Road Bike Inner Tubes: Is TPU The Best Option?

There’s nothing like riding a road bike. It’s fun, fast, and can take you to places you might never have found in a car. Road bikes are made up of many parts, and every single one matters and can be upgraded. 

In recent years, there’s been a lot of talk about inner tubes. With advancements in technology, we now have a few options when it comes to what they are made of. We often get asked which is best, and for many cyclists, it’s TPU, but why do they say this?

In this article, we're going to discuss what makes TPU inner tubes special and also answer some of your most popular TPU inner tube questions. Here’s what we’re going to be running through:

  • What Are TPU Inner Tubes?
  • The Advantages Of TPU Tubes
  • Why TPU Inner Tubes For Road Bikes
  • Your Commonly Asked Questions About TPU Inner Tubes
A TPU Tube In A Carbon Wheel Dura Ace

What Are TPU Inner Tubes?

TPU inner tubes are made from Thermoplastic Polyurethane. It's a special material that is used in many industries, and you will see it in places such as hospitals, cars, and even footwear. 

It can be made to be flexible or rigid, and even when only a little material is used, it still offers excellent strength and durability. In recent years, companies have started making inner tubes out of TPU, and it’s been very successful to say the least. 

The Other Types

The other two types of inner tubes you will find on road bikes are butyl and latex tubes. Butyl rubber is the most common one you will see and what comes with bikes as standard. Latex is often used by road racing cyclists who are looking for a performance upgrade with reduced rolling resistance.

A TPU Tube About To Be Installed

The Advantages Of TPU Tubes

TPU inner tubes come with many advantages compared to other types, such as butyl or latex tubes. Here are our top reasons why TPU tubes are so special.

They Are Incredibly Lightweight

TPU inner tubes are about 25% of what a normal inner tube typically weighs. That’s a huge saving, and because it comes off the wheels, it is even more valuable than if you were to have a lighter frame or forks. 

Reduction In Rolling Resistance

If you want to go fast on a road bike, you will want as little rolling resistance as possible to slow you down. TPU inner tubes are fantastic at reducing rolling resistance because they create a much better connection with the tire.

Increased Durability

Another excellent feature of a TPU inner tube is that it is generally more durable than butyl tubes or a latex tube. The inner tube is the last line of defense before a puncture, and knowing it’s a little tougher means there is less chance of debris getting through.

Excellent Longevity

If you are going to be investing in inner tubes, you are going to want them to last. TPU is designed to last a very long time and can even be repaired with patches if ever required. Then, eventually, if you ever need to dispose of them, they are easily recycled and much better for the environment compared to a butyl tube.

A TPU Tube In A Rim

Why TPU Inner Tubes For Road Bikes

TPU inner tubes are ideal for road bikes for so many reasons. They are excellent for high pressures, easy to install, reduce rolling resistance, and make a big weight difference to the bike overall. We can say the same for TPU inner tubes and gravel bikes, not just road bikes. 

For mountain biking, you would get more out of a system like tubeless because of the lower pressures and the rough terrain you're going to be bouncing over. Although many mountain bikers choose to keep a TPU tube as a spare in case the tubeless fails. 

A Packed TPU Tube In A Frame Bag

Your Commonly Asked Questions About TPU Inner Tubes

As a company that offers TPU tubes, we often get asked a lot of questions about them, especially when it comes to road applications. Here are some of the best and most common.

Do TPU inner tubes require special care or maintenance?

TPU inner tubes generally don’t need too much care or special attention. Just be careful when putting them in, and it’s always good to check for debris in your tires after a ride to ensure there's nothing that could damage the tube.

Are there any downsides or limitations to using TPU inner tubes on road bikes?

There are very few downsides to using a TPU inner tube. The biggest factor is that they are more expensive and generally 2-3 times what standard butyl tubes would cost. As far as limitations go, unlike butyl, where you can use a similar size in an emergency TPU, you need to use the correct size tube because it’s less flexible. 

A TPU Tube Packed


Where can I purchase TPU road bike inner tubes, and how do I choose the right size and type for my bike?

Of course, the best place to purchase TPU inner tubes is from us. If you are still determining what size you need, look on the side of your tire. You will have a size written such as 700c x 30c or a code such as 30-622. Use this information to choose your inner tubes.

Is TPU inner tubing more puncture-resistant than traditional rubber inner tubes?

Yeah, TPU inner tubes, although thinner, are a tougher material that can withstand a little more force than a butyl inner tube. There’s a strong possibility it might save you from a few punctures over the life of the inner tube and tire. They are much better than a latex inner tube or other tube materials in this respect.

Can TPU inner tubes be used in all types of road bike tires and conditions?

TPU can be used with all road bike tires, provided they use inner tubes for inflation. You can use them in all conditions, rain, shine, warm days, cold days, and you won't have to worry about them working any differently than they normally would. 

Can I use a TPU inner tube on rim and disc brake wheels?

Yes, TPU inner tubes can be both used on rim and disc brake wheels. Years and years ago, people would be concerned with the heat generated on big mountain descents with rim brakes, but with modern wheels and TPU tubes, this is a thing of the past.

TPU Tube In A Frame Bag

A Final Note

If you're looking for a performance upgrade for your road bike, TPU inner tubes are a great way to go. It’s lighter, offers less rolling resistance, and has even more puncture resistance compared to a normal tube. 

Thanks for taking the time to read our article. We highly recommend investing in TPU inner tubes, and if you want to find out more, check out TPU Vs Latex Inner Tubes, TPU Vs Butyl Inner Tubes, and TPU Inner Tubes: A Comprehensive Guide.

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