The world's lightest inner tubes
By Oli Woodman | Tuesday, February 5, 2013 3.02pm
The Eclipse 29er inner tube. The company are responsible for the world's lightest inner tubes Oli Woodman/Future Publishing
Eclipse inner tubes aren't new, but we think they deserve more attention, particularly as they're now stocked by UK distributors Silverfish. Eclipse claim they're the lightest tubes on the market, with ride benefits and increased puncture protection compared to their conventional butyl equivalents.
The transparent oddities really are light – we put both the mountain and road bike versions on the scales and were impressed with the results. A 1.5-2.25in 29er MTB tube was first for the weigh in, tipping the scales at just 62g; compare that to 166g for a regular 26in butyl tube (unfortunately no regular 29er tubes were at hand for comparison) of the same width and the savings are obvious. There's even a wideboy downhill version for up to 2.6in widths that weighs in at a claimed 69g!
Moving to the road side of things and Eclipse offer a choice of 700c tubes suitable for tyres from 18-45c. On the scales a 700x18-25c model clocked a featherlight 36g – that's 7g over the claimed weight but is still way ahead of even the lightest butyl offerings.
Both 20in and 24in options are also available, so even the BMX, jump and commuter crowds can get involved if they want to.
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The tubes themselves are made from a material very similar to the lining you'd find in a paddling pool. It's extremely stretchy but is said to offer better protection against flats compared to a regular tube. If you do manage to puncture then repairs aren't a problem either – Eclipse offer patch-style repair kits specific to the tubes; a pack of five will set you back £11.99.
Eclipse also hint that the tubes offer similar qualities to a tubelesss setup, in that they offer very low rolling resistance and increased grip compared to a regular inner tube.
So where are the downsides, you're probably thinking. Well, if you're using full carbon rims and rim brakes then the Eclipse tubes aren't for you – the temperatures involved can cause them to burst. But the real issue for most will be down to the pricing. At £45 per tube they aren't going to be accessible for most.
Potentially, though, the Eclipse tubes could be a very good way of saving weight, so if you're fed up of messing with sealant setups and are feeling a bit flush they might be worth a go. We'll be securing some samples soon, so keep your eyes on BikeRadar for a full review. If you want to check out more pics of these then head on over to ChopMTB
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