Not content with just producing the world’s lightest and strongest inner tubes, Tubolito is back with another world first – a smart inner tube. Coincidentally, it’s probably also the world’s most expensive inner tube at nearly $50 a pop. But it does have a pretty neat trick built into its thermoplastic elastomer skin.
Thanks to a Near Field Communication (NFC) chip implanted near the valve, the Tubolito PSENS is the world’s first smart inner tube that allows you to get near instant tire pressure readings using your smart phone.
The chip is oriented length-wise by the valve, making for a small section of the tube that isn’t flexible, but it’s small enough that you don’t notice it inside the tire.
There is an App for that
Using the free Tubolito app for iOS or Android, you simply place your phone’s camera directly over the valve area and hit ‘Scan’ on the app. If you get the positioning right, about 4-5 seconds later you’ll get a tire pressure readout in both PSI and BAR. If your phone isn’t quite in the right position, you’ll get a ‘Scan Failed’ message, but the app makes it pretty easy to get it right. The Near Field part of NFC means your phone has to be practically right on top of the tire, so you won’t be able to scan it from a distance, but that also means you won’t get interference between the two tires if you’re using two tubes.
The included instructions make it very easy to download the app, and start measuring pressures.
Compared to an SKS AirChecker digital gauge, I found the Tubolito PSENS to be within 1psi at all pressures, so it seems pretty accurate – at least compared to the average tire pressure gauge.
How much does it Weigh?
Since Tubolito starts with one of the lightest inner tubes to begin with, they’re able to build a 29 x 1.8-2.5″ smart tube with a 42mm presta valve that weighs just 85g.
Like some of their other tubes, the PSENS is not compatible with rim brakes and includes a few instructions to follow that are a bit different than your average tube.
Offered in 29 x 1.8-2.5″ or 27.5 x 1.8-2.5″ sizes, both will sell for $49.90. Per tube. Yes, if you wanted to run PSENS front and rear, you’re looking at $100 in tubes alone. But hey, you’ll never have to find a working tire pressure gauge again!
New Patch Kit
Obviously, if you’re spending $50 on a single tube, you’re not going to just throw it away every time you get a flat. Tubolitos promise to offer double the puncture resistance of an average tube, but they’re not infallible.
To make their patches even more durable under high heat, they’ve added a special glue from Rema Tip Top. The patch kits include five small and five large patches, and five alcohol swabs for cleaning. One nice thing about the Tubolito tubes is that the material doesn’t allow tire sealant to stick to them, so if you’re using them as a spare for a tubeless set up, they’re very easy to clean.
Still have some of their self-adhesive patches? Don’t worry, they’re still good to use. Just that the new glued-patches are better at handling higher temperatures. The new Tubo Flix Kit will sell for $4.90.
World’s Lightest Gravel Tube
New for the CX and Gravel world, Tubolito has updated their standard and S-Tubo tubes to fit a wider range of tires. Now compatible with 700c x 30-47mm or 650b x 30-47mm, you get a lot of coverage out of a very light inner tube.
The standard CX/Gravel tube checks in at 60g for the 700c x 30-47mm size with a 42mm presta vavle. These tubes claim to offer better air retention and double the strength of a standard butyl inner tube. Also, this tube is compatible with rim brakes while the S-Tubo below is not.
Somehow almost half the weight of the standard tube but with a longer 60mm presta valve (also available with a 42mm valve), the S-Tubo CX/Gravel 700c x 30-47mm tube is so small and light that it is the perfect emergency spare to stick in your pocket for your tubeless set up. Though Tubolito points out that the tubes are durable enough for daily use, and offer lower rolling resistance and better air retention for those who prefer a tubed set up.
Like all Tubolito tubes, the only draw back seems to be the price. The standard Tubo CX/Gravel will run $34.90 per tube, and the S-Tubo CX/Gravel is priced at $37.90 per tube. But as long as you don’t lose it along the way, we’ve found that the tubes are worth the price as an emergency spare since they save so much weight and space in your flat kit.
BMX Tubes too
Finally, Tubolito even has new sizes available for BMX including 20 x 1.5-2.5″ and 22/24 x 1.5-2.5″, both with presta or schrader valves. Each is priced at $34.90 a piece.