Experiences with TPU tubes and static build up

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DoktorHannibalLecter
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2024 1:53 pm

by DoktorHannibalLecter

Hey folks!

I wanted to ask for similar experiences and possible solutions. I do love my tubolito s-road TPU tubes for their weight, size and seemingly rolling resistance. But one major flaw is that I do get a static buildup while riding. Giving other riders electric shocks on contact and causing (my theory) excessive buildup of grime / dirt on the drive train. Above 6,5 bar / 94 psi the static build up reduces, but I want to ride at ca. 5.7 bar, which is the optimum silca calculated tyre pressure for me.

Have any of you found solutions to this very niche problem? Did any of you try different TPU manufacturers? Maybe some of them have different surfaces that are not as glossy/smooth as the turbolito? I did think about talcum powder, but I do not know if that would a) work and b) might damage the tube over time.

Have a good day!
Cheers
Stevens Arcalis - 2023 - 7.902 kg
Stevens Prestige - 2021
Radon R1 Road - 2015
KTM Lycan - 2014

MikeD
Posts: 1042
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:55 pm

by MikeD

Never heard of static build up with tires and tubes. Seems like you are the first.

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marsa
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat May 15, 2021 7:21 am

by marsa

He is not the first; there are occasional comments on the internet, but since it is a relatively new product (in comparison to traditional butyl tubes) and the effect is hard to track, I guess most people just ignore it if experienced occasionally.

I have been riding on TPUs for just over a year, and the static shocks are definitely a thing. The thing is, it is not very frequent and seems to depend on the road conditions.

For me, it was very hard to connect the static shocks to the TPU tubes. My observations are that the newer and cleaner the tarmac, the more shocks happen. Also, hot weather seems to help the buildup.

In extreme cases, I can even see a spark jumping from the metal lever axle of my STI shifter to my hand. Sometimes the shock occurs when you hit a wet patch on the road, usually those are hard too. Discharges also happen if you happen to touch the grass around the road.

My 2 most ridden bikes are very similar, both steel frames with exactly the same wheels, but one uses TPU and the other - butyl tubes. I have zero shocks on the butyls and many on the TPUs.

Again, depending on the conditions, it may not happen for days, but it may happen a few times per minute.

I don't observe excessive dirt build-up. For me, the only problem is the shocks, which can be very annoying at times.

MikeD
Posts: 1042
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:55 pm

by MikeD

It would seem to me that if the bike is building up a static charge, dust and dirt would be attracted to it and the drivetrain. Not ideal. Maybe another reason to avoid TPU tubes.

DoktorHannibalLecter
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2024 1:53 pm

by DoktorHannibalLecter

as marsa said, it still seems to be a fairly niche problem. I've contacted tubolito directly in the meantime. Still waiting for a reply. They do have to know something about the problem. The static buildup seems to be really fast with my setup. One can touch me every few seconds and will be struck by a static shock each time. I could live with the shocks. But the build up of grime/dirt is really annoying me. My "good weather bike" gets ridden in the best weather/road conditions of all my bikes but has the dirtiest chain. I hate the thought of adding back the 150g+ to the frame, but I don't want an increased wear on the drivetrain...
Stevens Arcalis - 2023 - 7.902 kg
Stevens Prestige - 2021
Radon R1 Road - 2015
KTM Lycan - 2014

by Weenie


Visit starbike.com Online Retailer for HighEnd cycling components
Great Prices ✓    Broad Selection ✓    Worldwide Delivery ✓

www.starbike.com



MikeD
Posts: 1042
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:55 pm

by MikeD

Probably depends too on where you live and the time of year. Some places are a lot dryer than others and humidity levels are a lot lower.

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