The Eclipse Road 20/25 Tube is not only a very cost-effective way of shedding grams from your bike, it also makes for a surprisingly compliant ride and palpably lower rolling resistance than a butyl tube when accelerating or climbing.
The tubes are made from thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and welded rather than bonded like some TPU tubes, which theoretically gives them an edge on the durability/longevity front. I've certainly been pleasantly surprised by their pressure retention and durability, and should they succumb to the dreaded hiss they can be repaired using dedicated patches – though I'd keep a butyl spare snoozing in the seat pack since the patches have a long curing time.
The Eclipses also pack down remarkably compactly compared with traditional butyl, which is another draw.
> Buy now: Eclipse Road Tube 20/25 for £21 from E.Dubied & Co
The patches, also made from TPU, are of the peel and stick genre, employing a polyurethane adhesive. They do demand that the affected area is surgically cleaned, ideally with an alcohol-based wipe, and left to cure overnight.
The removable 40mm valve stem permits extenders for deep-section aero rims; though 70mm options are listed on the website (for £1 more), they're currently out of stock.
I decided to pair the tubes to my arguably quaint road bike, built in 1991. This features a period-typical wheelset based around Mavic MA2 rims, running a set of 25mm Vee Rain Runner tyres which give a supple, grippy ride, although mine are becoming less resistant to flints and other sharps these days...
Fitting was very straightforward using my standard technique of inflating slightly to 15psi to avoid pinching, and feeding into the tyre. As the Eclipse felt a very snug fit, and light to the point of fragility, I was careful to double check the seating at various points of inflation, 60, 90 and 120psi – no issues with pinching or similar mischief.
From the outset I noticed an increased zip to the bike compared with the mid-range butyl tubes the Eclipses had replaced, most palpable when climbing or accelerating. And although there was no discernible difference in ride quality to other TPU models I've used, including Pirelli's SmarTubes (albeit in bigger section tyres), they felt smoother than decent quality butyl and latex – and without the latter's need for almost daily inflation. In fact, pressure retention is level pegging with premium quality butyl from the likes of Schwalbe and Michelin.
Over rougher tarmac the ride quality was similarly compliant, and I also noticed some improvement in my fatigue at the close of longer rides of 50-70 miles, compared with using butyl.
The rougher roads didn't induce any subtle rattling from the threadless valve stems either – another pleasant surprise.
Experimenting with the pressures a little during this period, between 100 and 125psi, had negligible impact upon ride quality or acceleration.
Around 200 miles into our test period – during which I'd deliberately whizzed through silty, gritty stuff with the odd bead of glass – and about 20 miles from home, I saw that one of the Rain Runners' casings had finally succumbed to fatigue and was beginning to peel away – ordinarily not great, but in this instance an ideal opportunity to test the tube's potential vulnerabilities... We made it home on time, no hiss.
After consigning the Rain Runner to landfill, I switched to a chunkier tyre – a 25mm Freedom ThickSlick Sport – which confirmed my hypothesis that the Eclipse's qualities were best appreciated with lightweight race rubber. Neither tube missed a beat in the following 250 miles – I've not punctured or noticed any structural weakness – but the sprightly, responsive properties were somewhat muffled; save for shaving a few grams, acceleration and climbing prowess felt little different than running a typical mid-range butyl.
At £21 apiece, they're expensive compared with bog-standard butyl but pretty good value alongside other TPU tubes. Pirelli's P Zero SmartTube, for instance, which is available in road, mountain bike and gravel sizes, will set you back £27.99, and Schwalbe's Aerothan – also available in several sizes – is £24.99, and though it offers an excellent ride quality, our test suggests there are question marks over its repairability.
> Buyer’s Guide: 10 of the best inner tubes
Tubolito's Tubo Road inner tubes also come in various sizes, but at £27.99-£29.99 they're getting on for a tenner more than the Eclipse.
There's a lot to consider here. I've been suitably impressed by the Eclipses, which do offer some tangible performance benefits over traditional tubes. They are also competitively priced, by genre standards. I wouldn't say I'm universally converted to TPU, and will happily continue running butyl on my tourer and fixed gear winter/trainer, but for those with already feathery bikes who want some additional performance gains without massive outlay, these are a very good way to go about it.
Very good cost-effective and seemingly durable upgrade for lighter wheelsets
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Make and model: Eclipse Road Tube 20/25mm
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Eclipse says: "Looking for a top quality inner tube that doesn't weigh you down? The Eclipse Road 25 is perfect for cyclists who want the best of both worlds - a super lightweight tube that's still durable and long lasting. This tube is made from premium TPU material, with a 40mm valve length and metal valve stem. The removable valve core means you can easily change out the valve if needed or use valve extenders to fit your rim height. Plus, the small package size makes it easy to take with you on the go. The Eclipse Road 25 fits tire size 622x20/25 and only weighs 35g - making it one of the lightest tubes on the market! 100% recyclable too, so you can feel good about your purchase."
My feelings are it's a lightweight and seemingly rugged tube that can drop the grams and improve ride quality without pressure loss or similar drawbacks.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
tire size 622 x 20-25mm
weight 35g (40mm valve)
valve length 40mm, 70mm with valve extender
removable valve core
Rate the product for quality of construction:
Despite feeling feathery, dare I say, slightly delicate, standards of construction are very high. The replaceable metal valve stem is a definite plus, ditto the ability to repair, though this is more involved than a traditional butyl tube, so not the most practical option by the roadside.
Rate the product for performance:
Provides a quick and surprisingly compliant ride while offering lower rolling resistance, which (all things being equal) is quite palpable when accelerating or climbing.
Rate the product for durability:
Early days, but no apparent weaknesses so far.
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
32g each – a generous saving over traditional butyl.
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
The Eclipse delivers a surprisingly compliant ride quality.
Rate the product for value:
Pricey compared with a standard butyl tube, but competitive alongside similar tubes.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, I've been pleasantly surprised by the Eclipse. Paired with a traditional rim they haven't required valve extenders, and with a relatively light, high thread count tyre, rolling resistance and the general ride quality have been impressive. Unlike latex tubes, pressure loss has been minimal and, to date, no punctures.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Removable valve core, low weight, and ease of fitting.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Though repairable (which is a definite plus), the long curing times mean it's best done at home. Not that carrying a spare is a hardship.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At £21 apiece, they're pretty good value alongside others such as the £27.99 Pirelli P Zero SmartTube and Tubolito Tubo Road inner tubes at £27.99-£29.99. Schwalbe's Aerothan is also available in several sizes and offers excellent ride quality, but at £24.99 they're also a bit dearer than the Eclipse, and there are question marks over its repairability.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
They're very good: light yet seemingly durable, and offer tangible performance gains.
Age: 48 Height: 1m 81cm Weight: 70kg
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
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