In April 2021, Austrian inner tube maker, Tubolite launched the world’s first smart inner tube, the Tubolito PSENS. It uses an NFC chip encased in foam inside the tube, around the valve stem.
The NFC chip detects the current tire pressure and communicated it with Tubolito’s app on either iOS or Android phones. This process is very intuitive, open the app, tap the phone near the valve stem and wait for the reading. The caveat here is that you’ll need a NFC-enabled smartphone.
This would also mean that you won’t be getting live air pressure reading, unlike the Quarq TyreWiz. For the PSENS to work, you’ll need to stop and get off your bike first.
As with other Tubolite tubes, the PSENS is made of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) which is lightweight and has very efficient rolling resistance. The NFC chip only adds 5g to the tube.
In our opinion, the PSENS has a very niche market for two reasons. First, those who run wider tires are usually on a tubeless set up these days. Second, at the price of $49.90, they aren’t targeting beginners and/or those on a budget who are still running tubes on wider tires.
For the past 2 to 3 years, the only player in the tire pressure monitoring accessories market is Quarq. With Tubolito entering this space and others such as PSIcle on Kickstarter, this market is set to grow.
As more bikes are running on a tubeless set up and lower tire pressure, there will come a point where a small change in tire pressure will significantly impact the ride experience. And that’s where the awareness for having the ideal tire pressure will come in play.