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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 04-04-24, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
What you are probably feeling is less rolling resistance on your GP5000 tyres. What heavier tyres did they replace?
Good point, Conti Gator Hardshell and Ultra Sport.
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Old 04-04-24, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker Pete
Good point, Conti Gator Hardshell and Ultra Sport.
Yeah, that's like double the rolling resistance for the Hardshell
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Old 04-04-24, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Yeah, that's like double the rolling resistance for the Hardshell
Yeah, lower RR from the tires and tubes, and the lower rotating mass. I can never rule out placebo, but in this case there is a basis for theoretical improvement.
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Old 04-04-24, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
I think it's time to declare myself an old curmudgeon. I've tried lots of new stuff, but I plan to stick with carrying a pump and using butyl inner tubes for the rest of my life.
Any reason other than cost or roadside patchability?

I just installed a pair of Pirelli Smartube TPU tubes within new Continental GP5000 (25 mm) tires on my existing wheels. The TPU tubes were not more difficult to install than butyl tubes.
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Old 04-04-24, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
Any reason other than cost or roadside patchability?

I just installed a pair of Pirelli Smartube TPU tubes within new Continental GP5000 (25 mm) tires on my existing wheels. The TPU tubes were not more difficult to install than butyl tubes.
I just don't see an advantage. The weight difference is inconsequential since I'm carrying far more than just an inner tube, and my cycling ability is not at the level where a tiny change in weight will change any needed kind of performance or time saving or enjoyment. Puncture resistance is about the same, right? Cost can be frightful unless I go with no-name tubes, and do I want to deal with aliexpress? I do patch my tubes a lot, and I have a system that works for me, collecting tubes in a batch and patching them once or twice a year. I've managed not to patch on the roadside, but I want to be ready to do it if I need to, since tubes sometimes fail in unexpected ways, and I could also get more flats than expected. I think my system has me ready for most eventualities at a reasonable expense of money and trouble. Basically, tpu tubes are likely to cost more and be more trouble. They won't cost less or save me trouble, so there is no compelling reason to try something cutting-edge.
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Old 04-04-24, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
I just don't see an advantage. The weight difference is inconsequential since I'm carrying far more than just an inner tube, and my cycling ability is not at the level where a tiny change in weight will change any needed kind of performance or time saving or enjoyment. Puncture resistance is about the same, right? Cost can be frightful unless I go with no-name tubes, and do I want to deal with aliexpress? I do patch my tubes a lot, and I have a system that works for me, collecting tubes in a batch and patching them once or twice a year. I've managed not to patch on the roadside, but I want to be ready to do it if I need to, since tubes sometimes fail in unexpected ways, and I could also get more flats than expected. I think my system has me ready for most eventualities at a reasonable expense of money and trouble. Basically, tpu tubes are likely to cost more and be more trouble. They won't cost less or save me trouble, so there is no compelling reason to try something cutting-edge.
Mostly agreed, except for the "be more trouble" part, since you almost always patch at home. I had thought (from your prior post) that you were against trying new stuff, i.e., TPU tubes, and so pointed out that they are not so different from butyl tubes, at least installation-wise.
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Old 04-04-24, 09:41 PM
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I just don't see how tpu tubes can offer me less trouble than I currently have with butyl tubes. They may be the same, and they may be more, but less, I doubt it.
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Old 04-04-24, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
I just don't see how tpu tubes can offer me less trouble than I currently have with butyl tubes. They may be the same, and they may be more, but less, I doubt it.
TPU tube allegedly lose air at a slower rate than butyl tubes.
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Old 04-04-24, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
I just don't see an advantage. The weight difference is inconsequential since I'm carrying far more than just an inner tube, and my cycling ability is not at the level where a tiny change in weight will change any needed kind of performance or time saving or enjoyment. Puncture resistance is about the same, right? Cost can be frightful unless I go with no-name tubes, and do I want to deal with aliexpress? I do patch my tubes a lot, and I have a system that works for me, collecting tubes in a batch and patching them once or twice a year. I've managed not to patch on the roadside, but I want to be ready to do it if I need to, since tubes sometimes fail in unexpected ways, and I could also get more flats than expected. I think my system has me ready for most eventualities at a reasonable expense of money and trouble. Basically, tpu tubes are likely to cost more and be more trouble. They won't cost less or save me trouble, so there is no compelling reason to try something cutting-edge.



on one of my bikes - a 650b bike - TPU tubes reduced weight by approx 330 grams

( the OEM tubes were a portly 200 grams each )

considered going to a lightweight butyl tube (Schwalbe SV14 for example) - but the TPU tubes weighed less (-180 grams approx) and were actually less expensive

and the result ? I’m now more confident I can pass that elderly woman on the MUP - carrying her dog in a basket - to get the last scoop of blackberry cheesecake ice cream

or get to the Derailleur Cafe after the long gentle climb before the grill is shut down for the day

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Old 04-05-24, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
What you are probably feeling is less rolling resistance on your GP5000 tyres.
Not necessarily. Rolling resistance is likely to be responsible for much larger performance differences, but if someone is "feeling" something, it wouldn't be surprising if it predominantly arises from mass. Tire mass has large impacts on physical dynamics that are easily-felt by the rider but which contribute very little in the way of actual performance implications. In particular: resistance of the bicycle to side-to-side sway, resistance of the steering column to rotation, and gyroscopic precession.
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Old 04-05-24, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
I just don't see how tpu tubes can offer me less trouble than I currently have with butyl tubes. They may be the same, and they may be more, but less, I doubt it.
I don't think they will. In fact, I think they're more prone to puncture than good ol' butyl tubes.

Tubeless is the best solution I personally found so far. I've had no flats (well, there were some but they sealed instantly) in the past 2 seasons. Going to touch wood now.
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Old 04-05-24, 06:24 AM
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[MENTION=406505]HTupolev[/MENTION], wow, that's a big improvement, but how do you know it's from the weight advantage rather than the difference in color?

If I sneak a full water bottle on the bike, will you feel it?
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Old 04-05-24, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
I just don't see how tpu tubes can offer me less trouble than I currently have with butyl tubes. They may be the same, and they may be more, but less, I doubt it.
My main benefit from them (haven't had to actually use them yet) is that I can fit 2 TPU tubes (in their boxes for added protection), in my seatbag and take up less room than one butyl tube in a ziploc bag. That extra room means I've got space for a full-sized tire jack instead of the VAR one and a small hose for my hand pump.
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Old 04-05-24, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev
Not necessarily. Rolling resistance is likely to be responsible for much larger performance differences, but if someone is "feeling" something, it wouldn't be surprising if it predominantly arises from mass. Tire mass has large impacts on physical dynamics that are easily-felt by the rider but which contribute very little in the way of actual performance implications. In particular: resistance of the bicycle to side-to-side sway, resistance of the steering column to rotation, and gyroscopic precession.
True, but going from Gators to GP5000 is 99% about the tyre suppleness and rolling resistance than it is about differences in tubes.
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Old 04-05-24, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
If I sneak a full water bottle on the bike, will you feel it?
If you mount it on the front rim, absolutely!

Originally Posted by PeteHski
True, but going from Gators to GP5000 is 99% about the tyre suppleness and rolling resistance than it is about differences in tubes.
Even if we're talking about performance rather than feel, "99%" is a very optimistic guess for the tires. GP5000 are a lot faster than Gators, but the difference between standard butyl tubes and fast TPU tubes isn't nothing.

But I wasn't talking about tires versus tubes anyway, I was talking about how much of the perceived difference (in overall setup) is due to weight versus other factors. To most cyclists, a lot of non-performance factors are felt more strongly "as performance" than actual performance changes are. This is because slight changes in speed and acceleration are very difficult for humans to accurately feel, but our brains build various proxies for things that can be felt. We're very good McNamara-fallacy generators. A good example of this is the phenomenon where riders feel over-pumped tires as "faster" than appropriately-pumped tires, even when the data is clearly showing a tangible disadvantage in rolling resistance and lower actual speeds.
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Old 04-05-24, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev
If you mount it on the front rim, absolutely!


Even if we're talking about performance rather than feel, "99%" is a very optimistic guess for the tires. GP5000 are a lot faster than Gators, but the difference between standard butyl tubes and fast TPU tubes isn't nothing.

But I wasn't talking about tires versus tubes anyway, I was talking about how much of the perceived difference (in overall setup) is due to weight versus other factors. To most cyclists, a lot of non-performance factors are felt more strongly "as performance" than actual performance changes are. This is because slight changes in speed and acceleration are very difficult for humans to accurately feel, but our brains build various proxies for things that can be felt. We're very good McNamara-fallacy generators. A good example of this is the phenomenon where riders feel over-pumped tires as "faster" than appropriately-pumped tires, even when the data is clearly showing a tangible disadvantage in rolling resistance and lower actual speeds.
I tend to agree, but tyre feel tends to dominate for me when comparing such wildly different tyres.

My only point really was that you can’t make any conclusions about the feel of TPU tubes unless you test them in the same tyres.
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Old 04-05-24, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat
I think the ribbed latex ones give a more pleasurable ride experience.
for her
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Old 04-06-24, 09:08 AM
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My point is that the placebo effect is powerful. Also, experienced cyclists are attuned to real differences in equipment in such a way that the perception of their differences is exaggerated. With bicycles, it's extremely hard to do blind tests, so when we invest in fancy equipment, we look for reasons to justify our expenditures. My spouse doesn't ride much, so when I change something on her bike, she is less likely to notice differences. This reinforces my idea that more experienced riders are more attuned.
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Old 04-08-24, 08:59 AM
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Yesterday, at a bike swap, I bought some Conti butyl tubes for $3 each. Name brand, from a LBS, I know the guy.

I get about 1 flat per 4-5000 miles. Let's say it takes me 10 minutes to change it.

At 5-10X for the price. How much faster does a TPU tube have to be to make up for (hopefully) the same number of flats? Exactly!
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Old 04-08-24, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by bblair
Yesterday, at a bike swap, I bought some Conti butyl tubes for $3 each. Name brand, from a LBS, I know the guy.

I get about 1 flat per 4-5000 miles. Let's say it takes me 10 minutes to change it.

At 5-10X for the price. How much faster does a TPU tube have to be to make up for (hopefully) the same number of flats? Exactly!
I'm with you, but for some people, diminishing returns don't matter. Better is better.
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Old 04-08-24, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by bblair
Yesterday, at a bike swap, I bought some Conti butyl tubes for $3 each. Name brand, from a LBS, I know the guy.

I get about 1 flat per 4-5000 miles. Let's say it takes me 10 minutes to change it.

At 5-10X for the price. How much faster does a TPU tube have to be to make up for (hopefully) the same number of flats? Exactly!



your example is a little twisted

you purchased tubes at a swap meet - great price - and comparing to a tpu tube at max retail price
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Old 04-09-24, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by t2p


your example is a little twisted

you purchased tubes at a swap meet - great price - and comparing to a tpu tube at max retail price
You're right.

My point was, that for a significant price, the gains are very, very small.

Today on a club ride, I got dropped 'cause 18mph was all I could manage. Not sure by how much, but let's say that the others already had their bike up on their car racks when I got in. A little less rolling resistance and a little less weight (it was flat today, so no benefit) would not have made the difference. If it would, I would buy them today.
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Old 04-09-24, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by bblair
You're right.

My point was, that for a significant price, the gains are very, very small.

Today on a club ride, I got dropped 'cause 18mph was all I could manage. Not sure by how much, but let's say that the others already had their bike up on their car racks when I got in. A little less rolling resistance and a little less weight (it was flat today, so no benefit) would not have made the difference. If it would, I would buy them today.
Just purchased today two TPU tubes for $10.00 from Ali - there were cheaper ones but wanted metal stems. So the difference in prices between butyl and TPU may be a push if one is a smart shopper.
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Old 04-10-24, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
Just purchased today two TPU tubes for $10.00 from Ali - there were cheaper ones but wanted metal stems. So the difference in prices between butyl and TPU may be a push if one is a smart shopper.
That is a great price.

I have never bought anything from Ali....do you think it is the same product at a lower markup, or a lower quality product? I have read anecdotes, but no real comparisons.
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Old 04-10-24, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by bblair
That is a great price.

I have never bought anything from Ali....do you think it is the same product at a lower markup, or a lower quality product? I have read anecdotes, but no real comparisons.
Without the markup is guess, but will let you know quality when put them on the road. There are at least a half-dozen different manufacturers selling. My assumption, since most stuff is made in China, is that most of the stuff is relabeled/packaged with a western company’s logo for sale in the US and EU.
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