Stan’s NoTubes has a new way to repair cuts & slices in your tubeless tires, with their new DART system, developed specifically for bike tires. Combining a more flexible, complexly patterned plug the new Dart was developed to react to the latex-based sealant already in your tire to create a better, more secure seal in light, supple road & mountain bike tires. Plus, it gets an applicator that is easier-to-use than many other tubeless plug solutions.
Stan’s NoTubes DART tubeless tire puncture repair tool
Stan’s says their dual-action Dart tire repair tool can fix punctures & slices up to 5mm across, using its combined mechanical & chemical plugging tech to create a more airtight seal with flexible bike tire casings than conventional rubber plug style repairs.
The Dart system is rather unique, having been developed to work with Stan’s own, industry leading sealant, and promises more reliable road & trail side tubeless repairs for road, gravel & mountain bike tires.
What makes the Stan’s DART different?
Currently, plugging a tubeless tire typically involved forcing sticky rubber plugs, slugs, worms, anchovies, or whatever you wanted to call them into the unfortunate new hole in your tire. But sticky rubber plugs are a system designed & proven for thick car or motorcycle tires. While they work fairly well in most simple punctures (like running over a nail), they tend to be less effective or permanent on irregular cuts.
The Dart is unique in that it was designed for the thin, more flexible carcass of bike tires, and its thin fabric like design can more easily fill a thin, irregular cut. That fabric is laser-cut to create small fingers that can fill irregular cuts in the tire, and extra surface to create optimal bonding with the sealant in your tire for a durable seal.
Like some other solutions, it uses a small barb on the end that anchors the plug from the inside, keeping it from pulling out. But unlike other designs, the thin Dart fabric doesn’t really need to be trimmed outside of the tire, as it is said to wear down more smoothly and stay in place on road or mountain bike treads, unlike some thicker rubber plug types than need to be trimmed so they don’t get pulled out of the tire as you ride.
Also, since most bicycle tubeless setups use a latex-based sealant (and this is obviously one of Stan’s areas of expertise), the Dart fabric is treated with an environmentally-safe chemical that reacts to the sealant. A thin coating on the Dart causes the sealant to congeal on contact with the plug, creating a rather instant & effective seal. That coating does mean the Dart needs to be stored in its closed container to keep from drying out, but Stan’s says it should retain its reactive properties for a long time when stored in your backpack anyway. Essentially it won’t dry out as soon as the sealant in your tires anyway.
How do you use the Stan’s DART tubeless repair kit?
Like pretty much any other tubeless tire plug, once you get a puncture, you just find the hole, make sure whatever caused the puncture is gone, then stab the Dart into the hole. Just twist the clear cap off the Dart tool, push it in until the body of the tool touches the tread (and the barbs are inside the tire), then pull it out. Spin the tire so the sealant inside can settle over the Dart, and the sealant should quickly plug the puncture. You can also add a second Dart if needed for larger cuts.
That’s why the Dart tool is double sided with two plugs at the ready. Stan’s also wanted to make the repair lightning fast, since the quicker you plug the hole, the less sealant is lost in the process and the less pumping you need to do to get rolling again.
Note: The barbed white plastic cone stays inside the tire. If you end up needing to put a tube in later on for whatever reason, you will need to pull the barb out first from inside of your tire, so that it doesn’t puncture your new tube.
Then just reload a new Dart in the tool from your refill pack, and put the clear cap back on to keep it sealed.
The ergonomic shape of the Dart tool is meant to be easy on your hand. That makes it a bit larger than other similar applicators – the Dart is 90mm long x 28mm in diameter at its widest point (3.5″ x 1 1/8″). You need to put it in a pocket or a backpack, but it is definitely easier to use than many smaller solutions. The base of the plastic tool housing (opposite the Dart) also includes a valve core removal tool, for when adding new sealant on the trial is needed.
Side note: The shaft of the Tool that pushes the Dart in is made of carbon fiber (not metal). That keeps the thing light. But for folks who fly to compete in some races, it might also even make it carry-on-friendly, since there is no metal in it. I occasionally travel with a mini-tool in my carry-on, but never with a tubeless repair tool. Maybe, I’ll have to give this a try through airport security?
Pricing & availability
A complete $24 DART tool setup includes the body with two Darts and weighs just 15g. A $20 Dart refill pack of an additional 5 Dart plugs is also available, stored in a sealed plastic case the same size as the Dart Tool’s handle. Darts should be available by the end of this month, October 2019, straight from Stan’s or any normal retailer shop. The Dart Tool also comes with a limited lifetime warranty.