Test: Tubolito S-Tubo CX / Gravel inner tube

At 33g, the Tubolito S-Tubo CX / Gravel is an incredibly lightweight thermoplastic inner tube designed for off-road use with 30-47mm tires in the 650B and 700C wheel sizes. The tubes are absolutely tiny, taking up minimal space in a pocket or bag, but there are a few factors, including patch time, that make me hesitate to use one as my only spare.

Thermoplastic (TPU) inner tubes have grown in popularity in recent years, with claims of increased strength over latex or butyl inner tubes, gram for gram. Tubolito offers two versions designed for cyclo-cross or gravel bikes, for 650B or 700C wheels and tire sizes from 30mm to 47mm. I tested both the non-S Tubo CX / Gravel and this S-Tubo, which is lighter, weighing an incredible 33g.

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The S stands for aftermarket, and while the tube can be used for more general everyday use, the super low volume and light weight can make it a standout option when you have limited space.

The inner tube is incredibly thin, and like the non-S, I recommend that you take your time installing it, as the material can easily get caught between the bead of the tire and the rim. If you have a setup that is already tight and installing a tire is difficult, even more care is needed.

The installation is a little different from the norm, as Tubolito recommends pre-inflating the tube to give it some shape, to help you. I recommend not to use a tire iron either, as it will be very easy to tear the material if it gets stuck.

Although designed for off-road use, the tubes could also fit road bikes with wider tires (30mm +) and that’s how I tested them first.

The first lap was far from perfect, puncturing after only 5 km on the road. While it may have just been bad luck, it put some doubts in my mind for future rides.

I fixed the tube that broke, later, using the Tubolito patch kit (also under review – coming soon), and it worked, but it takes a lot longer than repairing a tube butyl with a vulcanized rubber patch, requiring 30 minutes to dry. I have also found that constant pressure is necessary so I suggest doing it at home.

I’ve spent a lot more miles testing both the corrected version and a new one, on-road and off-road, and one noticeable difference is the ride quality compared to a butyl tube. This is something I also found while testing the Schwalbe Aerothan TPU tube.

The Tubolito S-Tubo is claimed to be as strong as a butyl tube, although it weighs only a fraction of the weight. In comparison, a butyl tube designed for similar sized tires will weigh 120-170g and will also take up more space.

There are a few potential issues with using the S-Tubo as a spare – I wouldn’t wear it as my only spare tube. There is the extra time it takes to install it and how easy it is to drill if you catch the tube during installation. Plus, if you have to use it and are unlucky enough to pop again, there’s the time it will take to repair and the need to grab a specific repair kit, which further reduces the benefits.

Compared to an inner tube or tubeless setup, S-Tubo tubes will be significantly lighter, and while the ride quality is good, so is a good tubeless system. A tubeless configuration also provides better puncture resistance and allows on-the-go repairs with tubeless plugs.

> 9 things they don’t tell you about tubeless tires

If you’re completely attached to the inner tubes these are almost certainly the lightest you’ll find for the wheel / tire size, but I’m not convinced the 28g saved over the standard Tubolito is worth it. . Both offer low volume, but the standard version has stood up to incredibly rough driving terrains, while the S-Tubo has punctured a few times now, including the early one on the road.

Since the probable risk of a puncture is lower on-road than off-road, it is certainly preferable as a spare or main chamber only for the road, for 30mm + tires, rather than for general use. -ground.

> Puncture prevention 101: learn to swerve flat with these 11 top tricks

At £ 29.99 each they’re pricey compared to butyl tubes, although when you consider the price per gram, it’s better value than some of the weight-saving upgrades. .

They’re also a bit more expensive than other TPU tubes, but no other brand currently offers such a lightweight version to fit gravel or cyclocross bikes.

Schwalbe’s Aerothan costs £ 24.99 and Pirelli’s SmarTube is £ 27.99 for versions suitable for gravel tire sizes.

TPU inner tubes have some real advantages over other inner tubes, especially in terms of weight and size, but for off-road use with gravel bikes in particular a good tubeless system should offer more. puncture resistance and an equally good ride. It makes sense as a small volume spare, at a cost, although to me it would be like a second spare tube.

Verdict

Incredibly low weight, but can be tricky, especially during installation

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Brand and model : Tubolito S-TUBO CX / GRAVEL

Size tested: 700×30-47mm Presta 60mm

Tell us what the product is for and who it is for. What do the manufacturers say? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Tubolito says, “Not just aftermarket: developed to fit in any small pocket, 35 gram S-Tubo-CX / Gravel Lightweight. Thanks to its very small packaged size, it is the ideal spare chamber for all 700c and 650B tires from 30mm to 47mm in width. . However, it is not only a savior in need but it can be used perfectly in everyday life as it is still just as sturdy as standard rubber tubing. In addition, the remains of tubeless fluids do not harm it. Given its low rolling resistance, it can also become the decisive advantage in competitions. Available with 42mm (35 gram) and 60mm (36 gram) Presta valves and suitable for disc brakes. ‘

Tell us a little more about the technical aspects of the product?

Turbolito Lists:

Perfect CX / Gravel Replacement Tube

Can also be used as a daily driver

The lightest CX / Gravel tubes in the world

Can be used in 700c and 650B tires

Compatible with disc brakes

Same strength as a standard tube

Low rolling resistance

Perfect replacement tube for tubeless setups

Rate the product for build quality:

8/10

Rate the product for its performance:

6/10

Rate the product for its durability:

6/10

Rate the product by weight (if applicable)

10/10

Rate the product for its comfort (if applicable)

8/10

Evaluate the product for its value:

4/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its purpose

Installation is tricky, especially if you have a tight tolerance between tire and rim, but once in place it offers a good ride quality and is incredibly light. I might have been unlucky, but I suffered a few punctures, which made me constantly worried about a potential failure.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Incredibly low weight and small packing size.

Tell us what you didn’t particularly like about the product

Difficult to install and although patching is possible, it is neither easy nor quick.

How does the price compare to similar products on the market, including those recently tested on road.cc?

Schwalbe makes an Aerothan version for 37-50mm tires at £ 24.99, although that’s more of a comparison to the standard Tubolito version, not the S-Tubo. Pirelli makes the SmarTUBE Cinturato, which is for 33-45mm tires, for £ 27.99, with a claimed weight of 49g.

Did you enjoy using the product? Mixed. I felt great riding, but an early puncture and difficulty installing it meant I was still aware of the inner tube and worried it might break down.

Would you consider purchasing the product? Probably not.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? I would recommend the standard version over the S-Tubo version, especially for off-road use.

Use this box to explain your overall score

The ride quality is good and the weight is amazing, but it’s harder to install than butyl, and while the low volume is good, there are potential issues if it were to be used as a spare.

Age: 35 Height: 168 Weight: 62

I usually drive: My best bike is: Cannondale SystemSix

I have been driving since: Over 20 years I ride: Everyday I would classify myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, sports, mountain biking, lots of gravel style driving


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About Jeffrey Wurtsbach

Jeffrey Wurtsbach

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