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Quality inner tubes?

Old 08-06-19, 12:26 PM
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thook
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Quality inner tubes?

i need some tubes for 700c 32mm-40mm tires and 26" mtb. for the longest i've just gotten them at walmart or, when i can get there during hours, a local bike shop. however, the quality seems shoddy to me. iow's, i tend to get more flats than my buddy whom i ride with. i "think" he uses continental brand he gets at a shop i can never get to during hours. also, the tubes i've been getting sometimes tend to not hold air while the bike/s are parked until next use. that could be the walmart choices

at any rate, i'm interested in others' choices and experiences for tubes in those sizes. and, fwiw, i tend to shop on ebay more often than not since i live out in the boonies and it's all 'round easier.

btw, tubeless is out of the question. don't wanna mess with it

thanks for any input!
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Old 08-06-19, 12:33 PM
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I don't give it much thought but my main LBS is a Specialized dealer so they carry specialized tubes which I've never had a problem with, plus they're like $6. The other LBS is a Giant dealer so they carry giant tubes which I've also never had a problem with.
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Old 08-06-19, 12:35 PM
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I use Continental tubes, I feel that they are worth the price premium.
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Old 08-06-19, 12:36 PM
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I know I'm a broken record on this, but if weight isn't an issue, how about a set of thick thorn resistant tubes?

4mm thick on the outside diameter, 2mm thick on the sides, less prone to flats, and hold air at least twice as long as thin tubes.

Link 1

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Old 08-06-19, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
i need some tubes for 700c 32mm-40mm tires and 26" mtb. for the longest i've just gotten them at walmart or, when i can get there during hours, a local bike shop. however, the quality seems shoddy to me. iow's, i tend to get more flats than my buddy whom i ride with. i "think" he uses continental brand he gets at a shop i can never get to during hours. also, the tubes i've been getting sometimes tend to not hold air while the bike/s are parked until next use. that could be the walmart choices

at any rate, i'm interested in others' choices and experiences for tubes in those sizes. and, fwiw, i tend to shop on ebay more often than not since i live out in the boonies and it's all 'round easier.

btw, tubeless is out of the question. don't wanna mess with it

thanks for any input!
What kind of flats are you getting? In my view, the job of the tube is simply to hold air, resisting punctures is the job of the tire tread. Maybe your tires are the problem.

Schwalbe tubes are really nice. Very even wall thickness and reliable, even in the extra-light versions.
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Old 08-06-19, 01:49 PM
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I have had valve in tube failure many times, the tube comes loose from the valve, that isn't on the tire, that is on the tube! Cheap tubes made in tiawain tend to fail more for me.
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Old 08-06-19, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
i need some tubes for 700c 32mm-40mm tires and 26" mtb. for the longest i've just gotten them at walmart or, when i can get there during hours, a local bike shop. however, the quality seems shoddy to me. iow's, i tend to get more flats than my buddy whom i ride with. i "think" he uses continental brand he gets at a shop i can never get to during hours. also, the tubes i've been getting sometimes tend to not hold air while the bike/s are parked until next use. that could be the walmart choices

at any rate, i'm interested in others' choices and experiences for tubes in those sizes. and, fwiw, i tend to shop on ebay more often than not since i live out in the boonies and it's all 'round easier.

btw, tubeless is out of the question. don't wanna mess with it

thanks for any input!
Tube quality has relatively little to do with puncture frequency except with extremely low end tubes. "Thorn resistant" tubes are thicker and do hold air longer and will resist very small thorns perhaps, but at a significant penalty to weight, rolling resistance, and cost, and still will puncture with larger thorns or metal debris. Tire puncture resistance in contrast has a major impact on how many lats you get. Also a reasonable choice for some kinds of flats is to add sealant to your tubes--it's messier when you get an unsealable flat and doesn't work as well as a full tubeless setup, but it will seal many small punctures.
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Old 08-06-19, 02:23 PM
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I like Continental tubes. IMO, they last longer and are easier to patch when they do get punctured. Most of the time, when I get a flat, it is due to tires that have worn treads. I have over 3000 miles this year and have yet to get a flat. I started with new tires on my bikes.
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Old 08-06-19, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by jack002 View Post
I have had valve in tube failure many times, the tube comes loose from the valve, that isn't on the tire, that is on the tube! Cheap tubes made in tiawain tend to fail more for me.
i have had that happen more than once! i thought maybe i was being too rough with the valve stem securing nut, but i wouldn't think i'd have to be that uber sensitive with it. the tubes i've been getting were either summit or whatever brand walmart has. bell, maybe? atleast one of those is made in china. but, then most things are, anymore
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Old 08-06-19, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by cpach View Post
Tube quality has relatively little to do with puncture frequency except with extremely low end tubes. "Thorn resistant" tubes are thicker and do hold air longer and will resist very small thorns perhaps, but at a significant penalty to weight, rolling resistance, and cost, and still will puncture with larger thorns or metal debris. Tire puncture resistance in contrast has a major impact on how many lats you get. Also a reasonable choice for some kinds of flats is to add sealant to your tubes--it's messier when you get an unsealable flat and doesn't work as well as a full tubeless setup, but it will seal many small punctures.
what are you calling extremely low end tubes? pretty sure walmart tubes would fall in that category, no?

i've used thorn resistant tubes before. i don't like the weight penalty at all! perhaps on a touring bike i could live with it

over the past few years i've been using some conti speed rides, surly knards 41, cst ciudad, kenda kwest, some panaracers......iow's, quality tires. i've, of course, had the instances of too low tire pressure, but i mean changing out a tire?...and the next morning the tire is flat? all i can figure is the (pedro) levers scuffed the tube in just the wrong way.
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Old 08-06-19, 02:59 PM
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okay, so there's schwalbe, conti, giant, specialized...anyone else?

what i'd like to do is have a known quality tube and compare by side to the ones i've been using and judging to be fragile. i'll start looking into these suggestions, so far, for some deals.

btw, how long are your tubes lasting in terms of age and not necessarily usage. i realize it'd be hard to exclude one from the other, but like some of these tubes i've had let's say a year or two before actually using it. so, i wonder if the rubber is just aging "prematurely" or something. you know....getting brittle as rubber can do. particularly cheap rubber. i get some replacement boots for the suspension parts on my honda and they didn't last long at all before coming apart. china made rubber example, there
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Old 08-06-19, 03:00 PM
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Literally years.
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Old 08-06-19, 03:23 PM
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Another vote for Continental tubes.

They are extruded in one piece and seamless around the circumference. The only seam is where the ends are joined.


-Tim-
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Old 08-06-19, 03:29 PM
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My tubes last until I get tired of patching them (or too lazy to patch). As flats generally occur on the road, it is too easy to toss in a tube and roll.

I'd estimate, maybe a flat every 1000 miles.

The flats are caused by the tires, installation, or pinch flats. Not really the tubes.

I buy most of my tubes online, often adding a couple of tubes to other orders. I've tried Contis, Lifeline, Specialized, Bell, and others. I can't really tell a big difference between brands.

One tube of mention is the Michelin Protek Max self-sealing tube.


The bumpy things are supposed to help hold the holes closed, plus the slime.

Anyway, if you want to eliminate flats, make sure you have adequate pressure in the tires, and use quality tires. Also be careful of what you run over. Glass is like road spikes.
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Old 08-06-19, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
... Glass is like road spikes.
Worst for me are those little steel wires from car tire belts. They go right through the tire and tube like needles and are very difficult to find and remove. I turn the tire inside-out and run a microfiber cloth over it to catch on the wire or whatever.
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Old 08-06-19, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
Worst for me are those little steel wires from car tire belts. They go right through the tire and tube like needles and are very difficult to find and remove. I turn the tire inside-out and run a microfiber cloth over it to catch on the wire or whatever.
holy toledo! that's what that is! i've run into that before. several years ago i was riding with a friend and....boom.....next thing i know my tire's going flat and i found those wires. i was confounded as to what i could have run over to pick those up

anyway, i thank you all for your inputs. i've done some searching for the conti's on ebay, but they're all for smaller road racing tires. and, the michelins.....whoa! pricey! but!!! i did find a four pack of specialized tubes that will fit up to 38c. about $20 or best offer. now, don't anyone grab'em before i do!!...lol!

hopefully i find better satisfaction with these. otherwise, i may go to wooden wheels....hehehe. i jest, but i will compare and report back soonishly

thanks, again!
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Old 08-06-19, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
Worst for me are those little steel wires from car tire belts. They go right through the tire and tube like needles and are very difficult to find and remove. I turn the tire inside-out and run a microfiber cloth over it to catch on the wire or whatever.
I've heard of using cotton balls too.

If I can find the hole in the tube, then I can usually locate the culprit.

The worst is getting a slow leak followed by a pinch flat, so one doesn't see the original hole, and one is tempted to simply patch the pinch flat and put the tube back in.
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Old 08-06-19, 05:04 PM
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Another thing to check, if you're losing air with brand-new tubes: sometimes the valve core is loose and needs to be tightened. Schrader valves take a tool that's easy to get, and with Presta valves, I use a pair of needle-nose pliers to very lightly screw it in a bit tighter.
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Old 08-06-19, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
...i've done some searching for the conti's on ebay, but they're all for smaller road racing tires.
It may come as a surprise to some, but there are other places to buy things besides EBay. ;o)
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Old 08-06-19, 06:08 PM
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Yes on the other places thing! I was about to suggest latex tubes from Silca, but they are way above this discussion in price! (Smiles) My local Bike Project/community co-op sells tube from J B Importers for four dollars, and that is a disposable price for me. And yes, I know that a patch only costs $.25 and that a bottle of cement is $8.99 at the auto parts store and will repair hundreds of tubes. But when it comes to tubes; better to replace than repair. Cheaper in terms of labor as well, JMO, MH
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Old 08-06-19, 06:55 PM
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I switched to Schwalbe when I went to 650b wheels and tires, but I was happy with Michelin Airstops before that. The Michelins have smooth (unthreaded) valve stems and were easy to use with a Silca brass bell push-on pump chuck.
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Old 08-06-19, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
It may come as a surprise to some, but there are other places to buy things besides EBay. ;o)
i have certain reasons i tend to use ebay

having said that, were it easier for me to get by a shop locally to get what i need....if they have it....i would do that more often. my fav shop of all time closed years ago. it was along a route i frequent and the shop hours were in sync with my usual timing of travel. i live 30 miles outside of town, so trips are usually consolidated.

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Old 08-07-19, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Another thing to check, if you're losing air with brand-new tubes: sometimes the valve core is loose and needs to be tightened. Schrader valves take a tool that's easy to get, and with Presta valves, I use a pair of needle-nose pliers to very lightly screw it in a bit tighter.
incidentally, that is a very good point. i do have one of those schrader valve drivers. i mostly use presta, though. anyway, i'll keep an eye for that. thanks!
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Old 08-09-19, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
Worst for me are those little steel wires from car tire belts. They go right through the tire and tube like needles and are very difficult to find and remove. I turn the tire inside-out and run a microfiber cloth over it to catch on the wire or whatever.
I started packing a small needle nose plier to make it easier to pull those little devils out.
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Old 08-09-19, 09:20 AM
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I'd go with Gatorskins and generic tubes.
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