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  1. #1
    Senior Member Drakonchik's Avatar
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    Butyl vs. Latex Tubes - Different Feel in Your Hand?

    Can a person tell from the feel of the raw rubber between your fingers whether an inner tube is made from butyl or latex rubber?

    I'd like to know for purposes of recovering used inner tubes from salvaged bikes. Inner tubes from fairly ancient bikes can be amazingly well preserved. And yes, believe it or not, old tubes especially latex can be sold on various venues for old bikes parts to folks who want authentic parts, etc.

    Anybody out there got the knack for distinguishing the two rubber types?

  2. #2
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    I have not seen a latex tube for many years. When I rode sew up tires they were lates and the tubes were light colored (not black). They were very thin and supple compared to butyl tubes

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    I've seen them at my local shop. They look like they're made from surgical glove material, either off-white or greenish.

  4. #4
    Senior Member teamcompi's Avatar
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    Thinner, (usually), ligher in weight and color (usually), and I break into hives if I am around latex, but that wont help you much. Often old ones would be brownish red or tan in color, I have seen some new ones which were green but I do not remember black. I am sure one can get really smooth butyl but latex is smooth, I do not remember all the seams in latex tubes like you seem to get in butyl but I could be wrong. Have you checked the guru of all things bike aka Sheldon Brown, he likely has a essay on the topic.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    To change the subject just a tad . . .

    Does anyone know of/about polyurathane tubes?

    Frank J Berto, in is 1988 tome 'Upgrading Your Bicycle',

    mentioned these to be '. . . the hot new tube material.'


    Regards,
    J T

  6. #6
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    I like the feel of butyl.

    It's subtle, though, and I can't absolutely be sure I'm not imagining it. ;-)

    I have ridden performance lunar lights for a few years. Feather light. Be careful when changing -- easy to tear butyl.

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