zero temperatures.

So, fair enough I hear you say, on a fat bike with large volume tyres that take an age to reinflate or get seated on the rim properly I can see his point, but on a gravel bike? I can see what you are saying, but think of it this way, most gravel bikes are being used to explore places you’ve either never ridden before or seldom do and you’re mostly going a lot further away from home when you do it. That bridleway you spot as you wend your way down that back lane could be the passage to riding nirvana….or it could be that just around the corner the local farmer might have cut the hedge and a million thorns are waiting to rip into your tyres and make life a misery, so better not risk it hey? Well on a tubeless tyre you can ride that bridleway secure in the knowledge your tubeless tyres and sealant will shrug off those thorns and let you get on with exploring and not missing possibly the best riding you’ll ever do!

I recently changed tyres and found 5 thorns in the rear and two in the front tyre I knew nothing about, the sealant had just sealed around the hole and I’d not even noticed any pressure drop. So potentially that was 5 instances of having to stop and change a tube!

So, we’ve stablished that tubeless is a good idea, but what tyre sealant to use? I’ve used Orange seal, Muc-off, Stan’s, Joe’s no tubes and Bontrager to name but a few and i know what I like so it’s always with a little trepidation that i swap to a new brand. However, having used Squirt Lube for the past few years and found that to be simply the best chain lube I’ve tried so far I asked the guys at Squirt Products to send me some of their sealant to try out.

When you get the Squirt Seal it comes with a pot of Bead block particles, these help to seal bigger holes in the tyre that the “glitter” in many of the other sealants on the market contain. Squirt tested these in South Africa where they get considerably bigger thorns etc than we get in the UK so it should be spot on for every where!

Squirt Sealant differs slightly from other sealants as they recommend you pop off a small section of tyre from the rim to apply the granules rather than go via the valve stem as they might not go through without clogging. This is especially true if the valve is still damp with a previous sealant. I tried it and they are correct. You only need to pop a very small section of tyre off the rim though so reseating afterwards shouldn’t (and wasn’t) too much of a problem.

Once up to pressure I left the wheels 24 hours to see if they lost any air but they were fine so I fitted them to a bike and spent the next 4 WEEKS without any sign of a puncture. Was this because of the superior quality of the Squirt seal or had it silently got on with it’s job and saved my ride numerous times without me noticing (this is what tubeless set ups do)? I’d put the sealant into 650×2.1 tyres on the Fearless Warlock I’ve got in to test and I’ve ridden it on unknown trails, familar puncture black spots, down a lane where hedge cutting had strewn black thorn all over the tarmac, the frankly shockingly bad surfaced roads near here, to work and back road etc but even with the big surface area of the tyres to gather debris I still didn’t notice a pressure drop the entire time.

How do you effectively test a tubeless sealant when you don’t get a puncture? time for drastic measures!

See how Tested the effectiveness of Squirt Seal Tubeless Tyre Sealant with Beadblock

Squirt claim the sealant hs minimal to zero bioaccumulation in the environment and it’s also ammonia free so doesn’t stink or sting your eyes like other sealants on the market

So I’d definitely recommend trying tubeless on your gravel bike and for that extra piece of mind look at Squirt Sealant as your tubeless fluid, it survives multiple stabbings!

you can find more details on Squirt Seal and Lube here Squirt or on the Uk Squirt Insta here

As with all my tests, this is a real world review. I’m not sponsored and I’m just an average rider like most of you reading this. companies sometimes send me things to test but i always let them know it will be an honest review good or bad

Get in Quick, there’s a Gravel bike in stock!

Canyon today launched the GRIZL, an update or replacement? to the Grail carbon gravel bike with the silly handlebars and it actually looks good for a Canyon. Someone has obviously thought about it for a change rather than just putting a bike out for the sake of it like a lot of the big companies have done in the past so kudo to the Canyon design team.

Also, colours! not just black or silver and with room for upto 50mm x 700 rubber it could actually be real trail friendly too. Find out more here With models from £2200 they aren’t exactly entry level but there are rumours of an aluminium version to come, maybe when the world wide bike shortages have eased we’ll see that one.

pic from canyon.com

Canyon have sizes from XS up to 2XL which they say are in stock, but given the thirst for bikes and the shortages currently that is not going to last. I’ve not ridden one so i can’t comment on the ride but the geometry on paper does look quite racy and compares to the Grail so it remains to be seen if it’s as bike packing and real rider friendly as they say. You can order one and see for yourself here

Gotta hand it to Canyon it’s a good looking bike.

Shimano Deore CS-M5100 cassette

11 of your finest speeds

With the current war of ratios that is going on between Shimano and Sram over who can shoe horn the biggest sprocket onto their 12 speed cassettes ,at time of writing, Sram has gone one better with 52T over Shimano who introduced 51T just to outdo Srams 50T from a while ago…phew! it was refreshing to see that there are options further down the price scale that don’t need a specific freehub to work. Shimano 12sp needs their propitiatory “Micro Spline” freehub and in turn to run Sram big cassettes in most cases you need their “XD” driver.

However if you haven’t invested in the 12sp technology yet and are still running 11 speed then there is now a very good alternative from Shimano. The Deore M5100 cassette which happily fits straight on to the standard Shimano freehub that everyone running the big “S’s” gears already has. Before this new cassette the biggest sprocket on a 11sp Shimano cassette was 46T which is a very low gear indeed and originally ideally suited to a mountain bike. It does suffer though from a hug gap between the penultimate sprocket and that 46t, namely 37t-46t. I ran this cassette through the winter months on my gravel bike on a set of 650b wheels with much knobblier tyres than those I use in the drier months as my local terrain is very muddy and clay rich so i need all the traction i can get for the seated climbing necessitated to stop the wheel from spinning out. The gap was very annoying and when I needed a slightly lower gear than the 37t to stop stalling (I’m no climbing super hero as you can tell) the big jump to 46t was too great and I ended up loosing balance as my legs spun wildly.

The solution pt1

to over come this i butchered a 11-42t cassette, removing the 15t sprocket and adding a very second hand expander sprocket which used to be all the rage before huge cassettes but seem rare these days. This sprocket had 45 teeth so making the final jump between cogs 42-45t which was much better and this is what i ended up running for most of the damp months. Unfortunately the horrible gritty/grinding local conditions all but destroyed the cassette and chain (ok, i should have checked the chain wear more regularly) so knowing that the new Deore cassette was imminent I nursed that chain and cassette for as long as possible until my local bike shop called to say the new cassette had arrived!

The Solution pt2

The Deore M5100 has a ratio of 11-13-15-18-21-24-28-33-39-45-51T and those last 3 sprockets are very evenly spread so even tough the gaps are bigger than at the other end of the cassette the transition is easier to keep a good cadence on and aids balance and traction as your legs aren’t all over the place when concentrating on traction and line choice. The smaller sprockets are much closer in range and this is a good thing as on a gravel bike this is where you will mostly be sat. Small ration changes enabling smooth pedaling and letting you carry your speed on tarmac and less technical off road sections. the new cassette was 70g heavier than my modified 11-45 extended cassette)


M5100 in action

When I came to fit the cassette I was expecting to have a fight to get it to work, probably requiring a rear hanger extender/road link but i thought i’d try it out first anyway. I did fit a complete 116 link chain ( the old one was left this long too to accommodate the 11-45/46T) , set the clutch to on and with trepidation cycled through the gears. As you can see from the video, I was lucky and it worked straight away without any modification. I didn’t even have to adjust the “B” screw it was fine on the setting from the previous cassette. Please note if you try this your set up may be different! it’s not my fault if you damage anything!

So there it is, as mountain bike cassette on a gravel bike. the rest of the gearing is all GRX 810 with a 1 x 40 chainring. the 51t sprocket gives very very very low gearing and other than deliberately trying it out when riding I doubt if I’ll ever use it on this bike. the next sprocket down tends to be my extreme sit and spin gear. However for a heavily laden touring or bike packing bike that has done away with the fuss of a double (or triple) chainset this could just be what you are after at the end of a long day with that last long steep incline to grind up.

The cassette has now done a couple of hundred miles around my local area and is so far trouble free so I’m in no hurry to swap it for something less silly. in fact i’m going to get one for my mountain bike as the cost of the cassette is much less than the cost of upgrading to 12 speed to get that extra gearing and who needs that extra one tooth (sram)?