Tubolito Inner Tube Tests

Published: 2020-05-01 by Jarno Bierman
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Tubolito Inner Tubes

Tubolito is a manufacturer of thermoplastic elastomer (TPU) inner tubes. TPU materials have already replaced many traditional rubber products in the automotive and pharma industry. Tubolito was founded with the belief it's also possible to replace the traditional rubber inner tube with a lighter and stronger tube made from modern TPU materials.


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At Bicycle Rolling Resistance we know Tubolito has taken the development of their tubes very seriously because they've been using our private test service since the first prototypes in 2017. Since 2017 they've been sending in prototypes regularly and we've seen them develop into the final product that is available today.


We've received a lot of requests to test the Tubolito tubes as many of our readers are curious about how they compare to regular butyl and latex inner tubes. For this test, Tubolito sent us a selection of their most popular inner tubes. We've tested the Tubolito tubes and also tested a selection of regular butyl, light butyl, and latex inner tubes to give us a good indication of how the Tubolito tubes perform.


This article has been divided into a road bike, mountain bike, and CX/gravel section. Read on to find out more about how the Tubolito tubes perform on our rolling resistance tests.


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Tubolito Road Bike Inner Tube Test Results

Tubolito Road Bike Inner Tubes

For use on road bikes, Tubolito has 2 types of inner tubes available: the Tubolito Tubo Road which weighs 40 grams, and the Tubolito S-Tubo Road which is even lighter at just 22 grams.



The 40 grams Tubolito Road is intended to compete with regular butyl inner tubes. The advantages over regular butyl tubes are a much lower weight while at the same time also offering a higher puncture resistance. This product is also ready for use with rim brakes as it can handle the heat during hard braking.


The 22 grams Tubolito S-Tubo Road is made to compete with latex inner tubes. When compared to latex inner tubes, the S-Tubo Road offers a much lower weight while at the same time holding air a bit better than latex tubes. The pack size is also very small which makes this tube ideal to carry as a spare tube. The biggest drawback of the S-Tubo Road is that it can only be used with disc brakes.


We've tested both the regular Tubo Road and S-Tubo Road and compared them to several other popular inner tubes. All tubes were tested with the same Continental Grand Prix 5000, under equal circumstances, and on the same day.


Inner Tube Weight Rolling Resistance at 120 psi / 8.3 barsRR
120 psi
8.3 bar
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 Watts
Vittoria Latex 25/28 80 8.3 8.8 9.9 11.7
Tubolito S-Tubo Road 22 8.8 9.6 10.6 12.6
Conti Race 28 Light 75 9.3 9.9 11.0 13.1
Tubolito Tubo-Road 40 9.6 10.1 11.7 13.8
Schwalbe SV20 Light 73 9.7 10.4 11.5 13.7
Conti Race 28 102 10.0 10.7 12.1 14.2
Schwalbe SV15 105 11.2 12.1 13.5 16.3
Continental Grand Prix 5000 25-622 (Speed: 29 kmh / 18 mph, Load: 42.5 kg / 417 N)

Our test results show rolling resistance of the Tubolito Road is similar to the performance of light butyl tubes. The Tubolito Road fits right in between the Continental Race 28 Light and Schwalbe SV20 Light. Compared to the regular butyl tubes of aprroximately 100 grams, the Tubolito definitely performs better in our tests at nearly half the weight of the light butyl tubes.


The extremely light S-Tubo is faster than the light butyl tubes but comes a bit short when compared to the Vittoria Latex tube. The big advantage of the S-Tubo seems to be the extremely light weight as it shaves off nearly 60 grams of rotating mass per wheel.


Although the Tubolito tubes still can't touch latex tubes in the rolling resistance tests, their performance comes very close.


Tubolito Road Bike Packing Size Comparison

Packing size comparison of Tubolito tubes vs latex, light butyl, and butyl tubes

From left to right: Tubolito S-Tubo Road (22 grams), Tubolito Tubo Road (40 grams), Vittoria Latex 25/28 (80 grams), Continental Butyl Light (75 grams), Continental Butyl (102 grams).


When you're carrying a Tubolito tube as a spare tube, another advantage of the Tubolito tubes is the much smaller packing size. The 22 grams S-Tubo is extremely small and can be tucked in almost anywhere.


Tubolito S-Tubo Road Air Holding Capability


Inner Tube Air Pressure after 0 hours0
Hours
Air Pressure after 24 hours24
Hours
Air Pressure after 48 hours48
Hours
Air Pressure after 72 hours72
Hours
Air Pressure after 96 hours96
Hours
psi
bar
psi
bar
psi
bar
psi
bar
psi
bar
Tubolito S-Tubo Road 100
6.9
95
6.6
91
6.3
88
6.1
86
5.9
Vittoria Latex 25/28 100
6.9
87
6.0
76
5.2
70
4.8
64
4.4

As many of you already know, latex inner tubes can leak quite a lot of air over time. Tubolito claims their S-Tubo tubes are not only lighter than latex but also leak less air.


The results of the pressure tests speak for themselves, the Tubolito S-Tubo leaks less air than the latex tube. Although the air loss is much less, you probably still need to reinflate your tires every ride if you're strict about your tire pressures.


Tubolito Mountain Bike Inner Tube Test Results

Tubolito MTB Inner Tubes

Just like the Tubolito road bike tubes, the mountain bike tubes come in 2 different flavors: the Tubolito Tubo MTB which weighs 83 grams, and the ultra-light Tubolito S-Tubo MTB that comes in at 43 grams.



We used a Continental Race King Protection 29x2.2 to test the Tubolito tubes and a selection of butyl, light butyl, and latex tubes. All tests were performed on the same day and under equal circumstances.


Inner Tube Weight Rolling Resistance at 55 psi / 3.8 barsRR
55 psi
3.8 bar
Rolling Resistance at 45 psi / 3.1 barsRR
45 psi
3.1 bar
Rolling Resistance at 35 psi / 2.4 barsRR
35 psi
2.4 bar
Rolling Resistance at 25 psi / 1.7 barsRR
25 psi
1.7 bar
Grams Watts Watts Watts Watts
Michelin Latex 130 14.8 15.2 15.8 17.2
Continental MTB 29 Light 154 16.2 16.5 17.4 19.6
Tubolito S-Tubo MTB 43 16.3 16.6 17.4 18.9
Continental MTB 29 228 16.4 16.8 18.0 20.2
Tubolito Tubo-MTB 83 16.9 17.6 18.6 21.1
Continental Race King Protection 29x2.2 (Speed: 29 kmh / 18 mph, Load: 42.5 kg / 417 N)

We see the same pattern here that we saw with the road bike inner tubes. The 43 grams S-Tubo MTB performs nearly equal to the 154 grams "light" butyl tube in the rolling resistance tests. At the lowest air pressure of 25 psi / 1.7 bar, the S-Tubo MTB does outperform it slightly. The latex tube still seems to be in a class of its own when purely looking at rolling resistance.


The 83 grams Tubolito MTB tube comes in behind the regular 228 grams butyl tube. It looks like the main advantage of the Tubolito MTB tube is the much lower weight that cuts down on the rotating mass that's even more important on mountain bikes.


Tubolito CX/Gravel Inner Tube Test Results

Tubolito CX/Gravel Inner Tubes

For CX and Gravel bikes, Tubolito currently only has the 55 grams Tubo CX / Gravel available. A lighter S-Tubo version may become available later on.



This time the tests have been performed with a Continental Terra Speed in the 35-622 size. The CX / Gravel tests are a bit more limited as we only compared the Tubolito tube to a "standard" 161 grams butyl inner tube and an 80 grams latex inner tube.


Inner Tube Weight Rolling Resistance at 60 psi / 4.1 barsRR
60 psi
4.1 bar
Rolling Resistance at 50 psi / 3.4 barsRR
50 psi
3.4 bar
Rolling Resistance at 40 psi / 2.8 barsRR
40 psi
2.8 bar
Rolling Resistance at 30 psi / 2.1 barsRR
30 psi
2.1 bar
Grams Watts Watts Watts Watts
Challenge Latex 80 15.3 15.6 16.8 20.2
Tubolito Tubo-CX/Gravel 56 16.8 17.8 20.1 24.5
Continental Cross 28 161 17.0 18.3 20.8 25.3
Continental Terra Speed 35-622 (Speed: 29 kmh / 18 mph, Load: 42.5 kg / 417 N)

The CX / Gravel test results show the same pattern as the road bike and MTB test results. The 55 Grams Tubo CX / Gravel outperforms the standard 160 grams butyl inner tube in the rolling resistance tests. The big advantage of the Tubolito tube once again seems to be a much lower weight.


When purely looking at rolling resistance, the latex inner tube still has the lowest rolling resistance.


Conclusion

Tubolito Inner Tubes in Box

Our tests show the standard Tubolito tubes perform similar to light butyl tubes in the rolling resistance tests. The even lighter Tubolito S-Tubo tubes outperform the light-butyl tubes and in some cases even come close to the rolling resistance of latex inner tubes.


When looking at weight, the standard Tubolito tubes are approximately 50% of the weight of light-butyl and latex tubes. The ultra-light S-Tubo versions are even lighter at approximately 30% of the weight of those tubes. If your main target is getting the rotational weight down as much as possible the Tubolito tubes will be your cheapest option.


We feel the Tubolito TPU tubes are a good replacement for the traditional inner tubes that have been around for a long time. Although rolling resistance isn't as low as latex tubes yet, we feel these tubes come close enough and in some cases might be a better choice because of the lower weight and small packing size.



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