Latex versus Ultralight Butyl Tubes
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  1. #1
    HERKWO
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    Latex versus Ultralight Butyl Tubes

    Many folks rave over the ride of latex tubes and i've read many of the test results on the web (wheel energy, biketechreview.com's tire testing, etc.) but i have yet to see a comparison of the Ultralight Butyl tubes vs similar weight Latex tubes.
    I've been running Michelin Aircomp Ultralight Butyl tubes for several years now w/out any problems and thought reducing the rolling weight was best? At the advertised weight of 70g of the Ultralight Butyl tubes vs. Michelin's Aircomp 75g Latex tubes is there something "magical" about the latex tubes that I am missing or do they ride similar due to the similar weight when pumped up to the same psi?
    I have not tried latex tubes yet so... Given the price of latex tubes being twice that of the butyl ultralights. Those of you in the know, please convince me that it's worth the extra $s. Thanks.
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    try em, latex is a more supple material, therefore it has the same effect as going from a 127tpi tire to a 320tpi open tubular. ride latex/open tubular and you'll never go back.
    they also resist pinch flats better.

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    Definitely give them a try. They are not really that expensive. I personally no longer use them except on my TT bike. Just not enough difference to matter to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Herkwo View Post
    Many folks rave over the ride of latex tubes and i've read many of the test results on the web (wheel energy, biketechreview.com's tire testing, etc.) but i have yet to see a comparison of the Ultralight Butyl tubes vs similar weight Latex tubes.
    I've been running Michelin Aircomp Ultralight Butyl tubes for several years now w/out any problems and thought reducing the rolling weight was best? At the advertised weight of 70g of the Ultralight Butyl tubes vs. Michelin's Aircomp 75g Latex tubes is there something "magical" about the latex tubes that I am missing or do they ride similar due to the similar weight when pumped up to the same psi?
    I have not tried latex tubes yet so... Given the price of latex tubes being twice that of the butyl ultralights. Those of you in the know, please convince me that it's worth the extra $s. Thanks.
    What is it you are looking for? Some will rave about the improved ride from latex tubes while others will say they can't feel a difference. Speed improvments might be a few seconds per hour. Some report fewer flats with latex while others report more flats. The amount of weight difference at issue will not result in measureable speed changes while climbing or on the flats. The argument for latex tubes is that they are more compliant thereby making the overall tire/tube combination more compliant thereby improving the ride characteristics. Whether all this is real or princess and the pea appears to be very much in the eye of the beholder.

    Order up some latex tubes and have a friend install them (or not install them, so you don't know) and see how your bike rides. If you can tell a favorable difference, then stick with latex. If not, they are just another set of inner tubes for which you paid a few more $$.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peabody View Post
    try em, latex is a more supple material, therefore it has the same effect as going from a 127tpi tire to a 320tpi open tubular. ride latex/open tubular and you'll never go back.
    they also resist pinch flats better.
    127tpi w/latex = 320tpi ride?

    Not quite, but with an Open Corsa, the ride is sublime.
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    Some people are just more sensitive I think to these type of things. I know a few years back when they went from 200tpi to 320tpi Open Corsa's I could tell no difference. Others went crazy raving about how much better they were. So really, it just depends on the person.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Herkwo View Post
    Many folks rave over the ride of latex tubes and i've read many of the test results on the web (wheel energy, biketechreview.com's tire testing, etc.) but i have yet to see a comparison of the Ultralight Butyl tubes vs similar weight Latex tubes.
    I've been running Michelin Aircomp Ultralight Butyl tubes for several years now w/out any problems and thought reducing the rolling weight was best? At the advertised weight of 70g of the Ultralight Butyl tubes vs. Michelin's Aircomp 75g Latex tubes is there something "magical" about the latex tubes that I am missing or do they ride similar due to the similar weight when pumped up to the same psi?
    I have not tried latex tubes yet so... Given the price of latex tubes being twice that of the butyl ultralights. Those of you in the know, please convince me that it's worth the extra $s. Thanks.
    Look at the back pages of the BTR table. There is data comparing a Michelin 23 latex tube to a Bonty RXXXL butyl tube (53 grams), Bonty RXL butyl tube (65 grams), and Bonty standard butyl tube (98 grams). Respectively latex is ~ 1.5 watts faster compared to the light butyl and ~ 2.5 watts faster compared to the standard butyl tube. Yes, seconds per hour but important when racing against the clock. Also slightly less effort sitting in a pack with less KJ's in the legs for the final push. Magic is subjective.

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    Personally, I have been so impressed with the pinch resistance of latex vs. ultra lights that I'll never go back.

    I have been through three sets of tires using the same set of Challenge tubes without a single issue (knock on wood), whereas with Mich Ultra's I would go through three sets of tubes per single set of tires it seemed.

    I know others have reported the opposite, but it is what has worked for me.

    I'm running Vittoria Open Corsa EVO and Diamante tires, and can not say that any real speed improvements have been noticeable vs. latex.

    But, the comfort factor IS slightly better to me. Not dramatic, but on long sections of cracked asphalt they do deflect more of the harshness. You can actually hear a difference in such instances, too.

    I bought up a bunch of the Challenge tubes, which will hopefully last me for some time to come.

    Others have trashed these tubes, but I sing their praise.

    YMMV.
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    Pitts Pilot
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    I recently switched wheelsets and lost 300 grams (on a 16lb bike.) I couldn't feel it. I threw on Open Corsa's (frome Conti 4000s) and could feel that. I put on 25mm Michelin Pro Optimums - now that you can feel. I would bet body parts I could tell in a blind test - 25mm tires are a good thing. I've been jumping back and forth between light butyl, vittoria latex, vredestein latex, and Foss (plastic?) tubes. The Foss tubes make the tires feel dead. I can't tell the difference between the latex and butyl and I'm getting tired of pumping the latex up - so butyl it is with me. Just give them a try and convince yourself. Toss them in a baggy with talc before installing and don't use irons. Get a bead jack and make sure you shake/set the tire all the way around before fully inflating. I think finishing at the stem is the way to go, contrary to popular practice.

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    Ditto on the bead jack that Pitts Pilot suggests.

    Worth every penny.
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  11. #11
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    Personally after using them their a waste of money...unless money is not an issue with you. They do feel nicer on the road, one explained the TPI thing, or put it a different way it's like reducing your PSI by about 15 to 20psi. They do roll better and tests have proven that, but they only save about 2.5 watts which is not important for just riding, but it could be a small factor in a race. Also Latex is more difficult to repair, the best way is use an old latex tube cut some 3/4" squares for patches, then when needed put glue on BOTH the patch and the tube and wait to dry before applying. Michelin shows their tube being stretched over a piece of glass and not ripping...but that's just a stunt, try doing that fully inflated! I've never noticed any difference in flat protection between the two types of tubes. Some argue the negativity of having to put air in the tires everyday because latex loses about 15 to 20 psi in the first 24 hours, but ultralight butyl loses about 5 to 10 psi in the first 24 hours so you still have to re-inflate before every ride anyways, so that's a moot point.

    Like I said, I don't think their worth the extra $5 to $8 per tube. I would rather save the money and have easier and faster to repair tubes. I would use regular ultralight butyl tubes for everyday and switch to latex for race day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by froze View Post
    Personally after using them their a waste of money...unless money is not an issue with you. They do feel nicer on the road, one explained the TPI thing, or put it a different way it's like reducing your PSI by about 15 to 20psi. They do roll better and tests have proven that, but they only save about 2.5 watts which is not important for just riding, but it could be a small factor in a race. Also Latex is more difficult to repair, the best way is use an old latex tube cut some 3/4" squares for patches, then when needed put glue on BOTH the patch and the tube and wait to dry before applying. Michelin shows their tube being stretched over a piece of glass and not ripping...but that's just a stunt, try doing that fully inflated! I've never noticed any difference in flat protection between the two types of tubes. Some argue the negativity of having to put air in the tires everyday because latex loses about 15 to 20 psi in the first 24 hours, but ultralight butyl loses about 5 to 10 psi in the first 24 hours so you still have to re-inflate before every ride anyways, so that's a moot point.

    Like I said, I don't think their worth the extra $5 to $8 per tube. I would rather save the money and have easier and faster to repair tubes. I would use regular ultralight butyl tubes for everyday and switch to latex for race day.
    IMO the latex tubes are easier to repair. I've used glueless, Rema, and as you indicate homemade latex patches which is the best way to do it again IMO.

    Latex tubes are definitely the way to go in time trials. A couple of watts is ~ 10 sec in 40 km. Check out the local District and/or Master's Nationals to see what that can mean. A few years ago in one of the SoCal District age groups the top 3 places were all less than a second apart.

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    +1 on latex being easier to repair. Definitely use patches cut up from old latex tube.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by AM999 View Post
    IMO the latex tubes are easier to repair. I've used glueless, Rema, and as you indicate homemade latex patches which is the best way to do it again IMO.

    Latex tubes are definitely the way to go in time trials. A couple of watts is ~ 10 sec in 40 km. Check out the local District and/or Master's Nationals to see what that can mean. A few years ago in one of the SoCal District age groups the top 3 places were all less than a second apart.
    I use glueless patches too, I've used them only on Michelin brand no others. I've use various brands of glueless, 3M, Park, and Specialized, but neither worked on latex. They last about 3 months then they glue fails. However, I've had 100% success rate with glueless patches used on butyl, and they have never failed even after being on a tube for 8 years.

    Rema? I didn't know they made glueless patches, can you find on their web site that glueless product you say they make?

    And yes latex are easy to repair if you do what I mentioned earlier, but again I don't think for they cost everyday use is a good idea for them...unless you have lots of money and don't care about the expense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by froze View Post
    I use glueless patches too, I've used them only on Michelin brand no others. I've use various brands of glueless, 3M, Park, and Specialized, but neither worked on latex. They last about 3 months then they glue fails. However, I've had 100% success rate with glueless patches used on butyl, and they have never failed even after being on a tube for 8 years.

    Rema? I didn't know they made glueless patches, can you find on their web site that glueless product you say they make?

    And yes latex are easy to repair if you do what I mentioned earlier, but again I don't think for they cost everyday use is a good idea for them...unless you have lots of money and don't care about the expense.
    I've personally had very bad luck with glueless on butyl - not sure why. And yes, the glueless did eventually dry out and fall off after some months on latex - I consider a glueless patch temporary - to be fixed later.

    I was referring to the standard Rema patches used with vulcanizing cement (or rubber cement which I use). I don't know if Rema makes glueless ??

    I train on butyl tubes and race on latex. Yeah, cost is a factor. I do power based training and "watts is watts" regardless of absolute speed.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by AM999 View Post
    I've personally had very bad luck with glueless on butyl - not sure why. And yes, the glueless did eventually dry out and fall off after some months on latex - I consider a glueless patch temporary - to be fixed later.

    I was referring to the standard Rema patches used with vulcanizing cement (or rubber cement which I use). I don't know if Rema makes glueless ??

    I train on butyl tubes and race on latex. Yeah, cost is a factor. I do power based training and "watts is watts" regardless of absolute speed.
    The way you worded your sentence it sounded like you used Rema Glueless; reread your post and you'll see how I took it that way. I knew they didn't make glueless.

    I love glueless patches and they work as permanent patches, not temps. I have a spare tube with a glueless patch on it rolled up in my seat bag I've had for about 2 years, and used it about 3 months ago and the patch held up despite not being under a tire with pressure applied.

    The glueless patch needs to be treated like a regular patch, you must buff the tube in an area sllightly larger then the hole, clean the area with an alcohol pad, apply the patch and press real hard with the tube and patch between your thumbs and fingers real hard for 30 seconds or so. Look at the patch, if any part of the patch looks frosty you need to squeeze that area for 30 seconds. I usually squeeze the center of the patch first then do the corners. I once had a tube that ended up with 13 glueless patches, and I used that tube for 8 years on the bike, and not once did one of the patches fail. Now there are some crap glueless patches, like Bell, Slime Skabs, Skins, Weldtite and other off brand stuff that won't work good at all. I taught a friend last spring about how to use glueless patches after a mechanic at a snobby LBS in town said they didn't work...that friend now swears by glueless patches and likes the fact he doesn't have to wait for glue to dry anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AM999 View Post
    I've personally had very bad luck with glueless on butyl - not sure why. And yes, the glueless did eventually dry out and fall off after some months on latex - I consider a glueless patch temporary - to be fixed later.
    Same as me and others I ride with using butyl tubes. We've all had the fail after a few months and consider Parks glueless patches to be temp fixes, to be replaced by glue-on patches when a convenient opportunity arises. Maybe they've improved them in the past few years?

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    Quote Originally Posted by looigi View Post
    Same as me and others I ride with using butyl tubes. We've all had the fail after a few months and consider Parks glueless patches to be temp fixes, to be replaced by glue-on patches when a convenient opportunity arises. Maybe they've improved them in the past few years?

    Nope. Unless the ones I bought had been sitting on the shelf for a couple years they are still the same as you describe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by froze View Post
    The way you worded your sentence it sounded like you used Rema Glueless; reread your post and you'll see how I took it that way. I knew they didn't make glueless.

    I love glueless patches and they work as permanent patches, not temps. I have a spare tube with a glueless patch on it rolled up in my seat bag I've had for about 2 years, and used it about 3 months ago and the patch held up despite not being under a tire with pressure applied.

    The glueless patch needs to be treated like a regular patch, you must buff the tube in an area sllightly larger then the hole, clean the area with an alcohol pad, apply the patch and press real hard with the tube and patch between your thumbs and fingers real hard for 30 seconds or so. Look at the patch, if any part of the patch looks frosty you need to squeeze that area for 30 seconds. I usually squeeze the center of the patch first then do the corners. I once had a tube that ended up with 13 glueless patches, and I used that tube for 8 years on the bike, and not once did one of the patches fail. Now there are some crap glueless patches, like Bell, Slime Skabs, Skins, Weldtite and other off brand stuff that won't work good at all. I taught a friend last spring about how to use glueless patches after a mechanic at a snobby LBS in town said they didn't work...that friend now swears by glueless patches and likes the fact he doesn't have to wait for glue to dry anymore.
    "I've used glueless, Rema, and as you indicate homemade latex patches" - seems like that is worded as 3 different types of patches but no worries. Sorry for the confusion.

    Thanks for the tips on installing. I do about the same but use a product called "liquid buff" which cleans and takes off the oxidized layer of rubber on the tube. I did not hold down the patch as long as you do however. The glueless patches worked fine on the latex tubes but eventually the patch fell off after a few monthes. The adhesive layer was still on the tube.

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    Quote Originally Posted by looigi View Post
    Same as me and others I ride with using butyl tubes. We've all had the fail after a few months and consider Parks glueless patches to be temp fixes, to be replaced by glue-on patches when a convenient opportunity arises. Maybe they've improved them in the past few years?
    I've been using them for over 15 years and they still work just as good then as they do now. I've found that people that had failures was in their application of the product. And I already told you how to do it, read my earlier post. I knew people who had glue patches fail all the time, does that mean they don't work? No, it was the application they failed at, once they learned it worked, same is true with glueless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AM999 View Post
    "I've used glueless, Rema, and as you indicate homemade latex patches" - seems like that is worded as 3 different types of patches but no worries. Sorry for the confusion.

    Thanks for the tips on installing. I do about the same but use a product called "liquid buff" which cleans and takes off the oxidized layer of rubber on the tube. I did not hold down the patch as long as you do however. The glueless patches worked fine on the latex tubes but eventually the patch fell off after a few monthes. The adhesive layer was still on the tube.
    Correct, the glueless won't work on latex and leaves the adhesive layer on the latex tube. I've never used liquid buff, have never had a need to, the mechanical buffer provided with any patch kit, glue or glueless works just fine.

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    If you're looking for that "magic ride" go sew ups. Then you have to deal how impractical/expensive riding on them all the time is. I suppose if you want to get detail/obsessive with grams, then you do the light tubes/latex. However, all that effort and and sew up/rim is still lighter. After doing all the tweaking/obsessing, for way too many years,I find working on the motor produces better results!

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    Quote Originally Posted by froze View Post
    Correct, the glueless won't work on latex and leaves the adhesive layer on the latex tube. I've never used liquid buff, have never had a need to, the mechanical buffer provided with any patch kit, glue or glueless works just fine.
    But doesn't that mean that the bond between the patch and the adhesive failed but not the bond between the adhesive and latex ?? I'm not sure what brand of glueless patches I was using - most likely Performance although they may have been Park ?? Maybe that makes a difference.

    I tried out the liquid buff out of curiousity - it seems to do a good job at cleaning and prepping the surface. I've actually used the sand paper and metal mechanical buffers as well and sometimes in combination.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by AM999 View Post
    But doesn't that mean that the bond between the patch and the adhesive failed but not the bond between the adhesive and latex ?? I'm not sure what brand of glueless patches I was using - most likely Performance although they may have been Park ?? Maybe that makes a difference.

    I tried out the liquid buff out of curiousity - it seems to do a good job at cleaning and prepping the surface. I've actually used the sand paper and metal mechanical buffers as well and sometimes in combination.
    There was some sort of chemical reaction going on between latex and the adhesive and the patch. Not sure what that is or how that works since I'm no chemist or scientist. But I have NEVER seen that happen with glueless patch and butyl tube.

    I try to keep things as simple as possible, the included buffer in patch kits works just fine, there is no reason to carry something else like liquid buffer. The only reason I carry alcohol pads is to clean the tube of any debris left behind after buffing and clean any dirt, or oil from my hands etc. I've had glueless patches, as well as glue on patches, stick without the need to clean with alcohol and stick for the life of the tube; but it's a safer bet to clean the tube. I learned years ago when I used glue on patches to clean the tube prior to applying the patch with alcohol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by froze View Post
    There was some sort of chemical reaction going on between latex and the adhesive and the patch. Not sure what that is or how that works since I'm no chemist or scientist. But I have NEVER seen that happen with glueless patch and butyl tube.

    I try to keep things as simple as possible, the included buffer in patch kits works just fine, there is no reason to carry something else like liquid buffer. The only reason I carry alcohol pads is to clean the tube of any debris left behind after buffing and clean any dirt, or oil from my hands etc. I've had glueless patches, as well as glue on patches, stick without the need to clean with alcohol and stick for the life of the tube; but it's a safer bet to clean the tube. I learned years ago when I used glue on patches to clean the tube prior to applying the patch with alcohol.
    IMO it's highly unlikely that anything chemical is going on. I just can't see any mechanism by which a chemical agent from the latex permeates through the adhesive bond to the latex tube and attacks the same adhesive bond to the patch. I have a bit of a chemical background as a retired Chem E. I also checked one of my older latex tubes which I used to test several types of patches and found that many of the glueless are still intact. Some are starting to peel off and some have fallen off. These are ~ 2 years old.

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