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  1. #1
    Senior Member whitenhiemer's Avatar
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    Commuting Inner Tubes

    Hey Guys,

    So I was riding my bike home from work, and luckily made it all the way to my street before my inner tube busted. I was just wondering if anyone had an opinion on a great set of commuting inner tubes. The streets that I travel are all paved, but some are less than ideally paved. This was the second day on this particular tube when it busted. I'm going to take it to my local bike shop to be replaced, and have the wheel taped inspected and replaced if necessary. I have a 700cc road bike.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    ****** squegeeboo's Avatar
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    What's specifically 'busting' with it? Pinch flat, puncture, tear, spoke poking thru? I have good luck using kevlar tires, then a mr tuffy tire liner, then just a regular tube. Get a flat a year-ish.
    In the words of Einstein
    "And now I think I'll take a bath"

  3. #3
    Senior Member whitenhiemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squegeeboo View Post
    What's specifically 'busting' with it? Pinch flat, puncture, tear, spoke poking thru? I have good luck using kevlar tires, then a mr tuffy tire liner, then just a regular tube. Get a flat a year-ish.
    Don't know yet, I've read reviews on my bike, "these are the factory tires and tubes". Most of the reviews complain about the tire liner, since I just assembled it at home with no real bike knowledge I'm going to take it to the local bike shop to have it looked over. Kevlar tires I think will definitely be on my shopping list.

  4. #4
    ****** squegeeboo's Avatar
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    No idea on your level of cycling, but in case your new, double check your tire PSI, under-inflation can cause pinch flats, they tend to look like 2 tiny punctures along side each other on the side of the tube. If it's a spoke/tire liner issue from the rim the puncture will be on the rimside of the tube, running your finger along the center of the rim/tire liner feeling for anything sharp tends to find those.

    Another concern could be a metal burr or imperfection in the rim itself from manufactoring, running your hand/finger along the rim where your tube contacts it might find something.

    And then finally, you might still have a little sliver of something stuck in your tire, re-flatting your tubes on you, once again, the solution is to run your hand/finger along the inside of the tire itself this time, feeling for anything like glass/wire that may be stuck in it.
    In the words of Einstein
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  5. #5
    Senior Member whitenhiemer's Avatar
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    Thank you for the advice, I'll keep an eye out for the pinch flat. I imagine my tires could have well been under inflated, my pump doesn't have an air pressure gauge. Getting a new pump today, me and my son got bikes for christmas, so I imagine we'll both be doing a lot more riding.

  6. #6
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Thorn resistant tubes are heavier, but hold air better, longer.

    +1 on inspecting the damaged tube, Holmes..

    thinner the tire the harder you have to keep it.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ChrisM2097's Avatar
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    As others have already stated - figure out why the tube failed. If you don't do that, you may end up puncturing the new tube because of a piece of wire embedded in the tire, or due to poor / lack of rim tape, improper inflation, etc.

    Align your tube valve with the logo / writing on the tire. This may help you locate the source of the failure, should another failure happen. That, and it looks more professional.

    I don't use any special flat-resistant tubes on my commuter. I do, however, use puncture-resistant tires.
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  8. #8
    rhm
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    Matching the size (thickness) of the tube to the tire is a good idea. If the tube is too fat for the tire, it is hard to mount and you may get a bit of the tube trapped between the tire and the rim, which can lead to blowouts and / or pinch flats. If the tube is too thin for the tire, it is under greater tension inside the tire and a small sharp edge, such as a tiny piece of wire or spoke nipple can cause it to tear.

    Beyond sizing, Schwalbe tubes have threaded stems. This is fairly normal on presta valves, but threaded Schraeder valve stems are nice, too. Worth the extra cost? I'm not sure about that. If you don't care about a threaded stainless steel valve stem, then I don't see the point in paying extra. I have yet to be convinced you get anything extra by paying more for this or that inner tube. Any innertube may be defective and leaky right out of the box, and any innertube can last 50 years if you're lucky. I have never been that lucky, but I have bought old bikes that still had their original innertubes that are still as good as the day they were made.

  9. #9
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Schwalbe, Bontrager and Conti all make tubes with presta valves with removable cores so you can add sealant to the tube. Schwalbe tubes also use a highly refined rubber that holds tire pressure longer. Michlin makes self sealing tubes that are excellent too.

    All of these cost more than regular tubes and none of them will protect against pinch flats caused by insufficient tire pressure so keep the pressure up! Its a good idea to check the pressure AT LEAST every week and the more often the better.

  10. #10
    a fat old bus driver bikerjohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burton View Post
    Schwalbe, Bontrager and Conti all make tubes with presta valves with removable cores so you can add sealant to the tube. Schwalbe tubes also use a highly refined rubber that holds tire pressure longer. Michlin makes self sealing tubes that are excellent too.

    All of these cost more than regular tubes and none of them will protect against pinch flats caused by insufficient tire pressure so keep the pressure up! Its a good idea to check the pressure AT LEAST every week and the more often the better.
    Distilling this concept distinctly: Using an anti-flat sealent compound in your tubes is the absolute best way to commute reliably without getting waylaid with an unexpected puncture!

    Another thought: It can be difficult (limited availability) finding removable core Presta tubes. In certain instances it is very do-able to drill out a rim to accomodate Schrader tubes. All schrader valve tubes have removable cores. Schrader valved tubes are strong, reliable and easy to use.

  11. #11
    Captain Big Ring tractorlegs's Avatar
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    I use schraders - pre-slimed Nashbar house brand tubes under Continental SportContact tyres, last puncture 2006. The reason I have no flats is because I always carry extra tube, patch kit and a nice expensive frame pump. If I tried to ride a single block without any of the mentioned items, both tubes would blow into pieces in a few seconds of riding
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  12. #12
    Senior Member whitenhiemer's Avatar
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    I think in the end my flat was due to under inflation, I bought a better air pump with a pressure gauge. Also I think that the rim tape is bit lacking, so I'm going to order some SRAM rim tape on amazon. Running my finger along the inside of the rim i found a sligtly rough spot on the edge of the tape. If i get another flat I'll be more vigilant in checking the tube for holes before I remove it.

    Also I think that I'll stick with schrader valves for a while, Presta valves look neat, but schrader seems like there is more adoption at things like gas stations if I need a fill on the road. I guess though that I could put a schrader adapter in my saddle pouch, but if I have to adapt it to schrader what is the point.

  13. #13
    tsl
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    I'm very surprised that this thread has stayed focused on tubes. So let me introduce some thread drift.

    In commuting, I find puncture-resistant tires to be a better solution that thicker or goopy tubes.

    My first bike came from the factory with Slimed tubes. On my first flat (within the first month) I discovered that they're no good for glass flats. Even says so on the web site. Plus, what a mess! Goop all over the tire, goop all over the bike, and goop all over me. And still no air in the tube.

    Next I tried thick, thorn-resistant tubes. You know what? There are no thorns in the northeast. But glass did those in again, and again, within the first month.

    Next I tried tire liners. This was a more successful WRT punctures, but my poor legs just didn't like trying to spin all that weight. And the ride quality on city streets was just horrible. Might as well be cast iron.

    Finally I tried puncture resistant tires. I've never looked back. I can use any old tube, they don't weigh a ton, and they ride just great (provided you stay away from Armadillos).

    This last year, in 4900 total miles, 3600 commuting miles, I had two flats. One was a sidewall ripped open in a road construction site. The other was a puncture from a drywall screw. No glass flats in several years that I can recall. No little wires, no sharp little stones. And of course here in the northeast, no thorns. That's about typical for me--a couple of flats a year, on weird stuff.

    Based on my experience, forget about tubes. Just replace the tires with puncture-resistant ones. I prefer Continentals, but any of them will do the job.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
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  14. #14
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerjohn View Post
    Using an anti-flat sealent compound in your tubes is the absolute best way to commute reliably without getting waylaid with an unexpected puncture!
    But bear in mind, John uses Slimed tubes INSIDE puncture-resistant tires.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  15. #15
    Captain Big Ring tractorlegs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    But bear in mind, John uses Slimed tubes INSIDE puncture-resistant tires.
    Which is what I do also. Like I said in post 11, no punctures since 2006 - so I'm keeping both my Conti's and my slimed tubes, I'm not interested in experimenting to see which one is keeping the flats away lol!
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  16. #16
    Senior Member whitenhiemer's Avatar
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    Damn these are pricey:

    http://www.amazon.com/Continental-Ga...im_sbs_sg_cy_5

    I like them though, I may end up picking up a pair if I start getting flats on the regular.

    The slimed tires seem awesome, up to the point where I'm covered in slime. Seen it happen to a guy in town, although he did say that he was able to reinflate his tire and keep on going.

  17. #17
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    You guys living in the states are so lucky! Not only are parts cheaper - you usually get free shipping too!

    So thought I'd mention that I'm in the process of ordering up some samples from Flat Attack: http://www.flatattack.com/

    The product has been around awhile, does't have the same short effective life expectancy of Stans or Slime, and, more important to me - is effective at low temperatures so it'll be OK for winter use. Some of those thicken up at low temperatures and cause balance issues but don't seal effectively.

    And he's offerring a five year warranty! I can't get the free shipping and accross the border, the warranty will be more trouble than its worth, but I'm going for some anyway.

  18. #18
    Junior Member llamachikin's Avatar
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    Just use standard inner tubes. Heavy-duty and thorn resistant tubes are extra weight. Heavy duty tires like specialized armadillo, continental gatorskin, etc. plus tire liners will make a lot bigger difference.

  19. #19
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    The good news is that the cheaper (heavier) tubes are best. In fact I'd rather have the largest tube that will fit the tire, a 28-32 tube for 26 or 28 tire for example, just for more rubber. It will hold air longer also.


    I don't spend an arm and a leg on tires either. I get the cheapest Kevlar belted and keep them inflated, more or less - they'll stop the run of the mill puncture flats. Tire liners and slime are for extraordinary conditions.

    I had a couple of puncture flats last year, in about 6500 miles and I rode through glass shards daily at my parking lot exit.

  20. #20
    Senior Member jputnam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whitenhiemer View Post
    Hey Guys,

    So I was riding my bike home from work, and luckily made it all the way to my street before my inner tube busted. I was just wondering if anyone had an opinion on a great set of commuting inner tubes. The streets that I travel are all paved, but some are less than ideally paved. This was the second day on this particular tube when it busted. I'm going to take it to my local bike shop to be replaced, and have the wheel taped inspected and replaced if necessary. I have a 700cc road bike.

    Thanks
    "Busted" doesn't sound like a leak -- was it an audible bang? If so, that's usually an installation issue, not a tube issue. Properly-installed tubes fail from punctures, usually a silent leak.

    For the tube to audibly fail, it usually has to have a significant area of tube that isn't supported by the tire casing, so the tube stretches and ruptures. That can happen if the tire casing fails (a large glass cut or a sidewall failure), but more often it's from a section of tube having been caught under the bead of the tire when initially mounted. That little section of tube slowly inflates outside the tire, stretches, and bursts.

    That scenario seems especially likely if this was only the second day on that tube. If there's no visible tire failure, and the failed tube has a ragged hole, rather than a clean puncture or cut, I'd say it's almost certainly an installation error.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jputnam/collections/72157604835074312/

  21. #21
    Senior Member wolfchild's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    In commuting, I find puncture-resistant tires to be a better solution that thicker or goopy tubes.
    + 1 My experience has been the same as yours. A regular tube with good quality punture resistent tires has been the most reliable set up...and it's easiest to work with if flats do happen.

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