Perhaps in direct contrast to the new Fat Albert mountain bike and tubeless-ready road/cross gravel tire line up they showed off at Eurobike’s outdoor demo, Schwalbe kept their all-new Evolution Tubes under the shelter of the zeppelin hangers.
The tubes are made of a high tech thermoplastic material called Aerothan, which was co-developed with BASF. Not only are the tubes are extremely lightweight, they’re 100% recyclable. They’ve got some other great features, too, but they’re for disc brake wheels only…
The material allows for ultra thin tube walls, which makes them very malleable so they conform to the ground better and reduce the overall rolling resistance. Even so, Schwalbe says they hold air just as well as butyl rubber tubes and have equal puncture protection. The caveat is they’re more sensitive to heat, which is why they’re only offering them in mountain bike tire sizes for use on disc brake wheels only. The heat created by rim brakes could cause them to fail. The only other caveats? Install carefully with a rounded plastic tire lever if necessary, ensure the valve stem is 90º from the rim and once it’s used with a specific tire, it’s best to only use it with that same tire (or, at minimum, the same size tire).
Even the valve base and tube are made of Aerothan, so the entire package is recyclable.
Actual weight of a 29er tube on our scale is 73g. The tubes are reparable using special glueless patches, sold separately. No sanding of the tube is needed (in fact, you shouldn’t sand it before applying the patch), and the patches will work just as well on regular tubes, too.
Claimed weights are shown against those for their Extralight and standard tubes, too. At almost 1/3 the weight of a normal tube, they’re a massive reduction in rotational weight and likely lighter than running sealant for a tubeless setup.
Yes, we think tubeless is still the better overall option (as does Schwalbe, based on their product development and marketing), but if you’re stuck on tubes, these are among the lightest options. Technically, Eclipse might still have them beat with lighter weight tubes, but these are half the price or less at $29.95 / €19.90 each.