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Gravel Gear

This $35 gravel inner tube comes with a one-year replacement policy against flats

To paraphrase Keith Bontrager: 'Light, strong, cheap - pick two.' Meet the X-Tubo CX/Gravel TPU tube.

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Tubolito originally created its thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) inner tubes as an anti-flat solution for commuter and touring riders. Compared to a standard butyl tube, a TPU tube is more slender, lighter, and more resistant to flats. Also, it is not cheap. Tubolito inner tubes sell for $35 in the U.S.

Notably, Tubolito has a one-year replacement policy for its tubes. A standard butyl tube at a bike shop these days will run you anywhere from $5-$12, depending on what you’re getting.

The X-Tubo CX/Gravel is designed for 30-50mm tires. It weighs 130g and has a 60mm valve. A Continental butyl tube, for context, weighs a claimed 160g and you can get one for $5 now on Backcountry — but you certainly won’t see anything about a one-year warranty against flats.

The Tubolito gravel inner tube is for sale now on Tubolito’s website. The one-year warranty requires a product registration.

While most gravel riders and racers use tubeless set-ups, having an inner tube or two as a back-up plan (along with sealant and tire plugs) is always a good idea.

A few other brands make TPU inner tubes, such as Schwalbe and Pirelli.

Lennard Zinn recently completed a VeloNews rolling resistance test with five different inner tubes at Wheel Energy in Finland. Using the same Schwalbe G-One 40mm gravel tire, we tested Challenge, Schwalbe, Tubolito and Pirelli TPU tubes as well as a Kenda butyl tube as various pressures and measured the rolling resistance cost in watts.

Check back next week for that full test, which will be available for VeloNews and Outside+ members.