First Impressions: Effetto Mariposa Caffélatex Sealant

If you run tubeless-ready tires, you know the importance of sealant. The magic elixir is crucial for reliable tube-free setups. While you may assume that all sealants are the same, Effetto Mariposa’s Caffélatex stands out from the pack with its synthetic-latex formula and foaming action.

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Image courtesy of Cantitoe Road

Unlike traditional latex sealants, Caffélatex does not contain ammonia, making the sealant rim- and tire-friendly. Ammonia is corrosive, and over time, can degrade bare aluminum rims and tire casings. Effetto Mariposa’s sealant also contains microscopic silicate particles (less than 2 microns in diameter), which the company claims move more slowly through holes, allowing the sealing ingredient more time to stop the puncture.

Activated by wheel movement, Caffélatex’s foaming agent (Actifoam™) disperses sealant throughout the tire’s entire internal cavity. According to Effetto Mariposa, this makes Caffélatex more effective against sidewall punctures. We were initially skeptical of the sealant’s foaming abilities, but shaking the translucent container a few times showed just how quickly Caffélatex transforms to its foam state.

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Six-week-old Caffélatex sealant still going strong.

During our review period, we tested Caffélatex with mountain and road tubeless tires. Both new and previously used tires performed equally well. Adding sealant via the Effetto Mariposa-supplied injector was quick and easy, and didn’t require removal of the valves’ cores. For loose-fitting tires, we found that–compared to competitors’ products–less sealant was needed when using Caffélatex. In our testing, we never encountered a puncture that Caffélatex couldn’t seal.

Caffélatex is available in 250 ml ($11.95 MSRP) and 1000 ml ($29.95 MSRP) bottles. Road tires typically need 25 ml to 50ml sealant (each), with mountain tires requiring 50 ml to 100 ml, depending on size. If you’re not quite sure how much sealant is required for a particular setup, Effetto Mariposa has a smartphone app that can calculate the optimal quantity of Caffélatex sealant. The Effetto Mariposa injector has a 100 ml capacity, and retails for $13.95.

Disclosure: Cantitoe Road provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.

Under Test: SRAM Rival 22 Components

SRAM Rival 22 gravelbike.com gravel grinder

Image courtesy of SRAM

SRAM’s Rival 22 component group features mechanical or hydraulic DoubleTap levers with Zero-Loss™ technology, Yaw™ front shifting for no trim, rub or rasp, and a WiFLi™ 11-32 cassette cassette option. Whether it’s cyclocross, triathlon, road racing, or unchartered journeys, Rival 22 delivers.

Stay tuned…

First Impressions: Octto Professional Gel Bar Tape

If you want a great looking tape job, you need two things: skill and a superior product. You may not be able to purchase good technique, but Octto’s Professional Gel Bar Tape ($29.00 CAD MSRP) will make any bike look–and feel–better.

Octto’s bar wrap is constructed from a high-purity foam material. According to the Toronto-based company, the foam is less susceptible to tearing when stretched. That improved flexibility, combined with the extra-long length (215 cm), accommodates a wide range of bars and wrapping styles. With fifteen colors and two finishes (smooth or textured), there’s bound to be combination for any bike.

Installing Octto tape proved to be trouble free. The wrap’s tapered profile enabled maximum overlap, which resulted in a thick, plush feel. If you’re looking for a thinner, more direct feel, simply increase the tension when wrapping. We usually forgo most companies’ finishing tape and bar plugs, but the included Octto accessories were a cut above those supplied with competitors’ bar wrap.

Octto blue

In use, Octto’s low-residue adhesive held tight even when we intentionally wrapped the bars in a way that would encourage unwinding. When it came time to change cables, the gel wrap left behind zero residue. Even the lever strips, which utilize traditional peel-and-stick adhesive, remained gunk-free after several months of hard use. Color fade was minimal, and the tape cleaned up quickly and easily with a mild soap and water solution.

Unlike other gel bar tape that compresses in a few weeks, Octto’s Gelicone™ Enhanced Comfort Foam retained its cushion after months of daily use (which included both paved and unpaved roads). While our testing was limited to the company’s smooth-finish tape, it remained surprisingly grippy during the summer thundershowers that are common along Colorado’s Front Range.

Octto’s Professional Gel Bar Tape may cost a little more than generic bar wrap, but the tape’s long-lasting cushioning will save you money–and time–in the long run. Plus, when the time does come when you need to re-wrap your bars, you won’t be faced with a sticky, gooey mess.

Disclosure: Octto Components Toronto provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.