Picture this. You’re on a cycling day-trip. You’ve rode 150km and having a blast. The puncture you had an hour ago has left your mind and you’re in the zone. All you had to do was to replace your inner tube with a spare you’ve had prepared. Nothing can get you down. You enter a bumpy, gravelled patch and instinctively your Paris-Roubaix aspirations kick in. You drop a gear and mash on; only to have another flat slap you in the face.
Sounds like an unavoidable recipe for a weekend wrecked? Think again. Based in Taiwan, FOSS Worldwide makes sure these scenarios are avoided. They’ve come up with the FOSS Environmentally Friendly Tube, Winner of iF Material Award 2010 and the Champion of Wheel Set Group, Innobike 2010, held by TBEA (Taiwan Bicycle Exporters’ Association)
What this is basically, is a resealable inner tube, capable of withstanding punctures cause by nails. Yes you heard right, resealable. FOSS recognised that riders don’t appreciate carrying too many things with them, especially if this means filling up the back pockets of jerseys while going for a long ride. So they came up with an ingenious product that’s not only functional, but also environmentally friendly. Made from modified thermoplastic elastomer compounds, it is recyclable, which can’t be said for many other tubes in the market.
When a puncture from a nail is experienced, the tube has the ability to retain the existing pressure for much longer than conventional tubes. This gives you the time to search for proper ‘cover’ off the road where you can remedy your puncture in peace. Sealing of a flat without the aid of a patch is a radical idea that is also relatively straight forward. Simply remove the tube, locate the hole and reseal it. Resealing a hole involves pinching the sides of the said breach and heating it up with a simple lighter. This might take a bit of practice to perfect, but a simple nail puncture or snake-bite shouldn’t pose too much of a challenge. I managed to do it successfully with relative ease even on my first try.
Of course resealing the hole, to me, is just a temporary fix, but it will definitely be good enough to carry you through the rest of your ride till you reach home where you can replace it with a new tube. This sure saves the hassle of lugging around an extra tube or three, if you’re the kind of person Murphy likes to drop in on during century rides.
Each FOSS tube also comes with a valve gasket to ease the tube through the rim’s opening, making sure that wear due to abrasion is kept at its minimal.
Besides having the ability to heal, the tube’s composite is also extremely durable. I friend of mine recently had the misfortune of have his front wheel wrecked in a collision with a car. This left the alloy wheel ‘potato-chipped’ and headed for the bin. Thankfully he was fine and surprisingly, so was the FOSS tube he was using.
Retailing at around $14 apiece, the features packed with the tubes make it quite fairly priced. FOSS tubes come in various widths for 20″, 26″ and 700C wheels.
FOSS tubes are available at e-Walker.