Tubeless tire repair can be a bit of a dark art at times, and we talk a lot about which is the best tubeless tire sealant or best tubeless rim tape to use, but very few brands offer anything different in terms of plugger tools.
We've been trying out Lezyne’s Tubeless Tyre Insert Kit, which has a potentially neat in-bar storage aspect, though the generic claw and plug tool has all the usual downsides you might expect. Read on for the full details.
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Design and aesthetics
Although it’s hidden in the bar most of the time, the black anodized, CNC alloy cylinder with laser etched instructions certainly looks high class. It comes with five fat 5cm plugs inside and it’s sealed with an O-ring too. The extended end cap is discreet but still gives something to pull on when extracting the tool. The gold anodized collar stainless steel reamer and plug claw look good and prevent any worries about rusting. The O rings that fit into the grooves on the tool to potentially secure the tool in place are color coded too, which makes picking the ‘best fit’ pair easy.
The O-ring system looks like a really smart answer to providing a secure, quiet insertion into most bars. Unfortunately when we started trying it in different bars we realized how diverse internal bores can be. That meant that of the six bars we tried the plug in, only two slid in and out relatively easily without working their way out accidentally. One needed a third O-ring sliding onto the center to stop rattle, but was then a right fight to pull out,while another needed a slimmer O-ring at the end to get full insertion, and then started to creep out on rough descents. The final two carbon bars were too thin to even get the plug in place with the smallest rings. Obviously you need an open-ended grip too, which is actually pretty rare in these days of single clamp lock-on grips with an internal plastic sleeve. While it will fit in drop bars, you’ll need to tuck the tape back in every time you remove it which is soon going to get tatty or unravel.
Even if you find a happy fit with your bar, the plug tool has the same drawback that most generic ‘claw’ designs do. Namely that the gap in the ‘mouth’ of the claw is so small that it often refuses to release the plug and pulls it back out again when you remove it. The narrow diameter cylinder needed to slide inside the bars means the plugs are a tight fit inside too, so you need to coax them out patiently with the claw tool before you can even get started, and I don’t know about you, but ‘patient’ isn’t how I’d normally describe my default emotion while scrambling to plug a deflating tire before it pops off the rim and loses its seal entirely.
On a bright note the tool isn’t so big that it tears a larger than necessary hole in the existing wound, but you do only get fat plugs which might be overkill for smaller thorn holes.
Lezyne’s Tubeless Tire Insert Kit is typically well put together and aesthetically pleasing, and looks like it’ll work well in theory. It’s not guaranteed to fit all bars securely and quietly though, and awkward-to-reach plugs compound the usual accidental extraction claw tool issues.
Tech Specs: Lezyne Tubeless Tire Insert Kit
- Price: $24.99 / £26
- Material: CNC anodized alloy
- Dimensions: 90mm x 23/16mm
- Weight: 33g