Tire plugs are not new to the cycling industry and have been widely used in tubeless applications for years. As the evolution of road tubeless has evolved and more companies are jumping into the market, the pioneers of tubeless, like Stan’s NoTubes, continue to push for more innovative products to aid the tubeless experience. The Stan’s DART (Dual Action Repair for Tubeless) takes advantage of Stan’s years of tubeless experience with a bit of science for a dual-action repair.
The DART is a compact system that includes a plastic barbed tip that anchors into the tire with a laser-cut flexible material attached, an insertion tool and the protective covers for the tool. The tool houses two of the tips in case there is a large slice. The material that is on the plastic tip is a type of fabric that is made to react with Stan’s sealant chemically and creates an airtight bond over the damaged area. The whole system is lightweight at 15 grams, and also has a built-in valve-core remover.
We have used a few products in the past that are meant to aid in mending large punctures or damage on a tubeless tire. They work to fill the void or plug the hole with a thick piece of rubber. The Stan’s DART is a bit different, because it uses a thin fabric material that is meant to work as a bandage from the inside.
The fabric material is inserted through the damaged area, and then it quickly bonds with the sealant inside to stick to the tire and seal the leak. We tested this in a few different tires and with multiple brands of sealant. To no surprise, both Stan’s race and Stan’s regular sealant quickly reacted and sealed the area. All of the tested tires had damage that the sealant itself was unable to seal.
We also tested it with different brands with mixed results. All the brands of sealant seem to eventually work, with the material creating a bonding effect but do not react as quickly. This isn’t a problem if you have a floor pump handy, but on the road, this is less than ideal. We also tested the DART on a tire that had very little sealant, and it struggled to seal the hole completely.
On a slick road tire, we notice that even if all the material didn’t enter the tire and was left hanging out after a few miles of riding, it wore off and was not felt. When we use some of the other products, we have to try to cut them flush, and they affect the feel and ride quality. For fun, we did try to repair a tube, and let’s just say it was a complete waste of time.
When it comes to roadside repair, the DART system seems to work well. The thing to remember is, you need to have a well-maintained system that has an ample amount of liquid sealant still in the tire. It’s also best paired with Stan’s sealant, but seems to work with other brands, just not as well. The DART is not needed for most punctures, and we find it most useful when there is a slice or large hole.
For road bikes with slick tires, DART is the best-working option we’ve come across. The road tires that we repaired, we still use and feel confident in riding lots more miles on. This isn’t the case with many of the other plug-style products, and we normally use them as an option to finish our ride then replace the tire.
When it comes to tubeless, it’s all about proper setup and understanding of how the system works. It has come a long way in a very short amount of time, and the DART is just another way to continue the ride when things have gone awry. We have added the DART to our on-bike repair kit, but still carry all the other essentials, too.
• Fast and easy
• Relies on sealant to work
• Light and compact
Weight: 15 grams