BASF, Schwalbe roll out ‘puncture-resistant’ TPU bicycle tubes

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LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany—BASF is helping to make the bicycle tube better. BASF S.E. has partnered with German bicycle tire manufacturer Schwalbe on a new generation of bicycle tubes with a “whole new level of puncture safety,” BASF said in an Oct. 9 statement. The Aerothan bicycle tube, which launched Oct. 8, […]

LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany—BASF is helping to make the bicycle tube better.

BASF S.E. has partnered with German bicycle tire manufacturer Schwalbe on a new generation of bicycle tubes with a “whole new level of puncture safety,” BASF said in an Oct. 9 statement.

The Aerothan bicycle tube, which launched Oct. 8, is based entirely on BASF’s Elastollan-branded TPUs and is 100 percent recyclable, BASF said.

Billed as a high-end alternative to conventional bicycle tubes, the lightweight product also offers high handling performance and ease of assembly.

The tubes are roughly 40 percent lighter than the established alternatives on the market and combine BASF’s materials expertise and Schwalbe’s processing technologies, BASF said.

All parts of the new tube, including the valve stem, are made entirely of TPUs, which are highly resistant to abrasion and wear while being light, flexible, elastic and heat resistant. The tubes are designed around a “specially developed material combination” based on BASF’s Elastollan range.

“Elastollan allows the use of thin walls, in order to reduce weight and at the same time produce a bicycle tube that offers significant advantages over butyl- or (other) rubber-based bicycle tubes both in terms of puncture resistance and handling and on the manufacturing side,” said Mark Ottens, segment manager extrusion TPU at BASF.

The tube offers a high level of puncture safety, preventing any sudden loss of air and ensuring stable handling even at low tire pressure, BASF said.

Approved for all rim brakes, the tubes are suited for racing bikes, mountain bikes or all-round cycling environments.

At the end of a tire’s life, the Aerothan tubes can be returned to Schwalbe via its tube recycling program. The recycled products are then processed and reused as sealing or insulating material.

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