As you may recall, one of the Tubolito tubes is the standard 'weight' one with 2X's the puncture resistance of a standard butyl tube. The other, which is supposedly about the same strength as a standard butyl tube, is the S-CX version which weighs about half as much as the standard Tubolito. That is to say it is not just light, but it is crazy light. So, the issue was with the lighter weight, S-CX Tubolito.
I found that air retention is not very good. I went down to retrieve the bike I have that tube installed on to ride it Monday and the front tire was flat. Hmm..... I pumped it back up to 40psi and heard no immediate issues, nor noted a drastic drop in pressure within a few minutes. So, not a catastrophic leak. Then I did a 24hr leak down test. The result the next morning was another flat front tire. I did not have time to dig into this until Wednesday when I removed the Tubolito and did a dunk tank test to see if I could ascertain whether or not I had a puncture or failure so small it allowed the tube to leak down slowly. I found no evidence whatsoever of a slow leak or failure on the part of the Tubolito.
|The dunk test found no defects in the tube and no punctures either. |
So, my hypothesis is that the lighter, S-CX version of the Tubolito is much like a latex tube in terms of air retention. The Tubolito site does not seem to refer to any S-CX air retention data, not that I could find, so this may actually be intended. It would make sense here as Tubolito calls the S-CX the "ultimate spare tube" solution. So, I'm taking a cue here and pulling that Tubolito and packing it as a spare for now.
|It is interesting to note the way the Tubolito tubes are joined together at one point as shown above.|
Interestingly, the rear mounted Tubolito, the standard one, has retained air as stated by Tubolito. That is to say much like a standard butyl tube. Which, as you might recall from your experiences, is very good. So, as far as using a Tubolito for a 'daily use' situation, I already have decided that the standard version is the way to go here and that a S-CX, or any lightweight Tubolito, is best used as an emergency spare. A way to 'get you back to the start', and then to change that out as soon as can be done.
|A Kenda 700 X 35mm-42mm tube on the left, the Tubolito S-CX on the right. Note the size difference.|
|The Tubolito came out of the tire round, and somewhat thinner. Great care is necessary in handling the S-CX!|
Also- the question of whether a Tubolito is a 'one-and-done' product seems to have been answered by one of G-Ted Productions' readers in the comments on Tuesday's post, (Thank You!), but I can now confirm that with careful handling, an S-CX Tubolito can be salvaged and re-used again. Big emphasis on the 'careful handling' bit though! This tube came out feeling very fragile and thin-walled. Like a stretched balloon for a child's birthday party, only maybe even a bit thinner! I imagine a slight tug on the valve stem, or even if one folded the Tubolito incorrectly, that this could permanently damage the S-CX Tubolito very easily. So, yeah.....be careful in how you handle this thing!
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