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Designing the best TPU inner tube on the market

Introduction


Every cyclist knows weight counts. But whether you’re conquering mountain trails or racing on smooth tarmac the holy grail is striking the perfect balance between weight, performance and durability. No mean feat. True to our cycling philosophy, the Litebike Performance TPU inner tube is light, strong and fast. The perfect combination. In this article we’ll share some details on the R&D process, what makes the Litebike Performance’s TPU formulation unique and how we ended up creating the best TPU inner tube on the market. 


What is TPU? The science behind the TPU inner tube


Thermoplastic Polyurethane (or TPU for short) is a versatile polymer with a distinct combination of properties; it’s flexible, durable, and abrasion and chemical resistant. While TPU has been applied in various fields, such as automotive engineering, it’s relatively new to the cycling industry. But its properties make it an ideal base material for manufacturing a TPU inner tube.


Through our research in the lab and on-track testing we developed a brand new TPU formulation that we have tailored to create the Litebike Performance TPU inner tube. This formulation is a game-charger in terms of weight, performance and durability. We did this using a new nanotechnology technique that involves adding nanoscale additives into the TPU matrices, enhancing its mechanical properties and performance characteristics. 


These special nanoparticles have had a dramatic improvement on the strength and performance of our Litebike Performance TPU inner tube and it’s this technological advancement that makes it the best TPU inner tube on the market.


Litebike Performance TPU Inner Tube

A performance-engineered TPU inner tube. Our lightweight, compact design


Throughout the design phase of our TPU inner tube we refined two aspects of performance. Weight and rolling resistance. The evidence that weight impacts cycling performance is compelling. Studies consistently demonstrate that reductions in weight lead to improvements in cycling performance, particularly in scenarios involving uphill gradients or accelerations. We developed prototypes at several different thickness: 35mm, 40mm, 50mm, and 60mm. Mainly through our on-track testing we found that 50mm was the optimum strength-to-flexibility ratio. No TPU inner tube is immune to puncture. But much thinner than 50mm and the risk-profile increases significantly for only very marginal benefit in weight saving.


Rolling resistance refers to the force that opposes the motion of a tyre as it rolls along a surface, such as a road or trail. Minimising TPU inner tube rolling resistance is key to maximizing speed and conserving energy while cycling. Our research focussed on combination and volume of nanoscale additives and we have been able to dramatically improve the elasticity and flexibility of the Litebike Performance TPU inner tube so that its rolling resistance coefficient is very low when assessed using standardised testing protocols.

Best TPU Inner Tube

A strong and durable TPU inner tube


Just as much as light and fast, the best TPU inner tube needs to be strong and durable. Through our lab-based research we identified several new nanoscale particles that provide a significant boost to durability. We then double layered the TPU. The result is that our TPU inner tube is 2x as strong compared to Tubolito, RideNow and other alternatives on the market.


Through our on road testing we found that these tubes tend to be vulnerable where the valve stem connects with the TPU material. The Litebike Performance TPU inner tube solves this with a reinforced valve stem using an integrated nano plastic. 

Best TPU Inner Tube

The best TPU inner tubes. Are you ready?


Ready to take your cycling performance to the next level? Check out our product page to find out more about the Litebike Performance TPU inner tube: the perfect combination of light, strong and fast.



Litebike Performance TPU Inner Tube 50g


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