First i have been riding latex tubes for about 6-7 years now, so i have pretty much run the gamut with them. Second, please ignore the reviews from people who don't know how to change a tube properly. Yes, if your ham-fisted, don't check the tire and rim bed for additional debris or pinch them, you WILL blow these out immediately. If you're the type who loves patching tubes to use them until they basically deteriorate inside your tire, these are not for you. Also, if your not the type that likes to air-up before each ride, look elsewhere. That said, if you're looking for a "close to tubeless/sew-up" as you can get but with less cost and hassle, this is where you need to be. The feeling between butyl and latex while riding is day and night. more communicative with whats passing under the tire, much more tactile. Latex is also more cost saving on watts according to bicyclerollingresistance.com. There's also a difference in the sound the tire makes on the pavement while rolling that i find pleasing. Overall in terms of cost per tube, performance and tactile feedback - you cannot do better IMO. The biggest drawback is that they don't hold air as long as butyl tubes do, due to the more porrus nature of the material. To me, i don't see this as an issue as spending 2 minutes checking my tires for cuts and proper pressure is something all cyclists should do anyway, but to each their own. Also i found having a good pump that doesn't require you to pull too much on the valve stem helps a-lot as well. Finally, i will restate that these aren't for ham-fisted types who man-handle a tube like it's a brick. Learn to insert tubes correctly and you'll have no issues. Tubes get their strength from TIRES! They really arn't inherently all that "strong" - being this is the case you should never rely on a tubes' strength to compensate for a worn or shoddy tire - you're just asking for a blow out. I have used Vittoria and Silca plus a few others and they are all pretty much the same - you can't really loose, so you can let price be your guide.
I'm running these tubes on a Surly Steamroller SS/ FG. Running at lower pressures with these resilient tubes really makes for a faster and more compliant ride. I was skeptical before but really like these. Like the smooth valve stem too.
Less rotational weight and a more supple ride...why wouldn't you buy these tubes?? I can't be certain of the energy savings, but these latex tubes are light and provide a very smooth ride. The retail price is high compared to standard tubes, but a cheap upgrade if you consider the amount of hours any serious cyclist spends on the road.
Installation is easy. Plenty of talc and don't pinch the tube - so the same process as any other tube installation! If you can't install a tube without pinching it(1 star knucklehead reviewer), then take it to your LBS.
Approximately 4,200 miles on these tubes so far, and NO issues, NO flats.
Bought these to do a century ride based on GCN and other's suggestion that latex tubes do make a difference. My anecdotal experience - with the caveat that it could be all in my head - is that they do! Ride does seem seem a bit more compliant/comfortable. Quality appears to be excellent. Worth giving them a try!
I caused two pinch flats while installing these with new tires, and I popped two more while airing up the newly installed tires. Grrr. These are a complete waste of money. They are VERY fragile.
I run these exclusively on my TT bike. Research says latex is good for a watt or two per wheel, so if you hope to do your very best you need a pair. They're not cheap but they do go on sale on occasion.
prep w talcum...not baby powder...goes a long way towards success with any latex tubes. Way smoother ride, less vibration, harshness, does make a difference on road with rolling resistance being less over long efforts. 4 stars because, have yet to find any 5 star latex tube
Latex tubes, paired with high quality tires, provide great road feel and modestly lower rolling resistance than butyl tubes. Silca's are designed for wider tires (think 25mm ), and work nicely with wider contemporary clincher rims, which can add 2-3mm effective width to your tires. The valve stem-42mm-is perfect for most low profile rims, and not uneccessarily long given that deeper rims will need extenders anyway...These tubes aren't cheap, but last long and are worth the extra bucks to optimize your ride.
The Latex tubes were less fussy to install than I feared they would be. now with several hundred miles on them they feel inspired. The ride is more comfortable than t was with the butyl tubes, I adjust the air pressure before each ride....a very good purchase.