|Tubolito products received for test and review.
I remember when I was between bicycle mechanic jobs. I worked on cars at an auto repair shop for five and a half years. When I first started the job, my boss was amazed when I mentioned something about tubes in bicycle tires. He said, "You guys still use tubes?", in an incredulous tone of voice.
Yeah.....we still use those things! And they can be the downfall of a good ride, a race, or your commute to work. Even if you run tubeless, you probably have a spare tube tucked away, you know, just in case. I doubt bicycle tubes will ever go the way of the dinosaur, but one thing is for sure- they have changed.
I think it was the late 90's when I first saw a butyl rubber alternative for a bicycle tube. It was touted as more puncture resistant, lighter than butyl rubber tubes, and that it would be longer lasting. One caveat- You had to buy the exact size to fit your tire. Apparently these were not very stretchable tubes. Subsequently the idea did not go over well, although I had a 16" one around for years as a spare for my Burley Flat Bed trailer.
That was that. It looked like butyl rubber was going to be the king forever. Then a few years ago I heard about these Tubolito things. I checked them out in a news story I saw, probably on "Bicycle Retailer and Industry News". Hmm.... Little orange rolls with an erotic looking nipple capped in black. Weird. They reminded me of those failed plasticky clear-ish tubes from the 90's. I saw the price and gulped. What! Over 30 bucks for a tube! To pack as a spare? Ah........hard pass.
But then the marketing dude for American Classic tires sent out a few samples of the new models that are hitting the roads now and with them he stuffed in a few Tubolito products. (See Standard Disclaimer page) So, since I try to be open-minded, (but I don't always succeed in that), I figured I better check this deal out again. I went to their site and poked around a bit. there is some compelling evidence there as to why anyone might want to use one of these, not just as a spare, but to actually ride with. Okay....I'll check it out then.
They are still pretty spendy though.