The Tubolito X-Tubo City/Tour promises to make punctures a thing of the past. This hardy orange inner tube, designed specifically for 30-50mm tyres, is better suited to more portly, commuter-type bikes that come into contact with road shrapnel on a daily basis, but it'd work well with other wide tyre bikes too. It's much more expensive than a regular butyl tube, and might not be worth the investment if you already have good quality puncture-resistant tyres, but if not, it's well worth considering.
Tubolito bills its X-Tubo City/Tour inner tube as 'the toughest tube worldwide', and has enough confidence in its product to offer a one-year warranty for all punctures.
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Tubolito's goal was to produce a bicycle inner tube that cannot be punctured. The tube was tested on road surfaces littered with a variety of debris including thorns (a nemesis of those who ride on cycle paths next to freshly cut hedges), broken glass, and a specially designed ramp with a nail.
Though Tubolito doesn't explicitly state that the tube was impervious to puncturing during testing, we can assume that the final product should be since it goes on to say that, 'Step by step we got closer to our goal until we found a product which satisfied our high expectations: make punctures a thing of the past.'
That's a pretty good deal if you ride in areas where there might be a lot of puncture-unfriendly debris on the road, and regular butyl tyres aren't cutting it, so to speak.
The tube is compatible with all tyres with a width from 30-50mm, though you might find it works with tyres outside this range – my hybrid uses a 2.15-inch tyre and it worked just fine, as an example.
Presta and Schrader are options, depending on what your wheels are designed to work with, with the Presta option having a 42mm valve, the Schrader a 40mm valve.
The weight is a commendable (claimed) 130g and 139g respectively – on the road.cc scales the latter came in at 146g. My old inner tubes were 182g each on the same scales, so that's a decent 36g saving per wheel.
Admittedly, on a hybrid bike with not especially light wheels and fat, heavy tyres, that isn't going to have quite the same effect it might have on a road bike with skinny tyres, but it definitely doesn't hurt.
Fitting the Tubolito tube is as easy as a butyl tyre, though it did take a bit of effort with the track pump to get the X-Tubo to inflate initially.
Since they've been installed, the tubes have only lost a few psi each over the course of a couple of weeks. Admittedly, I've been running tubeless so long now that I've forgotten how much pressure butyl tyres tend to lose over time, but that seems fine with me – I check pressures every time I ride anyway.
There's only one potential sticking point with the X-Tubo City/Tour, and that's whether it's really necessary. Small weight-saving aside, which is nice, a puncture-proof inner tube might not actually be that useful if your bike already sports a pair of bombproof commuter tyres, such as Schwalbe Marathons. Indeed, Schwalbe markets its Marathon Plus tyres as being 'the most puncture resistant pneumatic tire there is'.
In my own experience – about 2,500 miles on a pair of Schwalbe Big Ben tyres on a dearly departed ebike – I've never had a puncture, so I don't see the need for a puncture-proof tyre if the tyres are impervious to them. My hybrid bike wears Schwalbe Marathon Almotion tyres, and after 500 miles of testing, the X-Tubo tubes haven't punctured or had any other issues, though I wouldn't expect them to.
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That said, you might just want the peace of mind that the combination of puncture-proof tyre and inner tube brings. There are also plenty of people out there who commute or tour on lighter, less puncture-resistant tyres, and in such scenarios I could see this Tubolito tube coming into its own.
It's also a great option if you're gravel riding or going on a bikepacking adventure and you're not running tubeless. Tubolito actually makes a specific tube for that purpose, the Tubo CX/Gravel, and it's much lighter than the X-Tubo City/Tour – 61g on the road.cc scales, for 30-43mm tyres. It's said to offer twice the strength of a standard tube, but Matt did manage to puncture one when testing them last year; if you want a bulletproof option that also works with slightly wider tyres, the X-Tubo City/Tour might be the better option.
Okay, £22.99 for an inner tube certainly isn't cheap, when a pair of butyl tyres costs about £8, but what price can you put on potentially never getting a puncture again? If you don't run a puncture-proof tyre, it's definitely worth the additional outlay to never get stuck at the side of the road trying to fix a flat on a cold winter night, or during a multi-day adventure. You might end up spending the equivalent amount replacing tubes over a period of time fixing punctures anyway.
Matt tested both the CX/Gravel version mentioned above and some thinner (23-28mm) Schwalbe Aerothans – both options are more expensive than these City/Tours, the Tubolitos £27.99 and the Schwalbes now £25.
A cheaper alternative that still offers a little more protection than a standard tube is one of Decathlon's self-sealing inner tubes, with sealant inside, which cost £5.99 each (we tested the B'Twin version back in 2016). They come in wide tyre-friendly 1.7/2.2in and 1.9/2.5in options. Shaun found that the B'Twin was able to to seal some smaller punctures thanks to the latex liquid inside, but it certainly isn't in the same puncture-prevention league as the Tubolito.
As I mentioned above, if you're running wide tyres that don't have much, if anything, in the way of puncture protection, then the Tubolito X-Tubo City/Tour tubes are a pretty good investment, with no downsides other than the high initial purchase price.
Puncture-proof tubes that are lighter than butyl – they're ideal for wide tyres that don't have adequate protection
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Make and model: Tubolito X-Tubo City/Tour Tube
Size tested: 30-50mm 700C
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Tubolito says, 'Everyday hero: X-Tubo-City/Tour was developed to meet everyday challenges. The new, even more resistant material makes punctures impossible during normal use. This promise is backed up with a world premiere: a one-year warranty for all flats. Given its great robustness X-Tubo-City/Tour reduces the necessary of maintenance and allows worry-free rides. Available for 700C tires 30 mm-50 mm and ready for disc and rim brakes.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Valve 42 mm
Valve 40 mm
Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
No punctures during testing.
Rate the product for durability:
No issues in 500 miles of testing.
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
Lighter than the equivalent butyl tubes.
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
As comfortable as the outgoing butyl tube – they don't feel any different.
Rate the product for value:
Expensive, but potentially a good investment if the puncture-proof claim holds up. You could easily spend the same on a bunch of butyl tyres, plus you'd have the hassle of having to fix flats.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Easy to fit, holds pressure and no punctures so far.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The weight saving over a butyl tube.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They're certainly one of the most expensive tubes we've tested. Decathlon sells self-sealing inner tubes with latex liquid inside, and they only cost £5.99 each. They're not in the same league in terms of puncture protection, though.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
A genuinely useful product that offers proper peace of mind, allowing you to just get on and ride no matter the conditions on roads or paths. They might not be quite as essential for those with very tough tyres, but you might still want that backup, just in case. Chances are you'll never need to replace a tube for a very long time.
Age: 39 Height: 6'4 Weight: 175lbs
I usually ride: Condor Italia RC custom build My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, mtb,
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