When it comes to tire punctures on the trail, I haven’t had many problems over the past ten years or so thanks to the improvements in both tires and tubeless systems. That said, there has been the occasional gash that won’t seal with a simple spin of the wheel and sealant to fix it.
In these instances, a tubeless repair kit comes in handy and keeps you from having to walk home. I’ve tried a few over the years before recently getting the Sahmurai S.W.O.R.D. (Super Wicked Original Repair Device) tubeless kit.
The kit is super handy (it fits in your handlebar) and works well for on-trail repairs as I recently learned when my son gashed his tire.
Review In A Nutshell
- Stores in the handlebar
- Thicker rubber strips than other tubeless repair kits
- Separated reamer and fork (plug) tool
- Requires grips with removable end caps
Storage Design Is Unique and Clever
Generally, I tend to to carry all of my tools either in a seat bag or in my pack’s tool area. Still, there are rides where I like to leave my hydration pack at home and it’s tough to fit everything I need in a seat bag.
And clearly I’m not alone. Stefan Sahm, 3-time Absa Cape Epic champion, and other riders alike have all had challenges carrying the necessary tools for long rides and racing.
Stefan and a team of like-minded individuals developed the Sahmurai Sword system to provide a safe place for sharp tools that can be carried on the bike. The two bar ends screw into the ends of your handlebars–on one side a reamer and on the other side a fork tool with bacon strip pre-loaded.
In fact, these tools are designed in such a safe way that I installed them on my son’s bike for testing. The ends are soft and secure and I didn’t have to worry about him landing on them in a crash.
How It Works
Most riders know the term “bacon-strips” indicating strips of rubber that is ready to be inserted into a large gash of a tire. The rubber is black and will match with most tires and is easily applied when needed.
I loaded the plug tool with a strip and inserted into my son’s left grip side of the handlebar. Likewise, I installed the reamer into the right side of the handlebar, and he was set and ready to go.
This worked well for us because my son’s Woom OFF Air already had grips with removable end caps. That said, if you have a bike with grips that don’t have end caps, you would need to store it in a pack (or buy a new pair of grips).
The Sahmurai Sword In Action
During a month-long trip into the desert near Phoenix, AZ this winter we were riding some rolling terrain when my son yelled out “Dad, my tire is flat!” What a perfect time to test the kit!
He had gashed his tire on some sharp rocks, and it had instantly gone flat. I gave the tire a few good pumps and listened for air coming out. Sure enough, the sealant couldn’t do the job on its own.
We pulled the reamer out, cleaned up the hole, and within seconds had applied the rubber plug. A little more pumping and we were rolling again!
It was too easy. I thought the tire might deflate over the course of the ride. I was wrong and it held air the whole way through the ride.
Compared To Other Repair Kits
The Sahmurai S.W.O.R.D. system works as well as any other tubeless kit I have previously used, but with the added benefit of being quickly accessible. Having the kit as the bar-ends is an ingenious idea. A preloaded rubber strip will remain out of the dust and be prepared for plugging duty.
The rubber strips seemed to be a little thicker than others I have previously used, which added to the ease of plugging. Having a safe system on my son’s bike allows him to be able to utilize it on his own now as well. The weight is negligible and worth the fail-safe of having the kit on hand.
If you’re looking for a safe, efficient plug system that your kiddos (or you) can stuff somewhere other than a pack, consider the Sahmurai S.W.O.R.D. system.