[Tested] Schwalbe’s Ultralight Aerothan Tubes

[Tested] Schwalbe’s Ultralight Aerothan Tubes

Marco Toniolo, 08/10/2020
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Marco Toniolo, 08/10/2020

Today, Schwalbe is presenting their new Aerothan inner tube, made of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which is therefore completely recyclable and very light, developed together with BASF over the last five years. They can be returned to Schwalbe free of charge and easily via the appropriate recycling program (currently only for the German market). The material of the used inner tubes is treated and finally reused as a sealing or insulating material.

Features

  • Uniform light weight construction up to the valve: about 40% lighter than an equivalent Schwalbe extralight tube
  • Puncture protection: material prevents sudden air loss
  • Minimum rolling resistance
  • Extremely heat resistant: approved for traditional brakes
  • Stable riding behavior: even with low pressure
  • Made in Germany
  • 100% recyclable
  • Price: from € 27.90 to € 29.90

Schwalbe says 47 Newtons are required to pierce an Aerothan tube, more than double that of other materials. It is also more resistant to pinching and heat, making it suitable for rim brakes that are still found on road racing bikes.

The weight, the most interesting factor of the product, is very low. These are the ones stated by Schwalbe:
AEROTHAN MTB
SV13E | 54-559 up to 62-559 | 81g
SV21E | 54-584 up to 62-584 | 83g
SV19E | 54-622 to 62-622 | 87g

AEROTHAN MTB +
SV21FE | 62-584 up to 75-584 | 109g
SV19FE | 62-622 up to 75-622 | 116g

The footprint is reduced compared to a traditional air chamber.

The valve is a 40mm Schraeder, also made of thermoplastic polyurethane, with unscrewable core.

On the trail

It had been years that I had voluntarily ridden with an inner tube in the tire, but duty called! My favorite setup, which I believe 90% of bikers also prefer, is tubeless with sealant, which is why the inner tube has the only function of allowing me to go home if I cut the tire and can’t fix it with a plug.

I put an Aerothan SV19E (54-622 up to 62-622) with a claimed weight of 87g (measured: 95g) in a 2.3″ Specialized Purgatory Grid and did several of my usual laps, all on descents on rather rocky trails. The pressure I used is 1.6 bar, identical to the one I use with tubeless tires on a tire with a non-reinforced casing such as this one. Since it is a new bike, which I will present to you in a few days, I also had the opportunity to measure the weight of the inner tube inserted at the factory: 241 grams, in practice, three times that of the Schwalbe Aerothan.

I was ready to feel the rear tire blow upon hitting many protruding rocks, and instead I have to say that I haven’t been able to puncture yet, despite not always choosing the cleanest lines. At 1.6 bar the traction is good, even in these days when the trails are wet, and the rolling is practically identical to that of a tubeless set-up. The air seal was impeccable, in fact the tire is as firm as when I mounted it.

It is certainly an excellent spare to carry around in your backpack or jersey pockets in case you puncture your tubeless tire, given its featherweight and small footprint. Thus, Tubolito now has a competitor…

Schwalbe Aerothan