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Old 10-19-09, 10:25 PM   #1
saturnhr
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Best innertubes - quality matters?

Do you think a particular brand/type is better - or are they all the same? thinner kinds aI found are not necessariky more prone to flats than thicker ones? Other experiences I am particularely intersted in regard of the 700 size. I have not found this topic discussed before?
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Old 10-19-09, 10:57 PM   #2
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I've noticed no real difference, unless you buy latex. Then the only difference is they go flat every 6 hours or so. Not from punctures, they just seem to hold air particularly poorly.
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Old 10-19-09, 10:58 PM   #3
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I haven't noticed that thinner tubes flat more often. Sometimes a brand, no matter what the cost, will have a run of tubes that will develop tiny holes for no reason. The biggest thing I see is poor mounting of the valve stem in the tube. When the valve stem fails, it's garbage. Otherwise, can patch. So if your tubes aren't going flat any faster than the next guys, you're doing fine. If not, see what the other guys are using. My current faves are Performance Ultra Light. I used to get Contis, great thick heavy tubes with huge valve mounting patches that seemed to last forever. Nah, they make 'em in China or something now, no better than anything else. Etc.
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Old 10-19-09, 11:09 PM   #4
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The only advantage you get for paying more for tubes, e.g latex/poly over butyl is the weight savings. The disadvantages *especiallY* for latex is you must pump it up much more frequently.
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Old 10-20-09, 12:09 AM   #5
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The other disadvantage to latex tubes (as well as losing air at a faster rate) is that you have to be more careful when installing them because the thin rubber is easier to pinch between the rim and tire.
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Old 10-20-09, 07:13 AM   #6
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The only advantage you get for paying more for tubes, e.g latex/poly over butyl is the weight savings. The disadvantages *especiallY* for latex is you must pump it up much more frequently.
It's not just the weight savings since a thinner tube will reduce the rolling resistance. As the wheel rolls the area near the contact point of the tire is compressed and energy is lost bending the tire sidewall and the tube. The more flexible these are, the lower the energy losses. But yes, the downside is that thinner tubes (and esp. latex) will let air diffuse through more readily so you need to pump up more often.

Some rolling resistance comparisons were cited here:
http://www.powertri.com/index.asp?Pa...ROD&ProdID=648
"Let's look at that all-around good rolling resistance tire, the Michelin Pro 2 Light. With a latex tube, a rolling resistance of 0.0026, or 342.7 watts using that same rider at 24.6 miler per hour. If you were to switch to a standard Bontrager butyl tube, your rolling resistance goes from 0.00266 to 0.00322, 347.7 watts. A full 5 watts slower, which would equal about 9 seconds over a 40K time trial."

Last edited by prathmann; 10-20-09 at 07:26 AM.
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Old 10-20-09, 10:58 AM   #7
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My favorite is Michelin UltraLite. They have no threads on the outside of the stem reducing wear on the pump chuck "O" ring. I've also had good luck with Performance house brand ultra light tubes. I see no advantage to thicker tubes.

Al
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Old 10-20-09, 01:25 PM   #8
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Last season I used more expensive lightweight butyl tubes and had very few flats, nearly all the result of some identifiable sharp object piercing the tire casing. This year I was shamed into not being such a weight weenie so I went with cheaper, heavier tubes, and my rate of "suspicious" failures has been up immensely.
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Old 10-20-09, 03:31 PM   #9
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It's not just the weight savings since a thinner tube will reduce the rolling resistance. As the wheel rolls the area near the contact point of the tire is compressed and energy is lost bending the tire sidewall and the tube. The more flexible these are, the lower the energy losses. But yes, the downside is that thinner tubes (and esp. latex) will let air diffuse through more readily so you need to pump up more often.

Some rolling resistance comparisons were cited here:
http://www.powertri.com/index.asp?Pa...ROD&ProdID=648
"Let's look at that all-around good rolling resistance tire, the Michelin Pro 2 Light. With a latex tube, a rolling resistance of 0.0026, or 342.7 watts using that same rider at 24.6 miler per hour. If you were to switch to a standard Bontrager butyl tube, your rolling resistance goes from 0.00266 to 0.00322, 347.7 watts. A full 5 watts slower, which would equal about 9 seconds over a 40K time trial."
Completely useless if you're not racing. On a longer ride 80km+ you'd have to stop to pump them up because that's how fast they lose air.
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Old 10-23-09, 01:25 AM   #10
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Completely useless if you're not racing. On a longer ride 80km+ you'd have to stop to pump them up because that's how fast they lose air.
Only if you ride those 80 km really slowly. Peter White indicated a leak rate of 20 psi/full day or a little less than 1 psi/hour and that's consistent with what I saw when running tubulars. So start with a little extra pressure (5psi) over your normal amount and at the end of 10 hours you might be down to 5psi below normal. Hardly enough to worry about.

But I agree that the aggravation of needing to pump up every morning on a tour would weigh against the use of latex. However, there is also a rolling resistance advantage, albeit not as great, for going with the thinner butyl tubes vs. regular weight ones and those have a much lower leak rate (but still greater than the thicker tubes). Not a big effect, but likely larger than the effect due to the weight difference alone.
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Old 10-24-09, 08:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
Only if you ride those 80 km really slowly. Peter White indicated a leak rate of 20 psi/full day or a little less than 1 psi/hour and that's consistent with what I saw when running tubulars. So start with a little extra pressure (5psi) over your normal amount and at the end of 10 hours you might be down to 5psi below normal. Hardly enough to worry about.

But I agree that the aggravation of needing to pump up every morning on a tour would weigh against the use of latex. However, there is also a rolling resistance advantage, albeit not as great, for going with the thinner butyl tubes vs. regular weight ones and those have a much lower leak rate (but still greater than the thicker tubes). Not a big effect, but likely larger than the effect due to the weight difference alone.
Wait a second, you mentioned touring, I assume loaded with about 50 to 60 pounds of gear (plus the wind resistence against the panniers); thus is the rolling resistence of an extra 30 grams (65 grams for a ultralight tube vs 95 grms for a regular tube) inside an already heavy touring tire really going make a big difference touring? NO!

And touring fully loaded it's highly recommended that you use heavier tubes anyways and not latex or some ultralight butyl tube.

Last edited by froze; 10-24-09 at 09:03 AM.
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Old 10-24-09, 09:06 AM   #12
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I have found, very surprisingly, that Schwalbe tubes hold air better than any tube I have ever used, over 50+ years.

I ordered them when I was ordering my first set of Marathon Supremes, because it was handy.

If, and when, I need tubes, they will be Schwalbe. Just a couple dollars more, and they delivered superior performance.....
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Old 10-24-09, 09:32 AM   #13
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As with some of the other posters, I do prefer Michelin tubes because they
  • have consistent thickness throughout with no extraneous molding "flash"
  • have a robust stem-tube interface that doesn't tear
  • have smooth non-threaded stems to mitigate pump head O-ring wear
  • are available for a variety of tire sizes/widths, and in many stem lengths

I realize that some of these reasons may not affect usage at all, but I've been stinged many times by valve stems, from many different brands, that simply tear off without much provocation. Nevertheless, it is nice to use such a high quality product when the price difference is minimal.

Schwalbe tubes are also very high quality and I use those when I need Schrader-valved tubes (don't really see Michelin tubes in the sizes I need Schrader-valved tubes for). However, my experience with them is fairly limited.
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Old 10-24-09, 11:17 PM   #14
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ha ok, I'm gonna try the Michelin A3 AirSTOP 700x35 for my mountain bike. Do these have a smooth unthreaded valve as well?
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Old 10-25-09, 12:11 AM   #15
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Wait a second, you mentioned touring, I assume loaded with about 50 to 60 pounds of gear (plus the wind resistence against the panniers); thus is the rolling resistence of an extra 30 grams (65 grams for a ultralight tube vs 95 grms for a regular tube) inside an already heavy touring tire really going make a big difference touring? NO!

And touring fully loaded it's highly recommended that you use heavier tubes anyways and not latex or some ultralight butyl tube.
When bike touring I find that I can make do without all the usual amenities so I leave the easy chair, TV, and kitchen sink behind and try to keep the 'fully loaded' gear weight down to 20 lbs. That means that my bike, gear load, and rider still weigh less in total than lots of riders on their weight-weenie carbon racing bikes and there's no particular need for heavier than normal tubes or heavy touring tires. I've found lightweight tubes and flexible 23 mm tires to work fine with a fully-loaded bike - at least for on-road (and mostly paved) touring in the US.

But the point I was making was that another poster was putting undue emphasis on the weight difference of the tubes and claiming that the lighter weight was the *only* advantage for the thinner models. You seem to do the same above when you emphasize the weight difference in grams. But rolling resistance is mainly related to hysteresis losses and although there tends to be a correlation to weight (other things being equal a thinner tire or tube will be more compliant and have less hysteresis loss), that isn't always the case. I've had tires where one model was substantially heavier than another but due to construction differences the rolling resistance was greater for the lighter one. And even in the case where one is comparing tubes of the same material where there is a good correlation, the added rolling resistance means that thicker tubes with an extra weight of 30g each will have a much greater impact on the required pedaling effort than just adding a 30g weight to each rim.
Now depending on your own preferences the difference may still be insignificant (you're likely to still make it to camp in time to fix dinner either way), but the advantage of a thinner tube is not *only* due to weight savings.
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Old 10-25-09, 09:06 PM   #16
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Has anybody try the Q tube brand?
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Old 10-25-09, 09:17 PM   #17
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Has anybody try the Q tube brand?
Just received some with my latest tire order. Too early to tell, but no problems yet.

I'm interested in input on Williams tires and tubes, from the Williams wheelset folks.
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Old 10-25-09, 09:24 PM   #18
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Just received some with my latest tire order. Too early to tell, but no problems yet.

I'm interested in input on Williams tires and tubes, from the Williams wheelset folks.
Let me!!! I'm about to order 10 tube for 2.10 each....plus the bontrager tube I have been using tearing at the valve....

Thanks!

Also about the Williams from what my buddy tell me, he really love them and he has the 38 Carbon.....
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Old 10-25-09, 11:06 PM   #19
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I work at a Trek/Specialized store. The last i knew, Bontrager and Specialized tubes were actually being made by Kenda. Alot of this stuff is actually contracted out to manufactures.
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Old 10-26-09, 01:21 AM   #20
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I've had experiences all over the map. The only manuf failure I had (leaky valve) was with a Continental tube. My nashbar house brand tubes have all been 100%.
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Old 10-26-09, 01:25 AM   #21
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I've found that Schwable tubes hold pressure for longer than other tubes. I lose 15-20 pounds in a week with Schwable tubes. Other brands I tried were 15-20 in three days. This is on 28x700 tires pumped to 120psi.
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Old 10-26-09, 07:09 AM   #22
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I have found that flats are more related to the tires. Once something gets through the tire it is going to pop the tube no matter how much thicker the tube is. I run the Performance Lunar Lights tubes (same as Maxxis Flyweight).
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Old 06-12-10, 02:48 PM   #23
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Lately, I've had tubes rip apart at the seams. Really poor quality. I'm lucky to get a month out of one. Patching is a waste of patch material. The tube just rips apart in another part of the seam. These are just generic every day tubes. I used to have tubes last for years, even spotted with a few patches. And all the local shops sell the same generic brands.

And today it occurred in both tires.(insert harsh cursing and swearing)
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Old 06-12-10, 04:06 PM   #24
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The tubes that came with my bike went flat after a couple weeks of riding. I prefer Avenir thorn resistant. They're the only ones I've tried other than the stock tubes because I haven't had to replace or even patch them in ten months. I ran over a goat head bush with those. It took me three minutes to get all the thorns out, but none of them got through. Of course, they only had ten seconds to work their way in, but still, there were about 60 of them.
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Old 06-13-10, 08:46 AM   #25
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The Bontrager tubes that I use seem to hold air better than any other tubes I have used. Even after a winter of being in the basement (im in the snowbelt) the tires still had a fair amout of pressure in them.
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