TPU Inner Tubes: Tubolito, Revoloop, Aerothan, FOSS, Compared to Butyl, Light Butyl, and Latex

Published: 2021-09-24 by Jarno Bierman
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Selection of TPU tubes, butyl tubes, and a latex tube

TPU inner tubes have been available for a while now, and as many of you know they can save quite a bit of rotational weight over the traditional latex and butyl inner tubes. As all manufacturers specify the weight of their inner tubes, it's easy to compare the inner tubes against each other on weight alone. What's less obvious, and just as important to know, is the rolling resistance of these inner tubes as they're all made from slightly different materials.


As requested by our Pro Members, we bought all the currently available TPU inner tubes and tested them all on our rolling resistance test machine. We've also tested a selection of butyl, light butyl, and a latex inner tube to compare them to what we've all been using for the past 50+ years.


For this comparison, we collected a lot of data as we didn't just stick with testing the inner tubes with just a single road bike tire. We've tested all inner tubes with the all-round Grand Prix 5000, cotton Vittoria Corsa G+ 2.0, and the currently fastest tube-type time trial tire: Michelin Power Time Trial.


In total, we've collected 99 points of rolling resistance data of all the inner tube and tire combinations. To keep the test results easy to understand for first-time visitors of our site, we averaged the results of the 3 different tires and made that data available for free for everyone.


Pro Members can open the individual tire data and dig into the results further.


Test Set Up and Conditions


We've used the following TPU tubes:


  • Tubolito S-Tubo Road (22 grams)
  • Tubolito Road (39 grams)
  • Revoloop Ultra (25 grams) = Wolfpack TPU
  • Revoloop (39 grams)
  • Schwalbe Aerothan (43 grams)
  • FOSS TPU Tube (99 grams)

About the Wolfpack TPU Tube: We ordered a "Wolfpack TPU tube" from their official store. Wolfpack shipped us a box that simply contained a Revoloop Ultra (25 grams) tube. From this, we assume their tube is the Revoloop Ultra tube.


We've used the following "classic" tubes which is a selection of the most popular inner tubes:


  • Vittoria Latex 25/28 (80 grams)
  • Continental Race 28 Light (75 grams)
  • Continental Race 28 (102 grams)
  • Schwalbe SV20 Light (72 grams)
  • Schwalbe SV15 (105 grams)

All rolling resistance tests were performed with our standard test protocol. This is the same protocol used for nearly all of the rolling resistance data found on this website.


Rolling Resistance Test Conditions


  • Speed of 8 m/s - 28.8 km/h - 18 mph
  • Total wheel load of 42.5 kg / 94 lbs
  • 17.8 mm internal width rim
  • Temperature between 21.5-22.5 °C / 71-72 °F
  • Diamond plate drum surface
  • 77 cm drum diameter

Test Results - TPU Tubes Average of 3 Tires


We've tested all TPU, butyl, and latex tubes with 3 different road bike tires:


  • Continental Grand Prix 5000 25-622
  • Vittoria Corsa G+ 2.0 25-622
  • Michelin Power Time Trial 25-622

To keep the test results comprehensible and easy to understand, we've averaged the test results of the 3 different tires:


Inner Tube Type Weight Rolling Resistance at 100 psi / 6.9 barsRR
100 psi
6.9 bar
Rolling Resistance at 80 psi / 5.5 barsRR
80 psi
5.5 bar
Rolling Resistance at 60 psi / 4.1 barsRR
60 psi
4.1 bar
Grams Watts Watts Watts
Vittoria Latex 25/28 Latex 80 9.5 10.8 12.9
Revoloop Ultra TPU 25 9.8 11.0 13.1
Tubolito S-Tubo Road TPU 22 10.0 11.1 13.5
Revoloop TPU 39 10.2 11.5 13.7
Schwalbe Aerothan TPU 43 10.3 11.6 13.9
Conti Race28 Light Butyl 75 10.5 11.6 14.0
Schwalbe SV20 Light Butyl 72 10.7 12.0 14.7
Tubolito Road TPU 39 10.8 12.2 14.7
Conti Race28 Butyl 102 11.1 12.6 15.1
FOSS Tube TPU 99 11.8 13.6 16.6
Schwalbe SV15 Butyl 105 12.4 14.0 17.1
Average of 3 road bike tires (Speed: 29 kmh / 18 mph, Load: 42.5 kg / 417 N)

The averaged results show the 80 grams latex tube still has a lower rolling resistance than even the lightest TPU tubes. Latex still is the most efficient rolling material, but the tubes can't be made as light as the lightest TPU tubes as latex isn't all that strong. Airtightness of the latex tubes is also less than even the lightest 22 grams TPU tube see Tubolito article.


The ultra-light 25 grams Revoloop Ultra and 22 grams Tubolito S-Tubo Road come in slightly behind the 80 grams latex tube when purely looking at the rolling resistance. The difference is incredibly small, and in practice, these might be just as fast as the latex tube as you'll save a good amount of rotational weight.


Next on we find the 39 grams Revoloop tube, and the 43 grams Schwalbe Aerothan that both perform nearly the same. The 39 grams Tubolito Road tube performs a bit less than those 2 tubes. An important comparison for the ~ 40 grams TPU tubes are the light-butyl tubes as those are often used by riders looking for a bit more performance. In our opinion, the ~ 40 grams TPU tubes clearly perform better as they are lighter, roll faster, and air retention should be at least equal or better.


The 99 grams FOSS TPU tube clearly is an outlier in this comparison, but rolling resistance probably isn't all that important for the FOSS tube. The FOSS TPU tube is marketed mainly as an environmentally friendly tube that also offers improved puncture resistance over butyl tubes. We must say that this looks like a good replacement as it outperforms the heavier Schwalbe SV15 which probably is the benchmark for a standard butyl tube. The 102 grams Continental Race 28 simply is the fastest rolling ~ 100 grams butyl tube.


Test Results - Individual Rolling Resistance Data (Pro Members)


The next section is only accessible by our highly valued Pro Members. This section includes all test data of the individual tires used for the TPU inner tube tests: Continental Grand Prix 5000, Vittoria Corsa G+ 2.0, and the Michelin Power Time Trial.


In total, you'll get access to an additional 99 data points. This TPU tubes article has been made possible by our Pro Members and the amount of data collected for this TPU inner tubes test was only possible because of their support. If you value our site, please consider to show your support by signing up for a Pro membership.


Conclusion


Inner tubes have come a long way and we now have road bike inner tubes that weigh just 22 grams. The extremely low weight of these tubes is also the biggest advantage as latex inner tubes still have a (slightly) lower rolling resistance when combined with most road bike tires. We do see slight differences between cotton and nylon road bike tires, and we attribute the differences to the different levels of friction between the inner tubes and tires.


In the ultra-light TPU inner tube class, we find 2 tubes: Revoloop Ultra (25 grams) and the Tubolito S-Tubo Road (22 grams). The ultra-light tubes come very close to the low rolling resistance of latex inner tubes and we would rate both the Revoloop and Tubolito equally good. Price and availability probably can make the difference between these inner tubes.


The "regular" road bike TPU inner tubes come in a bit heavier at approximately 40 grams which is still much lighter than light-butyl or standard-butyl road bike inner tubes that come in between 70 and 105 grams. The rolling resistance of these tubes is comparable, or slightly below the rolling resistance of light-butyl inner tubes that are often the choice of riders that want a bit more performance.


The ~40 grams TPU tubes also feel much more reliable than the 22/25 grams versions that are really thin. We would recommend these if you don't need that absolute last bit of performance the ultra-light TPU tubes offer. We would rate the Revoloop (39 grams) and Schwalbe Aerothan (43 grams) equally good with the Tubolito Road (39 grams) slightly behind those as it rolls a bit slower.


Then there's also the 99 grams FOSS TPU inner tube that definitely isn't as much of a performance inner tube but still offers comparable performance to the 100 grams butyl inner tubes. FOSS claims these offer improved puncture resistance over standard tubes, if that's true, it would be a good replacement for the classic butyl inner tubes. The FOSS TPU tube also is the cheapest TPU tube with a price that is comparable to standard butyl tubes.


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