Magic tubes

Last year, I put Vittoria latex tubes in my Conti GP5000 tires. I’m two years now on the same tubes (except during winter when I went with butyl tubes in Schwalbe Duranos). I’ve gotten no flats in lots of riding, much of it pretty rough.

Am I pushing my luck, and should replace the tubes before they wear out? Are these magic tubes and I shouldn’t mess with my good luck? Or am I jinxing everything by even bringing it up?

The tires are really the ones protecting. Once something penetrate the inner part of the tire, there is no real difference between the tubes.
Now latex tubes bring a better ride less power losses, better road touch and some weight gain that “feels” good. So if inflating tires each rides is not a problem, there are no real reasons not to use them!

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I don’t believe tubes wear per se, unlike tires. So, don’t replace them until they puncture.

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I have a couple of sets of latex tubes. One are paired with GP 5000’s for the past 2 years. Again no punctures and I have no plan to replace them. The other latex tubes are paired with vredestein tyres and have not punctured.
There’s some selection bias going on as the latex tubes are on the ‘better’ bikes so they get to stay home when the weather is a bit iffy and the bikes with butyl have to suffer the rain and gritty roads

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Pretty good for hoop-shaped party balloons. But you also feel like butyl is better for cold and gritty weather?

I have been using Vittoria latex tubes in all my tires, summer or winter, for three years now. Tires are GP4000 or GP5000 (I rotate between three sets). I‘ve flattened not once, a lot less than with the Continental butyl I had been using before, on basically the same roads, mostly tarmac. I changed some other variables, too - like going from 28mm back to 25mm and therefore running higher pressure in tires that better fit the rims, so it’s probably not significant. When I changed a tire because of wear once, the Latex tube had worn visibly thin over the spoke holes’ eyelets. So they do wear out - and I didn’t put that one back in, but have no reason to change them before they burst otherwise.

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they wear, more specifically they chafe. probably best to replace at the start of a new riding year.

btw, Vittoria latex tubes rule.

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I’m in the “if it ain’t broke it don’t need fixin” camp, otherwise known as the “money doesn’t grow on trees” contingent, so, no, you needn’t replace tubes that are holding air perfectly well, just because a certain arbitrary length of time has passed (a year? why 365 days?). It’s more about the tires, as mentioned above, than the tubes, as to whether you get flats or not, and of course where you ride.

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Is this tubes in general? How and where do they chafe?

yea, tubes in general, it’s simple mechanics. but it’s more of a consideration with light, thin walled (latex) tubes because there’s less material to get through. as far as where the chafe occurs, different equipment is going to create different points of wear, you have to pay attention to it because there’s no excess material to prevent slow leaks from forming.
vittoria latex tubes are the good shit, they’re pretty easily good for at least 3,000 miles, but why push it much past that?

True in my experience. 5600+ kilometers on 5000s without a puncture. Amazing tires.

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The tubes don’t necessarily wear out but I had the joint at the valve stem on a butyl tube separate when I hit a pot hole. The tube was a Specialized and almost 5 years old and was in a GP 5000. I find this tire/tube combination to be really reliable on our crappy Michigan roads. I now replace the tubes after 4 years.

The tubes don’t necessarily wear out but I had the joint at the valve stem on a butyl tube separate when I hit a pot hole. The tube was a Specialized and almost 5 years old and was in a GP 5000. I find this tire/tube combination to be really reliable on our crappy Michigan roads. I now replace the tubes after 4 years.

Fair enough. That’s never happened to me on butyl tubes. However, I ought to disclose this: it’s happened several times on Vittoria/Silca latex tubes, and it’s happened within the span of about a year.

I believe that I’ve determined that this is user error, although it seems not to be a well-documented issue. The cause is that when you press on a pump chuck, this can push the valve stem inward. For unknown reasons, this flexing seems to wear a couple tiny holes around the valve stem, usually just outside the region where Vittoria bonds on a rubber (butyl?) patch to protect the latex tube against abrasion. It seems like you have to hold the tube steady so that it doesn’t move so much when you put your chuck on.

Alternatively, you could use a screw on chuck like Lezyne does. Or you could use one of those valve stem nuts that we typically throw away … except that Vittoria tubes don’t have external threads on their stems. So I can’t do this on my road bike with its usual wheels, which are 30mm and don’t need valve extenders. I have Silca’s speed shields on my ‘race’ wheels, and those do come with a little nut to thread on to the extender, but again, that won’t work on my daily wheels.

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I’d say that a screw on chuck is required for tubulars with latex tubes (for the reason you state).

Actually, it seems that I was pressing my chuck onto the valve stem way too hard. Silca just put out a video for its Hiro chuck, and they recommend that you just press it onto the stem with one finger. In the video, they didn’t have a valve nut on the tube.

Well, my luck ran out; my Vittoria latex tube failed. Wasn’t even the rubber; the pin in the valve broke when I tried to pump it. Fortunately I was home and could replace it before my ride. The rubber looked pretty good. There was some wrinkly bunching in one area, but I’m sure it went away when inflated. Lasted two seasons, and the rear tube is still riding strong.

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haha, I’ve had exactly the same failure on one of those tubes (might have been a michelin actually). The internals of the valve core broke out when unscrewing, and fell inside it when I attached the pump.

Still ride latex though.

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