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Light/UltralightTube Recommendation(26 posts)

Light/UltralightTube RecommendationSchills
Jan 14, 2002 11:06 AM
I just replaced a flat on my climbing bike. As luck would have it, the flat was discovered in pre-ride prep while I was still in my house. I currently run Continental Supersonics on Mavic Ksyrium wheels. I replaced the tube with the only light tube I had which happened to be made by Wrenchforce. The box said it weighs 68 grams. Now I need replacement/spare tubes. Any recommendations on lightweight tubes? I'm looking for a reasonable blend of weight and durability. I have no idea what brand the flat tube was. It came on the bike when it was new.


re: Light/UltralightTube Recommendationtubs
Jan 14, 2002 11:14 AM
Vittoria Ultralight butyl. 65 gms of reliability. Need re-inflating about once a fortnight.
Climbing Bike? Puh-lease n/tBobo
Jan 14, 2002 11:17 AM
Climbing Bike? Puh-lease n/tschills
Jan 14, 2002 12:54 PM
I have a tri bike that I use on flat courses and that is not appropriate for anything else, and a 16.5 pound bike that I use for my 3 times weekly rides in the Santa Monica mountains. Do you have an issue with that?
Climbing Bike? Puh-lease n/tpmf1
Jan 14, 2002 1:24 PM
What is your climbing bike?

Oh, and BTW, avoid latex tubes. I have never had luck with these.
Climbing Bike? Puh-lease n/tSchills
Jan 14, 2002 5:08 PM
Cannondale CAAD6
Another for descending? ;-)grzy
Jan 14, 2002 5:11 PM
Or does one hitch a ride down the hill?

I always go to the part of the LBS that says "climbing bikes only", which is not to be confused with the "really light & overpriced and lacking durability" section.
Michelin Ultralight butylgtx
Jan 14, 2002 11:23 AM
70 grams--totally dependable $5 tube.
Michelin Ultralight butylWoof the dog
Jan 15, 2002 2:17 AM
you sure its only 5 bucks? where?

thanx a bunch

$4.99 @ Colorado Cyclistgtx
Jan 15, 2002 2:37 PM
and you know what else I like about them--there are no threads on the valve stem so they don't chew up the little 99 cent rubber grommet in your Silca pump!

btw, my LBS sells them for a whopping $7--I usually buy them there.
re: Light/UltralightTube RecommendationJimP
Jan 14, 2002 1:31 PM
If you are so concerned about weight, why are you using clinchers? You can shed at least 200 grams by using a carbon fibre rim with tubulars.
re: Light/UltralightTube RecommendationSchills
Jan 14, 2002 5:05 PM
The logistics around tubulars just don't make sense for me. If I get a flat, I'm a long way from home and I will have several steep, long descents to deal with regardless of where I am on the ride. I don't want to try that with a semi-glued tubular. So I've taken the clincher rim as a fixed elemnt of my bike's configuration and tried to minimize weight while factoring in safety at the same time. I don't have the lightest of everything, but I have just about the lightest of eveything that I trusted at the time that I bought the bike(Cannondale CAAD 6). Newer, lighter stuff has since become available, but I'm more interested in improving my form and stamina right now than spending more to reduce weight further. There is at best another 200-300 grams to save, 90% which would probably be in the wheels. When things need to be replaced(like tubes) I reevaluate options.


Jan 14, 2002 3:03 PM
I used Performance Lunarlites for 2 years exclusively, and still do on my lightweight climbing clincher wheels (American Classic). I bet I've used at least 50 of them. But, I don't use them for general riding any more, as they are a bit more finicky, and some do come defective (I'd say around 5% of them). They really do weigh right at 50 grams. If you want really light, use them with Supersonics. Better have a support car right with you, though.

I'm using Michelins now for training and my general use bike.

Ouch!Kerry Irons
Jan 14, 2002 5:19 PM
50 tubes in 2 years? Riding year round, that's a new tube every two weeks! And even at the discount rate of 3/$20, that's $335 worth of innertubes. I'd guess that I go through maybe two tubes a year (more flats than that, but I patch). Have had great luck with Michelin Ultralights - 70 gm and quite durable butyl tube.
Jan 15, 2002 5:55 AM
Somehow, I get the feeling that Dog doesn't operate under any kind of budget constraint when it comes to cycling stuff.
yeahWoof the dog
Jan 15, 2002 9:35 AM
I think he should help me pay for college damn it....(quickly running away)

Jan 14, 2002 5:23 PM
Thanks for that message. I saw the Lunarlites on their website and was a bit curious. That's what prompted me to send the message. It will probably come down to what my LBS stocks. Sounds like something reliable weighing in at 65-70 grams should be readily available. I certainly can't depend on the support vehicle.


Jan 15, 2002 8:48 AM
I don't disagree with anything that Dog said, but I think I should paint a picture.

Suffer a sudden blowout on your front wheel due to a defective Lunar Lite inner tube while descending a very steep and trecherous pitch (18% to 22%) with a car coming towards you on your 4th ride after a huge crash and you will forever swear them off. It actually scared me more than my 50 mph wreck since I had a lot of time to think about things as I struggled for control while the 50 mph wreck just happened and I had to deal with it in real time. Anyone who uses these should be fully aware of the consequences of a sudden flat at *anytime* and recognize there isn't a thing they can do about it. Also realize that the time you might save due to super light tubes is completely over shadowed by the time spent fixing flats. There is no repair on these tubes - you might as well try to patch single ply toilet paper. I do not know why these tubes are still on the market - would you buy el cheapo condoms?
nice picturegtx
Jan 15, 2002 11:02 AM

Had a sudden blowout on my mtb once on a very fast fireroad downhill--wasn't even a light tube, but on inspection it appeared that it was defective--split right up the seam. I managed to get to a stop without wrecking, but had I needed to make a turn of any kind between the blowout and the 100+ yards it took me to stop...

This is why some people argue for tubulars--there's still a tire to ride on if you suffer a major flat at speed.

Use good tubes and inspect your front tire frequently.
nice picturegrzy
Jan 15, 2002 2:20 PM
I wound up pretty mentally scarred after that little experience. It took me about two years to get my nerve back to 95%. Anyone going into the realm of "silly light" should do so with both eyes wide open and recognize the consequences of their choices. I was foolishly unaware - and then my buds all told me that those tubes have a high failure rate. Gee thanks. I could've been a hood ornament.
nice picturegtx
Jan 15, 2002 2:43 PM
it's hard to get your nerve back after nasty road spills. Whereas most mtb spills just seem to get me more stoked (usually in a weird, agro kind of way). Probably has something to do with the big difference in speed, plus cars and pavement are hard. Gotta watch out for trees, though...

my first/only experience with ultra lightweight tubes was in high school. I'd just put together my dream bike, and of course the bike stayed in my room with me inside. Both tubes blew out overnight--waking me up each time. No more silly tubes for me.
Jan 15, 2002 3:36 PM
I never had one blow out, despite using them a whole lot for a couple of years. I did have a lot of pin holes, plus a few that just would not inflate. Never a gaping blowout, though. Of course, obviously is does happen, as it happened to you. Any chance that was a pinch flat?

Any more, I use them only on the climbing bike, as I have made the calculated decision that the time tending to extra flats is not worth the weight savings, especially on long distances (more miles = more exposure to flats). I rarely get flats on climbs, though, for some reason.

Jan 15, 2002 6:08 PM
No, not a pinch flat. I didn't hit anything nor was the pavement bad. The thing just ripped wide open in a big slit - my buds with at the time commented that they had similar expereinces - after they were able to avoid stacking on top of me....

My feeling is that the braking and speed from descending puts a high stress on the tube and tire (both from heat and mechanics). Also there is the whole weight transfer aspect - front wheel sees more weight while descending.

I just don't feel they're worht the effot since I use one set of wheels and one bike for everything and there's no way I'm going to be changing my tubes depending on the type of ride that day. Pump 'em to 120 psi and go.
light tubes = more flatstarwheel
Jan 16, 2002 9:09 AM
I suspect that many of the posters here who report frequent flats are using ultralite tubes. I rarely ever get flats -- one in the past 8,000 miles. The one flat I got was when I was temporarily using Micheline ultralites. I took them off after I rode home and have never looked back. There are some things it's not worth saving weight on, in my opinion, and tubes are one of them. Now, I'm not talking about going to huge honker tubes, but I've had zero (0) flats using regular Michelin and Conti tubes. The amount the amount these tubes weigh over ultralites is about equal to spitting a couple times.
sad to admit, you are probably rightDog
Jan 16, 2002 1:10 PM
While tubes make a difference, I think tires may make more of a difference, though. I got fed up with flats and put on some Michelin Axial Selects rather than Axial Pros or Axial Pro Lights. Even with Lunarlight tubes, my flat rate dropped from about 1 in 400 miles to 1 in 2000 miles. I've since switched to Michelin Ultralights, which are not really "ultra" light, and flats are almost nil.

My theory with tires is that those with harder rubber, in addition to greater thickness and belts, pick up less debris, so things have fewer chances to penetrate the tire. This won't matter as much when dealing with big chunks of glass, but might for many things like thorns and small pieces of glass.

On my fixed gear, I installed thorn resistant tubes in Axial Carbon tires. No flats so far. However, those tubes are 275 grams each. That makes a tire/tube combo of around 550 grams. Pretty darn heavy, but so what? I'm not racing that bike.

That leads me to the conclusion. If you are not racing or trying to keep up with a faster rider, who cares? Go heavy and avoid the hassle of flats.

hell just use the cheap performance flats (nm)Dave Dic
Jan 18, 2002 10:27 AM