Thursday, September 17

Plug and (continue to) Play

Member me saying I was gonna find a solution to being under-plugged in the future?  I member.  Well, I found it.

I've been an avid plugger since 2012.  I feel like it's worth mentioning.  I dunno why.

Re-reading that old post, I see there was a time when I was willing to poke a hole in a tire and test a plug... a technology that's existed in the pneumatic tire world for like ever... but I needed to see it for myself first before trusting it in a race.  We were all carrying tubes back then.  Unnghh.

Anyhoo, before I started carrying a Dynaplug tool, I was carrying the simpler (cheaper) Genuine Innovations plugger.

That one had been "adapted" to fit into a Sharpie cap to keep it ready on the fly.  The main reason I started looking for alternatives was the difficulty I'd had in the past loading the bacon in the tight space between the two tines.  I'd once struggled enough that I'd snapped one of the tines off, leaving me with a useless tool.  So I upgraded to the Dynaplug for ease of use and the ability to use Megaplugs to seal larger holes faster.  The "adapted" GI tool still got carried in my Tülbag for races as a backup... although I kinda forgot that I'd stuck it in my EDC stem mounted tool eight months ago.

That was back in January... when I was counting on replacing it in my race kit with this:

The Topeak Tubi-Bullet X.  I put it on my ambassador wish list and waited.  And waited.  And waited...

And then found out that it wasn't gonna be available in the U.S.

And then totally forgot that I was carrying two pluggers when I was racing back when there was racing... and as the story went, I even forgot to carry my spare plugs at the Shenandoah Mountain 100.


I was lax in my preparations because I wasn't preparing for anything.  I just let this detail slip away into the ether.

Let's fix this then.

Two bikes, two problems.  I want beaucoup plugs/pluggers on all the bikes.

I know the EDC tool has a screw-in plugger option, but I didn't like it for two reasons:

1. It's always sold out.

2. I don't want the included fancy quick link tool that has to make up for 75% of the $40 price.  Also, the EDC tool already has a quick link tool that requires some dexterity and muscle memory to use... I guess... never used it.

I ended up going with this:

The Blackburn Pro Plugger Kit.  Why?

I like the mount next to the bottle cage (it also comes with a strap-it-anywhere mount).  Also, I really like the other side which holds the CO2 with the inflator... which is pretty a pretty logical piece of kit.

The inflator has a nice knob for releasing the CO2 instead of being one of those "back out the cartridge with care" or spring loaded types.  I'll assume it works until it doesn't.

Another nicely thought out bit is the cover for the inflator, because I'm confident enough mud can fowl things up if you're not careful.  I'd been covering my under the saddle inflators with a piece of road innertube for years.

Something that's not included but I already have figured out is a spacer THAT CAN BE REMOVED QUICKLY so the inflator doesn't have to stored on the cartridge in a pre-punctured manner.

Yes, that's one of those cable guide doohickeys.  Feel free to take that pro tip home with you.

What else is groovy?

You can shove up to three strips of bacon in there... although good luck with that.  I got two.  That said, a hole that can't be sealed with sealant (assuming you remembered to check it first) will probably need a couple plugs at least.  Extra bacon stores conveniently inside one end of the tool while the other has a built-in valve core removal tool.

It also fits in the weed stash compartment of my EDC tool.

Yes, I bought a second one.  You could say it's stupid to stick a tool in a tool that already has an integrated tool designed to do the same job but whatever.  Assuming I get my head outta my ass before I race again, I can strap the spare spare plugger to my frame or put it in a drop bag for that security blanket happy feeling.

Of course, it wasn't until this morning that I saw Dynaplug finally released their bottle cage mount for the Racer Dynaplug they'd hinted at months ago.

Dammit.  Well... options anyways.  Also, having a plugger that uses standard bacon strips means I'll have a better chance finding resupplies at a local bike shop in a road trip emergency...

Although, local bike shops be running low on everything.  Shop ahead, my friends.  Not "toilet paper hoarding" style, but surely be thinking ahead about staple items you're gonna need anyways. 


Vertigo Cycles said...

If you do end up going back to Dynaplug, check motorcycle stores for refills when you're out and about. They popped on my radar for motorbikes long before I saw that they made something for pedal bikes.

ed said...

At the risk of jinxing myself, I've never ripped a hole in my tire. Do you run lite weight tires that are more prone to this, or is it the terrain out east? Or do you just ride super hard or something?

ed said...

So I have never ripped a tire and needed to plug it. I feel like it happens to you fairly often. Is this because you run lite weight tires that are more prone to puncture, or you ride harder, or the terrain out east is sharper? Or have I just been lucky?

dicky said...

I probably flat one to two times a year. The torn tire at last year's OZ Off Road was a common occurrence on the Ledges Trail. Loads of people fixing sliced tires that day.

I do ride EXO sidewall protected tires and larger sizes (2.6 and 2.35). I think riding a hard tail surely adds to the risk, and yes, when "racing," I do tend to kinda hang it out a bit more. I'll never choose a tire based on weight... other than avoiding the lightest options at all costs.

I also tend to "race" in pretty gnarly places. TSE, Virginia, Breckenridge, Pisgah, etc. So, I guess that's that.