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Are the wrong inner tubes costing you time?

Find out why switching to Tubolito tubes could mean lower rolling resistance and fewer punctures

There are two specific parts of your bike that can make the difference between gliding over the road with unimagined efficiency, or trudging along at – literally – walking pace.

They’re almost certainly two of the least expensive individual components on your entire set-up. In fact, they’re so cheap, you probably don’t even think about them. Heck, you can’t even really see them. But you really need to start paying them some attention, because they offer some of the easiest performance upgrades anywhere on your bike. 

What are these overlooked but vital pieces of kit? Your inner tubes.

Better tubes, better rides

Inner tubes aren’t quite as sexy as, say, wheelsets or a brand-spanking-new chainset. But they’re also a darn sight cheaper, and the largely unknown art of inner tube choice has the potential to unlock significant practical benefits for cyclists of all types. 

The reasons why better inner tubes can result in better rides are manifold. 

Obviously, there is the issue of puncture protection and even – in the case of high-pressure road tyres – reduced air leakage over time. There’s the issue of weight, where any reduction in mass is welcome. There’s the issue of rolling resistance: the more efficient the inner tube, the more dynamic the ride. And lastly, there’s even the issue of size and how easy it is to fit a spare tube in your pocket or saddle bag.

The problem is, to maximise all that, you need to find somebody who knows about inner tubes. And that’s where Tubolito comes in.

Tubolito GWA_3926-1

What is Tubolito?

Tubolito was set up by material science engineer Christian Lembacher and mechanical engineer Akos Kertesz, two enthusiastic mountain bikers who, in their previous job, were tasked with designing loudspeakers for mobile phones. In the process of developing innovative new materials that could be used as the membrane for the speakers – that need to be very light and robust – Christian and Akos realised the same material could also revolutionise the bicycle inner tube industry, which has been manufacturing essentially the same latex or butyl rubber tubes for decades.

By using a new high-tech thermoplastic elastomer (TPU), combined with a unique manufacturing technology, Tubolito is capable of producing very light, durable and reliable inner tubes. TPU products have been gradually replacing traditional rubber products in other industries for some time and, when it comes to the potential benefits of TPU in inner tube production, the advantages are significant.

Tubolito puncture-pressure-graph

The benefits 

In terms of the criteria by which we measure inner tube performance, Tubolito’s products are impressive for a number of reasons. 

For a start, they are significantly lighter than their rubber rivals. Compared to lightweight rubber inner tubes, which generally don’t hit scales at anything less than 70g, the standard Tubolito Tubo-Road is just 40g, and the ultra-light Tubolito S-Tubo-Road is a barely-believable 23g. 

Despite this, Tubolito’s puncture protection is extremely high. In a needle penetration test, twice as much force was needed to puncture a Tubo-Road series tube compared to standard butyl tubes. Meanwhile, compared to latex tubes, air leakage is drastically reduced over time. 

In terms of rolling resistance, Tubolito tubes effectively match latex tubes, and out-perform butyl.

Add in excellent heat resistance and an extraordinarily small packing size, and you can see that Tubolitos’s TPU is A-OK! 

Tubolito Patch kit

VIQs – very important questions

Of course, despite these apparent benefits, any new technology is – quite rightly – subject to some level of scepticism. Also, living with the practical constraints of an inner tube is much more than just a question of outright performance. So here’s a quick round-up of the sorts of important day-to-day information that you need to know.

Can Tubolitos be patched? Yes, all Tubolitos can easily be patched with the ‘Tubo Patch Kit’.

Can Tubolitos be used with sealant or repair sprays? Yes, in terms of sealants, Oko Puncture Free Bike works with Tubolitos. In terms of repair spray, Nigrin Reifendicht, Vittoria Pitstop Super Magnum, Tip Top Pannenspray, Güp Kwiki all work with Tubolitos. 

Can Tubolitos be inflated with CO2 cartridges? Yes.

What maximum pressure can Tubolitos take? Pretty much whatever pressure is written on the tyre sidewall.

Are Tubolitos compatible with valve extensions? The valve cores of Tubolitos are glued and cannot be removed. Therefore only valve extensions which can be screwed on the opened valve core work with Tubolito products. 

Are Tubolitos suitable for rim brakes? Some are, some aren’t – you can find compatibility advice easily on the Tubolito website. All Tubolitos suitable for rim brakes comply with the DIN4210 test (15 minutes of braking with maximum 10×10 seconds interruption) for aluminium and carbon rims. And during a disruptive test – where the brakes are used until the inner tube fails – Tubolitos didn’t lose the air explosively like butyl products, but slowly over several minutes.

So we’ve covered the theory and the performance, let’s look at the buying options.

Tubolito Tubo-Road €29.90 

tubolito tubo road new

The Tubo-Road might be the brand’s standard road cycling inner tube, but it’s anything but standard compared to the rest of the inner tube market. With 70g of reduced rotating weight compared to a typical butyl inner tube, twice as much resistance to punctures, and suitability for use with either rim or disc brakes, this should be your go-to tube for road riding.

Tubolito tubo-road-

Price: €29.90 
Weight: 38-40g
Widths: 18-28mm
Valve types: Presta – 42/60/80mm
Wheel size: 700c
Rim or disc: Both

Tubolito S-Tubo-Road €32.90 

tubolito s-tubo road

Once you know what the ‘S’ stands for in ‘S-Tubo-Road’, it all becomes clear: this is Tubolitos’s answer to the challenge of creating the ultimate ‘spare’ inner tube, with rolling resistance comparable to latex tubes, but puncture resistance comparable with butyl. As the smallest and lightest cycle inner tube in the world, just don’t forget you’ve got it in your pocket!

Tubolito GWA_5833

Price: €32.90
Weight: 23g-25g
Widths: 18-28mm
Valve types: Presta – 42/60/80mm
Wheel size: 700c
Rim or disc: Disc only 

Tubolito X-Tubo-CX/Gravel-All €29.95

tubolito cx gravel all-road

When you’ve decided to head off the beaten track and into the wilds, puncture protection is key. The X-Tubo-CX/Gravel-All inner tube is manufactured using a specially-developed X-Tubo technology to handle anything gravel, thorns, nails or broken glass can throw at it. In fact, Tubolito is so confident, each X-Tubo-CX/Gravel-All tube even comes with a one-year warranty against any type of puncture.


 Price: €29.95
Weight: 131g
Widths: 30-50mm
Valve types: Presta – 60mm
Wheel size: 700c
Rim or disc: Both

Tubolito Tubo-CX/Gravel-All €29.90

tubolito cx gravel 4

Ultimate compatibility is the name of the game with Tubolito’s CX/Gravel. It’ll fit tyre widths of 30-47mm. It’s ready for disc or rim brakes. It’s available with 42mm or 60mm valve lengths. It’s even suitable for 700c or 650b wheel sizes. With twice the level of puncture protection compared to typical rubber tubes, whatever type of cyclocross or gravel bike you ride, this is the tube for you.

Price: €29.90
Weight: 60-61g
Widths: 30-47mm
Valve types: Presta – 42/60mm
Wheel size: 700c or 650b
Rim or disc: Both

Tubolito S-Tubo-CX/Gravel-All €32.90

tubolito cx gravel 4

Don’t think cyclocross and adventure bike riders need to miss out on compact, lightweight spare tubes – Tubolito has worked its magic on the gravel bike market, too. The S-Tubo-CX/Gravel’s ultra-diminutive form will fit in any pocket and, because it’s still as robust as a standard rubber tube, it can even double up as an excellent option for weight-conscious cyclocross racers.

tubolito cx gravel 3

Price: €32.90
Weight: 35/36g
Widths: 30-47mm
Valve types: Presta – 42/60mm
Wheel size: 700c or 650b
Rim or disc: Disc only

Head over to the Tubolito website to find out more

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