If the hole in your tyre is too big for the sealant to work, Zefal's Tubeless Repair Kit is a simple and effective solution that avoids the faff of fitting a tube – or even removing the tyre. It includes six plugs in two sizes and a tool for inserting them, is light, cheap and no bigger than a regular repair kit. There's little not to like.
I'm lucky enough to puncture very rarely out on the road, but I've picked up a fair few on gravel trails. With the majority of tyres I'm testing being set up tubeless, having some way of plugging a large hole is welcome.
This kit is small and lightweight, so it takes up barely any room in your pocket, bag or seatpack. It contains six plugs – three 2mm and three 5mm diameter, all 50mm long – and can, Zefal says, fill holes between 1mm and 5mm. It also includes the needle tool for inserting them.
As luck(?) would have it, a sharp rock caught my 38mm Hutchinson Override rear tyre on one descent and left a gash about 3mm long and 1mm wide. The sealant did a reasonable job of gumming up the hole, but I was about 30 miles from home with nothing but remote gravel tracks in front of me.
Rather than risk it opening up again, and using up what little sealant I had left, I decided to plug it. It's a simple task, and basically the same as plugging a car or motorcycle tyre.
With a plug strip in the groove on the tool, you use the needle to push it into the hole and give it a few twists. Then you slowly withdrawal the needle, leaving the plug in place with just a bit of each end exposed. It takes a bit of wriggling and tweaking to get everything seated right, but it's much easier than taking the tyre off to patch it or put a tube in.
I found the fix worked well: the hole stayed plugged as I rode the 30 miles of gravel home, with no leakage or issues at all. I later did a couple of shorter gravel rides on the fixed tyre with no problems too, before swapping to the next set of test tyres – if I hadn't had to, I wouldn't have bothered changing the Hutchinson, as the plug looked secure and pretty permanent.
At £7.99 it isn't badly priced either, especially if you value your time and energy out on the trails. Lezyne's Classic Tubeless Kit has a slightly more elaborately machined needle tool, if aesthetics are important, but comes with only five plugs for £10.
David was really impressed with the Dynaplug Racer Tubeless Repair Kit too, but that costs £34.99. It looks a much neater solution and is designed specifically for road tyres, though, whereas the Zefal uses a more generic plug aimed at all sorts of applications.
The Zefal Tubeless Repair Kit is simple, light, cheap and worth packing as it may just get you of a jam.
A neat and simple solution to punctures your sealant can't handle
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Zefal Tubeless Repair Kit
Size tested: N/A
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Zefal says, "The Tubeless Repair Kit gives cyclists the possibility to have a permanent repair solution for punctures to their bike whilst out riding."
I found it a relatively easy solution for large punctures.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Plugs: 3 x Ø 2mm + 3 x Ø 5mm
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It plugged the hole in a tyre very well indeed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Worked well out on the gravel trails.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not road specific.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At £7.99 it's pretty cheap. Lezyne's Classic Tubeless Kit is £10, and while the Dynaplug Racer Tubeless Repair Kit is road-specific and probably better, it's nearly £35.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The plugs fit well and I found the tool easy to use. It's a pretty good price too – it all does what you want, is very good, and an eight.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!