By Stefan Abram
Austrian brand Tubolito has just released a range of new inner tubes – including the Tubo-MTB PSENS, which can connect with your phone to provide quick and easy pressure readings on the go.
These utilise a similar construction to the original Tubolito inner tubes that first hit the market back in 2017 and impressed with their low weight, rolling resistance and small pack size, using thermoplastic elastomer (TPU) instead of butyl.
Although not blessed with the catchiest of names, the Tubo-MTB PSENS inner tubes feature some pretty cool tech.
A Near Field Communication (NFC) chip sits inside the inner tube and this communicates with an Android or iOS device when held close to it to provide the current pressure readings.
It works in essentially the same way as an Oyster or contactless credit card, so there are no batteries to concern yourself with and not much weight is added to the base tube. The claimed weights are between 90 and 93g, which is significantly less than an equivalent butyl inner tube, which tend to come in around 220g.
At the moment, this technology is only available in tubes badged up for mountain bike tyres – but as both the 29 and 27.5in versions can be used with tyres as skinny as 1.8in, if you’re running 700c or 650b wheels with tyres that are 45mm or larger, these will be perfectly compatible.
You might be wondering what would happen to the chip if you bottom out the tyre hitting the rim against some rocks or roots. Tubolito says that as the chip isn’t very wide and is placed in the centre of the tube, even if you do strike your rims at the exact point where the chip is located, the chip itself won’t be affected.
In addition to being lighter than a standard butyl inner tube, the Tubo-MTB PSENS inner tubes are also said to have better puncture resistance and air retention than traditional tubes. The RRP for a single of these tubes is $49.90 / £41.99 / 44.90€.
In addition to what it's claiming is the world’s first ‘smart’ inner tube, Tubolito has also brought out an updated gravel inner tube.
With a claimed weight of just 35g and rolling up into an incredibly small pack size, these could be the perfect spare tube for bikepacking and gravel adventures – even if running tubeless, it’s always worth bringing a tube as back up.
Although it needn’t be confined only to use as a spare: Tubolito says that its TPU S-Tubo-CX/Gravel All tubes are just as strong as butyl ones – but with the added benefits of being much lighter weight and having lower rolling resistance.
Further improving on the previous version, a lot of work went into making these inner tubes as broadly compatible as possible for gravel tyres. The result is a single tube that will work with both 700c and 650b wheels, as well as tyres with widths ranging from 30mm all the way up to 47mm.
The RRP for one S-Tubo-CX/Gravel All tube is $34.90 / £27.99 / 29.90€, which is significantly more than even latex inner tubes, which can commonly be had for around £12. Happily, though, a puncture repair kit is also sold for $4.90 / £3.99 / 3.90€.
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