Getting a flat tire during a ride not only takes time to repair but it can also ruin your entire ride. Combined with puncture resistant tires, high quality inner tubes are essential to avoiding getting a flat. Until recently, there haven’t been many options to the standard Butyl rubber inner tube aside from lighter Latex tubes. With a distinctive orange coloring and proprietary thermoplastic elastomer construction, Tubolito tubes claim to be lighter, stronger, and more compact inner tubes. In this review, we’ll be looking at the 700C road bike variations: the Tubolito Tubo Road and S-Tubo (note, S stands for “spare”) Road inner tubes. With retail prices of $34.90 and $37.90, the tubes are quite expensive but offer some significant improvements.
While the Tubolito Tubo road inner tubes are more expensive than traditional inner tubes, their unique construction makes them more durable and compact.
|Retail Price||$34.90 / $37.90 (S-Tubo)|
|Measured Weight (in g)||40 / 22 (S-Tubo) – 60mm Valves|
|Likes||+ Compact size|
+ More durable than traditional rubber tubes
+ Available in variety of valve lengths
|Dislikes||– Premium price|
– Requires specific Flix Kit patch kit
– Only available in orange coloring
|Where to Buy (US)||Tubolito|
The Tubolito tubes are packaged in a simple cardboard holder with a center cutout to show off the orange tube. Inside the box you’ll find the following:
- Tubolite tube
- Dust cap on valve
- Rubber washer
- Instruction manual
Note, the rubber washer is a replacement for traditional metal locknuts, as the valve stems are not threaded with the Tubolite tubes.
FIT & FINISH
Visually the Tubolite tubes stand out with their vibrant semi-opaque coloring. This special orange coloring makes the tubes stand out and is the only color currently available. This means that the valve stem is also orange which may clash with some bicycle color schemes. That aside, whether you choose the standard Tubo Road or the smaller S-Tubo Road, both of them are a fraction of the size of traditional inner tubes. Tubolite doesn’t provide much information regarding the TPU construction but they feel smooth and elastic to the touch. A black dashed line on the inside of the tubes makes it easier to spot twists in the tube when installing them. To save additional weight, the Tubo tubes also ditch the standard metal locknut for a simple rubber gasket.
The smaller S-Tubo tube is described as an ‘ideal spare’ and uses a less durable thinner construction to achieve a more compact size. Tubolite also warns against using the S-Tubo on rim brake wheelsets, presumably due to the higher heat they generate. Once you remove the dust cap, the tubes have a standard presta valve which seems to work well. Note the valve cores are not removable but they can be used to valve extenders.
ON THE ROAD
While we can’t prove or disprove Tubolite’s claim of higher puncture resistance with the Tubo tubes, during our rides with it we didn’t experience any flats. That doesn’t mean they are puncture proof, as it only takes a well placed piece of debris to get a puncture. The tubes are a nice improvement over traditional inner tubes but since they cost so much more than traditional tubes, we don’t consider them a true replacement. Instead, we found ourselves using the S-Tubo and Tubo inner tubes as spares. Rather than being limited to carrying only one tube as a backup, the small size of the Tubo inner tubes allowed us to pack three tubes instead. Especially if you’re someone who does longer self-supported rides, having the extra inner tubes provides peace of mind should you run into multiple flats on a ride.
Overall, we found the Tubolite road Tubo inner tubes to be well constructed and extremely compact. The vibrant orange design and TPU construction are a big improvement over traditional butyl rubber tubes. With their lighter weight and smaller size, we found them to be the perfect spare tube to stash away in a saddlebag. Similar to the concept of the ‘better mouse trap’ while the Tubo tubes are better in almost every category than standard tubes, the higher price makes them hard to justify as a replacement. Instead, we’d recommend them as spares tubes since their compact size allows you to carry multiple. Hopefully with time and additional development, the retail price will also drop and make bulky rubber inner tubes a thing of the past.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Tubolito. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.