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Latex road tubes: good or bad?(6 posts)

Latex road tubes: good or bad?Kjull
May 24, 2003 7:33 AM
Any experiences or thoughts on latex tubes for road bikes. I'm happy with them on the MTB, but've heard some negative experiences from road bikers?

Kjell Eirik
May 24, 2003 8:44 AM
Pro: weigh less, ride smoother (supposedly...), flat less (supposedly...)

Con: cost more, lose lotsa air overnight
May 24, 2003 2:25 PM
re: Riding smoother - I can feel the difference
Flat less - who knows
Define "good" and "bad"Kerry
May 24, 2003 3:53 PM
The predominant experience is more flats, hard to patch, expensive, no difference in ride, and have to pump up every day. Then there are those who say they get fewer flats with a greatly improved ride. The odds are against you, but you (yes you!) may be one of the lucky few who have only positive experiences with latex tubes. You'll note that they represent a very tiny fraction of the market, even at the high end. One can conclude that most of us are missing something, or most of us have figured this out. Only you can judge.
I've had nothing but bad luck with latex tubes for clinchers.MR_GRUMPY
May 24, 2003 4:10 PM
Every one of them has failed by the valve stem. On the other hand, I've had nothing but good luck with latex tubes inside of sew ups.
re: Latex road tubes: good or bad?JML
May 25, 2003 8:01 AM
For over twenty years, I've thought that latex road tubes were smoother-riding and less prone to puncture when compared to butyl tubes. But there have been many different variants of latex tubes. I've had really good luck with the Vittoria Latex 60s, which are still available in Europe (but not in the US) in two sizes. They lose air less rapidly than most latex tubes, and they're less fragile. Michelin makes a latex tube, too, which I've heard is quite good. (I tried Conti Latex tubes in my montain bike, and thought they were awful.)

While you can easily patch them with standard patch kits, you have to be careful to clean the rubber immaculately (no talc). I carry a butyl tube as a spare.

If you use them, you must be careful to have a high-quality rim tape, seat the valve carefully, and avoid getting the tube caught between the rim and bead. And, perhaps most important of all, be liberal in your use of tire talc.

I think the difference is most noticeable, however, at lower pressures, around 105 psi, and with wider tires (i.e., with clinchers that are more like sew-ups). With narrow footprints (20c) and higher pressures (120 psi), the ride and puncture resistance is probably not noticeable.