Aerothan is a material that completely redefines bicycle tubes: extremely light, with maximum puncture protection and designed for minimum rolling resistance.
During the development of Aerothan Tubes, we have explored new avenues right from the beginning. The result was a high-end alternative to conventional bicycle tubes. The next generation Aerothan tube sets new standards for weight, puncture protection, riding characteristics, easy installation and packing dimensions. Specifically made for road bikes, MTBs and all-round purposes.
Aerothan tubes consist of 100% thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), including the valve, and are therefore fully recyclable. Like all Schwalbe tubes, Aerothan tubes may be returned to Schwalbe at no cost using the tube recycling programme. The material of used tubes is recycled to make sealing or insulation material.
Schwalbe aims to offer the ideal product for every cyclist. In terms of high-end bicycle tubes, this is an exciting challenge. The engineers had to combine seemingly opposing features, lowest weight and highest puncture protection. This is a case for the Schwalbe innovation hub, where material compositions and construction principles are redesigned to make entirely new products. Developed in cooperation with BASF and with experts from the German plastic manufacturing industry, the Aerothan tube emerged to not only meet all the requirements of a high-end bicycle tube, but to exceed them.
Prior to market release of a Schwalbe innovation, we carry out numerous tests to assess its quality. The Aerothan test results speak for themselves.
During the so-called plunger test, a plunger with a round tip (1 mm diameter) is forced into the tube at increasing pressures until it can no longer sustain the pressure.
The Aerothan tube is superior to all other tubes when tested at a force of 47 N, and its stretching capacity of 18 mm was the same as the test result of a latex tube.
During the snake bite test, a guillotine is dropped onto the tire from increasing heights until the tube releases air due to a snake bite.
The Aerothan tube sustains greater drop heights than latex or plastic tubes, and therefore, offers much greater protection from pinch flats.
Drop height in mm
During the mountain bike specific snake bite test, a guillotine with a round edge is dropped onto the tire in order to simulate impacts from roots and stones. At the same time, the drop height is increased until the tire releases air due to a snake bite.
The Aerothan tube is comparable to tubeless systems, and during MTB specific testing, it shows significantly greater protection from pinch flats than the X-Light butyl tube
29“ MTB tube in g
The given weight is an average value derived from ten tubes each per model which were weighed.
The Aerothan tube saves more than 50 g in weight compared to Schwalbe Extralight, and on top of that, it offers much better puncture protection.
Increased efficiency in W
During the rolling resistance test, the tire rolls at a speed of 40 km/h. The output required to maintain this speed is measured.
Here, the rolling resistance of the Aerothan tube is about the same as the latex tube. However, with much less weight.
Temperature in C°
During the heat resistance test, a starting temperature of 30°C is chosen and the test is carried out at a speed of 78 km/h and a 30% brake force. Additionally, the number of emergency brake applications the tube resists is recorded.
The dynamic test winner is the Aerothan tube; and this is the only tube that can withstand a sequence of seven emergency brake applications. All Aerothan tubes are approved for use with rim brakes.
Good to know: Aerothan tubes do not suddenly burst. Any air loss occurs slowly as a worst case, while the bicycle normally remains easy to control.
Interview with Schwalbe product manager Felix Schäfermeier about the development of Aerothan tubes.
How did you come up with the idea of developing a bicycle tube without rubber?
Bicycle tubes are a huge challenge for developers because one needs to combine completely opposing features in one product. A tube must be light-weight, but also extremely stable. With a classic butyl tube, one can achieve great puncture protection and excellent air holding capacities, but realising low weight is the limiting factor. Exactly this is why we wanted to completely rethink tubes and have decided to search for alternative materials. In cooperation with BASF, we have developed a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which suits extreme requirements: Aerothan.
What was the biggest challenge during developments?
TPU-plastics already have many different applications in industry, e.g. as sealing or insulation material. And the approach to use this material for tubes is not new. However, past attempts have had significant limitations. For example, tubes were not approved for use with rim brakes due to a lack of sufficient heat resistance. We wanted to change this and have come up with special testing procedures to be able to test various materials. A thermoplastic polyurethane has allowed us to create an entirely new material base.
Is Aerothan a completely new material?
Yes, absolutely! In cooperation with BASF, we were able to reinvent Aerothan from scratch. Not only did we redevelop the base material, but we also redesigned the entire manufacturing process. During this phase, we got to benefit enormously from the expertise of German companies within the plastics processing industry. Aerothan tubes are produced in Germany using a patented laser welding process. This particular technique allows high precision welding of the valve and tube. In addition, it allows production of extremely flat seams that, not only secure a perfect form fit with the tire carcass resulting in extremely smooth riding, but also play an important role for puncture protection. After all, seams are subject to extreme mechanical stress. The durability of the seam was proven in several tests.
How was this tested?
Aerothan was subject to various lab and field tests where it was compared to existing materials and systems. An important point on the specifications sheet was also thermal resistance when used with rim brakes. Here, we have developed a specific test design which simulates high speed downhill rides on mountain descents. Aerothan has achieved an absolutely unique feature and is more heat resistant than all comparable materials.
What about real applications? Can you already tell us who is riding the new tubes?
Aerothan tubes have already been tried out by riders from our Schwalbe athletics programme at various events over the past year. These include MTB races such as Cape Epic, the Enduro World Series and long distance triathlons. The former Ironman World Champion Patrick Lange is very excited to use Aerothan tubes. This does not mean that Aerothan tubes are only intended for competitive athletes. We have also received very positive feedback from cyclists riding around the globe and bike packers. These tubes are just perfect for travelling by bike, because they are super light and stable, yet they do not take up very much space in the luggage.
And what is the verdict about the riding feel?
Aerothan tubes have been tested especially by riders with high tubeless affinity. At first, they were very sceptical, but the overall feedback was positive, some of them were actually surprised about how well the tube performed. Therefore, riding characteristics of Aerothan tubes are on par with the reference – tubeless – when it comes to performance. Normal cyclists also detected an obvious difference to conventional systems. Not only measured test results, but also subjective and individual opinions about the feel are convincing.
Are Aerothan tubes also puncture resistant despite the low weight?
Aerothan tubes are actually much more robust and durable than butyl, latex and other synthetic tubes. During developments, we wanted to focus not only on how Aerothan tubes would resist wear and tear when cycling, but also how the material would respond in the worst case scenario. In case of Aerothan tubes, air does not suddenly escape following a puncture, but slowly. If the carcass is cut, the tube will maintain its shape and does not push itself out. For all these reasons, it is much easier to control the bike in case of a puncture and cyclists do not have to worry about sudden air loss.
New materials, especially plastics, raise the question about sustainability. Is Aerothan recyclable?
An Aerothan tube is 100% recyclable – this was very important to us right from the beginning. Just like all other Schwalbe tubes, Aerothan tubes may be returned to us via the tube recycling programme. As opposed to conventional butyl tubes, Aerothan tubes are completely made of TPU – including the valve. This simplifies the recycling process even further. Reusing Aerothan as bicycle tubes is not possible yet; instead, the recycled tubes enter a second life cycle as sealing or insulation material.
For road riding with tubes, the Aerothan tube is the first choice. It offers low rolling resistance with dynamic, smooth riding characteristics. more »
Compared to butyl tubes, a total weight reduction of 100 g may be achieved for the entire bike. Aerothan Tube Race offers not only reliable puncture protection, but also safety when descending a mountain: Even when several emergency brakes are applied with rim brakes in short sequence, one can count on its heat resistance capacities.
SV20E | 23-622 to 28-622 | 41 g
SV16E | 28-622 bis 35-622 | 50 g
The Aerothan Tube Allround is the extremely light and absolutely reliable high-end tube for urban cycling and touring. more »
Compared to Schwalbe standard tubes, it reduces a bicycle’s weight by about 180 g – this, in combination with low rolling resistance, makes cycling even more enjoyable. Cyclists on long nature rides can rely on excellent puncture protection. Even without remembering to use a pump before a ride, the Aerothan Tube Allround can handle it: Also, at low air pressures, it maintains shape and ensures a safe ride on the trail.
SV17E | 37-622 bis 50-622 | 61 g
The Aerothan Tube MTB is just as resistant to snake bites as it is to side wall damage – thanks to the extremely robust material. more »
In cross-country and marathon, a surprisingly low weight and low rolling resistance are great advantages. Even on challenging trails, this tube never gives up on you: Thanks to the exceptional form stability of the Aerothan Tube MTB, even at low air pressures, you always keep control of your bike.
SV13E | 54-559 bis 62-559 | 81 g
SV19E | 54-622 bis 62-622 | 87 g
SV21E | 54-584 bis 62-584 | 83 g
SV19FE | 62-622 bis 75-622 | 116 g
SV21FE | 62-584 bis 75-584 | 109 g
|Wheel size||28 â€œ||28 â€œ||28 â€œ||26 â€œ||27,5 â€œ||29 â€œ||27,5 â€œ||29 â€œ|
|ETRTO||23-622 to 28-622||28-622 to 35-622||37-622 to 50-622||54-559 to 62-559||54-584 to 62-584||54-622 to 62-622||62-584 to 75-584||62-622 to 75-622|
|Valve||SV, 40 mm||SV, 40 mm||SV, 40 mm||SV, 40 mm||SV, 40 mm||SV, 40 mm||SV, 40 mm||SV, 40 mm|
|Packing size||28 mm x 80 mm||32 mm x 80 mm||38 mm x 80 mm||54 mm x 74 mm||54 mm x 77 mm||54 mm x 80 mm||68 mm x 77 mm||68 mm x 82 mm|
|Weight||41 g||50 g||61 g||81 g||83 g||87 g||109 g||116 g|
|Made in Germany|
|Approved for rim brakes|
Aerothan is a special thermoplastic polyurethane which Schwalbe has developed in cooperation with BASF. It serves as base material for high end bicycle tubes, Aerothan tubes, which are made in Germany using a patented welding process.
Aerothan tubes are extremely light, yet highly puncture resistant. The low rolling resistance offers an extremely dynamic riding experience. Aerothan retains its shape and ensures stable riding characteristics on all bicycles, even at low air pressures. At the same time, its dimensional stability makes it easy to install because the tube does not slide around and cannot get pinched.
Schwalbe is the expert for tubeless tires. However, some cyclists prefer using a tube despite tubeless as the state-of-the-art option. Additionally, certain wheel types are not suitable for tubeless. Therefore, we have developed Aerothan tubes – the high-end alternative to conventional bicycle tubes. Many of its technical advantages achieve the same high standards that tubeless systems do.
|Aerothan Tube||Tubeless System|
|Rolling resistance||— — — — —||— — — — —|
|Weight||— — — — —||— — — — —|
|Puncture protection||— — — — —||— — — — —|
|Riding with low air pressure||— — — — —||— — — — —|
|Easy installation||— — — — —||— — —|
|Small punctures are sealed automatically||— — — — — 1|
1 if used with tire sealant
Aerothan tubes are available for all common tire sizes for: Road, Allround and MTB. For an overview with all sizes, please see here.
Aerothan tubes are available in the categories Road, Allround and MTB, where Aerothan has extremely diverse areas of application due to its particular material characteristics. For an overview of all intended purposes, please see here .
Aerothan is a flexible material and is subject to limited tolerances (as opposed to solids such as metal). Despite highly elaborate manufacturing and control procedures, deviations in weight of +/- 5% may occur.
Like all Schwalbe tubes, Aerothan tubes are 100% recyclable. As opposed to conventional butyl tubes, Aerothan tubes are completely made of a thermoplastic polyurethane – including the valve. This makes the recycling process even more straightforward. Just like all other Schwalbe tubes, Aerothan tubes may be returned to us via the tube recycling programme. Reusing Aerothan as bicycle tubes is not possible yet; instead, the recycled tubes enter a second life cycle as sealing or insulation material.
Aerothan tubes are installed just like any other bicycle tube. Thanks to the dimensional stability of the material, the tube does not shift easily and does not get pinched, which allows for much more straightforward installation. However, outside the tire, Aerothan tubes may only be inflated up to max. 0.3 bar.
The transparent Aerothan material changes colour when in contact with the compounds of the tread. This is due to diffusion of volatile substances which are released as a result of the vulcanization process. This occurs especially with new, unused tires. The change in colour has no impact on performance or durability of the tubes.
You can easily repair Aerothan tubes using Schwalbe Glueless Patches. Roughening, as with a butyl tube, is not necessary. Instead, the self-adhesive patches are directly placed on the area to be fixed. To do so, the surface should be as clean as possible.
An Aerothan tube may be inflated carefully outside the tire until it has no more folds and is round in shape (equivalent to max. 0.3 bar).
Yes, however, a CO2 cartridge should only be used once the tube has been fully installed. Outside the tire, Aerothan tubes may only be inflated carefully until they reach a round shape and are free of folds (equivalent to max. 0.3 bar); CO2 cartridges are not intended for this purpose.
Yes, however, an Aerothan tube may only be reinstalled into a tire of the same or of greater width.
Sealing liquid does not achieve any sealing effect with Aerothan tubes because the surface tension of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is very high. Using latex based sealing liquid for tubes made of TPU is not recommended due to the chemical composition. For optimal performance, Aerothan tubes should only be used in tires without sealing liquid. Long-term use with sealing liquid is not recommended.
Repair sprays do not achieve any sealing effect with Aerothan tubes because the surface tension of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is very high. Using repair spray for tubes made of TPU is not recommended due to the chemical composition. For optimal performance, Aerothan tubes should only be used without repair spray. Long-term use with repair spray is not recommended.
All Aerothan tubes are approved for rim brakes. Aerothan tubes are extremely resistant to heat and can sustain high thermal stress (for example during emergency braking). Also, in case of a defect, air does not suddenly escape, which is why riding stability remains unaffected.
Thanks to their high degree of form stability, Aerothan tubes may be used at much lower air pressure than conventional bicycle tubes. To find out what air pressure is right for you, please refer to the recommendations for tubeless systems. Please note that the minimum air pressure engraved on Schwalbe tires applies to the use with butyl tubes. When using Aerothan tubes, lower values may be applied.
The Schwalbe MTB Pressure Prof offers an easy way to quickly calculate optimal air pressure on-line. Pressure Prof
To find out the maximum air pressure for Aerothan tubes, please refer to the range of air pressure given on the side wall or rim. If the maximum pressure printed on the rim is lower than the one of the tire, then the maximum pressure of the rim applies. If you have any questions, please contact the manufacturer.
Aerothan tubes are comparable to butyl tubes for air holding capacities. Having to frequently re-inflate, as one might be used to with latex tubes, is therefore not required. For optimal performance, air pressure should be checked regularly.
Aerothan tubes come with a Presta or Sclaverand (SV) valve of 40 mm length. Just like the tube, the valve is made of thermoplastic polyurethane and is also 100% recyclable.
The valve insert of Aerothan tubes is screwed in and may be replaced if necessary. Therefore, the valve stem is also suitable for extensions.
Aerothan tubes are available at retailers who are experts on innovative bicycle technology.