Just about every tyre sealant manufacturer will tell you that they use a special blend of ingredients in their sealant. However I remain a tad skeptical when most are latex based. The Effetto Mairposa Caffelatex secret recipe doesn’t use latex, instead they go with synthetic polymers and a different delivery method.
The synthetic polymers still act like latex, delivering small particles to the site of a puncture, where they clog the hole and eventually seal it. The Effetto Mariposa Caffelatex has a feature that other sealants don’t, it can foam. Once the wheel starts rotating the Caffelatex foams up and covers the whole tyre, rather than just sitting in the bottom of the tyre.
So while most sealants will see liquid forced onto the outer edges of the tyre by centrifugal force, Caffelatex will be spread all over the inside. In theory this makes Effetto Mairposa’s mixture more effective at sealing sidewall leaks.
Effetto Mariposa also use smaller – 2micron – particles in the mix. This makes it less likely to clog valves. The smaller particles also slow down the movement of the fluid, aiding faster sealing. This faster sealing, along with the foaming action means that Caffelatex can seal sidewall cuts up to 5mm wide. All this comes with one slight drawback though. The sealant has a limited life in the tyre.
Effetto Mariposa recommend you check your sealant every two months and that even in optimal conditions it will last no longer than six months. As a counter-balance to this, Effetto Mariposa say that the mix is 100% non-corrosive to rims and tyres. This is because they have omitted harsh chemicals such as Ammonia from the mix. These can corrode latex tubes over time, so best leave them out of your expensive tubulars!
So how did it perform under race conditions? Well it is quick to use, it took a fraction of the time I’m used to. And while I had doubted some of the claims about it’s ability to seal sidewall cuts, these turned out to be true. I had some cuts that were bigger than 5mm, but they sealed without the slightest leak. The Caffelatex made sure I could carry on with only a slight delay
After the usual post-race check, where I had intended to replace the sealant, I found it wasn’t neccassary, the tyre was still at race pressure. Not only did I not need to change the sealant then, but three months later the tyre is still happily spinning. Another bonus of the fast sealing action is that you hardly notice any pressure loss, important when you are running low pressures already.
While I only had to deal with three punctures during the test period, Caffelatex impressed me with it’s fast acting seal and ease of use. Combine that with it’s ability to deal with sidewall cuts and I struggle to think of another sealant that would be it’s equal.
The only downsides are that it is slightly more expensive, but can you put a price on lost time in a race due to punctures? The other is it’s short in-tyre ‘lifespan’, although this can be countered by regular maintenance. Once you get use to it, you’ll find yourself quickly becoming a loyal follower of this great product; like me!