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So I ditched 85g butyl for 35g TPU inner tubes

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So I ditched 85g butyl for 35g TPU inner tubes

Old 03-23-22, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf
They roll up very small, I think. I have a Michelin ultra light butyl, folded into a long oval that's the length of my small saddle bag, so it packs efficiently.

Saddle bag wear
I've seen two saddle bag spares that went flat soon after replacing a punctured tire. They had been in the saddle bag for many months or years, and the folded edge got enough wear to make it a weak point. The hole was like a snakebite slit, but all rough and abraded along the edge of the slit.

I wrap my spare in a piece of Tyvek from an old overnight envelope to protect it. (It's been in there a couple of years now.)
Yeah, got to be careful when packing. I use a very small saddle bag, just about big enough for a normal tube, a couple of plastic levers and a multi-tool. But I'm thinking of ditching the saddle bag and just carrying one of these smaller tubes in a jersey pocket instead. Normal tubes are a bit bulky for a pocket, but these smaller ones look like they might be okay. Think I'll just order one next time I'm buying some other bike stuff and give it a go. I've got some big climbing events this summer that would justify the cost, lol! It would actually save a few hundred grams including the saddle bag.
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Old 03-23-22, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by himespau
The problem is, if you have to pump them up more frequently, you'll slowly lose those "cyclist's arms" for something with more bulk and you'll just be transferring that weight you saved from your tubes to your upper body. Sure, that's less rotating mass, but bulkier arms are also less aero, so there's a trade-off there.
Maybe, but you'll make yourself more attractive to the womenz. Choices.
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Old 03-23-22, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev
How big of a discrepancy were you looking for, and how much precision did your testing have?

The speed advantage of latex tubes over butyl can be on the order of a couple tenths of a mph. It's very good as a performance-per-dollar change as road bikes go, but still small enough to require at least mildly careful testing to discern.
Right. If you ask people to close their eyes and tell you when a minute has passed, there's a pretty wide range of when they say, "now." Human beings are imprecise and inaccurate perceptors of time or speed or drag. Stopwatches, speedometers, strain gauges, and anemometers are designed to measure things much more accurately and precisely than our five senses can.
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Old 03-23-22, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Mojo31
Maybe, but you'll make yourself more attractive to the womenz. Choices.
If she doesn't love you for your noodle arms and pigeon chest, she doesn't have what it takes to love a cyclist or understand the commitment you have to your bike. Toss her back.
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Old 03-23-22, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf
Over 25 miles distance, 20 mph vs 20.1 mph is 22 seconds. Hard to notice in real life, a big deal in a race.
Speaking as someone who has been off the back on group rides, I disagree; 22 seconds is quite noticeable when you’re struggling to get back on a wheel!
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Old 03-23-22, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster
Speaking as someone who has been off the back on group rides, I disagree; 22 seconds is quite noticeable when you’re struggling to get back on a wheel!
If you are like me, I'm looking at the others climbing while trying to figure out if my extra weight and better aerodynamics will allow me to catch on the descent. 22 seconds looks like a small gap going up .....until you get to the top and wonder, "Where did they all go?"

WRT rolling resistance the biggest change that I have seen was going from heavy butyl tubes on wide Rene Hearse extralight tires to light Michelin latex tube, it was a revelation. I still get dropped.
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Old 03-23-22, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62
…it was a revelation. I still get dropped.
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Old 03-23-22, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62
How did you control for temperature? Tire pressure? Barometric pressure?

Your test is not valid, that is for real.
This is BF. Not timetriallinguk forums nor Slowtwitch nor the private FB groups with a higher demand of "ahem" proof. As in, don't expect folks on BF to ever post up any A/BB/A style testing showing virtual elevation data or Notio aerometer data. It's always some lame internet calculator or a lot of anecdotal "well these random rides from different folks with no experimental control shows that it supports my opinion".

My arguing in the other topic with folks trying to plug rando rides into calculators or bestbikesplit. I could put that one to bed if I wanted and go ride around the running track at 22mph with the Notio, but I don't have time to prove things to people that at the end of the day care more about arguing than they do about actually doing the homework.
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Old 03-23-22, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep
This is BF. Not timetriallinguk forums nor Slowtwitch nor the private FB groups with a higher demand of "ahem" proof. As in, don't expect folks on BF to ever post up any A/BB/A style testing showing virtual elevation data or Notio aerometer data. It's always some lame internet calculator or a lot of anecdotal "well these random rides from different folks with no experimental control shows that it supports my opinion".

My arguing in the other topic with folks trying to plug rando rides into calculators or bestbikesplit. I could put that one to bed if I wanted and go ride around the running track at 22mph with the Notio, but I don't have time to prove things to people that at the end of the day care more about arguing than they do about actually doing the homework.
You are probably fairly thin and have cleaned up your aerodynamics, I do not question your speed/power levels. My 6'4' broader shoulders take more power to punch a hole into the air.

I have a 10 mile TT route that in the past have run at least once per week. Some weeks my time is faster despite having less power and some weeks my time is slower despite making more power. The variability in my times swamps the miniscule difference in latex vs butyl. In short, the measurement system is not capable. But, I get your point. It is a signal to noise type thing. On ST or the UKTT site, there is a lot of rigor. I don't post at all on either.....I just have read them for many years.
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Old 03-23-22, 11:53 AM
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I am not a weight weenie, I ride around with a half pound bluetooth speaker when solo, but what always interested me more about latex and now TPU is the reduction of my saddle bag. Would love to make it smaller, since my current butyl tube takes up the most space (Conti Race tubes are my spare).
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Old 03-23-22, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Tycho Brahe
I am not a weight weenie, I ride around with a half pound bluetooth speaker when solo, but what always interested me more about latex and now TPU is the reduction of my saddle bag. Would love to make it smaller, since my current butyl tube takes up the most space (Conti Race tubes are my spare).
In the event of a puncture, a Latex tube can sometimes be a real pain to install by the roadside. You have to be far more careful than when just whacking in a regular butyl tube. Just something to consider.

I run Latex tubes on my TT bike, but for the spare tube(s) I carry a Conti Race Light.
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Old 03-23-22, 06:04 PM
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For comparison, uninflated TPU sits flat and twists in weird slippery ways, so when installing it's best to pump it so it holds a full round shape to get it all on with half the tyre on the rim, so it sits right, and then deflate it again a bit to get the rest of the tyre over as the tube will be too bulky for that to happen when 'shaped out' for an easy straight insertion. The material seemed tough enough not to overly worry about getting little bits trapped in the process, I think butyl and definitely latex will be a bit more sensitive on that front.
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Old 03-23-22, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf
My first reaction is that "a couple of tenths" was too high. But on this bike speed calculator, taking defaults, but in the drops, 250 watts=23.2 mph, 260 watts=23.5. 0.3 mph faster if the rider saves 5 w per wheel. More than I guessed. I'm thinking that latex vs lightweight butyl is 3-5 watts savings.

Over 25 miles distance, 20 mph vs 20.1 mph is 22 seconds. Hard to notice in real life, a big deal in a race.
It’s only a ‘big deal’ if you’re at the pointy end of the stick…And most riders are not.
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Old 03-23-22, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62
If you are like me, I'm looking at the others climbing while trying to figure out if my extra weight and better aerodynamics will allow me to catch on the descent. 22 seconds looks like a small gap going up .....until you get to the top and wonder, "Where did they all go?"

WRT rolling resistance the biggest change that I have seen was going from heavy butyl tubes on wide Rene Hearse extralight tires to light Michelin latex tube, it was a revelation. I still get dropped.
Extra weight generally equals worse aerodynamics.
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Old 03-24-22, 12:50 AM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev
If anything, I seem to get fewer flats on latex than on butyl. Latex performs very poorly in plunger puncture tests, but it's not obvious that those tests are representative of how punctures actually happen.
Couldn't agree more. I put 11k road miles on Vittoria latex in 2021 and had a total of 2 flats, both at the base of the valve stem.
To those who fail to notice a difference between latex and butyl... try a more supple tire at various pressures maybe? RiddleOfSteel and I have done a fair bit of testing on this.
Would like to try TPU stuff when prices drop a bit more.
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Old 03-24-22, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Yeah, got to be careful when packing. I use a very small saddle bag, just about big enough for a normal tube, a couple of plastic levers and a multi-tool. But I'm thinking of ditching the saddle bag and just carrying one of these smaller tubes in a jersey pocket instead. Normal tubes are a bit bulky for a pocket, but these smaller ones look like they might be okay. Think I'll just order one next time I'm buying some other bike stuff and give it a go. I've got some big climbing events this summer that would justify the cost, lol! It would actually save a few hundred grams including the saddle bag.
The ultralight butyls work for me as a saddle-bag spare. The aforementioned Michelin (Aircomps) pictured below.



Originally Posted by RChung
Right. If you ask people to close their eyes and tell you when a minute has passed, there's a pretty wide range of when they say, "now." Human beings are imprecise and inaccurate perceptors of time or speed or drag. Stopwatches, speedometers, strain gauges, and anemometers are designed to measure things much more accurately and precisely than our five senses can.
Though ain't it funny, I can wake up in the middle of the night have a quite good estimation of what time it is before looking at the clock.
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Old 03-24-22, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote
Extra weight generally equals worse aerodynamics.
Another revelation.

I learn so much here.
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Old 03-24-22, 04:42 PM
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Amazon's review of the Tubolitos aren't very kinds.
As a randonneur, I'm looking for ways to shave weight. This would an easy 200grams. But, they seem very flat prone if you were to go by the Amazon reviews.
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Old 03-24-22, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by friday1970
Amazon's review of the Tubolitos aren't very kinds.
As a randonneur, I'm looking for ways to shave weight. This would an easy 200grams. But, they seem very flat prone if you were to go by the Amazon reviews.
Yeah those reviews did put me off buying one last time I was about to pull the trigger. Even as a last resort emergency spare I want something pretty reliable otherwise it defeats the point. But I could carry 2 of them and still be slightly lighter than a single normal tube! I'm still pondering it as a First World problem, lol
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Old 03-25-22, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by yaw
Out with the old world rubber and those lardy metal valve stems and in with these inflatable pool toys and flimsy lightweight plastic stems.
...
For those not familiar, ye olde butyl, the heavyweight staple of the dawdling cyclist generally looking for birds in the trees whilst meandering along in unpredictable ways, and the slick latex tube employed by those with the serious riding faces whose little pinkies pick up every crevice in each granule their supple tyres grace, has been joined by TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) - for quite some time actually - with promises of half the weight and better puncture resistance than equivalent
Shades of Molesworth!
(As any fule kno)
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Old 03-25-22, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
But I could carry 2 of them and still be slightly lighter than a single normal tube!
And it seems you might be able to carry two and fit into the same small space (like an under-the-seat-bat) as a single butyl tube would. Hmmm..... I could carry 4 tubes instead of two? That gives me 5 chances to not screw up a brevet.....LOL
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Old 03-25-22, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by friday1970
And it seems you might be able to carry two and fit into the same small space (like an under-the-seat-bat) as a single butyl tube would. Hmmm..... I could carry 4 tubes instead of two? That gives me 5 chances to not screw up a brevet.....LOL
Or you could hedge your bets and carry 1 normal tube plus 2 lightweight tubes, lol
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Old 03-25-22, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by friday1970
Amazon's review of the Tubolitos aren't very kinds.
As a randonneur, I'm looking for ways to shave weight. This would an easy 200grams. But, they seem very flat prone if you were to go by the Amazon reviews.
I have been running a Schwalbe Aerothan (front) and a Pirelli Smarttube (rear) for about a year…about 5000 miles. They sure look fragile and I made sure my rim was good and clean when I installed them along with fresh rim tape. However I haven’t encountered any durability issues. I have had two punctures, which is about my normal annual puncture rate. Both punctures were very slow gradual leaks. I’m not sure if that was because the puncturing bodies were very small in both cases or if it had something to do with how the tpu material responds to being punctured. But compared to typical butyl punctures, the deflation rate was very gradual and non-catastrophic.

Based on my experience I would not hesitate to continue using TPU tubes on almost kind of ride. They are light and as far as I can tell no less reliable than butyl. They are possibly safer than butyl if they are less prone to rapid deflation when punctured. I can’t feel that they roll better than butyl but if they do, then that’s just an added bonus.

The only caveat with TPU tubes, as far as I am concerned, is difficulty patching them in the field. They can be successfully patched with the right kind of patch kit, but it requires extra care and cleanliness, and this is most easily done at home or somewhere else (hotel, campsite) with a controlled environment. Both of my patch attempts with the Tubolito patch kit have held up for several
months. As a precaution I carry butyl tubes as spares, so I have something readily patchable in the field in case of multiple flats.
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Old 03-26-22, 04:48 AM
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mihlbach Yes, according to a Bike Radar article, “Schwalbe also says the properties of Aerothan mean a tube won’t suddenly go flat in the event of a puncture.”

I’d read elsewhere that’s due to Aerothans high stretch and resistance to tearing. The one puncture I had behaved that way, too, and was so slow, once I noticed the tire was soft, I just finished the ride and patched at home.

Regarding patching, I’ve had terrific results with a Lezyne self-adhesive patch, which at this point I consider a permanent repair since it has been so long. I’d suggest grabbing some small, alcohol wipe packets from the pharmacy and tossing one in your kit; I dunno that’s necessary for a successful patch, but I reckon cleaning oils and debris from the patch area won’t hurt. Disposable eyeglass wipes would probably be good, too; I always carry those for my eyeglasses so will report back if I ever have the chance to try one on a patch job.

Schwalbe apparently have self-adhesive patches of their own and say patching Aerothan is no problem, but I’ve tried or even seen them.

From the same Bike Radar article:

Schwalbe says the Aerothan tubes can be repaired with its self-adhesive patches, like a normal tube. Roughening the tube is apparently not necessary; instead, the patch can be applied directly to the tube.”

Last edited by chaadster; 03-26-22 at 04:53 AM.
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Old 03-26-22, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster
Speaking as someone who has been off the back on group rides, I disagree; 22 seconds is quite noticeable when you’re struggling to get back on a wheel!
Over 25 miles.
That's a lot of catching up, just under 1 sec/mile.
I'm not that patient.
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