How We Test Our Inner Tubes
Before selecting any tube to be included in our range we carry out the tests outlined below. Our tests may sound a bit obsessive but we are a little nuts about innertubes and making sure we only supply you the very best:
- Stretch Test - We suspend the tube from a beam and add a fixed weight, then measuring the stretch. The greater the stretch under a given weight the better the tubes flexibility and hence it's ride quality and puncture handling capabilities.
- Wall Diameter - We measure tube wall thickness as this is an important measure of the tubes durability.
- Over Inflation Test - Tubes are mounted in a tyre and inflated to 150% of max recommended pressure for that tyre and tube set-up. So on a road tube in a clincher tyre where the recommended maximum pressure is 115psi, we inflate to 172psi ! This is to check that the tube can handle any reasonable pressure that may occur during normal use as tyre pressures can increase especially during hot days or when heat is produced from heavy braking. The over inflation test is obviously dependent on the rim and tyre strength being up to the job but we use some pretty bulky rims and good tyres to ensure we can reach these pressures.
- Pressure Maintenance Test - All tyres will need re-inflating regularly but it can get a bit annoying if you have to do it before every ride, especially when you're already running late. So we inflate the tube, whilst mounted in a control tyre and rim set-up, to the tyres recommended max pressure. We leave it for 1 week and then measure the maintained pressure to ensure it sits within acceptable to ride levels.
- Valve Durability - Both presta and schrader valves are tested for repeated cycles of pressure release. We also check the strength of the presta nipple stems to ensure they don't bend too easily.
- Mold Inspection - The mold lines are inspected for any possible weaknesses and thickness variance
- Test Ride - Most importantly we fit the tubes to our own bikes and use them for several months in all conditions, under hard prolonged braking, over sharp gravel, and at high and low pressures. During this time we evaluate ride quality, look for fitting and inflation issues and record and compare our puncture rate.
The results of all these tests are compared to two benchmark branded tubes to ensure that they are competitive with the performance of leading brands. In fact in several tests our tubes actually exceed the performance of the leading brands that cost more than twice as much!
We also have rigorous quality control checks on each batch before accepting it from our suppliers so you can be sure that the tubes you buy will live up to these standards.