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  1. #1
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    Best pressure-holding tube?

    Hi all,
    I've got a colleague, a semi-consistent bike commuter, who is rather annoyed at the need to regularly top up the pressure in the tires.
    I've tried telling him that this is the natural order of things, but he is rather unwilling to settle for that.
    Can anyone here recommend a tube brand/model that's somewhat better than average at maintaining pressure?

    Do note, as far as I can tell, there's nothing apparently wrong with what he's got, he's just wishing it was "better" from this perspective.

  2. #2
    Senior Member bikeman715's Avatar
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    It doesn't matter all tubes will lose 10 % of their total during the day . let said you start at 100 psi this time tomorrow it 90 and so on . Yes he is right about topping them off every day .
    bikeman715

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    None are really better than others. Bike tires all bleed air because they operate at high pressure and have an unfavorable surface to volume ratio. For those reasons narrower tires will consistently lose pressure faster than fatter mtb tires, which will lose air slower than auto tires.

    One thing your friend can do is use the largest tube that will fit his tire. That will reduce the stretch and leave thicker walls when filled The marked size on the box isn't always a reliable indicator of true size, so he should open the box and measure the tube. The folded tube should be as close to 1.5 times the width of his tire, without exceeding that dimension more than very slightly.

    As I said, it's a matter of surface to volume ratio, so my 26x1.5 commuter tires bleed at less than 1/4rd the rate of my 700-25 road tires. If it's only a commuter your friend might consider wider tires at lower pressure when they're due for replacement
    Last edited by FBinNY; 09-04-11 at 02:18 PM.
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    Thick thorn proof tubes might help in this respect.

    But without being a smartarse the best pressure holding tube is one without a puncture

  5. #5
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Tubes hold air.

    Tires provide pressure containment.

    Osmosis is osmosis.

    Tell him when osmosis bites him in the arse and he ends up with 10 kids, pumping up the tire once a week will seem like an enjoyable getaway from drudgery of work, bills and the kids tuition.

    =8-)
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    If he is a commuter he needs wider tires. My 28's don't need topping off every day. Once or twice a week is enough.

  7. #7
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    Do the tires make any difference? I just bought some Schwables. The package contained instructions suggesting monthly inflation is sufficient.

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    High pressure road tires need to be pumped up before each ride for maximum performance and flat avoidance. Larger softer tires not quite as often.

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    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
    High pressure road tires need to be pumped up before each ride for maximum performance and flat avoidance. Larger softer tires not quite as often.
    Agreed. Therefore, the 10% per day rule cannot apply to all types of tires.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  10. #10
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    Has anyone ever tried nitrogen in their tires? A number of automotive tire dealers in the area are offering it and claim much slower pressure loss and cooler running. Don't know if it would be worth it except maybe for endurance events.

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    For what it's worth, butyl rubber has the lowest permeability (leak rate) for air of most common rubbers (reference Parker O-ring Handbook); most bicycle tubes are made from butyl rubber (well, duh!), so about the only place to go is a thicker tube. As for using nitrogen, air is about 78% nitrogen, so not much help there. Maybe nitrogen helps some by eliminating the oxygen which tends to oxidize/deteriorate the tube rubber. I've seen some information that argon has a lower leak rate than nitrogen, but somehow I'm going to suggest that your colleague buys a good pump and top off the tires as required. Back when I was riding silk sew ups with thin natural rubber tubes (Clement Criterium Seta 220 grams) you had to top them off every 4 to 8 hours, but, hey, a criterium only last about an hour, so what's your beef?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post
    Has anyone ever tried nitrogen in their tires? A number of automotive tire dealers in the area are offering it and claim much slower pressure loss and cooler running. Don't know if it would be worth it except maybe for endurance events.
    That is horseshi+. Air is 80% nitorgen anyways. The only advantage to using bottled nitrogen is that it has less moisture than atmospheric air and so temperature variations during use affect the tire less... this makes zero difference in bike tires, but lots of difference in airplane and race car tires. Probably close to zero difference in street cars. I expect bottled air would have the same advantage to racecars and airplanes, and the same no advantage to bicycles.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
    That is horseshi+. Air is 80% nitorgen anyways. The only advantage to using bottled nitrogen is that it has less moisture than atmospheric air and so temperature variations during use affect the tire less... this makes zero difference in bike tires, but lots of difference in airplane and race car tires. Probably close to zero difference in street cars. I expect bottled air would have the same advantage to racecars and airplanes, and the same no advantage to bicycles.
    The less moisture thing is horse ****, too. Airplanes use nitrogen largely because they need a tire filler that wont' support combustion, and high pressure nitrogen is used for other things in aircraft, so it's easily available.

    There's a marginal benefit in most uses; it really does leak more slowly out of itres, but variations in tires make more of a difference. Some truck fleet operators claim it extends the life of a tire carcass as much as an other retreading, but that's a very different environment (higher pressure, higher tejperatues, and years of service) than anything else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dscheidt View Post
    The less moisture thing is horse shi+, too. Airplanes use nitrogen largely because they need a tire filler that wont' support combustion, and high pressure nitrogen is used for other things in aircraft, so it's easily available.
    Thank you for the correction. I corrected your spelling of 'shi+' as well.

  15. #15
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeman715 View Post
    It doesn't matter all tubes will lose 10 % of their total during the day . let said you start at 100 psi this time tomorrow it 90 and so on . Yes he is right about topping them off every day .
    This is nowhere near correct! I have installed thorn resistant tubes in my wife's mtb and inflate them to 70psi in the rear and 65 in the front, at the end of 5 to 7 days the most I have to put in is three pounds in the rear and two on the front.

    So if you want to put air in once every 3 or 4 days then get the heavy thorn resistant tubes likethe Kenda Thorn Resistant tube, that one is the best one on the market.

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    Interesting thread.. how about that slime inner tube sealant? If you wanted to go balls out on reducing tire pressure loss it is worth a shot along with thorn resistant tires.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 8Fishes View Post
    Interesting thread.. how about that slime inner tube sealant? If you wanted to go balls out on reducing tire pressure loss it is worth a shot along with thorn resistant tires.
    While slime and other sealants will plug a small puncture, they do nothing about the gas permeability of the tube and therefore won't slow bleed. Bleed is a function of the tubes material & thickness, pressure, and surface to volume ratio combined with the properties of the gas within. It's a fact of life and not a big deal except with narrow road tires with lightweight tubes and high pressures.

    I pump my road bike back up before every ride, but my fat tired commuter can go almost two weeks.
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  18. #18
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Thorn Resistant Tubes are heavy and thick, more rubber for the air molecules to migrate thru.

    With Low pressure in a fat Mtb studded Tire at 30psi,
    my winter bike's get pumped up once a winter . [ice not on the ground often, or lingering]

    High pressure seeks to equalize with the lower ambient air pressure, outside.
    so may force its way thru 'pores' in the butyl rubber sooner.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 09-05-11 at 11:02 AM.

  19. #19
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrrabbit View Post
    Tubes hold air.

    Tires provide pressure containment.

    Osmosis is osmosis.

    Tell him when osmosis bites him in the arse and he ends up with 10 kids, pumping up the tire once a week will seem like an enjoyable getaway from drudgery of work, bills and the kids tuition.

    =8-)
    Not osmosis. The air moving out of the tube is diffusion. The diffusion rate is going to be highly variable too. Different tubes have different pore sizes. Even tubes from the same manufacturer and the same lot will have very different diffusion rates.

    The tires aren't going to have much effect since the tire isn't holding the air unless the tire is tubeless.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8Fishes View Post
    Interesting thread.. how about that slime inner tube sealant? If you wanted to go balls out on reducing tire pressure loss it is worth a shot along with thorn resistant tires.
    Slime goo will not seal any size hole in a tube if the pressure inside that tube is over 70psi. So if your using that stuff on a road tire with 110psi or so and you get a puncture the tire will flatten immediately, then you pump it up thinking it will seal, and it does till it gets to 70psi or so then pffittt it's flat again. It works great in mtb tires but not so much in road tires. Also Slime tubes themselves have very poor quality Presta valves.

    If your really paranoid about flats then start with the tire, that's your first line of defense, the Specialized Armadillo All Condition is probably the best or one of the best tires for that purpose. The next line of defense would be to add a Mr Tuffy liner between the tire and the tube, but I hate those things, their difficult to deal with trying to get the liner to lay perfectly on the center of the tread while installing the tube and then getting air into it before the liner slips out of idea position. Besides with the Armadillo you won't need a liner! Also a thorn resistant tube only puts thicker rubber on the tread side, this will prevent really minor penetrations from flatting your tube, but something can still get through the tube.

    You could go crazy with trying to prevent all flats and never succeed 100%, and that pursuit end up with very heavy tires and tubes rotating. You wanted to know what tubes would bleed out air more slowly, the thorn proof tube I mentioned would do that. If you want flat resistance then you should be concentrating on the tire not the tube or a liner. If you did both the tire, liner and tube your combination of all of that would weigh around 800 grms not including the rim per tire!

  21. #21
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    I said it might be worth a shot if they wanted to go balls out with using slime too. It isn't going to increase the chance of air diffusing through the tires, but then again doesn't guarantee it reducing the chances either. Placebo effect can do wonders.

    Personally I pump everyday to be sure, and I don't mind it.
    Kind of fun isn't it?

  22. #22
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Not osmosis. The air moving out of the tube is diffusion. The diffusion rate is going to be highly variable too. Different tubes have different pore sizes. Even tubes from the same manufacturer and the same lot will have very different diffusion rates.

    The tires aren't going to have much effect since the tire isn't holding the air unless the tire is tubeless.
    ...you forgot a smiley.

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  23. #23
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    I pump everyday too, it's just part of the ritual of riding a bike, you put your bike clothes on, and you check your bike over, and you pump up the tires, fill your water bottles, strap on the helmet and go.

  24. #24
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    dabac, There is just so little volumn for the required air pressure that tube porosity makes a noticeable difference in a short time, just the way it is. Bigger tires with more volumn and lower pressure can probably go longer between airings. For fun I just checked my distance bike (23C), which was aired up on Saturday. Front lost 12 PSI and rear lost 7 PSI. I then checked the touring bike (35C), which was aired up last Wednesday, IIRC. Front is minus 3 PSI, rear is minus between 5 and 6 PSI. YMMV.

    Brad

    PS I used to use latex tubes, they're horrible for retaining pressure and I'd lose 20-30 PSI overnight.

  25. #25
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
    Brad

    PS I used to use latex tubes, they're horrible for retaining pressure and I'd lose 20-30 PSI overnight.
    Yeah with latex you do have to put air in everyday...but I have to do that with regular ultralight tubes, so if your getting out the pump and connecting it, what's the difference putting in 10 vs 20 psi? 3 or 4 more strokes? My biggest complaint with Latex is patching them. The Rema's didn't work, the glueless patches I normally used work for a short time, about a 6 months then failed. I tried them after 35 years of not using them now I've given up on them again. But they do ride a bit nicer but at a high cost, I can't justify the cost of latex.

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