While most gravel bikes seem to have joined mountain bikes in fully adopting tubeless, plenty of road riders still roll on clinchers with butyl tubes. Latex tubes offer lower weight, decreased rolling resistance & improved puncture resistance, making them a relatively low-cost, high-value upgrade. Plus, Silca saw that many riders need to carry a bit more than just one tube in the saddle bag, so have introduced a bigger version of their Seat Roll called the Grande Americano.

Silca latex road bike inner tubes

photos courtesy Silca

Latex tubes are nothing new. In fact, we’ve been using (& spreading the gospel of lower rolling resistance and fewer flats with) the seamless ones from Challenge in road clincher and cyclocross clincher tire tests for years. The industry consensus is about 2-5W per tube in energy savings. And the only real downside is that you have to pump your tires up to your ideal pressure for every ride as air slowly leeches out (since latex is more porous vs. butyl, compounded more so if you use a CO2 in a roadside repair.) But while they cost at least 2x a typical butyl tube, the limiting factor was often ease of availability. So now Silca partnered with tire & tube maker Vittoria, to help more riders find their way to rolling on latex tubes.

Available now, Silca’s new latex road tubes are sized to fit tires that measure out to 24-30mm wide. That means they’ll slot in well to cover what has become the new performance road standard of 25c-28c tires on the latest crop of wider rims. At 85g with a 42mm long Presta valve stem, the tubes are made in Thailand by Vittoria with a single lap seam next to the valve, and will comfortably work with rims up to ~38-40mm deep. For $15 per tube (about 15-20% less than other latex offerings), you’ll save about 15-25g off of a relatively light black butyl tube of the same size.

If you have deeper section wheels and can wait until March 1st, Silca will also offer the latex tubes bundled with a valve extender and a SpeedShield rim protector/valve nut fairing. For $22 you get a kit for an extra 40mm, or $24 for an extra 70mm for those super deep wheels.

Silca Seat Roll Grande Americano tool roll saddle bag

OK, so you decided to replace your tubes with latex, so now to be able to carry a couple of spares (although you are probably less likely to need them thanks to the reduced pinch flatting or puncturing of latex tubes.) Silca took feedback from their first Seat Roll Premio bags, and realized that many riders needed more carrying capacity. While the Premio’s BOA cinches down a single road tube, the new Seat Roll Grande Americano essentially double the space.

The $58 made-in-the-US Grande Americano shares the same three-pocket water-repellent nylon tool roll-style design, central velcro flap closure strap, and the BOA wire & dial that tighten everything up & cinch it to your saddle rails. The BOA dial does move a bit down the body of the Seat Roll to keep this version from slipping. It keeps the rail guard sleeve that protects the BOA wire & rails, while also improving grip to keep everything from moving around on the bike. (But as we can see in these promo shots, it doesn’t always end up over both rails.)

The new bag gets a pleated fold at its base that lets it expand a bit to fit larger tube. Now it can carry up to a single 700x50mm (29×2”) tube, or two 200x28mm tubes, making it well suited for more off-road, gravel & cross riding. The new Grande Americano is also available now.

Silca.cc

23 COMMENTS

  1. Nice article, but good lightweight butyl tubes are 85gms or less. Your really need to research before you write. The real reason to use latex is for lower rolling resistance and possibly better puncture resistance.

  2. IMHO, the real reason Silca is promoting latex tubes is so they can sell more pumps as people will wear them out more often. I loathe latex tubes, and having to inflate them twice a day for commuting is a pain. They’ve also been much less consistent than butyl tubes in wall thickness IME, and thus much more likely to fail from bulging/splitting. Pinch flats can still happen with latex, so it’s not worth getting too excited about that either. Let’s see: Theoretically ~2W savings versus a couple of minutes pumping twice a day…

  3. some carbon wheel companies discourage the use of latex tubes. theyre more sensitive to localized heating, and are made very inconsistently. an ultralight butyl tube is 60-ish grams. silly-light butyl ones are under 50g. both split the difference between standard butyl and latex in the rolling resistance department

  4. These sound a little heavy but that is because of valve length. Butyl at 60-70 grams have very short valves, the heaviest part of the tube.
    Blah, Blah, Blah has had some scary moments because he doesn’t know how to fit tubes properly.
    Santanas, please describe how a tube fails from bulging/splitting. Pictures of the outcome would be ideal.
    I’ve run latex exclusively on my roadbikes and never suffered any of the above mentioned problems, including the last 4 years on everyday carbon.

    • Extending your tone, I always feel like I must have a tire/tube guardian angel as, since being ~10-12 yrs old and extending 25+ yrs later, I’ve never suffered the continuous maladies stated by users of any clincher system (butyl, latex, tubeless). I have my preferences, but in any given thread on this subject one could be made to believe that any one option is akin to sticking toothpicks under one’s nails

  5. Whats the shelf life of a Latex tube when kept in a seat bag? 2-3 months before they dry rot? Just go tubeless and keep a butyl back up

  6. I appreciate how the new owners of the Silca brand are reinventing the brand – they’ve delivered top notch premium products, and it seems to be working for them.

    That said, latex tubes are a pain. They are floppy, difficult to install, impossible to patch, and any puncture fails in dramatic fashion usually (causing a much larger hole than the puncture). Leave them for tubulars, they just aren’t worth your trouble in clinchers.

    • I’ve been using Vittoria Latex tubes on Corsas, Rubinbo Pro G+, and Schwalbe Ones for 2-3 years on a variety of rims (carbon and aluminum) in a variety of environments and not one thing you have stated at all describes my experience aside for being difficult to patch; which really is a non-issue for a performance designed with racing in mind.

    • Latex usually get tiny tiny holes as they tend to stretch around sharp things. This also means that they deflate slowly if punctured. They are no harder to fit, patch easier because there is no seams and all you need is some superglue and an a piece of old latex tube cut to the required size. People who have trouble with latex simply do not know how to fit a tube properly.

  7. This is nice but I can get Vittoria Latex tubes in this size for about the same price on amazon with free shipping and even cheaper on ebay in a 2 pack for 12.25 per tube including shipping. Would be a lot cooler if they spec’d Latex tubes with 80mm valves as I find valve extenders to be annoying and many riders using Latex have deep section wheels.

  8. Internet comment wars about tubes etc aside, the bigger seat roll seams nice. May have to grab one of the big ones… the bigger seat roll for the gravelydoo (bigger tubes and whatnot) and one normal one for the fixed gear road bike. Nice.

  9. I run latex tubes on my bikes, 200 crappy miles on the weekly commute and more on the weekends. Yeh you have to inflate them daily but other than that it’s all easy. Park Tools patches work perfectly and I hardly ever flat in them anyway compared to stiffer butyl tubes. Each to their own of course.

  10. The Grande Americano seems to be the logical evolution of the frist seat roll which I use for years.
    But what about the reflective checked pattern outside? Why is the new one pitchblack?
    Sorry Silca, the usability seems grest, the design is a step backwards.

What do you think?