Effetto Mariposa Caffe’ latex tubeless conversion kit is in effect two products in one- a clever concept converting standard wire-on rims to the latest generation of tubeless tyres while the sealant can also be employed to combat punctures in traditional tubs and standard tubes with removable valve cores. We tried it in the latter to good effect but careful, methodical installation is a must. Left standing-say overnight, the solution readily reverts to liquid form, resulting in a disconcerting imbalance for the first few pedal strokes, returning to normal once the foaming consistency recovers.
That said, those seeking the benefits of tubeless while enjoying some welcome sidewall and pinch-flat respite won’t be disappointed, although don’t forgo the patch kit in wired on contexts as the liquid latex doesn't always cure fast enough, resulting in a very sticky mess. In my opinion, Kevlar belted tyres/heavy duty tubes remain the most reliable options for commuters and tourists.
The kit comprises several components- 250 ml Caffé’latex sealant, injector pump, two rolls of tubeless tape, two tubeless valves and valve key. Strip the donor wheel(s) of tyre(s), tube(s), existing rim tape and be sure to purge any traces of impacted dirt, grease or adhesive. The instructions recommend judicious filing of protruding spoke heads but in practice the rim tape’s hardy enough to counteract all but the most spiteful.
Start the tape five millimetres proud of the valve hole, working steadily around the rim, seating carefully and overlapping at the valve before piercing in preparation for the tubeless valve stem. While effective, the adhesive backing lacked the expected tenacity. So we took the belt and braces approach, remounting the Univega’s wired on tyre and tube, inflating to their maximum and leaving everything in situ overnight. Morning came and satisfied of proper adhesion, the dedicated tubeless rubber then followed.
Sealant is injected by opening the valve core at 9’oclock adding between thirty and 50ml for conventional road and mtb hoops (10/20 seems adequate in traditional inner tubes) before spinning to achieve even penetration. Refit the valve core, inflate and take a relaxed ten-minute ride around the block to fully stabilise the solution (and in a tubeless context, confirm everything’s airtight).
Taking the slow and steady philosophy paid off revealing no obvious pressure loss, although the solution’s recurrent and mildly irritating characteristic is very apparent when the bike is left standing for several hours/overnight. Experimenting with pressures hasn’t revealed any nasty or unpredictable handling quirks, nor pinch flats at low pressures.
The warm, ambient test period suggests it seals smaller holes before their impact is felt and is particularly effective against sidewall punctures. However, in keeping with the genre, the solution eventually dries out, negating any puncture preventative qualities, although this doesn’t affect air retention.
Clever, dependable conversion kit but requires careful fitting.
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Make and model: Effetto Mariposa Caffelatex tubeless conversion kit
Size tested: 22-25mm
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?
Caffélatex Tubeless Conversion Kits (RACE and HEAVY DUTY)
To take full advantage of Caffélatex sealant, we created two complete kits, to convert standard mountain-bike wheels into tubeless ones (2 wheels per kit).
Caffélatex Tubeless Kit has been developed for Tubeless, Tubeless-Ready and TNT (Tube No Tube) mountain bike tyres, manufactured according to UST fitting diameter.
WARNING: the use of Caffélatex Tubeless Kit with standard tube-type tyres is done under the user's sole responsibility and the inflation with these tyres might be very difficult, due to Caffé Tubeless Tape reduced thickness.
Generally meets the design brief very convincingly.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Caffélatex is a truly innovative tyre sealant and puncture
preventive. The first of its advantages over standard latexbased
sealants comes from a foaming agent (Actifoam™),
activated by wheel movement.
Centrifugal force drives standard latex-based sealants
against the outer circumference of the tyre; CafféLatex™
foaming action causes it to fill the tyre's entire internal
cavity, making it much more effective against sidewall
TM Its fast sealing action makes Caffélatex ideal for MTB and
road tubeless, tubular and standard tyres: it repairs
punctures up to 6mm (mtb) and 3mm (road).
TM Thanks to its formula, Caffélatex is a very stable and
durable sealant (depending on kind of application and
external conditions). Containing no ammonia, it is also
100% tyre & rim friendly.
Usage and storage temperatures: from very cold to very hot,
exceeding by far those of first-generation latex sealants
(usage: -20/+50°C ~ storage: -15/ +30°C).
50 ml for road tyres or mtb
tyres up to 26x2.10/29x2.00;
100 ml for tyres over
Formats: bottles (1000
Sealant isn't foolproof and in keeping with the genre has a finite life.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
With careful insdtallation, its a very reliable means of going tubeless, adding some welcome puncture prevention into the bargain. Thorough preparation ensures everything remains airtight and generally dependable. The latex solution is kind to rims and tyres and undetectable when rotating inside the tubes/tyre. However it,quickly reverts to liquid form when left dormant-say garaged overnight, pulling away can feel a little peculiar until the solution stabilises.
For all its many virtues, the solution has a finite life and it won't save you from a sticky mess should you meet that nail with your name on it.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Generally well thought out and quite versatile.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Can be quite time consuming to fit and in keeping with the genre, the sealant isn't fool proof.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they were looking to try tubeless
Age: 36 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)