Why Motorbike Riders must choose their Tyre Sealant carefully
As I write about tyre sealants and try to be as honest as possible about what works and what doesn’t, I get frustrated when I see misleading marketing and unsuitable, or plain dangerous, products that are being used on the wrong vehicles.
This is especially true about motorbikes. I repeat my usual mantra – “all tyre sealants are not created equal. One type does NOT fit all.” That is why OKO, uniquely, makes different sealants in the UK (and yes, they are all different):
- OKO for On Road Motorcycles, Mopeds & Scooters
- OKO XT for Off Road dirt bikes – enduro, motocross, trial
- OKO for Quads (regular and competition use)
So when my attention was drawn to ‘Del’s’ popular YouTube self-help motorbike website, demonstrating and promoting a product that we’ll call G**p, I felt the need to politely put the viewers in the picture. What I said in my posting was:
“The warning about 100km/h has actually been stretched – this is a relabelled product whose actual makers (rightly) warn you not to use it over 50 mph/80 km/h. That’s because it’s an off road tyre sealant for slow moving vehicles – as most are. The reason I know is because I work for OKO, the British manufacturer who pioneered tyre sealant in 1978. We do makethe specifically-designed OKO Puncture Free for On Road Motorbikes. Any bike travelling fast builds up friction and heat in the tyres, making Off Road sealants break up and dry up over time and become useless. And you can use our product in tubes – it won’t always work because tubes are weak, but most of the time it will seal, and when it doesn’t it will slow down the rate of deflation, which can be a life saver. See http://okosales.co.uk/markets/motorcycles-quads-2/ “
Don’t bother looking for this on YouTube, you won’t find it – strangely enough, a day after posting, I found that it had disappeared. Now, everyone has a right to remove posts on their videos that they think are offensive, but does this really offend? My aim was simply to inform on important safety issues, and to spark debate among bike riders. (Many will of course have different views).
I don’t believe that Del the site owner is linked to G**p, because he himself has written,
“we only promote things that YOU can use and benefit from, i don’t big up companies for their benefit, but if they are a proper company and doing a great job, giving a great service and making the bike community a better place… then they need to be known about…people trust an unrelated and unbiased opinion, and real life honest reviews on things is hard to find on the tube…”
Fair enough, but until I can locate him and send him some product to test, all I want to do is alert riders generally to some important points which have been flagged up by his other viewers, such as:
The guy who is going to tour in Croatia in the heat of the summer. He asks, will this sealant dry out? Very probably – it is a simple low-tech sealant made for tractor tyres. For £3 or so more you can buy a product that has been tested and approved by the Dutch Police motorbike division and has been formulated using the latest hi-tech ingredients with the help of international testing laboratories. Which is the better buy for the safety of your bike? If you want to be reassured that OKO works in the heat, check out this video made in India. (It’s not as well made as Del’s, which as a ‘how to’ demo is good: but it shows our international heritage). We sell all around India to one of the largest motorbike populations in the world, who face very demanding conditions.
The people who have pointed out the speed warnings on the bottle. As I have pointed out, these themselves are misleading. The actual manufacturers say it must not be used over 50 mph/80 km/h. Del may have been lucky in his Harley, but it is irresponsible to encourage others. This is a thick product that can promote instability; and it is a product that we have tested – it dries to a powder when subjected to friction and heat by extended riding. OKO Puncture Free for On Road Motorbikes (by contrast) is a freer-flowing specially-designed product that we have successfully tested to 130mph: but our recommendation (as responsible manufacturers) is that it is speed rated to 80 mph/130 km/h: which of course covers the legal limit in nearly all countries. It will last the life of your tyre (others have copied our claim but most fail).
The riders that want to use it with inner tubes. Del (unlike G**p’s online sellers) rightly recognises that it is not going to work in sealing inner tubes. OKO, in the majority of cases, will; and you should not be put off using it if you need to use tubes. If you get a thorn or nail hole in your tube, it will probably seal it and you will have no pressure loss. (You should be checking each time before you ride, so you will know if there has been a leak and you need to replace the tube). If the tube develops a split then OKO will not be able to seal it: but it will slow down the rate of deflation, as I tried to point out on YouTube. This is a very important safety feature.
The BMW enduro bike rider who is looking for a sealant. He should be advised about OKO XT, the revolutionary off road dirt bike sealant. We were challenged by a specialist tyre manufacturer to come up with a sealant that would work through tubes and would challenge the horrible ‘mousse’ products that people put inside enduro tyres. Five sealant companies were invited to try – and only OKO succeeded, sealing up to 9mm holes and slits. It is now used and recommended by Gas Gas UK and it was tested by pro riders in the UK, Italy, Spain and Morocco before its worldwide launch.
So, let’s inform people properly about motorbike tyre sealants: and then, as ‘Mrs Merton’ used to say on TV, “let’s have a heated debate!”