Muc-Off puncture survey results are in

Muc-Off puncture survey results are in

Maybe that headline should read Muc-Off puncture survey makes for interesting reading – for some?

Here we go another thing to annoy/delight depending on which camp you are in. And of course those pesky neutrals will sit on the fence happy to use both! Muc-Off released the results of their survey in March ’23, this was completed by over five thousand people in fifty countries who were on their global database. It asked them all about their riding and puncture experiences. What were they riding, where were they riding, were they using inner-tubes or tubeless? How often were they puncturing, what tools did they carry and so on. After crunching the numbers they released some interesting facts and infographics for us puncture nerds.

Muc-Off 2023 puncture survey results
Muc-Off 2023 puncture survey results

That’s a lot of information to take in, but don’t worry there’s even more! I’ll put the full breakdown below for you peruse at your leisure; maybe while your fixing your inner tubes? Of course Muc-Off aren’t just doing this for our pleasure and edification. Muc-Off have been fully invested in getting us off inner tubes and into tubeless since 2017. And I must admit I am a convert, all my bikes, road, gravel and Mtb are tubeless now.

What started as a way to get better performance out of my clinchers in cyclo-cross races, has slowly made it’s way onto all my bikes. The lower pressures I could run in ‘cross without suffering pinch punctures made a massive difference to my rides. And at the same time I was starting to travel to road races and events that were further away. Having an event ruined by a puncture is a massive pain that is magnified massively if you add in hotels and travel to start fees.

So despite warnings of all that extra weight from the sealant and the fact that you should only race on tubulars, I ploughed ahead and converted. And what a difference! While I haven’t had a puncture in an event since – that I know of – I have in training. The best is returning home after a tough ride fully spent, only to hear the psss of a puncture. Halfway through a junction and about to hit the climb home, it couldn’t have come at a worse time. But as I headed to the pavement to stop, the hissing stopped. The puncture had sealed! I rode home with a huge smile on my little face.

Muc-Off have everything to get you tubeless

Since then I have had a few more, most seal within a few seconds, some have required a plug. One did require a replacement inner tube, but that was a huge slash caused by hitting a brick on a fast downhill off-road. So I won’t claim tubeless is perfect, but it is very close. I still ride with a spare inner-tube, just in case, but so far its not been needed.

Set-up can be problematic with some tyre/rim combinations being a nightmare to fit. The tolerances between different brands can be different enough to snap tyre levers. Which would make them a horror to have to install a replacement inner-tube out on the road.

Set-up can sometimes be tricky, but having the right kit helps

And if you are running tubeless then you will have to decide what sealant. Of course Muc-Off will tell you their is the best, as will all the other brands. The main thing to remember is that it will only work if is still liquid enough to spread around inside the tyre as you ride. Once it starts to evaporate and become more viscous, then you need to freshen it up. How often? At least twice a year I would say. Although I am changing my tyres so often that I don’t worry too much about that.

If you are a roadie who hasn’t converted, but wants to – and this is a large group in the survey – head over to Muc-Off’s Tubeless Hub. There you can read all that’s involved with tubeless and it’s actually pretty simple. While fitting an inner tube is without doubt much simpler, the benefits are worth it. Check out Muc-Off’s tubeless set-up video below.

And there’s other benefits with tubeless than increased puncture protection and grip. Muc-Off looked into the environmental impact of sealant and inner-tubes. According to Statista there are 6.5 million active cyclists in the UK. If 38% of them (Muc-Off’s numbers) replace an inner-tube every eight months and discarded rather than fixing it, that would be “enough rubber to wrap three tyres around Planet Earth every year, just from the inner tubes of UK cyclists!

Now that’s a lot of waste and who are these people that don’t repair their inner tubes? When I was running inner-tubes I always repaired any punctures. This would usually be done once I got home, I would build up a few and do them all at once. As a ride-leader and mechanic I’ve also come across a lot of people who just discard their inner-tubes after the first puncture. Many shops now have a recycling point supported by tyre companies such as Schwalbe and local initiatives such as Velorim.

The complete Muc-Off tubeless will get you up and running

But what about sealant? How much of an environmental impact does its manufacture have? In 2018 Muc-Off commissioned a quality assurance company, Intertek to take a look. They found it had a “greater environmental benefit than the impact of its production.” According to Intertek “If one million tyres per year used Muc-Off tyre sealant instead of inner tubes, the CO2 saving would be an estimated 0.4122 million Kg CO2 per year”. Of course it doesn’t have to be but Muc-Off, but they did commission the report, so fair enough.

Information from Intertek

Now Muc-Off do produce pretty much everything you need to set up and maintain a tubeless wheel, no matter what type of terrain you’re riding on. From rim strips, sealant, valves, glue-removers and instant repair. You can even hide an Apple AirTag inside your tubeless set-up. And being Muc-Off the colour choices are endless! From valves to their Stealth Tubeless Puncture Plug you can match your set-up to your bike, or your eyes!

Muc-Off valves come in a multitude of colours
Muc-Off valves come in a multitude of colours

I’ll be reviewing some of Muc-Offs products over the coming months so look out for those soon. In the meantime keep riding and watch out for the puncture fairy! and if you want to see what I thought of their Punk Powder cleaner take a look at my review. And if you want the full survey results check out the gallery below.

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