What are TPU Lightweight inner tubes?

A TPU inner tube refers to an inner tube made from Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU). TPU is a type of plastic that features the characteristics of rubber and plastic, making it flexible, durable, and resistant to abrasion, oil, and chemicals.

Why you should consider TPU inner Tubes:

  • Lightweight: TPU is generally lighter than rubber, contributing to reduced overall weight.
  • Small and Compact: The tubes are much smaller and far more compact to fit in your storage bottle, jersey pocket or saddlebag with ease.
  • High Elasticity: TPU exhibits excellent elasticity, allowing for good shock absorption and a comfortable ride.
  • Puncture Resistance: TPU is often more puncture-resistant than traditional rubber inner tubes. This can be advantageous in situations where the risk of punctures is a concern, such as cycling on rough terrain or in areas with debris.
  • Abrasion Resistance: TPU has good resistance to abrasion, making it durable in challenging conditions. This is beneficial when the inner tube is exposed to friction and wear.
  • Chemical Resistance: TPU is often resistant to various chemicals, oils, and solvents, enhancing its durability and lifespan in environments where exposure to these substances is a consideration.
  • Flexibility: TPU is flexible, allowing for ease of installation.
  • Low Rolling Resistance: TPU inner tubes can contribute to lower rolling resistance, potentially improving the efficiency and speed of vehicles like bicycles.
  • Potentially Easier Set up than Tubeless: Inner tubes can be far easier to initially set up and require less purchases than buying a full tubeless set up for you road or gravel bike. With a quality TPU tube you may prefer this method to running tubeless.

Examples of TPU Inner Tubes:

Pirelli P Zero Smart Inner Tube

This tube was designed to match the need for lightness and handling of professional World Tour riders and its first application was inside the P ZERO™ Race Tub SL. It is now also available for every amateur cyclist.

The standard butyl inner tube has been replaced with TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane), an advanced plastic material characterized by elasticity and mechanical strength. The result is an inner tube that can be up to 70% lighter, up to 50% more compact and twice as resistant against punctures as an equivalent tube made of butyl.

P ZERO™ SmarTUBE is the ultimate evolution for cyclists who are still using the standard clincher setup and want to improve the performance of their bikes as well as those who are looking for a light and compact spare tube for tubeless-ready tyres.

Pirelli Cinturato Smart Inner Tube

This is the cycling inner tube designed for gravel, adventure and endurance. The tube provides all the benefits of the innovative TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) and thanks to a specific formulation delivers the best performances for those who are looking for superior puncture resistance with low weight and compact size.

Cinturato™ SmarTUBE is a one-of-a-kind inner tube: reduced weight and compact with an unparalleled puncture protection when compared to standard butyl inner tubes.

The ultimate solution for the cyclists that take on long travels and explore remote lands, the low weight and compact size are crucial when packing water, food and extra clothing.

Tubolito Tubo MTB TPU Inner Tube – 29

Save weight and space on your 29er! With these light, strong and compact tubes you’ll be able to ride without a big bulky tube taking up space in your saddle bag or storage bottle…

This tube features:

  • 61% lighter up to 135g weight saving per wheel
  • 50% smaller packed size
  • 2 x more robust at puncture test
  • Same comfort as a butyl tube
  • Valve length: 42mm
  • Weight: 85g (29″)

Have any questions about TPU inner tubes? Let us know in the comments below!


  • Alex Cowie

    Outdoor Leadership and Coaching BA (Hons) Keen cyclist, runner, and outdoor enthusiast. I have been cycling since I was very young and always had a love for the outdoors. I have completed many long distance events including ultra marathons such as the Chester 100, Berkeley Marathons UK and Gravel Century rides.

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