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Hutchinson Protect'Air Max achieves a great seal for your tubeless tyre setup with minimal messy turmoil. The small, manageable bottle of sealant with a one-way valve cap allows for easy application, and it's not a bad price either, though this 120ml size isn't the most cost-effective way to buy it.
Tubeless is becoming widespread across pretty much all ride disciplines these days and there is a huge choice of sealants to keep you rolling should you unfortunately puncture out on the roads or trails.
Hutchinson's Protect'Air Max makes for a good choice of latex sealant to combine with your tubeless-ready tyres and wheels. Having tested it on both a pair of road and gravel tyres, the sealant can't be faulted for performance. Refitting the Specialized Rhombus tyres that I tested a few months back, they sealed despite cuts and holes dotted around the casing that I hadn't noticed before.
Both sets of tyres were subjected to differing pressures to suit their applications – low for gravel, hard for the road – with minimal issues. Naturally, a little air escaped between rides, but rarely have I had a tubeless seal where that doesn't occur, especially when kept at high pressure. Throughout the test period the sealant did its job well, with no punctures out on the roads or on the trails.
Drying of sealant can be a major issue, but with only a month's testing it's not really possible to comment on its long-term ability. That said, I didn't have to top up the tyres with fluid in the month that I've used them, which is promising, and we have had a lot of very hot days.
The initial setup is made surprisingly clean thanks to the simple squeeze cap with a one-way valve, which allows application without any spillage and is much better than some bottles or pouches where you just have to line things up and hope for the best.
Removing the nozzle of the bottle from the valve saw a bit of leakage, but nothing that a quick wipe with a rag couldn't sort.
Hutchinson suggests using 30ml per road tyre and 60ml per mountain bike tyre, but in both cases, it needed a bit more to seal successfully. For the brand-new road tyres I topped it up to about 40ml for the initial sealing, and the gravel tyres took about 55ml, but as I said they did have a few cuts in them already.
The 120ml bottle is handy for a one-off, and is enough for two road tyres with some left over, but buying it in larger volume is much more cost-effective, especially if you are using multiple bikes with tubeless setups.
At £6.95 for a 120ml bottle, the Hutchinson is a touch pricier than the Juice Lubes Tyre Sealant at £5.99 (140ml), but actually looks quite a good deal against the Panaracer Seal Smart at £8.99 for 120ml.
It fares even better alongside the Schwalbe Doc Blue, which is more than double the price at £7.99 for 60ml.
Overall, the Hutchinson Protect'Air Max does a good job of sealing up your tyres while being easy to apply and not costing a fortune.
Decent sealing properties and very easy to apply through your valves
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Hutchinson Protect'Air Max
Size tested: 120ml
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?
Hutchinson describes it as, "Latex-based protective liquid that coagulates on contact with air."
It is as simple as that. It reacts with the air and seals small punctures easily and effectively.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Protect'Air Max is a PH neutral latex based sealant that can be used for Road Tubeless and MTB tires. It has two functions.
When used with Tubeless Ready tires, it seals the casing. MTB or Road. Secondly, it acts to repair small (1-2mm) punctures that perforate the casing of the tire. If there is a puncture, the sealant acts to fill the hole and repair the tire. Note: It may not repair larger punctures.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It did exactly what it should: sealed the tyre nicely, didn't dry out in the time of the test and allowed me to run a full range of tyre pressures with no problems.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
One-way valve gives faff-free application.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Small bottles aren't the most cost effective.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
When comparing like for like size bottles, the Hutchinson stuff is well priced against rivals mentioned in the review, especially the Schwalbe Doc Blue.
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
It's a good quality sealant and offers decent value against some of the opposition.
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!