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  1. #1
    Member Bicycle Guy's Avatar
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    Inner tube questions

    Who makes some of the best inner tubes on the market, and how often do most people have to add pressure to their tires?

    I seem to have to increase mine every two to three days and add between 7-10 pounds of pressure.

    I typically keep 70-75 lbs pressure in the tubes.

    Thanks
    Ken

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    Best for what purpose? Tubes with thicker rubber will hold air better, but they'll increase rolling resistance and weigh a little more.

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    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    I can't imagine any hold air any better than others. I know that tubes are semipermeable so all will leak air.

    however there are some that are thicker for puncture resistance. they are heavier but you might look for these tubes. they may hold pressure better as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    I can't imagine any hold air any better than others. I know that tubes are semipermeable so all will leak air.

    however there are some that are thicker for puncture resistance. they are heavier but you might look for these tubes. they may hold pressure better as well.
    You imagine wrong.

    Butyl tubes will retain air the best, followed by polyurethan and latex. Latex you'll need to pump up almost mid-ride if you do 120km++
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    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    I have one bike that can go for three weeks before the tires need to be aired up, and I run about the same pressure you do. The other one needs air aboiut every three days, at the same general pressure. The "good" one is using Pyramid (sp?) thorn resistant tubes. I don't know what the other uses, as it is OEM and never been dismounted. Clearly, there is a difference, but as prathmann mentions, there is a trade off.

    For a given weight, I would also like to know which holds air the best, in the absence of punctures.
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  6. #6
    Member Bicycle Guy's Avatar
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    Nermal,

    Thanks for a brand name. I just didn't want to grab the first inner tube box I came to. Weight is really not much of a consideration to me.


    Ken

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    My tires have Specialized tubes in them, nothing special, standard $5 fare a the LBS. Top 'em off maybe once a month at 55-60psi.

  8. #8
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    I buy the cheapest tubes that I can find at the semi annual bike shop sale, but I am very particular in the brand of tire that I buy. I don't think there is much difference between butyl tubes.
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    I use Schwalbe tubes (and tires) on the bikes I ride the most. On my Raleigh Twenty I can go over a month without having to add air, unless there is a drastic temperature swing. I usually pay ~$8 each. But they typically out last the less expensive tubes.

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  10. #10
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    Michelin-Schwalbe-Continental- Specialised

    All good known make tubes and I normally go for a good name that the shop stocks--any good name.

    But My Giant OCR3 had a front wheel puncture Ok- stop and repair but I had to use the spare tube I always carry as the tube was splitting and this was the reason for the puncture. Nothing in the tyre to cause it- just a cheap no-name tube. The bike was less than a year old and I swore for not changing the tubes before. That was 4 years ago and I am still running on the original tyre and tube on the rear- with no puncture yet.

    and pressure-- Check before every ride- it can lose 10psi overnight--30 in a week.
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  11. #11
    Member Bicycle Guy's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies and information. Now I have some good name brands to look for.

    I might have mine changed out at the first tune up, too a well known brand. Those that came with the bike are probably the least expensive made. New tubes may hold pressure better-may not, but worth a try.


    Ken

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    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I check my tires before every ride, but I think the majority of the air loss is from the checking itself. It amounts to about 2 pumps before each ride, and I'm using the gauge on the pump anyway.
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  13. #13
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    You imagine wrong.

    Butyl tubes will retain air the best, followed by polyurethan and latex. Latex you'll need to pump up almost mid-ride if you do 120km++
    Comparing one brand of polyisobutylene tube to another, there is little difference in the air permeability. I doubt that too many people are going to run across a latex tube (expensive, fragile and difficult to repair) or polyurethane (last one of those was made in, what, 1992?)

    rumrunn6's statement is correct for butyl tubes.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bicycle Guy View Post
    Who makes some of the best inner tubes on the market, and how often do most people have to add pressure to their tires?

    I seem to have to increase mine every two to three days and add between 7-10 pounds of pressure.

    I typically keep 70-75 lbs pressure in the tubes.

    Thanks
    Ken
    While butyl rubber tubes are very good at keeping the air in them, the air will diffuse through them no matter what. Pumping up once a week or so isn't out of the question on bicycle tires. If you use CO2, they won't hold pressure overnight since the butyl rubber is very permeable to that gas.

    Your leak rate seems a little high which may mean you have a pin hole. Those can be a bugger to find. Pump the tube up so that it is very large and dunk it in water. Inspect the tube a few inches at a time and wipe away any trapped air bubbles. If the bubble comes back, you have the leak. Otherwise, just pump up the tire.
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  14. #14
    Soma Lover
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bicycle Guy View Post
    Those that came with the bike are probably the least expensive made.
    Three pumps once a week for me on all but one of my bikes. The Ksyrium/Pro Race setup has Michelin Ultralight Tubes in it and loses air at twice that rate. I also noticed the old Stumpjumper FSR I bought and sold a year later was losing air quite fast. When I had the first flat a couple of months later, I found some no-name ultralight tubes in the tires. I replaced them with a standard thickness QBP's and the issue went away. I suspect the manufacturer did this for 4 reasons: to make the ride feel smoother, to make the bike feel faster, to make the bike 3 ounces lighter for marketing purposes, and BECAUSE THE TUBES WERE CHEAPER.

    I currently have three brands of tubes stacked up in the basement. 80% of them are the basic QBP brand from the LBS. They work just fine. However, in addition to the Michelin Ultralights, there are some Vredestein road tubes that I originally grabbed on short notice. I forget why. For some reason they seemed a bit tougher and easier to mount than most. Since my roadie friends are always watching the clock and want to see flats fixed as fast as possible, I went in and grabbed another handful of them. It's a subtle difference but pinching a tube when I'm trying to work fast sucks so they were worth the extra $2 a pop to me.

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