By Steve Larsen
The annual SEMA (Special Equipment Market Association) industry trade show draws hundreds of thousands of auto dealers, specialty equipment distributors, installers, retailers and restoration shops to Las Vegas every November. Most appealing to me are smaller vendors who solve specific problems in new and creative ways—especially when it involves motorcycles. A prime example at this year’s SEMA show was ClampTite.
The ClampTite tool, available alone or in a variety of kits, makes hose clamps obsolete with a better solution using just wire. The resulting new “clamp” won’t snag and is a perfect fit every time. It allows you to pretty much clamp anything, of any size or shape, anywhere. The company claims the resulting clamp is ten times stronger and 90% lighter than traditional geared hose clamps.
There are several downsides to traditional circle clamps. First, it never fails that the size clamp you need is not one of the ones in your big bucket of circle clamps, so you stop mid-project and head to the hardware store. Or, you decide to keep things moving along and use a wrong-sized clamp which invariably causes problems later on. Second, when using regular circle clamps for fuel lines, air, or water fittings, they frequently vibrate free and leak. Lastly, they’re always catching on something, such as a finger and that means blood.
My pals restoring vintage bikes love the super low profile of the ClampTite approach. It allows them to cover the wire clamp with vintage parts or heat shrink tubing for a super clean look. All motorcycles vibrate and are susceptible to leaks from hose clamps. ClampTite connections only move with the bike and the parts they connect. They have no flat spots where air can work its way in, so vibrations will not loosen them. So, in addition to a smoother profile, they’re much stronger. As a strength test, I fastened a rubber auto hose to a PVC pipe lathered with grease. Even cinching it really tight with a typical circle clamp, I was able to rotate the hose. Not so with the ClampTite fastener—it would not move.
One of my first applications was to repair an air-hose problem. The centralized air system in my workshop leaked, which was a real hassle. When I forgot to turn the air off at the compressor, it would kick on and run noisily when the air in the system had depleted. I used the ClampTite tool to replace all of my ill-fitting hose clamps. It only took about 20 minutes. The leaking air stopped and the system was totally sealed. Connections made with the ClampTite tool provide a full 360 degree seal with no flat spots.
The kit, with tool and wire, is small and easily fits into the tool storage spot on most bikes. A long-time user of ClampTite and avid off-roader told me about attaching one of his mirrors after a crash and found the field repair so solid, he never bothered to have it “officially” repaired.
The most popular tool is their top-of-the-line model which goes for $69.95. A kit containing the tool, an assortment of wire, full instructions and a rugged zipper case lists for $129.95. A smaller version of the tool is also available for $59 which fits into tighter places and consumes less storage space.
Summary: While possible to get a similar result much cheaper with baling wire, a screwdriver and a set of wire-cutters, it won’t be nearly as neat, simple, easy or as effective. Plus, you’ll miss the satisfaction of using such a cleverly designed tool. It’s made of high-quality materials here in the United States (stainless steel, aluminum and bronze) and should last forever. The tool has a lifetime warranty. If anything ever happens to it they will replace it for free.
The PDF of this article is available here: ClampTite, Feb 2019