TPU or not TPU


I’ve been thinking lately of ways I could shave some grams off my new bike, especially around the wheels, but without spending too much money. I’m no weight weenie by any means—my kickstand attests to that—but I’m also not above reaching for some low-hanging fruit if I can.

Enter TPU tubes. If tube manufacturers and the Internet are to be believed, TPU is the material of the future, and the next best thing after going tubeless—which is honestly too messy for my taste. After all, who wouldn’t want better rolling resistance and puncture protection at a significantly lower weight that butyl? I sure would.

So I decided to try some for myself. It remains to be seen how well they perform and how long they last—I’ll post an update after I’ve had a chance to ride them for a while—but the truth behind at least one of the claims is immediately apparent: they sure are light1. Here are a couple of photos showing the difference in weight and volume between the three normal tubes I had on my bike (including the spare) and three TPU tubes (I’m running 700x45C tires:

  1. And pink! ↩︎

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