Mountain Bike Action Product Test: Tubolito Tubo MTB Tube
Tubolito Tubo MTB Tube
Getting a flat can take the fun out of any bike ride. One minute you are hitting berms and preparing to hit the next drop, then next thing you know your tire is going soft and spraying sealant and you’re trying to install a bulky tube to get back to riding. While tubeless systems are great for some, it’s still advisable to carry a spare tube in case you are unable to get the sealant to plug up a hole. While running tubes can have its benefits, it does add extra weight. Is there any middle ground?
Christian Lembacher (a material science engineer) and Akos Kertesz (a mechanical engineer) are both passionate mountain bikers. Previously, they worked to develop a strong material that acted as a skin for smartphone speakers. The material they used needed to be lightweight and durable. Ultimately, Christian and Akos realized this material could be used to revolutionize bicycle inner tubes, so they started their high-tech inner-tube company called Tubolito.
Tubolito uses a special thermoplastic elastomer called TPU that makes the Tubolito tubes not only significantly lighter but more robust (according to the needle-penetration lab tests) than standard butyl-rubber tubes. Essentially, this test measures the force needed to puncture a tube. Tubolito also claims that its tubes are more resistant to pinch flats.
Tubolito offers a full line of tube sizes for most styles of bicycles on the market. We focused on mountain bike tubes that currently come in three categories: Tubo MTB for 1.8–2.5-inch-wide tires (tube weights: 78–85 grams), Tubo MTB Plus for 2.5–3-inch-wide tires (tube weights: 105–110 grams) and the super-lightweight S Tubo MTB option for 1.8–2.5-inch tires (tube weights: 42–45 grams). Tubolito offers these options for 26-, 27.5- and 29-inch tubes. The prices range from $34.90 to $37.90 per tube.
Field test results:
Out of the gate, there is a noticeable hit to your bank account compared to purchasing a butyl rubber tube. For some riders, the cost might not be worth the advantages the Tubolito product offers. Most riders can agree that carrying a replacement tube in case things go south on the trail is cumbersome, but the Turbos are so compact and airy that carrying even two was no problem. The S Tubo MTBs are super lightweight, but we decided to do our testing for this review with the….