Schwalbe, an European bicycle tires and inner tubes manufacturer, has developed a inner tube for mountain bikes made from a novel material Elastollan, which offer similar strength as conventional tubes at considerably reduced wall thickness.
Ralf Bohle, owner of Schwalbe brand, has collaborated with BASF for the development of this new material. Elastollan is based on BASF’s thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which has resulted in the development of new ‘electric-blue Evo Tube.’ The Evo Tube offers same strength as butyl-based inner tubes, but with a considerably reduced wall thickness.
Due to the excellent mechanical properties of the new material, the weight of the Evo Tube is 65% less than that of a conventional standard 29-inch tube. The new material is particularly resistant to abrasion and wear, which would increase the life of the tube. Furthermore, an inner tube made from this plastic can withstand a very high level of continuous load and despite its greatly reduced wall thickness, the tube maintain a constant air pressure over long periods.
The tube, valve base and valve stem are all made from materials based on Elastollan, which would simplify the production process and also allows the product to be easily recycled. The company is planning to bring the tube into market by December 2015.
Excerpts from BASF and image courtesy of Plastic Today