Vittoria Latex Road Tube
Latex tubes have long been used in cycling. For many years, virtually all tubular tires were built with a latex tube, and most of the very best still are. Vittoria's 74 gram latex tubes for clincher use are essentially the same as the ones used in their tubulars. While the effects of using a latex tube in a clincher are not exactly the same as within a tubular casing, there are significant benefits. First is friction within the tube tire interface. A latex tube will move more easily with the tire, not gripping or fighting it. This reduces friction between the two materials. Have you ever gone to remove a butyl tube from wheel and found it sticking to the inside of the tire? Most cyclists have experienced this without realizing how detrimental this sticky interface can be. Second, because the latex tube moves and shapes with the tire, not fighting it, you get much better compliance, and the tire reacts to the road surface without that restriction. This means a smoother, more compliant ride that saves energy. A third benefit is the reduction of rotational weight, as a latex tube is generally 20-40% lighter than a butyl tube. If you could save 30 grams when buying a tire, while increasing performance, wouldn't you?
There are drawbacks to a latex tube. The material is more porous, so expect to fully inflate your tire every time you ride- not just top it off. Latex tubes also have less resistance to punctures, and most often when damaged, the tube is done. It cannot be repaired. The pre-puncture use of an ammonia-free sealant may stop small punctures, but then you lose the reduced weight benefit. Latex tubes are more expensive, especially when you can't fix them.
When we weigh the pro's and con's, add in our own experiences and customer anecdotes, here is what we have come to understand. If you run a supple tire like a Vittoria, Schwalbe, Michelin, etc., you may be able to truly maximize the benefits of a latex tube. if you run a firmer tire- one that places a much stronger emphasis on rubber compound, like a Continental, you will still get benefit from reduced tube-tire friction and lighter weight, but not much difference in compliance. Talcum powder may also reduce the friction. The latex tube does deliver performance benefit to clincher riders, but is best suited for road and cyclocross racing. A butyl tube is much more cost effective for training. And while cost and air retention are issues, keep in mind tubular tires and a second set of wheels is actually much more expensive.
If you are a racing cyclist who runs clinchers, we recommend you at least try latex tubes to see if the performance benefits are there for you. Keep the above tire guidelines in mind and give latex a chance. Cyclocross riders who run lower pressures will immediately feel the difference. Road racers who are sensitive to tire feedback will as well. It is your choice, and if you don't try latex you will never know what could have been.
- Lightweight latex tube for maximizing clincher performance, minimizing friction
- Seamless latex construction can improve handling and compliance
- Smooth valve stem; core is removable for easy valve extender use, or adding sealant
- Vittoria recommends Pit Stop sealant, most ammonia-free latex sealants work
- Fits all standard 700x19-25mm road tires
- Pink color won't be confused with butyl rubber tubes
- Weight: 74 grams
AnonymousPosted on 6/24/2016
Lightweight and give a far superior ride to rubber tubes with a quality tire, but I've gone through at least 3 of these tubes (not counting punctures) where the latex tube fails around the rubber area for the valve. I've had this happen on different bikes/wheels, so it seems to be a durability issue with the tubes themselves.....and it typically happens when inflating a tire, not during a ride which is always a plus (all things considered). I put on a new tube last month and after just 800 miles, another failure. Other than questionable durability, they are great.
Pros Lightweight, supple
AnonymousPosted on 10/27/2014
I put a pair of these tubes through the wringer over the past 6 months. I put them on my old Mavic Carbones with a set of Michelin Pro3 tires. I have been going between a wide rim wheel set with standard butyl tubes and my much narrower Mavics with the latex tubes and I really think the latex tubes lower the rolling resistance and improve ride quality to an extent similar to having wider rims. I think latex tubes in a wide rim would be the creme de la creme! Ive taken this wheel tire-tube combination down all sorts of terrible roads, gravel roads, city streets, and have not had a single flat in 2K miles! Now, I cant say for sure that my luck with flats is due entirely to the latex, but I can say with confidence that they do not appear more vulnerable to flats then any butyl tubes Ive used in 20 years of cycling. When mounting use talc for ease of movement and plastic levers only. They cant be patched but Vitorria pit stop should seal them. Ride with a butyl tube as your spare.
Pros Amazing light weight, buttery smooth ride, durable
Cons Tough to mount, cant patch them.