milKit – Sealant Replacement

Words Andrew Major
Photos Claire Parr-Major
Date Jul 7, 2016

Swiss milKit. I’m not going to begin with the obvious barb that only someone with a Swiss-German sense of humour would name a tool designed to remove and install tubeless sealant from a tire “Milk It.” Too easy. Instead I’m going to begin with the obvious barb that only someone with a Swiss-German sense of economy would try to sell me a $70.00 (CAD) tool that on the surface provides the same core service as one I can buy from a number of companies for ~$15.00 (CAD).

But wait! It doesn’t just allow you to add tubeless sealant through your valve stems by removing the valve core without having to unseat the tire bead seal and potentially damaging your rim tape. It also allows you to check the quantity of and quality of said sealant without having to the unseat the tire.

Swiss milKit

milKit includes: two special valve stems, plastic valve removal tool, syringe/case, injector tube.

There are going to be three types of riders/mechanics/consumers when it comes to milKit. If you’re feeling a bit cynical about the $70.00 kit, or cautiously thinking “yeah, that sounds like it could be useful” we’ll talk a little bit more in a minute.

If you’re screaming “HONEY, WHERE’S MY WALLET!” don’t let me stop you. Here’s the link to where to buy and a handy promotional video on why you NEED this product. Where did you say you picked up your engineering degree? On a scale of 1-to-999 how do you rank your fluency in German?

For the cynic. Yes, even when you factor in that the Swiss milKit system includes a pair of valve stems, call that a $20.00 (CAD) value, it is still twice as expensive as a Stan’s NoTubes sealant injector and a set of valve stems. I suppose I could make the argument that the milKit also includes a valve core removal tool but I’m not a fan of plastic wrenches and if you don’t already own a metal valve core removal tool you probably have a small crescent wrench.

“F*CK Mountain Biking Is Too Expensive” right? Here’s the thing. We both know that when you add your homemade latex solution to the used tires you scrounged from the recycling pile behind your local bike shop you just pop the bead, inspect the $1.50 worth of Gorilla Tape you used to line your rim, and air the tire up. I don’t think you’re milKit’s target customer.

Moving on…

Swiss milKit

The heart of the milKit system are these special valve stems. The rubber base acts as a one-way flapper to let air in but seal both air and fluid from escaping when the valve core – with plastic extender – or milKit system are not inserted.

Okay, everybody else:

As to the unique function of being able to remove tubeless sealant to inspect and measure it? milKit works.

Swiss milKit

The heart of the milKit system is its special valve stems. The addition of a one-way rubber valve in the rubber base traps air and fluid inside the tire when the valve core – with plastic extender – or milKit system are not inserted through the valve.

In practice, when not using the Swiss milKit system, these valves act exactly like the tubeless valve stems you are using right now. In theory, you could rig up something similar to pull fluid out through your existing valve core but milKit actually uses air pressure to help push out the fluid, so if you’re going that far the kit may be of value to you.

Swiss milKit

With the valve core removed the Swiss milKit system pushes through the rubber valve to insert, or remove, tubeless sealant fluid from the tire. With the valve core, with plastic extender, installed it acts like any other tubeless valve.

If you’ve used any of the other sealant injectors on the market the Swiss milKit functions with similar ease of use and with the added benefit that the sealant can’t leak out at all once the injector is removed, thanks to the rubber valve. The syringe has smooth action and clear markings and the stopcock flow control means no leaks.

I used to be in the “just crack the bead” camp but after having to replace my rim tape a couple of times because it had bonded to the tire – pulled away from the rim when the bead was popped off – I definitely am on board with the merits of adding sealant through the valve stem. In that sense the milKit system works as well, but not better, than other systems on the market.

If you want to use milKit with multiple bikes you will need to purchase additional valve stems, but that’s a small expense if you’re a believer in the system.

Swiss milKit

For the purpose of this test I installed milKit in my toddler-puller/gravel/light trails bike. Whether it be the tire volume, riding conditions, etc it seems to require additional sealant more often than my mountain bikes.

milKit Works

As to the unique function of being able to remove tubeless sealant to inspect and measure it? milKit works.

It definitely is NOT as simple as the instructions or instructional video would have you believe. I need some, but not too much air pressure in my tire (milKit recommends ~22psi) to coax the tubeless fluid into the system, but too much and you’ll definitely end up wearing sealant.

Beyond that, I remove the valve core, insert the milKit tool, open the stopcock (carefully), check the amount and quality of the sealant, and push it back in.

If you discover that your tire needs more sealant I would recommend letting all the air out before adding the desired amount. It seems to be a more foolproof and cleaner process.

Swiss milKit

Checking sealant with milKit requires some, but not too much, air pressure. milKit recommends 22psi. Adding fluid I would recommend having no air in the tire.

In all honesty, I’m not much of a weight weenie and having an extra ounce or two of tubeless sealant in my tires is not a big deal to me. I know to add some sealant every few months because it dries out and when you can’t hear it slushing around in your tire anymore that probably means you’re due to make an addition.

If you are counting grams, OCD about your tubeless setup, have had issues with other injectors, want to maximize the chance of leaving a tire mounted from install to replacement, or just want the cleanest system for handling tubeless sealant on the market, then Swiss milKit may be for you.


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Comments

ess-ay
0
Ess Ay  - July 8, 2016, 9:46 a.m.

Credit where it's due - this is the best system on the market, if only by a small margin. If I've dropped $6K on a bike, I'm not going to quibble about $70 system that works great. Good job milKit!

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