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Thread: Latex Tubes

  1. #1
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    Latex Tubes

    Pros seem to be lightweight and less punctures.

    Cons seem to be air loss and with the Michelins, the valve stem is not threaded (so it can twist and rip).

    Thoughts?
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    According to Jenson, the latex tubes aren't any lighter than Maxxis Ultralight tubes (latex=145g, maxxis=125g);

    I do agree that less punctures is a big advantage.
    I usually pump up my tires before every ride, so air less is not an issue.
    I also preffer non-threaded valve stems.

    With that said.. I don't use latex tubes. Why? Because I don't want to pay $14 per tube.

  3. #3
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    I don't mind an extra couple of dollars if it means flatting less.

    Are they just as pich-able as butyl?
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    I'm not sure what you mean by "pich-able", but, when I was installing mine - I felt like if I wasn't super careful, that I WOULD pinch it.

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    I havent heard anything about less punctures, whats that about? I bought some vittoras many years back, and they punctured probably more often than others. They say not to patch them, but i patched them successfully several times.

    But I dont think a few grams are worth the money.

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    I've ridden latex Michelins for years, I think I've had two punctures, one from a nail and one from cactus. I ride 2.25s at 30psi and 2.1s at 35psi and weigh 140, never had a pinch flat. I used them on the road this year as well and had my first FLAT FREE road season! Also testing out 23mm latex tubes in my 32mm cross tires, so far so good, super light, great ride and NO FLATS at 45 psi even with some rim banging hits. I won't use any other tubes for competitive riding.

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    you do realize that a UCI XC event hasnt been won on tubes since the 90s.......

    just saying tubes are outdated and make you go slower.

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    Why use tubes at all, tubless is much better ride, and never a pinch flat. Many ways to convert standard tires and rims to tubless setups. It's 2009, drop that 1800's technology and ride tubless.

  9. #9
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    I've been hesitant to go tubeless since people are always burping tires, need a compressor, more expensive tires, etc.

    But I guess I do have tubeless ready rims, so...

    I was just curious about the latex thing because I know that Adam Craig carries a latex tube around on his race bike.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RideFaster
    I've been hesitant to go tubeless since people are always burping tires, need a compressor, more expensive tires, etc.

    But I guess I do have tubeless ready rims, so...

    I was just curious about the latex thing because I know that Adam Craig carries a latex tube around on his race bike.
    Latex tubes supposedly give you a little less rolling resistance. They are also supposed to resist punctures more (pinch and thorns) because the rubber is stretchier, but I think a goat head thorn is going to go through any tube, which is about the only cause of my flats. Latex tubes are more fragile, and sometimes fail in one big, long rip. That is why I quit using them. They also leak air faster than butyl, so you're pumping your tires more often.

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    Craig carries a latex as a spare 'cause it's lighter. Prob does not use in his tires,yes?

    I use a UST tire, and Stan's rim/sealant, no burps, good luck with no flats, I have even seen small holes seal with extra air pressure and not removing the tire. It's a great system. Better than any tube I've even used.

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    I carry latex just because you never know when you might get lucky. ;-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbsbiker
    Craig carries a latex as a spare 'cause it's lighter. Prob does not use in his tires,yes?

    I use a UST tire, and Stan's rim/sealant, no burps, good luck with no flats, I have even seen small holes seal with extra air pressure and not removing the tire. It's a great system. Better than any tube I've even used.
    Me too. I run UST versions of the Racing Ralph mated to Stan's ZTR 355s, along with a Stan's yellow rim tape, ZTR valves, and some Stan's sealant. With some practice, I can now switch out a Ralph for a Nobby Nic in almost the same amount of time as it took me to swap a tube tire, and seal them with a floor pump.

    Compared to the Stan's conversion approach or even other UST setups (where a compressor is needed to get the bead to 'pop' on the rim), this is the most painless configuration I could have gone with and lucked out since it was my first real attempt at tubeless.

    I had tried conversions in the past using my Mavic wheelset and preferred tire choices from Kenda, all of which failed miserably (granted, non-UST versions of the Nevegal and Small Block 8 have been known to be poor candidates for tubeless conversions).

    That said, I always carry a tube and compressed air just in case of a sidewall tear that I can't fix or a bead fails, so a latex tube may find itself in my <a href="http://www.backcountryresearch.com/Awesome-Strap_c_1.html" target=_>Awesome Strap</a> at some point next season (which is the best freebie I've ever scored at a bike race, I might add! It rocks!).

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    If you do use tubes, I do recommend the latex ones particularly on hardtails as they flex a lot more than butyl - so its like having a half inch or inch or something of suspension for free. That said, I've heard tubeless people with big tires that are on the more flexible side say the same thing. But within the tubed world - it definitely adds a half inch or something of suspension that you won't have with normal tubes. There are drawbacks, some mentioned above, also my friends and I used to run Air-B back in the mid 90s and the glue that was used to hold the valve-stem area would melt under intense heat. I do mean very intense heat, one for example failed after we were carrying Bob trailers and descending a Colorado pass, so not a typical ride.

    But, yeah, ride quality is increased quite a bit. I'm on the Michelin ones these days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA
    you do realize that a UCI XC event hasnt been won on tubes since the 90s.......

    just saying tubes are outdated and make you go slower.
    Meanwhile the tubeless hype cooled down a little bit and we can see that tubeless is just a system with pros and cons like other systems.

    The Topeak Ergon riders use light tires with latex tubes again for example. Tests have shown just a very little, theoretical difference between tubeless and latex tubes. Installation time and work for tires with tubes compared to tubeless is just a joke, not to mention the costs. Schwalbe is testing new tube materials right now.

    It seems, that tubes have a comeback.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.SJ
    The Topeak Ergon riders use light tires with latex tubes again for example.
    This is probably more a function of the tires that they run. I tried to setup some Conti tires for my wife to try and they were nearly impossible to get them to seat (the bead on them is loose like a Kenda tire, my guess is their manufacturing tolerances are poor). When I finally got the tire on her bike and she went for a ride the sidewall gave up life while still on the fire road climb to get to the single track... I hate cleaning all that latex off her pretty carbon MTB.

    The tires that we run aren't necessarily cheap, but we also don't have very many issues with them!

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    Uh, bad story. Next to some good traits latex tubes also can (in very rare cases) explode, thatīs the reason for some riders to go back to xxlight butyls, which is just 1 Watt more rolling resistance, but means less puncture resistance (may be better with some sealant).

    Anyway, Iīm waiting for the new tubes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.SJ
    Meanwhile the tubeless hype cooled down a little bit and we can see that tubeless is just a system with pros and cons like other systems.

    The Topeak Ergon riders use light tires with latex tubes again for example. Tests have shown just a very little, theoretical difference between tubeless and latex tubes. Installation time and work for tires with tubes compared to tubeless is just a joke, not to mention the costs. Schwalbe is testing new tube materials right now.

    It seems, that tubes have a comeback.
    they run **** tires.

    what cost are you speaking off? I am running tubeless for the cost of a roll of gorilla tape, and tubeless valve stems. On non tubeless wheels with non tubeless tires. I have not had a flat in 3 years and I ride 10+ hours a week on some of the rockiest terrain in the county.

    my theory is those who dont run tubeless are just to damn stupid to figure it out.

    The problem with test is this, I can ride trails fastest at about 25 psi, with tubes this would mean I would pinch flat every mile, with tubeless I have ridden about 4000 miles with out a single flat of any type.

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    Cons: not tubeless

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    I had to run a race recently with a tube in the front tire after a sidewall tear in the preride. It worked fine, but I remembered the significant air loss between rides and two days later, got a flat on a tiny thorn. Laaaaame.

    Tubeless, tubeless, tubeless.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.SJ
    Uh, bad story. Next to some good traits latex tubes also can (in very rare cases) explode, thatīs the reason for some riders to go back to xxlight butyls, which is just 1 Watt more rolling resistance, but means less puncture resistance (may be better with some sealant).

    Anyway, Iīm waiting for the new tubes.

    I am pretty involved in the race scene. When I look around the pits at a world cup I see only one team putting tubes in their bikes. Everybody else uses tubeless even those who are suppose to use tubes use tubeless.

    Honestly I would like to use a tube, I hate changing tubeless tires. But I am yet to find a tube that allows me to run 20 psi without flatting five times a ride. (OK DH tubes work, but the weight more than my tires).

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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN
    Honestly I would like to use a tube, I hate changing tubeless tires. But I am yet to find a tube that allows me to run 20 psi without flatting five times a ride. (OK DH tubes work, but the weight more than my tires).
    So far I've had good experience running the insanely expensive Eclipse 56gms tubes, they are very resistant to pinch flats running Conti Race King 2.2 SS's at 25-28psi (I'm 195 lbs) on DT XRC330 rims. I've whacked the rim hard enough on rocks and roots to worry about the rim surviving with no tube issues. I have had blackberry thorn punctures with the thin carcass RK's, but they are very slow, like they take overnight to leak down, and are easily patched with their patch kits. I had a 50% failure rate on the first purchase of the new tubes but they were replaced on warranty and have had no issues with the replacement tubes or the other pair that I purchased.

    The Eclipse tubes have no hysteresis, they roll incredibly fast, they take a while to stretch out in a big volume tire.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA
    they run **** tires.

    what cost are you speaking off? I am running tubeless for the cost of a roll of gorilla tape, and tubeless valve stems. On non tubeless wheels with non tubeless tires. I have not had a flat in 3 years and I ride 10+ hours a week on some of the rockiest terrain in the county.

    my theory is those who dont run tubeless are just to damn stupid to figure it out.

    The problem with test is this, I can ride trails fastest at about 25 psi, with tubes this would mean I would pinch flat every mile, with tubeless I have ridden about 4000 miles with out a single flat of any type.

    First: I wonīt write about those using tubes (may be for some reason ) that they are "just damn stupid to figure it out" without being acquainted to them. Makes simply no sense.

    I have run tubeless, installed by me or a mechanic, and I am not convinced. So I went back to tubes. But I accept those running with it.

    I am running my tubes (and racing with) front with 1.5 bar and rear with 1.8-2.0 bar (depends on the terrain). Within the last 50.000k with tubes again I have had 3 flats. These flats would have been also a real test for tubeless systems, I guess. Costs for the last 50.000k: 3 tubes and of course a few tires, thatīs all. The flat statistics isnīt that bad, I think, and it doesnīt bother me.


    How much sealent has to be used for 50.000k

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    I have been using tubes again and a conventional clincher feels more stable (less wallow).

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    I really don't understand why people think tubeless cost that much more. It's literally like $50 for tape, stems, and sealant and then maybe you spend 20 bucks on sealant a year. Best bang-for-your-buck performance enhancement you can do to your bike IMHO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN

    Honestly I would like to use a tube, I hate changing tubeless tires. But I am yet to find a tube that allows me to run 20 psi without flatting five times a ride. (OK DH tubes work, but the weight more than my tires).
    This is really difficult, and I tested a lot of variants, and I am still not sure which is the best way to ride. As mentioned above, tubeless offers a few pros, but unfortunately there is no 100%-guarantee that running tubeless with 20psi helps to avoid flats, punctures, rim damage etc.

    Once again the chosen tire is the limiting factor in the game. First I would never go out riding again with a tire size smaller than 2.2. We all know: high volume = very low pressure possible, even with tubes. Meanwhile it seems also to be clear, that the general trend to install the lightest tire for race purposes must not be the best solution.

    I had a few problems with superlight tires being installed tubeless (stability and also puncture resistance due to low pressure), I am feeling more controlled with tubes. Meanwhile I think "light enough" is better than "as light as possible". I was pretty surprised and lucky with the combo Smart Sam Evo rear + xxlight tubes (or latex tubes) compared to a much lighter setup used before.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.SJ
    This is really difficult, and I tested a lot of variants, and I am still not sure which is the best way to ride. As mentioned above, tubeless offers a few pros, but unfortunately there is no 100%-guarantee that running tubeless with 20psi helps to avoid flats, punctures, rim damage etc.

    Once again the chosen tire is the limiting factor in the game. First I would never go out riding again with a tire size smaller than 2.2. We all know: high volume = very low pressure possible, even with tubes. Meanwhile it seems also to be clear, that the general trend to install the lightest tire for race purposes must not be the best solution.

    I had a few problems with superlight tires being installed tubeless (stability and also puncture resistance due to low pressure), I am feeling more controlled with tubes. Meanwhile I think "light enough" is better than "as light as possible". I was pretty surprised and lucky with the combo Smart Sam Evo rear + xxlight tubes (or latex tubes) compared to a much lighter setup used before.

    It is great that you have had that success with tubes. As I said I wish I could get them to work.

    You should recognize that your success is not normal. Most people who have used both have much more success with tubeless. For myself it is quite dramatic. I dropped my air pressure by 15psi and reduced by rate of flat tires by about 90%.

    Yes, tires make a different. But superlight tires are always prone to flat, doesn't matter if you run them with tubes or tubeless.

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    Tubeless I flat a few times a year.

    Tubed I flat at least once a ride.

    Sure slowing down on the descent would probably get rid of most of my flats, but what fun is that?!?!?!?!

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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN
    It is great that you have had that success with tubes. As I said I wish I could get them to work.

    You should recognize that your success is not normal. Most people who have used both have much more success with tubeless. For myself it is quite dramatic. I dropped my air pressure by 15psi and reduced by rate of flat tires by about 90%.

    Yes, tires make a different. But superlight tires are always prone to flat, doesn't matter if you run them with tubes or tubeless.
    LMN, you are right likely. Perhaps I am just a lucky guy with my tubes.

    As I said Schwalbe for example is testing new materials for tubes. Letīs hope successfully.

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    In less harsh words when BushwackerinPA used, but once you try tubeless in real terrain, yo will never go back.

    I used tubeless about 6 years ago for the first time and I cannot imagine using tubes again. When I ride I bike with tubes, no matter how good they are, I feel as if I was using cheap 1kg tires.

    -------------------------------------------

    Another step ahead are tubulars, those have many downsides though.

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    2 years and then...bam!

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    Yep, 2 years and I'm still one of those "stupid" guys running tubes who in 10 years has never had a pinch flat. I get the whole better traction aspect of tubeless but I am hard pressed to accept that riding on way underinflated squishy tires is somehow magically faster than properly inflated clinchers. Suspension robs the rider of speed and power (in theory) that's why lockout exists. Underinflated, soft tires don't have the same effect? This is a serious question from someone who has never tried tubeless, not trolling.

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    No, "under-inflated" soft tires don't have the same effect because they stop the bike from boucing around. They grab better, are way more comfortable and provide great traction. I used to race with 40lbs in my tires. Now I know that that slowed me down because everything was shaking out of control!!! I ride tubeless on the mountain and on the road.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnnydrz View Post
    No, "under-inflated" soft tires don't have the same effect because they stop the bike from boucing around. They grab better, are way more comfortable and provide great traction. I used to race with 40lbs in my tires. Now I know that that slowed me down because everything was shaking out of control!!! I ride tubeless on the mountain and on the road.
    That is 100% right.

    Rolling resistance decreases with pressure when going on fast easy tracks.

    Rolling resistance increases with pressure when terrain gets really rough.

    When using less pressure on difficult terrain, you literally flat obstacles down, thus increasing comfort, tracking, speed etc.

    I personally hardly ever pump over 2 bars, weighing 73kg. Usually I use 1,8 front and 2,0 in back on Tubeless.

    Some of the roadies that I do MTB with during winter time will never agree with me, but this is exactly the reason why they will never go fast in difficult terrain.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by robc in wi View Post
    Yep, 2 years and I'm still one of those "stupid" guys running tubes who in 10 years has never had a pinch flat. I get the whole better traction aspect of tubeless but I am hard pressed to accept that riding on way underinflated squishy tires is somehow magically faster than properly inflated clinchers. Suspension robs the rider of speed and power (in theory) that's why lockout exists. Underinflated, soft tires don't have the same effect? This is a serious question from someone who has never tried tubeless, not trolling.
    Most "studies" will disagree. It does seem odd at first, but it is true that often a lower psi will roll faster than high psi on bumpy/rocky terrain.

    Bouncing all over the place really slows you down and a lower psi helps to minimize this. An exagerrated example of high psi would be trying to ride a wooden tire/wheel over rocky terrain...not good!

    NOTE: Both extremes, whether too high or too low will lead to problems and loss of rolling speed... Find the sweet spot with regards to proper psi and you will find that your bike is faster than ever..

    .02

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    I've found latex tubes to be a viable alternative to tubeless on my CX Racer/Commuter bike. I don't have to worry about the sealant drying out, an they've been really flat resistant, on par with the tubeless setup I had. Overally I still prefer tubeless if the setup isn't too challenging.

    I hate riding butyl tubes since I went tubeless, they ride is dead and they roll slowly, but I really can't tell a difference between tubeless and latex.

    Latex tubes make poor race spares though, because they are hard to place correctly when in a hurry (with no twists and not between the hook and bead).

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    Quote Originally Posted by brentos View Post
    I've found latex tubes to be a viable alternative to tubeless on my CX Racer/Commuter bike. I don't have to worry about the sealant drying out, an they've been really flat resistant, on par with the tubeless setup I had. Overally I still prefer tubeless if the setup isn't too challenging.

    I hate riding butyl tubes since I went tubeless, they ride is dead and they roll slowly, but I really can't tell a difference between tubeless and latex.

    Latex tubes make poor race spares though, because they are hard to place correctly when in a hurry (with no twists and not between the hook and bead).
    Wow, this thread is still alive.
    Emergency case: butyl, just to finish a race or to come home.
    Everyday use: tubeless/latex, whatever you like.

    I still think like brentos latex tubes work fine for xc purposes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.SJ View Post
    Wow, this thread is still alive.
    Emergency case: butyl, just to finish a race or to come home.
    Everyday use: tubeless/latex, whatever you like.

    I still think like brentos latex tubes work fine for xc purposes.
    you are a coward. SierraJim negative rep under the guise of being anonymous? either debate in public, and stop trying to discredit someone who....

    knows more than you
    out rides you
    out skis you
    and will always be above you, and the only reason I am calling you out is so you can stop being a dick to a bunch of people who actually ride MTBs and race them at elite levels. go back to gapicski.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
    you are a coward. SierraJim negative rep under the guise of being anonymous? either debate in public, and stop trying to discredit someone who....

    knows more than you
    out rides you
    out skis you
    and will always be above you, and the only reason I am calling you out is so you can stop being a dick to a bunch of people who actually ride MTBs and race them at elite levels. go back to gapicski.


    Where is the popcorn smiley when you need it...

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    Quote Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
    you are a coward. SierraJim negative rep under the guise of being anonymous? either debate in public, and stop trying to discredit someone who....

    knows more than you
    out rides you
    out skis you
    and will always be above you, and the only reason I am calling you out is so you can stop being a dick to a bunch of people who actually ride MTBs and race them at elite levels. go back to gapicski.
    Anonymous ... Canīt you read? Or did you drink too much Stanīs?

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    I used a lot of different latex tubes back in the day. Air-B, Michelin, Conti, Vittoria and probably some others. They did give a nicer ride than butyl, also better than other alternative tubes like Panaracer Greenlites. They were good about punctures, but I did get a lot of flats with them. Sometimes pinchflats, but often it was from the valves tearing off. They all seemed to be held on with butyl patches and the butyl/latex interface seemed to be the weak point. I can't imagine why you wouldn't just run tubeless, if you really like changing flats (yes it can be done fast with tubes!), stay with tubes. If you like it a lot, go to latex tubes that way you can also spend more money!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
    you are a coward. SierraJim negative rep under the guise of being anonymous? either debate in public, and stop trying to discredit someone who....

    knows more than you
    out rides you
    out skis you
    and will always be above you, and the only reason I am calling you out is so you can stop being a dick to a bunch of people who actually ride MTBs and race them at elite levels. go back to gapicski.
    Perhaps you got negative rep for acting in a disreputable manner LOL.

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    Quote Originally Posted by epic View Post
    I can't imagine why you wouldn't just run tubeless, if you really like changing flats (yes it can be done fast with tubes!), stay with tubes. If you like it a lot, go to latex tubes that way you can also spend more money!
    @epic
    I have no significant reason why I am sticking with my latex or supersonic tubes, really. I am just used to a quick installation time when changing tires. My last flat? Way back (three years, I think). I can ride as fast as I want with tubes, even with 1.5 bar.

    I think, the following may help to have a mind of oneīs own:

    Eclipse Tube Test Results

  44. #44
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    what's the verdict when comparing latex with synthetic/polycarbonate - like Foss or Eclipse tubes?

  45. #45
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    Twyeld, have a look at the link above for more details. In short:

    Latex tubes do have the lowest rolling resistance if compared with Foss or Eclipse.

    Latex tubes are good in penetration or snakebite tests, but the Foss tubes are said to be even more robust with a little self-healing-effect (but quite heavy). Eclipse is just excellent against snakebites, but not that good against penetration, but with a fantastic weight of just 56gr.

    The cheapest are latex tubes, Foss is a little bit more expensive and Eclipse is superexpensive.

  46. #46
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    thx Mr.SJ

    Just in the pinch flat dept., would you say the latex (Michelin Air Latex) are better than the Foss?

    I am running Foss now and have gone from 34/38 fr/rr using Butyl to 30/34 using Foss - could I go lower with latex? (and, yes, I know tubeless is the way to go, but I'm still a bit old school and like the convenience and cleanliness of tubes for now...)

    T
    Last edited by twyeld; 06-19-2012 at 05:15 PM.

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    I canīt say for sure, but you should give the Michelin Aircomp latex a try (weight is ~120gr). I am running my Race Kings 2.2 SS with 22-23 psi.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.SJ View Post
    I canīt say for sure, but you should give the Michelin Aircomp latex a try (weight is ~120gr). I am running my Race Kings 2.2 SS with 22-23 psi.
    wow! is that with latex tubes?

    what sort of trails do you ride on?

    I ride on some pretty rocky stuff so need to run higher pressures

    the Michelin Aircomp latex is what I plan to try out...

  49. #49
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    Yes, it looks like, but this is for XC/marathon purposes, a hardtail and a quite low body weight. Usually mixed terrain: trails with or without stones or roots, fireroads, split, loam, sand and so on.
    You know what you are doing and what pressure is just perfect.

    The Michelinīs are a good choice (I read somewhere that Michelin re-engineered the production of this latex tube not long ago to achieve a better quality), but of course thereīs no guarantee that you will never get into trouble...

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.SJ View Post
    Yes, it looks like, but this is for XC/marathon purposes, a hardtail and a quite low body weight. Usually mixed terrain: trails with or without stones or roots, fireroads, split, loam, sand and so on.
    You know what you are doing and what pressure is just perfect.

    The Michelinīs are a good choice (I read somewhere that Michelin re-engineered the production of this latex tube not long ago to achieve a better quality), but of course thereīs no guarantee that you will never get into trouble...
    - all good Mr.SJ.

    I'm 69kg and about 10% bodyfat and a fairly smooth rider so it will be interesting to see if I can lower the pressures with the latex inner tubes - will post back after a test run.

    T

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