Ludwigshafen, Germany – A 100% recyclable TPU-based inner tube for bicycles has been launched by Schwalbe, using Elastollan TPU from BASF.
The Aerothan tubes are lightweight, puncture resistant, are easy to assemble in the factory, and pack down small, according BASF.
Felix Schafermeier, product manager at Schwalbe, which builds the tubes said: '[They are] a high-end alternative to conventional bicycle tubes.'
The new tyres are about 40% lighter than other tubes. All the parts are made from TPU, including the valve stem, which is normally metal. Not only do the lighter tyres improve a cyclist's performance, the companies claim, but they are also more puncture resistant that conventional tyres.
The tubes can be returned free of charge to Schwalbe after use. The old tubes are then turned into sealing or insulation.
They are not the first inner tubes to be made from a thermoplastic elastomer material, after German start-up Tubolito introduced its range of bright orange lightweight inner tubes in 2018.