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Latex tubes

Old 06-20-22, 05:11 PM
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bonsai171
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Latex tubes

Does anyone have experience running latex tubes? I'm currently running standard butyl tubes and have been thinking about trying latex. Does it make a noticable difference in ride quality or speed?

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Old 06-20-22, 06:10 PM
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Lighter, smoother and loses pressure quickly. They really do have to be checked every other day. I put tubeless liquid in them and there's been no troubles with flats though, just have to be extra careful installing with new tires or really tight tires, they pinch very easily.
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Old 06-20-22, 06:14 PM
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Fiddly to install but they roll nicely. They lose air faster than butyl. Certainly worthy of consideration IMO.
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Old 06-20-22, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Fiddly to install but they roll nicely. They lose air faster than butyl. Certainly worthy of consideration IMO.
Sounds interesting. I pump tires before every ride anyways, so maybe I'll try it.

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Old 06-20-22, 07:24 PM
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I decided to get the kind you inject in through the valve stem.
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Old 06-20-22, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
I decided to get the kind you inject in through the valve stem.
​​​​​​Vittoria?

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Old 06-20-22, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by bonsai171 View Post
​​​​​​Vittoria?

Dave
Sorry, I am being obscure. After spending months trying to find the right size latex tube (Vittoria or otherwise, for my 38mm Barlows), I decided instead to try them tubeless (with Latex sealant). I'm not a big tubeless fan, but it is working out ok so far. Jan/Rene Herse says it wouldn't make much of a difference in terms of rolling resistance, but my Garmin thinks it has. (Maybe because I am so slow to begin with, incremental differences matter more?)
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Old 06-20-22, 08:43 PM
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I think TPU tubes are a much better option for most riders nowadays. They have none of the hassles of latex (like fragility, finicky install, and rapid leakdown), and offer lighter weight, better puncture resistance, and greater durability, with virtually the same low rolling resistance. They do cost about 2x as much, but almost certainly will last longer.
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Old 06-21-22, 04:19 AM
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I use latex tubes a lot. For me, it is more about the ride quality than any weight savings. Matched with quality tires, there is a very noticeable difference in the ride, more supple and smooth. One does have to be careful installing and inflating the latex tubes. I take a good look at the rim/tire around the whole circumference to make sure the tire is seated. Then, when inflating, I stop 3 or 4 times to do the same inspection. If you can find them on sale, IMO, they are worth the cost and care it takes, just my opinion.
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Old 06-21-22, 04:41 AM
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Old 06-21-22, 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
I use latex tubes a lot. For me, it is more about the ride quality than any weight savings. Matched with quality tires, there is a very noticeable difference in the ride, more supple and smooth. One does have to be careful installing and inflating the latex tubes. I take a good look at the rim/tire around the whole circumference to make sure the tire is seated. Then, when inflating, I stop 3 or 4 times to do the same inspection. If you can find them on sale, IMO, they are worth the cost and care it takes, just my opinion.
I feel the same way, but sometimes I wonder how much of that extra smooth/supple feel I get is really just the placebo effect.

Some day we need to do a randomized trial with identical wheels/tires/pressure to see if we really can tell the difference.
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Old 06-21-22, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
I feel the same way, but sometimes I wonder how much of that extra smooth/supple feel I get is really just the placebo effect.

Some day we need to do a randomized trial with identical wheels/tires/pressure to see if we really can tell the difference.
I have done that very thing with a couple of different bikes. Both times were with the same wheels and tires, same routes at approximately the same speed, and same psi in the tubes. Certainly not a scientific trial, but my feeling is that there was a definite, quite noticeable difference it the ride quality. I did not try to go faster on one or the other, as I was not concerned with the weight/speed difference. I will say, IME, quality wheels and tires also make a difference. One stretch of road that I used has a lot of cracked tarmac that was repaired with the spray on tarry substance road crews use. It makes for a very bumpy, not drastic, ride. If riding that stretch with butyl tubes, I find myself avoiding as much of the repaired area as I can, with latex, not so much.
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Old 06-21-22, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
I have done that very thing with a couple of different bikes. Both times were with the same wheels and tires, same routes at approximately the same speed, and same psi in the tubes. Certainly not a scientific trial, but my feeling is that there was a definite, quite noticeable difference it the ride quality. I did not try to go faster on one or the other, as I was not concerned with the weight/speed difference. I will say, IME, quality wheels and tires also make a difference. One stretch of road that I used has a lot of cracked tarmac that was repaired with the spray on tarry substance road crews use. It makes for a very bumpy, not drastic, ride. If riding that stretch with butyl tubes, I find myself avoiding as much of the repaired area as I can, with latex, not so much.
I suspect you are correct. I use butyl in my "winter" wheels and latex in my "summer" wheels so I have never done an A/B comparison. One of these days I should.
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Old 06-21-22, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
I think TPU tubes are a much better option for most riders nowadays. They have none of the hassles of latex (like fragility, finicky install, and rapid leakdown), and offer lighter weight, better puncture resistance, and greater durability, with virtually the same low rolling resistance. They do cost about 2x as much, but almost certainly will last longer.
agree - or at least that is my thinking up to this point - I've been using tpu tubes in a couple of bikes since last summer

I just got back into biking after a long hiatus - but before this I used latex tubes in almost every bike (road and off road) ; latex tubes lose air quickly but they are lighter than butyl and provide better ride / lower rolling resistance

tpu tubes retain air much better than latex tubes - possibly as well as butyl (?) - but gotta be careful with tpu tubes because they lack the 'elasticity' other tubes have ; they will expand but will not contract back to original size

also - some of the valve stems can be a little problematic
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Old 06-21-22, 07:40 AM
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if you do use latex tubes - and this process should be followed with every tube - you need a good quality rim strip and ensure it is installed properly (I use Velox or similar)

apply talc / baby powder (whatever) to inside of tire casing, rim strip, and tube when mounting tire / installing tube

inflate - check to ensure tube is seated inside tire - inflate halfway then deflate - then inflate again ... something like this to ensure the tube is seated properly inside the tire

also ensure the tire bead is seated properly on the rim - especially near the valve stem where sometimes the tire will lift slightly if the beefed-up part of the tube is not seated properly inside the tire

Last edited by t2p; 06-21-22 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 06-21-22, 10:25 AM
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I have been riding a very long time, and one thing I don't understand: What does is mean when it is said a tire/tube feels "supple?"
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Old 06-21-22, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by bblair View Post
I have been riding a very long time, and one thing I don't understand: What does is mean when it is said a tire/tube feels "supple?"
Softer/smoother, almost as if you dropped the PSI by 10 but still roll fast, so NOT mushy. It's rather subtle IMO but probably real. Maybe.
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Old 06-21-22, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Softer/smoother, almost as if you dropped the PSI by 10 but still roll fast, so NOT mushy. It's rather subtle IMO but probably real. Maybe.
Ok, I get it. Kinda like how the $50 wine tastes better than the $15 wine, as long as you look at the price first.
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Old 06-21-22, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by bblair View Post
What does is mean when it is said a tire/tube feels "supple?"
Low stiffness. Specifically low stiffness in compression if we're talking about tires, since they're always very stiff in tension.
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Old 06-21-22, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by bblair View Post
Ok, I get it. Kinda like how the $50 wine tastes better than the $15 wine, as long as you look at the price first.
Are you or have you been able to feel the difference when you ride on new high(er) quality tires - compared to old / worn or lower quality tires ?

You've been riding a long time - you have a Lynskey and a 5200 Trek - and an old Paramount ... do you have experience with tubular tires ?

Or back in the day - experience with Michelin Super Comp HD or Vittoria Corsa Open CX (or whatever that tire was) - compared to a low cost OEM tire ?

Few upgrades will improve the feel and performance of a bike than a tire upgrade - and without knowing the price of the tire lol
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Old 06-21-22, 06:57 PM
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Latex seems noticeably better than butyl with 32-40c tires. Ride does feel slightly more supple, better puncture protection and not that expensive if you buy during sales. I haven't used latex tubes that go wider than 40c or smaller than 32c. With 30c and below tires, I do like the additional weight savings of TPU tubes while still having equal if not more benefits over latex (holds air better). TPU almost has the same responsive supple feeling as my tubeless gravel bike setup.
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Old 06-22-22, 10:42 AM
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Another vote for TPU tubes. They are significantly lighter and, more importantly, make the tires feel like you're running them tubeless...
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Old 06-22-22, 11:25 PM
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Concerning TPU tubes, are there brands to avoid ? I’m interested in trying a set on my double century bike.
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Old 06-23-22, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Tomm Willians View Post
Concerning TPU tubes, are there brands to avoid ? I’m interested in trying a set on my double century bike.
I don’t think so, no. Whether talking Revloops, Aerothan, Tubolito or Pirelli, I think they’re quite similar in terms of quality. Someone referenced “valve issues” upthread, but I’ve never heard of such a thing as a common, systemic, or brand related issue, so I’d want to see more on that before believing there’s anything in it.

That said, for endurance riding, you may want to prioritize qualities other than minimal weight. Schwalbe makes claims about their Aerothan tubes outperforming other tube types, including other TPU tubes, in various categories including puncture and cut resistance, so I’d suggest looking closely at their documentation before deciding.

Sure, I don’t know if there’s any way to confirm or disprove Schwalbe’s claims, so it might get down to simply deciding to try to stack the deck in your favor, but it seems reasonable to presume that heavier TPU will be more durable than featherweights like Tubolito S or Revloop UltraRace. Certainly any advantages in weight savings or Crr reduction between regular and ultralightweight TPU will be extremely minimal and probably meaningless.
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Old 06-23-22, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Tomm Willians View Post
Concerning TPU tubes, are there brands to avoid ? I’m interested in trying a set on my double century bike.
I've tried Tubolito and Pirelli and been happy with both...
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