Meet Brett Beard: Introducing Stan’s Sealant To The Outdoor Equipment Industry
Stan’s Sealant works great for bikes, but did you know that it also works well for vehicles like zero-turn mowers, farm tractors, construction equipment, and golf carts? Spreading that word is exactly what Brett Beard -- who also happens to love gravel bike racing -- does every day as Stan’s Product Manager of Outdoor Equipment. So we caught up with Brett to learn more about new and different ways to use Stan’s Sealant and to find out what he’s been up to on and off his bikes.
Stan’s NoTubes: Of course, we all know and love to use Stan’s sealant in our bike tires, but will you please tell us what are some typical non-bike uses of Stan’s Sealant?
Brett Beard: Yes. Just like with bikes, Stan’s can prevent and eliminate flats for all sorts of pneumatic tires. That means it also has applications in outdoor equipment markets like lawn and garden; agriculture and turf; construction; and golf course and municipality equipment.
SNT: Who figured out that Stan’s Sealant wasn’t just for cycling applications?
BB: Historically, friends, employees and acquaintances of Stan’s have just quietly used the sealant for their own personal non-bike applications such as their garden tractors, wheelbarrows, side-by-sides and zero-turn mowers. It works so well in those “other” applications that we thought a lot of other people could benefit from using it, too. So I came onboard in August of 2019 to help spread the word.
SNT: How does Stan’s Sealant work in outdoor equipment tires?
BB: It’s a lot like with bikes in that using Stan’s Sealant reduces your machine downtime by reducing the number of flat tires. It’s similar to how your blood coagulates when you cut yourself. Tires are made of natural rubber, which is also in our sealant. A tight bond forms between the tire and sealant at the site of the puncture, creating a Stan’s plug that stays in place and becomes a permanent fix.
SNT: Is the use of tubeless tires and/or sealant a new thing in the outdoor equipment world like it once was with bikes?
BB: We’re only just at the beginning of widespread adoption in the outdoor equipment world. I have conversations every week with people who don’t know about Stan’s sealant as a flat tire preventative option or solution. I also talk to people who have previously tried a different sealant but had a bad experience.
SNT: How do you convince people to consider trying Stan’s Sealant?
BB: Whether I’m talking to business owners, dealerships, or DIY consumers, I hear that people still have their doubts about sealant, but for most, seeing is believing, so explanations and demonstrations are important. Word of mouth also helps people engage, so it’s helpful if they’ve already heard something positive from a friend, neighbor or colleague, and it resonates.
COVID has limited In-person visits to dealerships and events this past year, so we’ve done a lot of general explaining and education through social media and other channels. Fortunately, that’s all about to change as we all get vaccinated and can get back out there more.
SNT: How does sealant usage for bikes and for off-road equipment compare?
BB: Stan’s creates a natural membrane on the inside of tires that helps the tires maintain pressure over time, especially at lower pressures. To give you an idea, mower and garden tractors and other slower speed equipment typically run 8-20 psi tire pressures.
The main difference is that tires in the outdoor equipment world are thicker and have more plys, so they don’t leach air nearly as much. The sealant maintains a liquid state longer than inside bike tires. We still recommend a sealant refresh annually, where a “refresh” is simply the addition of fresh sealant.
But just like with bikes, you can even use Stan’s in outdoor equipment tires that have tubes as long as their valve core is removable. I have a friend who races enduro who still runs tubes, but he always puts in fresh sealant so he doesn’t have to deal with thorns, etc. while riding.
SNT: Where does Stan’s fit in among outdoor equipment sealant options?
BB: Traditional sealants in the outdoor equipment industry have particulates in the sealant that plug holes whenever they happen, and they are OK in their performance. Our Stan’s Sealant is different because while we also rely a little on particulates in the sealant, it’s the PH reactivity that occurs and creates a natural latex plug from the inside of a tire or tube. Our sealant works best in tubeless tire applications, but like I just mentioned, it also works in tubed applications.
SNT: What’s your own experience in the outdoor equipment world?
BB: I’ve always been around equipment that requires air in the tires. I got my first job helping out with mowing and landscaping when I was 13. Then I worked at a horse farm. I also worked at golf courses, power sports dealerships, and a Ford Motors dealership. And I used to race motocross and ride (moto) enduro. So I’ve dealt with a lot of flat tires!
SNT: Speaking of experience, we hear that you’ve really gotten into gravel bike riding and racing during the past two years.
BB: Yes. Right now, I’m getting ready for the 200-miler at Unbound Gravel in Kansas. I was registered and set to do it last year, but it didn't happen due to COVID. I’ve never ridden 200 miles at a clip, although I’ve ridden 150 miles a few times, and I’ve done some centuries since my first one back in August 2019 just prior to when I started working for Stan’s. To be honest, I had always thought that drop bar bikes were not cool, but now that’s all changed!
What happened was that I got sick of hitting the ground on my mountain bikes and dirt bikes, and I wanted to build more fitness. I became closer friends with Jamie Bestwick, who put the idea of Unbound 200 in my head. We fed off of each other and decided to go all in and do it. So we entered the lottery and got in.
Last year, we did the Sugarcane 200 and Mid South to prepare, but then COVID cancelled everything else. We’ve kept to our plan for this year, but I wanted to be fully vaccinated before traveling anywhere out of state.
[Editor’s Note: This year so far, Brett has made the podium at three races in Pennsylvania: the Mammoth Gravel Grind in Wellsboro; the Parker Dam Gravel Grinder in S.B. Elliott State Park; and Whiskey Rebellion Gravel in Prosperity.]
I’m expecting a whole other level at Unbound, and then my next big races will be Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR) - San Diego, Rooted Vermont, Rollin’ Coal Gravel Grinder, Gravel Worlds, Vermont Overland, Keystone Gravel, BWR - Cedar City, Rad Dirt Fest and Unpaved Gravel. I might even add in a few more.
SNT: That’s a lot of traveling and racing! How do you balance all that with having a family?
BB: I’m a very early riser. I love to get in hours of training before the household wakes up. That allows me to still enjoy most of my evenings with my kids. I have an eight-year-old boy and a four-year-old girl. It’s a sacrifice to be away from them on the weekends when I’m traveling or training on long rides, but it also helps me make the most of my time on the weekends when I am with them.
SNT: Considering your relatively recent gravel conversion, do you have any advice for others who are also looking to get into gravel riding or racing?
BB: Personally, I get really into whatever I’m doing, and I spend a lot of time researching and asking questions of others who’ve had a similar experience. Therefore, I suggest getting to know people with similar interests so you can connect with them and bounce ideas back and forth.
SNT: Rumor has it you like to Zwift a lot...
BB: Well, I love to ride outdoors, but I don’t love the cold, and when the weather is not ideal, I have no problem Zwifting. It’s a great motivational tool because it’s an excellent way to connect with other people of similar interests around the world.
SNT: So we have to ask... what are your favorite Stan’s wheels and why?
BB: Oh gosh, I like them all! Right now, I guess it’d have to be the Grail CB7s. They are light, compliant, robust and make climbing easier. But when I throw my leg over my mountain bike, I almost always have a set of Flows on because I can trust them to get me to the end of my ride.
SNT: It’s time to wrap up and let you get back to more riding and telling everyone about Stan’s Sealant, but before we go, will you please give us an idea of what we all can expect sealant-wise going forward?
BB: As a company, we at Stan’s always want to make our products better for our end consumer. Right now our sealant is optimized for our current markets, but we’ll be exploring formulation updates to make our sealant work even better, especially in higher stress, higher speed outdoor equipment applications like motocross and ATVs and side-by-side racing.