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Lightweight tubes vs. latex

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Lightweight tubes vs. latex

Old 12-16-18, 07:31 PM
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bonsai171
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Lightweight tubes vs. latex

Hi,

I went flat on my road bike today, and have been thinking about trying either lightweight tubes or latex tubes. Been running pretty much whatever tube I can find in 700X25 for the last couple of years, and figured it was time to try something different. I have heard latex tubes are supple and are very lightweight, are they worth the $$? The cheapest i've seen them is $15 a tube.

Dave
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Old 12-16-18, 07:34 PM
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Latex tubes have substantially less rolling resistance. Probably the biggest bang for the buck speed wise you can buy (along with tires).

With that said, if you get them, you should read up very carefully about how to install them. And should very likely replace your rim strips with tubeless tape.
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Old 12-16-18, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by bonsai171 View Post
The cheapest i've seen them is $15 a tube.
Look harder.

are they worth the $$?
Superior color and superior acoustics. A decided aesthetic advantage. The most best.
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Old 12-16-18, 07:53 PM
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I made the change this past season to latex. It may be placebo effect, but I have been pleased. You do have to pump up your tires daily (I lose about 15 PSI in 1 day). And they took some patience to install.

Do a little internet and YouTube research and decide for yourself.
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Old 12-16-18, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Latex tubes have substantially less rolling resistance. Probably the biggest bang for the buck speed wise you can buy (along with tires).

With that said, if you get them, you should read up very carefully about how to install them. And should very likely replace your rim strips with tubeless tape.

Why did you need to install tubeless tape?

Dave
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Old 12-16-18, 08:08 PM
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I used latex a couple of times, for a couple of years each time, and eventually went back to butyls each time. I think my latex adventures are over (hm, that sounds dodger than it's supposed to )
Pluses:
Lighter than butyl
A noticeably smoother, more supple ride, although IMO you need a good high-TPI tire like an Open Corsa to take full advantage of this
Supposedly more puncture resistant, as the tube yields to intrusions, rather than the intrusion penetrating - I never noticed and significant difference in flat frequency - see below
Negatives:
A PITA to install - requires some talc, and the thin flexible tube is easily pinched - I carried a standard butyl tube for on-the-road flats - I can't imagine trying to install a latex by the roadside - others may have better luck
Despite a rep for puncture resistance, in my experience, several latexes just flatted JRA, with no obvious cause. It was this last characteristic that drove me back to butyls. FWIW, I used Vittorias - other brands might be better
Latexes leak air, requiring significant topping up before rides. I top up each time anyway, but it's pretty convenient, with butyls, to find that almost no topping up is required.
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Old 12-16-18, 08:27 PM
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I used latex tubes for a while and went back to butyl tubes. Latex performs better, but while I don't mind giving away an inexpensive butyl tube to a fellow cyclist who needs a spare tube, latex is pricy to do that with.
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Old 12-16-18, 08:52 PM
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For those living at that nexus of still using tubes and still chasing grams, who has ventured into the other tubes, like Tubolito? They make even lightweight latex seem downright porky: a Vittoria Latex 700x19-23 is 70g, while a Tubolito in the same size is 38g. In their tests, the rolling resistance for a 700x25 is better than latex up to about 115psi-- the lower the pressure, the bigger the difference in watts. I have no dog in the fight one way or the other, it's all tubeless here. Curious nonetheless.
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Old 12-16-18, 08:58 PM
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& Butyl is easier to get a good patch with a normal patch kit..
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Old 12-16-18, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
& Butyl is easier to get a good patch with a normal patch kit..
Not really. Latex rubber patches extremely easily, and one busted latex tube provides latex patch material for many years.
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Old 12-16-18, 09:27 PM
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probikekit.com has Vittoria latex on sale right now for $8.49. I picked up a few a week ago because I haven't tried latex and figured for that price I'd give it a shot.
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Old 12-17-18, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by MidTNBrad View Post
probikekit.com has Vittoria latex on sale right now for $8.49. I picked up a few a week ago because I haven't tried latex and figured for that price I'd give it a shot.
Saw that deal too, but hesitated because they are located in the UK, and I live in the states. Have you ordered from them? How is the shipping cost?

Dave
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Old 12-17-18, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by bonsai171 View Post
Saw that deal too, but hesitated because they are located in the UK, and I live in the states. Have you ordered from them? How is the shipping cost?

Dave
I don't remember exactly but standard shipping was reasonable. It did take over a week for for the package to arrive over here in the states.
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Old 12-17-18, 07:27 AM
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Also try Continental Supersonic.

They are butyl but lighter than latex. 52 grams each. $9.99 at Chain Reaction.

https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/...e/rp-prod18914

Like latex, one needs to pay attention to rim tape. I've had issues using Continental Rim Strips which have a sharp edge. I went back to traditional Velox Fond de Jante tape and they not punctured since.

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Old 12-17-18, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by bonsai171 View Post
Saw that deal too, but hesitated because they are located in the UK, and I live in the states. Have you ordered from them? How is the shipping cost?

Dave
To answer your first question first.

I have used Vittoria latex tubes for years. They are great and I highly recommend them. Installing them has never been an issue for me. You do need to pump them up daily because latex loses air pressure. Which makes you wonder why is latex the preferred material for certain birth control items.

As tou your second question, I have been ordering “consumables” from them such as tires and inner tubes for years. No problem at all. Their deluvery times are a tad slower though and stuff is often poorly packaged.

Good luck.
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Old 12-17-18, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Litespud View Post
I used latex a couple of times, for a couple of years each time, and eventually went back to butyls each time. I think my latex adventures are over (hm, that sounds dodger than it's supposed to )
Pluses:
Lighter than butyl
A noticeably smoother, more supple ride, although IMO you need a good high-TPI tire like an Open Corsa to take full advantage of this
Supposedly more puncture resistant, as the tube yields to intrusions, rather than the intrusion penetrating - I never noticed and significant difference in flat frequency - see below
Negatives:
A PITA to install - requires some talc, and the thin flexible tube is easily pinched - I carried a standard butyl tube for on-the-road flats - I can't imagine trying to install a latex by the roadside - others may have better luck
Despite a rep for puncture resistance, in my experience, several latexes just flatted JRA, with no obvious cause. It was this last characteristic that drove me back to butyls. FWIW, I used Vittorias - other brands might be better
Latexes leak air, requiring significant topping up before rides. I top up each time anyway, but it's pretty convenient, with butyls, to find that almost no topping up is required.
I agree with the positive comments about latex. I disagree, however, with some of your negative comments. I have been using latex inner tubes for years. I never had any problems changing a latex inner tube while on the road. Over the years I have done this under many different circumstances, including rain, cold and night time darkness and never had a problem. The only time that I had a problem was when I had to borrow a friend’s CO2 cartridge (I had left my pump at home). The moment the cold cartridge air began to fill up the tube, the tube blew up. Made for a nice display of sight and sound.
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Old 12-17-18, 09:44 AM
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Why? So when you're changing your tire after a flat someone can say oh look he's got latex tubes?

Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
Look harder.


Superior color and superior acoustics. A decided aesthetic advantage. The most best.
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Old 12-17-18, 09:55 AM
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I'll add my opinion, though I've posted it a couple of times already. For the "significant" improvement of rolling resistance - I've seen 4 watts per tire claimed and more common is 1.5-2 watts per - Latex would be worth the price and hassle BUT ... the faster air leak is a deal killer all by itself. The MAIN thing I want from any tube is "hold air" and Latex tubes don't.

So my verdict is "no", I'll even take the thick heavy cheap tubes over Latex.
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Old 12-17-18, 01:04 PM
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I tried latex back in the 90s and gave up on it. I don't care, my least favorite thing to do is fix a flat on the side of the road and latex made that much more likely IMO.
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Old 12-17-18, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by raria View Post
Why? So when you're changing your tire after a flat someone can say oh look he's got latex tubes?
No. It's so that when you're fixing a flat, everyone - including yourself - can appreciate the vibrancy added to the experience by the lively colors and supple texture of the inner tubes. And more importantly, it's so that even when you cannot see those vibrant colors, you know that they're there.
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Old 12-17-18, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
No. It's so that when you're fixing a flat, everyone - including yourself - can appreciate the vibrancy added to the experience by the lively colors and supple texture of the inner tubes. And more importantly, it's so that even when you cannot see those vibrant colors, you know that they're there.
Pride of ownership is HUGE with these things
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Old 12-17-18, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
The MAIN thing I want from any tube is "hold air" and Latex tubes don't.
Good point. I have to wonder if all that topping off is hard on the valve to tube joint, increasing the chance of failure there. Then too, if you don't ride/top off for several days, the tubes will be completely flat, which doesn't seem good for the tires to be sitting there like that.


Has anyone ever used a latex tube for years and years without failure... you know, like can be done with standard tubes?
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Old 12-17-18, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by bonsai171 View Post
Why did you need to install tubeless tape?

Dave
So you don't flat the latex. Rim tape can very easily cut the tube.
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Old 12-17-18, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
Good point. I have to wonder if all that topping off is hard on the valve to tube joint, increasing the chance of failure there. Then too, if you don't ride/top off for several days, the tubes will be completely flat, which doesn't seem good for the tires to be sitting there like that.


Has anyone ever used a latex tube for years and years without failure... you know, like can be done with standard tubes?
I've had two race wheels with the same tube for just shy of two years/seasons.

My latex tubes also have removable valve cores. I've refilled with sealant on my training wheels and the tube has been good as new. Also helps for adding valve extenders.
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Old 12-17-18, 04:01 PM
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Continental Race Lite tubes + light, supple tires.

Replace your tires before they are 100% worn out.

Done.


-Tim-
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