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TPU tubes - getting better?

Old 01-25-24, 01:13 PM
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TPU tubes - getting better?

Two years ago I've tried rolling on TPU (tubolito, aerothan) instead of butyl, and the result was disappointing. I almost never get flats on butyl, and got three (slow leaks) with the TPUs over 2 000kms...

That was then, things may have improved. Reading reviews there are many negative feedbacks, but they seem to be older. On the plus side, TPU tubes take less than half of the space of butyl, so it's tempting to believe that their construction has improved.

Any experience?
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Old 01-25-24, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by gauvins
Two years ago I've tried rolling on TPU (tubolito, aerothan) instead of butyl, and the result was disappointing. I almost never get flats on butyl, and got three (slow leaks) with the TPUs over 2 000kms...

That was then, things may have improved. Reading reviews there are many negative feedbacks, but they seem to be older. On the plus side, TPU tubes take less than half of the space of butyl, so it's tempting to believe that their construction has improved.

Any experience?
I dabbled with them last year and was severely disappointed. I used RideNow but upon installation, the tubes flatted from very small foreign objects in the tire that had not flatted the butyl tubes that the TPU replaced. I actually flatted 3 tubes as I only found out about about the small foreign objects after installing 2 more tubes in the middle of a ride. I replaced the tire but the stick on patches for the tubes were completely useless causing me to flat at least 4 more times after repairing and rerepairing the tubes. I got a better patch kit which seems to be working but I’m not impressed overall with the RideNow which makes me hesitant to spend money on something more expensive.

Just to be clear, I’m not all that thrilled with the performance of modern butyl tubes as I’ve experienced many, many flats that are the result of the tube being over-stretched towards the rim which causes them to tear and leak. However, I can fix those easily and butyl tubes are cheap.

And, no, I’m not going tubeless because those violate the conservation of mass.
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Old 01-25-24, 04:06 PM
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I’ve been running Schwalbe Aerothans for the last 5000 miles inside Continental GP 4 Seasons. Quite pleased. One puncture. No quality issues.
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Old 01-25-24, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by randallr
Schwalbe Aerothans [... snip ...] One puncture
This is more of less than with butyl, in your experience? My average on TPU would also be 1 flat per 500kms, i.e. 10 times as much as with butyl...
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Old 01-25-24, 06:02 PM
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I well remember the fascination the performance minded enthusiasts had with latex tubes. It didn't last long, only a few years. I think TPO tube fascination will go the same route, albeit a longer period of fascination will exist.
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Old 01-25-24, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero
I well remember the fascination the performance minded enthusiasts had with latex tubes. It didn't last long, only a few years. I think TPO tube fascination will go the same route, albeit a longer period of fascination will exist.
Latex and TPU are not being pushed out because they are not very good for performance, but rather that tubeless road tires have made large strides in performance. They have gotten lighter and they have gotten faster.

Personally, on my bikes that I run higher tire pressure, I've had fantastic luck with TPU, and so long as I can get them for between $2-$6 a tube, I will keep buying them. That is cheaper than butyl and well worth the weight savings.
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Old 01-25-24, 07:53 PM
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I have been using Schwalbe Aerothans and no issues in about the last 3000 miles. I have had a couple of flats from punctures but have patched them and they have continued to hold air. I have used both the Park glueless patches and the Schwalbe patches and no issues. One of the punctures was pretty big and I wondered if it would be patchable and I think I have at least 1500 miles on that patch with no issues.
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Old 01-25-24, 09:02 PM
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Started this summer with the "new and improved" Ride Now TPU's and now have several hundred miles on that bike with no punctures while riding. I did experience a single puncture when simply changing out tires and re inserting the tubes, a microscopic hole on the inside of the tube, from what I do not know. Personally I have never had great luck with Park glueless patches holding on standard butyl tubes but it sure worked like a charm on this TPU tube. I'm running them on my road bike, 30mm tires at 65 psi. I'm not convinced enough to tour with them but they are definitely faster on my road bike as they are only 36 grams and they have been proven to have less rolling resistance than butyl.
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Old 01-26-24, 11:13 AM
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Interesting. I've ordered Ride Now from Ali -- they are more affordable. May I ask which ones? From what I understand they have racing and regular models.
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Old 01-26-24, 01:13 PM
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For me its much more a utility issue. Will my TPU tube have to be specific for my wheels? Can I jump from 27 1/2 to 700c? Can I go from 28mm to 34mm using the same TPU tube? Can I patch the TPU tube effectively. Of course next comes the cost. I do like the small foot print the TPU tube has. I do like its weight but for me as a clyde ridding a steel bike it is not a real important issue.

As the quality of Butyl tubes and the cost of TPU tubes decline I am soon to make TPU tube purchases...
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Old 01-26-24, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by theblackbullet
...I've had fantastic luck with TPU, and so long as I can get them for between $2-$6 a tube, I will keep buying them...
Interested! How about a few sources for these 2-6 USD TPU tubes so I can give um a try. Thanks...
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Old 01-26-24, 01:24 PM
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I’ve been using Ride Now from aliexpress and had every bit as much luck with them as butyl tubes and better luck than latex tubes. My main ride is tubeless but I have two other bikes and my wife’s with the TPU and very happy.
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Old 01-26-24, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by zandoval
Interested! How about a few sources for these 2-6 USD TPU tubes so I can give um a try. Thanks...
I order from china via ali express. I've had good luck with RideNow (36g) at $6/tube, Newboler (28g) being my favorite at $3.50/tube with the caveat that the plastic valve stems can become brittle in the cold weather, and I recently purchased a brand called OFFBONDAGE (39g) on some flash sale for $2/tube. They look good, but have yet to install. Seems the normal price is a bit more expensive.
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Old 01-27-24, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by gauvins
This is more of less than with butyl, in your experience? My average on TPU would also be 1 flat per 500kms, i.e. 10 times as much as with butyl...
Oh, I think it’s about the same as butyl or somewhat better. Puncture resistance for me is probably more a function of the tire than the tubes. However, I had more issues flatting with early Tubolitos than with the Aerothans (non-puncture quality issues with the early Tubolitos) and the Aerothans have none of that. I don’t ride TPU tubes for flat resistance, I ride them because they are insanely light.
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Old 01-27-24, 03:48 PM
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randallr Thanks for the feedback. I've ordered some RideNows -- generally good reviews (hopefully genuine) and worst that might happen would be restocking with butyls. Perhaps an occasion to talk bikes with the locals
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Old 04-01-24, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero
I well remember the fascination the performance minded enthusiasts had with latex tubes. It didn't last long, only a few years. I think TPO tube fascination will go the same route, albeit a longer period of fascination will exist.
A quick search on the topic of latex inner tubes shows that their use is more than a passing fad. For many riders, including performance minded riders, latex tubes are a fairly inexpensive (relatively speaking) upgrade. This is especially true when compared to the cost of tubeless wheels. I have been using latex inner tubes for over ten years and I find them to be more comfortable over long rides than butyl. That additional comfort translates into longer rides. I am an old(er) rider so speed is no longer that important to me; comfort, however, is very important.

Latex tubes are getting better so that is a plus.

But as they say, YMMV.
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Old 04-01-24, 12:46 PM
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cyccommute Posted: Just to be clear, I’m not all that thrilled with the performance of modern butyl tubes as I’ve experienced many, many flats that are the result of the tube being over-stretched towards the rim which causes them to tear and leak. However, I can fix those easily and butyl tubes are cheap.
I have had more flats on butyl rubber tubs from the bad tube and not the punctures. I immediately replace tubes on new bicycles with tubes made by Continental or Schwalbe. I run the largest width tube that will fit the tire diameter. like you I tried some quality TPU tubes and found them lacking in durability and I haven't even tried to patch them I just went back to the butyl rubber.
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Old 04-01-24, 06:01 PM
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For me Latex won't work while touring as they lose air more quickly than other materials and I'm not one to want to top off daily.
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