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9/4/2015 | 1 MINUTE READ

Tough, Ultra-Low Weight TPU Used for Inner Tube of New Mountain Bikes

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BASF's new TPU enables a 65% wall thickness reduction.

The new inner tube for mountain bikes by European market leader for bicycle tires and inner tubes Schawalbe is made of a novel material based on the an Elastolan TPU from BASF Corp., Florham Park, N.J. It will be in stores in December.

The two companies worked together to develop a material with excellent mechanical properties that allow the tubes wall thickness to be considerably reduced. This reportedly gives the eye-catching blue Evo Tuve an important advantage over butyl-based inner tubes: the weight has been reduced by as much as 65% compared with a standard 29-in. tube; depending on the size of the tire, the Evo Tube weighs between 0.15 lbs to 0.17 lbs.

The unusual TPU boasts remarkable characteristics. It is particularly resistant to abrasion and wear and as such really long-lasting. Also, an inner tube made from this plastic can withstand a very high level of continuous load and—despite its greatly reduced wall thickness—maintain a constant air pressure over long periods of time. An interesting feature is that the tube, valve base and valve stem are all made from materials based on Elastolan TPU, which simplifies the production process and allows the product to be easily recycled. The new TPU also has potential for a wide range of other application including within the automotive industry or in mechanical and/or medical engineering. It can be injection molded, extruded or blow molded. 

Want to find or compare materials data for different resins, grades, or suppliers? Check out Plastics Technology’s Plaspec Global materials database.