Are Latex tubes really prone to 'exploding'?

So, I’m the type of person that researches after doing a purchase, which were a pair of Victoria Latex tubes. What worries me the most are all the tales of suddenly exploding latex tubes, which would be very bad during a long descent.

So, my question is: are latex tubes really prone to exploding? Any other potential issue I should be aware of? Thanks for the feedback!

I was/am in the same situation… (I asked a similar question in the WW forum) for what I gathered latex tubes are not prone to ‘explode’ but one should be more careful in installing them in order to avoid pinching them which then it could result in a explosion. This won’t be at the mounting process, rather after a couples of rides. Another potential issue is that some latex tubes (with the latest vittorias it shouldn’t be the case) have a defect around the valve which could lead to an explosion. In order to mount them safely they advice in using some talco.
Latex tubes are a no-no on carbon rim brakes as carbon dissipate heat in a different way compared to alu.
On a pair of Fulcrum R3 I’m running them and super happy with no problem so far… on a set of the new Rapides the LBS strongly opposed them as bad past experiences so they mounted the Spesh super light inner tubes. I have

4 silca inner tubes (made by vittoria) which I was going to use… but one of them has a problem (see pic) so not sure if I’m going ahead…

What are the tubes made of in tubular tyres?

This is perfectly normal for a latex tube to bulge out like that, as long as it returns to normal size when deflated you are good to go.

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Basically don’t use latex inner tube with carbon wheel and rim brakes.

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Tubular use both latex and butyl. A super light track tubular will use latex a cheap training tubular will use buytl, Triathlon tubulars use butyl because often bikes have to left overnight and a latex tube would lose too much pressure.

Can you supply a reference to that claim? AFAIK carbon fiber transfer heat poorly compared to aluminum concentrating the heat in the outer layers of carbon fiber leading to excessive heat and epoxy breakdown and wheel failure. That would also be the reason to why many (all?) manufacturers nowadays use a basalt coated brake surface in order to protect the wheel from excessive local heat buildup potentially lower the thermal load on the tube.

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My experience is more or less anecdotal. I ran Vittoria latex tubes on my rim-brake Venge for some weeks. One day after bombing down a long descent with a top speed of around 60 k/h and decelerating for a crossroad at the base of the descent the front tube just popped while standing at the side of the road. It was easy to imagine what would have happened if the latex had given up only one minute sooner.

Additional info: I am a light rider so no need for excessive braking. With regular tubes in the Roval CLX64 I never experienced such am acute failure.

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Been running latex tubes for 15 years and tens of thousands of miles including some long alpine descents on hot sunny days. Never had one explode on the bike. Have had a couple of explosions when fitting them and not checking properly that they weren’t trapped under the tire bead before pumping to full pressure, but once on they’ve been fine.

Have mostly used Vittoria and Michelin tubes, though that’s as much due to limited choice/availability as anything else.

The answer to your question is no, latex tubes are not prone to exploding.

Been using them for many years without ever having one explode.

No, they aren’t prone to exploding, 30 odd time trials up to 100 miles on them in the last 2 years without an issue.

I’ve used them all year, and the only time one exploded was when I pinched it during the install. If you’re descending down a mountain dragging brakes you could heat them rim to the point of overheating and popping the tube, but most people aren’t at risk of this due to where they ride.

I run carbon wheels and rim brakes

Just a point of order how can a tube inside a tyre explode? Surely it is the tyre exploding? (whatever that means). Without the tyre carcass around it to carry the load no tube can hold the operational pressure. I would not think of a rapid deflation as an explosive event.

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They explode from the heat buildup that some users get with certain situation/wheels/brake pads. That said they can often blow the tire apart in the process but it’s the tube that fails first.

Perhaps I am not making my point clearly enough. The only function of the tube is to stop the air leaking out. It has practically no capacity to carry any pressure loads. If they are correctly installed then the tyre is the thing that is reacting to the pressure loads once the tube has pressed against the inside of it. It is why the pressure rating is printed on the tyre and not on the tube. So under such conditions the tyre is the thing that can ‘explode’ by definition the tube can’t. It can only leak rapidly. I guess a tube that is improperly installed and herniated under the bead or folded over itself and not correctly laid up on the tyre could explode when it is forced to carry the full pressure. Those aren’t nominal conditions though.

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I get your point, and maybe your very technical explanation is correct in theory, but doesn’t change the fact that latex tubes can explode inside of a tire when subjected to high temperatures. The tube is what holds the air, not the tire, so the tube would be the thing to pop, not the tire. If tires popped and not tubes it wouldn’t matter if the tube was latex or butyl or lamb skin or whatever else

Even if you look at tubolito tubes they caution using their super light tubes in carbon rim brake wheels because the tubes can pop

That vision goes against the fundamental tenets of pressure vessel engineering.

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Butyl rubber has a typical service temperature range between –75° F (-60°C) and +250° F (120°C) and natural rubber (latex) has a typical service temperature range between –67° F (-55°C) and +180° F (82°C). In temperatures exeeding recomendations the materials degrade rapidly and can no longer seal aganst leakage but it is still the rim/tire combo that that holds the structural integrity of the wheel.

Nope. Not in my experience.

The only thing close to that…was going for a KOM one time and my smallest cog skipped a tooth, foot came unclipped, went down on my right hip and elbow…had on a pair of H3D tri spokes & when they slid across the ground some of the tire compound above the rim got a little frayed.

The latex tube actually found a little hole in that frayed portion, created a little pink bubble outside of the tire, and popped itself on the fork. Heard it rubbing, looked down, saw the bubble, next tire revolution it went, ‘POP!’ Put my spare butyl tube in with my big road pizza butt hanging out for everybody to see…the butyl tube was fine.

So one thing I’ll warn is that latex tubes will find a way to expand into any little nook or cranny in your wheel. If you’re scrimping on tire tape latex tubes are going to find their way into your spoke holes. If you have a stem hold that’s a little too wide latex tubes are going to sneak into that crease.

That’s usually because some little latex bubble snuck into a spoke hole or a valvestem hole. Braking puts a torque on it and that little bubble gets decapitated.