A version of this article appeared in the October issue of BRAIN.
VIENNA, Austria (BRAIN) — Inner tubes retailing for $38 might seem like a hard sell when most enthusiasts are determined to go tubeless. But at this spring’s Sea Otter Classic expo, staffers at Tubolito were having a hard time handling the demand for the Austrian company’s shiny, orangy, tiny tubes.
Said to be lighter, stronger and more compact than butyl or latex tubes, Tubolito tubes had rarely been seen in person in North America before the Monterey, California, event.
The Austrian company held off opening U.S. distribution until it developed enough capacity to serve the European market.
The company, which declined to share sales figures, said it now has capacity to supply the U.S. market and has expanded its product line with sizes, wall thicknesses and valve types to fit most applications.
The tubes are all made in the EU; Quality Bicycle Supply and Ergon USA are now distributing them in the U.S. and were filling out their stock in early fall.
So what’s different about the Tubolitos, other than the price and the color?
They are made of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). The company’s founders, Christian Lembacher and Akos Kertesz, developed cellphone speakers using …read more