Testing... Eclipse - world's lightest inner-tube | Product review

Words by Aaron Scott

on 29/08/2013 19:23:00

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A new product has just arrived at Rutland Cycling! The Eclipse is a Swiss-made inner tube that claims to be stronger, while weighing less than half that of your everyday tube. This tube fits road and mountain bikes, including 29ers, and has been available for a while overseas. The Eclipse has just landed in the UK and is in stock now! Staff rider Adam had a first look and, at £40.49, found them an impressive, if expensive, bit of kit.

When first passed an Eclipse Inner tube it took a while to realise it was an inner tube and not a packet of paracetamol due to the dubious looking packet!

I had also wondered if the box had anything in it due to its lack of weight.

Once I'd opened the packet, it was evident this was unlike any inner tube I'd ever seen. Rather than being made of butyl or latex, the tube was transparent and made of a material that resembled PVC.

The tube I was holding was suitable for a road bike (700c x 18c-25c) and weighed 29g (31g with the valve cap). 29g!! To put this into perspective I compared the weight to some loose change I had.

The Eclipse Inner tube weighed in at 29g as claimed

It was only 1g heavier than my loose change!

Eclipse tubes - the benefits

Now, as well as being considerably lighter than a standard tube (the road tube weighs in at 29g; the MTB tube at 56g, Eclipse claim that these tubes have a greater puncture protection (saving you money over time, as you'll need to replace them less) and they provide a much better rolling resistance. They can also be repaired with a special kit. They could be considered a cheaper way of reducing your wheel weight than investing in a new set of wheels.


The World's lightest tubes are available at Rutland Cycling

Eclipse tubes - any downsides?

So, the new tubes from Eclipse are super lightweight, super strong, they'll help you ride faster and puncture less - all sounds too good to be true, right? Well...there is one drawback to these tubes. Eclipse themselves claim that their tubes aren't to be used with carbon wheels, as the heat created when braking can cause the tubes to burst.

Eclipse tubes - who are they for?

These tubes are clearly pitched at the 'weight weenie' crowd. If you race, and/or you're obsessive about shaving off every last gram of weight from your bike, you'll love these tubes. Reducing wheel weight can make a big difference to speed and performance: as well as reducing the overall weight of your wheels, these tubes will bring the added bonus of lowering your rolling resistance, helping you go even faster. However - bear in mind that Eclipse doesn't recommend using these tubes with carbon wheels.

If, like me, you cycle for pleasure and fitness and don't spend hours analysing your bike computer in a bid to try and increase your average speed or smash your PB times, you may see less benefit in spending the additional money on these tubes.

Summary

Eclipse tubes are an impressive new addition to the 'weight weenie' kit. They are the world's lightest, they're stronger than your everyday tube and they have a much better rolling resistance. The tubes are also more puncture resistant than a standard tube, meaning you'll need to replace them less. Still, some roadies will be put off by these tubes' apparent incompatibility with carbon wheels, and others may find the price tag unappealing - although it's worth noting that buying these tubes is a cheaper way of reducing your wheel weight than investing in a new set of wheels.

We're currently selling these Eclipse tubes for £40.49 (RRP £44.99), which is the cheapest price in the UK.

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