Inner Tube Choices for Manufacturers
The inner tube on a bicycle plays a vital role in the bouncy and speed of a bicycle. Manufacturers use a similar kind of rubber tube for nearly every type of bicycle tire, but there are some differences. Stocking a variety of inner tube tubes will help cycling enthusiasts find the best fit for their biking experiences, and the manufacturer will benefit from the larger sale of rubber tubes.
In general, the inner tube of a tire is what holds the air in place. The exterior tire protects the inner tube from damage, but it does not hold the air. The inner and outer tube design was invented when manufacturers realized that the tires would last longer by placing an exterior tube around the inflated tube. Since then, all bikes have used the multi-layer tire design.
Originally, most inner tubes were manufactured from latex rubber. Latex is a flexible and elastic rubber, but it is weaker than the modern versions of rubber. During World War II, manufacturers needed more rubber for war-time use, so the companies had to come up with new types of rubber for bikes and other products. This led to the invention of butyl rubber. Butyl rubber is petroleum based, and is actually tougher and stronger than latex rubber.
Biking fans waffle on the question of which type of inner tube is the best for bicycles. Some argue that since latex rubber is lighter and more flexible, it has less rolling resistance. This makes it possible to go faster. Others prefer the weight of butyl rubber and believe there is no performance difference between the two. For the most part, unless you specifically request rubber tubes made from latex, the tube you will end up with is a butyl rubber tube.