Silca is a company known for making very (very) highly engineered products at a price point that falls more under the “wish I had” than the “running to my local bike shop after work”. Remember, this is the company that brought you the $525 Silca Pista Ultimate and the $185 T-Handle Folio, which is by no means economical (at least before you consider the difference of buying for a lifetime vs replacing regularly). However, both have still found very loving homes at AeroGeeks HQ. So, when Silca let us know that their next product was Latex tubes, and that price point was going to be highly competitive (yes, we’re talking about “running to my local bike ship to pick up pairs for my road and tri bikes” kind of affordable), we were both curious and excited. Where exactly was this going?
Silca Latex Tubes
Before we go any further, you might be asking why bother with Latex tubes in the first place? Well, the answer to that is speed… free speed. As Josh Poertner, owner of Silca, said: latex inner tubes were the biggest bang for the buck upgrade a cyclist could make. Latex inner tubes are generally 2-5 Watts (per tire) more efficient at 30mph than tubes made of other materials. But what exactly is this black magic?
Well, Silca tells us that Latex Rubber has significantly lower coefficient of damping, which means that when latex rubber is stretched or flexed, it returns to shape faster and with fewer energy losses. But they actually have a better way to demonstrate it. Check out the video below, or just jump to 1:15 to really see why.
Beyond just being fast, Latex tubes are harder to pinch-flat and offer superior suppleness and road feel, especially when combined with supple, low rolling resistance tires.
Silca partnered with Vittoria on the tube, which has been optimized for tires measuring 24-30mm and weighs in at 85g. The valve stem length is 42mm and should work in all modern disc wheels.
Silca is shipping them today at $15 per tube (right in line with what we see from other manufacturers). In March they will start selling kits packaged with the tube, 40mm or 70mm valve extender, and their SpeedShield at $22 for the 40mm and $24 for the 70mm.
We race primarily on latex. Simply put, we are not willing to concede watts to our competitors. Sure, 2-5 Watts on its own may not seem like much. But 2-5 Watts here, and 2-5 Watts there, adds up pretty quickly. At $15 these are right about what we expect to pay MSRP, and a bit cheaper than some of the latex tires we have been riding. We are curious to see how these work on 24-27mm wheels as we have found some Latex tubes built for larger tire sizes sometimes rip easier than tubes built for smaller tires, but testing will only tell us that for sure. And that’s good, because come March, Silca says we should have a few tubes showing up in the AeroGeeks mail room.