Latex vs Butyl

As you all know by now, I’ve been spending my hard-earned euros on lightening my bike these days. The latest replacement that I’ve decided to turn my attention to is tubes. My intention is to lose weight, and if you’ve ever tried to do this by buying stuff for your bike you’ll know that you are really talking ‘marginal gains’, often at astronomical prices.

Not with inner tubes. I can save 50 grams or more by switching from butyl to latex (or thin butyl…another blog post maybe) for just a few €€. Actually, you can call it 150 grams since you have two tires and one more either in your saddle bag (another victim on my list!) or in your pocket. It’s pennies per gram, which is far, far, FAR better than anything other than actually losing it from your body.


And then, while out on a ride the other day with John, he reminded me that taking weight off rotating bits of the bike is better than the fixed parts. This article concludes that latex tubes add 5 watts to your motor over butyl. Hardly more expensive, lighter AND and an extra 5 watts – how can I say no?

Well, there are a couple of downsides to latex of course. One is that it loses air far faster than butyl, but I don’t think you need to stop mid-ride or anything like that; just make sure you add a few psi before you head out each day. Second, latex tubes are less robust than butyl and they might be more prone to punctures. This is more important, but the roads I ride on are generally ‘clean’ and if my one puncture a year becomes two, it might be worth it.

I’ve actually had latex tubes in the past and I can’t remember why I gave them up. Does anyone out there have any experience with them? If so, give it to me straight. I can take it.