So I don't review gear much but thought I'd contribute to the geekery of 'tube tech'. So I switched to these latex tubes on both of my road bikes a few years back. I know it's been awhile since I purchased the tubes, but hey.... I like to field test things fully rather than write a review immediately after buying a product like SOOOO many consumers do. Drives me nuts when people do that. I'll admit I was leery of the claims others made about "how sublime latex tubes were". I thought it's a tube, how different can it really be? So I bought several of these 25/28c tubes and used them both on 2 different bikes: 1 frame is carbon, the other is Ti. Tires used were Clement Stradas 28c, and two different Vittoria tires: Corsa and the Rubino, both 25c G+ tires. And what I experienced blew my mind. Supple? Oh yeah! Lower hysteresis? Check! What I didn't expect was decreased flats? Huh? How? I haven't had a flat in over a year and a half, riding the same roads I always have, with thousands of miles ridden. Not one. By lowering the pressures and using wider rims, the tire/tubes are allowed to "flex" over pepples and other irregularities thus preventing flats. AND.....additionally it makes your hands and butt happy. Sounds great huh? Now, what's the bad? Cost, fragility, repairability? Ok, they're more expensive. Initially. But when you factor a likely 4-6 flats minimum/ year, the time spent buying new butyl tubes or repairing butyl tubes, etc, the cost of latex actually becomes more advantageous.. and maybe even cheaper when you consider all of those factors.
Fragile? Yeah, you definitely need to be careful mounting them and ensure the tire is completely in the rims drop-channel and no part of the latex gets pinched..... or BOOM! I talc all my tubes regardless so I'd suggest that as well. When I'm done adding air, I always hold the tubes valve stem while removing the pumps air chuck because the Presta rim hole could potentially start cutting the area around the latex valve. So just learn to be a little more careful handling latex tubes with your monkey hands, and then go ride.
So if you want to decrease the vibrations on all contact points and improve your cycling experience, while even boosting speed a bit, then use these with some higher TPI tires (150-330tpi) and see what you think.
Vittoria Competition Latex 700c Road Tube - A lot of old school road riders use latex and for good reason. they provide the most comfortable and supple ride. They are more resistant to punctures than butyl tubes.
Three things to be aware of:
1. You must use tire talc (do not body talc which is corn starch) on the inside of the tire casing and the tube! Otherwise you risk pinching while installing.
2. You will need to air up before each ride. I do regardless of what tubes I use but more so with latex tubes.
3. Carry a butyl tube as a spare as the latex is fastidious to install on the raid without tire talc
There are already a lot of great reviews that contain sage advice on how to install and maintain these tubes. I can only add that I have gotten into the habit of holding the valve when taking the chuck off to avoid pulling the valve away from the tube.
I keep going back to the latex tubes and these have been nice ones. I get a little less than a year out of them. Not the cheapest way to go but just seem to be the best. I have had very little problems with flats using them, however where I ride I don't get many flats anyway. They usually fail at the valve when I pump them up prior to a ride, and that only happens after 6-9 months of using them. This time I am going to try them with sealant in them. Even though I do not typically have problems with getting flats I don't want another front tire flat. Some things are only fun once. I don't anticipate any improvement in the longevity, just in flat prevention. I plan on replacing them at the 6-month mark anyway.
For those of us that are still running tubes, why not save some weight where the weight savings is most critical, rotational weight. I run these on the front, under Conti GP5000 tires. Because I seldom get a flat in the front, I go light. In the rear I run with Conti Gatorskins and conventional tubes. There are a lot of puncture hazards here in southern Utah.
I had an unusual experience with these that I feel is worth documenting. I've used latex tubes for years now. When I installed these, the front went flat in about 2 hours, the rear went flat overnight. Now, I'm not talking about they lost a few psi, I know latex tubes do that. I'm saying totally zero psi, tire lost shape, board flat. I removed them, pumped them to hold shape, held them under water and couldn't find a leak anywhere. I then left them hanging on a chair with enough pressure for them to hold shape and they held that 5-8 psi for several days. Where did the air go? I decided to check the removable valve cores and they seemed to be loose. I removed the valve cores, put some teflon tape on the threads, tightened the cores back in the stems and installed the tubes in the same tires. They are now holding pressure just fine. So, if you have trouble with them going flat right away and the leak seems to be coming from the valve stem area, it may just be that the removable valve core is loose and needs to be tightened or sealed with teflon tape.
Ah, latex tubes. True geekery. For sure they are lighter. I think they improve road feel but that could be just in my head. Yes, you have to be careful putting them on and yes, you have to inflate them before every ride. Once set up I think they are a little more fragile that a regular tube but worth it. Im not sure the difference between the Silca product made by Vittoria and the Vittoria's. I seem to have a little better luck with the Silcas. But thats not a scientific evaluation. I like latex and these are my favorites. also Bike Tires Direct has also become my go to on line resource. Fast even to the East coast and really great service when necessary.
After a full blown fit of rage after my husband decided to ride my bike on completely flat tires which shredded my tubes, I decided to come here looking for the perfect replacement. These look and feel great, installed beautifully and have already gone 200+ miles without any issues.
I tried Challenge latex, horrible, lasted 2 weeks, failed in the same place around the valve. Didnï¿½t give up on latex, and got the Vittoria. Theyï¿½re awesome tubes, ride like my old Clement tubulars almost! Just be careful mounting, and taking them off. Great video on Oz Cycle about taking clinchers off without levers. I havenï¿½t tried Michelin, but these are really good.
You might beat the performance of latex tubes if you go tubeless, but good tires with latex tubes are hard to beat. Yes, they leak a little air and you have to top them off before each ride. But they're fast and durable.
My 150-lb self runs these on road bikes, 25c to 28c tires.
For 25c inflate to 70psi for training rides, 80psi for races.
For 28c tires inflate to 55psi (no racing on these).
Better grip. road feel, pinch-flat protection.
I once neglected to check pressure before a race, double-flatted on a pothole, but neither tire went flat immediately like a butyl tube would have. I was able to safely come to a stop even while bombing downhill after the pothole.
Highly recommend this product.
Check tire pressure before each ride though, because latex does leak air.
I stayed away from Latex inner tubes thinking they were too delicate, but this has not proven to be the case. And since I always pump my tires before every ride, I don't mind that they loose pressure overnight. The feel is noticeable, and combined with a 300+ TPI cotton tire, the ride is incredible. Unless I'm riding a lot of crappy chip-seal or bad pavement, I prefer 25c tires over 28c tires. The latex tubes gives the 25c tire about the same feel as a high quality 28c with butyl tubes, but the 25 provides more road feel without the marshmellowy, "are my tires flat" feel.
I use these latex tubes on both my road bike and my touring bike. Love the feel of these tubes. They seem to accept patches fine too. You will need to pump up your tires before every ride but I do that anyway except on my fat bike.
As with the Corsa G 2.0 tires, these are great for smooth roads that donï¿½t have a lot of debris. If youï¿½re riding rougher roads, I ï¿½d look elsewhere. Honestly I couldnï¿½t feel the difference in rolling weight or smoothness compared to "traditional" tubes. Would also be nice if they made a longer valve stem as these are likely to be going on more aero wheels.