The inner tube is one of the most unassuming parts of your whip. But hidden under your tires is the product of the year…if you are running Specialized’s new Ultralight Turbo tubes. Why am I so impressed with this product? First off, the tubes come packaged pre-talc’d. Talcing the tubes (only a couple manufactures do this) allows the tube to move freely & not adhere to the inside of the tire. The next reason these tubes stand-out are because the valve stem is only threaded half way. This allows ease of taking the pump head on & off. And it also prevents ripping your pump head gasket up. I think we’ve all pumped our tire up & tried pulling the head off, ending up slamin’ our hand on the spokes…ending in blood-shed. Not a minor issue. The next thing these tubes have going for them are the weight. They’re 40 grams lighter than the standard Specialized tube. The 48mm road tube comes in at 70 grams…and it’s butyl, not latex so it holds air better.
All of the mentioned points make for a great tube, but the thing that sets this tube apart is the way the valve is attached to the tube. The valve/tube interface patch is 48mm. wide. Most interface patches are 25-30mm. This wide base prevents wear & tear on the rim-to-valve interface. What this equates to is ~13% less rolling resistance drag per wheel. Woah. Seventeen bucks for a huge performance increase. It’s not carbon fiber, but it is my product of the year.