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New tubes don't hold air long???

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New tubes don't hold air long???

Old 12-15-20, 05:34 PM
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2fat2fly
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New tubes don't hold air long???

I just sprung for a new set of tires and tubes, the tires are Michelin, the tubes are what ever the local dealer sells.
The old tubes didn't leak, in fact they rarely needed air but they were so stuck to the old tires I figured it best to just replace them.
The new tubes were Pyramid brand, 26x1 3/8". I put the new tires on the bike on Sat. pumped both tires up to 60 psi. I went to ride the bike on Sunday and the back tire was soft, about 33 psi. The front was 50 psi. I pumped up the tires again, double checked the valve cores, and went for a ride. I put the bike away after a couple hour ride. Monday morning, I took the bike out, and the back tire is down to 20psi, the front down to 48 psi.
I pulled both wheels, pumped up both tubes, filled the wash tub in the basement and have them sitting under water, I saw no sign of any bubbles in an hour. I went to a different shop, got two more tubes, remounted the tires and wheels and again pumped them up to 60psi. These tubes say Sunlite on the box. That was yesterday afternoon. I haven't ridden the bike but the rear tire is again down to 42 psi, and the front now down to 40 psi. I again took those tubes back out to look for leaks, but can't find any. I put the original 55 year old tubes back in. They don't leak.
I called the first bike shop, the guy tells me tubes don't hold air forever, "It's normal to have to pump them up before riding the bike".
I've been riding bikes all my life, back in the day, I doubt I got the tire pump out two or three times a year. Now I have to pump up the tires every day?
Where can I buy tubes that hold air for more than a day or two?
One shop recommended thorn resistant tubes but couldn't guarantee they'd be all that much better. He showed me all the bikes on the shop floor, he said he pumps up tires three or four times a week or they go flat.
I remember the really high end, high pressure tires used to loose air but not in a day or two. These aren't high pressure, just your average three speed wheels on an old Schwinn.

The one thing I do notice is that the new tubes are skinnier than the originals, the originals are almost double the size before they're inflated.
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Old 12-15-20, 05:43 PM
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Yep, I have three hanging, various durations of deflation.
some, an hour, some a week.
I pumped them up as much as I dare, submerse them in water, no bubbles.
Hang them up and a week later limp.

High pressure leaks.
very frustrating.
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Old 12-15-20, 06:11 PM
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Molecules of N2 and O2, and gases in general can and will diffuse through rubber and other membranes. The thinner the membrane, the faster they can escape to the atmosphere or low pressure side of the membrane, as the case may be.
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Old 12-15-20, 06:13 PM
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The new tubes are definitely bad.

Even after accounting for the wild amount of stretch that modern tubes are often sized for, a 26x1-3/8" tire shouldn't need air more than once a week even if you're fussy about it.
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Old 12-15-20, 06:24 PM
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Might want to check to see if your valve cores are fully tightened. Otherwise, as long as they hold air while you’re riding, I don’t see problem.
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Old 12-15-20, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Might want to check to see if your valve cores are fully tightened. Otherwise, as long as they hold air while you’re riding, I don’t see problem.
they hold air for 3-4 days hanging up, deflate within 15 minutes on the road.
maybe I need to use some of of the various goo's
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Old 12-15-20, 07:52 PM
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I have had great luck with schwalbe tubes. They seem to hold air much longer than other brands that I have tried. They are the only ones that I buy now.

the only downsides I’ve experienced are that they are not locally available and can have long shipping times.

Last edited by mkeller234; 12-15-20 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 12-15-20, 08:02 PM
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My way of checking that the valve cores are tight enough is to unscrew them partially and then tighten them back in. If that doesn't fix your problem, take the tube out, inflate it, and put it in a bucket of water to find the leak.
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Old 12-15-20, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
they hold air for 3-4 days hanging up, deflate within 15 minutes on the road.
maybe I need to use some of of the various goo's
Or buy new tires... I've never had such a dramatic problem as all that with any presta or shrader valve tires I've purchased in recent years. When I want to keep my 25mm road tires at 90psi I usually have to add some air every week or two, between every four or five rides out.

-Gregory
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Old 12-15-20, 08:07 PM
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So what was the question........?
that wasn't previously answered by the bike shop?



Sometimes the truth is hard to accept.
Don't believe everything you think.
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Old 12-15-20, 08:16 PM
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Ciffsnotes version: OP is asking where he can buy tubes that don't leak for 26x1 3/8" road tires. He recently bought a pair of tubes from two different shops, and all four leak after a day, some up to half their 60psi inflation. His old tubes, that he assumed were just too old, still don't leak and appear wider than his new ones.

.

I can't help. I ride 25mm tires and buy Sunlite tubes from ebay. Whenever I come across those grossly thick, puncture resistant tubes, they go right in the recycling bin.
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Old 12-15-20, 09:03 PM
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Do the airless solid tires come in OP's size?.

Are valve cores removable? Liquid latex.

There used to be many tubes that came pre-loaded with a goop. Maybe not available today or in correct size. WalMart stores in the southwest used to stock them in multiple sizes.


Who is going to recommend he go 'new' tubeless?

There are a few other things I also check and possibly adjust before every ride. Brakes, quick release skewer tension, pedals + shoe cleats (Look Delta's for me), chain lubed?, got correct tool bag? Less than a minute. It's not unusual to make an adjustment at the end of a ride either.

But then I'm running a lot of roadies, now do most of my own maintenance, and should check them periodically anyway. Especially if one has been out of the rotation. Recently I have made Loctite Blue a friend for some threads on vintage parts.

Last edited by Wildwood; 12-15-20 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 12-15-20, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Who is going to recommend he go 'new' tubeless?
I doubt that 26 1 x 3/8" rims and tires are available in tubeless-compatible options, but there's always an experiment to be done.
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Old 12-15-20, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
.........but there's always an experiment to be done.
I prefer reading about these types of well intended experiments, but there is seldom a lesson to be learned.
This category of threads pop up with different titles. Fork related ones are amusing, in a 'bent' sorta way.




Today's lesson in consistent tire pressure loss with existing tubes is Pump 'em Up, or Slime 'em Up, or ....try a new thicker tube.
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Old 12-15-20, 10:55 PM
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I went through the same thing with several bikes with new tubes lately, some leak down in a day or two, some take a week but none will remain 'ridable' more than a day or two. They never go completely flat, just too low to ride. I surely don't remember having to pump up tires so often as a kid in the 60's and 70's.
I've got a vast array of bikes of all types, what I find is that the higher the pressure, the faster they leak. I opt for vintage original tubes as often as I can. Its gotten to the point where I'll patch an old tube rather than replace it if I know it didn't lose air over time.
I've got a 26x1 3/4" tube that I took out of an old Schwinn Corvette, the tube is marked Kenda, the bike had two flat tires when I found it, I pumped up both tires, was able to ride the bike as found. The next morning the rear tire was flat. I pulled the wheel, stuck a new tube in it and rebuilt the hub while it was off. A week later, the tire was flat again, it had been hanging on the wall while I went through the rest of the bike. I pumped it up and 6 or 7 days later its flat again. I removed that tube, dug through my used tube pile, found a vintage Goodyear tube from the 60's that didn't show any rot and stuck that in there. Its been fine now for almost a year. The Kenda tube I removed tested fine in a bucket, I pumped it up as far as I dare without it being in a tire and hung it on the wall, that was in January. Its still inflated and looks the same as when I first pumped it up, yet in the tire it went almost flat overnight. I find this more and more lately.
Adding slime to the tube can help, but they still seem to lose air over time.
On another example, I've got a 40's model Columbia Balloon tire bike that's likely 100% original, down to the tires and orange tubes. The tires are old Carlisle Lightning's with a good bit of dry rot, so much so they're missing a few bits of the tread. It don't get ridden anymore but I top off the tires once or twice a year. They rarely need more than a few pounds of air.
Newer tubes are also hard to patch, patches and rubber cement doesn't adhere to them like it did to older tubes. Patches can be peeled right off most newer tubes, yet on an old tube, its all but impossible to peel off a patch.
I have a few really old tubes from a 50's Schwinn Phantom, which are marked Schwinn 26x2,125 right on the tube. If I lay that tube flat on the table, its double the size of a modern tube of the same size. What they pass off as a 2,125" wide tube these days is not much bigger than what we used to call 1 3/8". I bought a pair of mountain bike tubes last summer, the box was marked 26x1.75 - 2.125. Luckily the tires were 1.90" because the tubes were pretty skinny. And yes, they leak air fairly quick.

It has to be permeation of the rubber, if a tube had an actual hole, it would leak out in a matter of minutes or hours under pressure. While the hole would be pressed against the tire casing, the hole would also get larger as the pressure increased.

I have one vintage bike that still has its original tires, a late 70's Trek, its still got its original skinwall tires and original tubes. I bought it new, the tires have never been off the bike. I rode it for a few years and hung it up where it is now. The tires lose pressure but never got 'flat'. I checked the tires the other day, they had 44 and 51psi in them, I last checked them back in January when I pumped them back up to 100 psi. (Surprisingly the tires still look and feel good, although the sidewalls have darkened quite a bit over the years).
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Old 12-16-20, 02:33 AM
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On my fat tire bike, I can go for months without the tires needing air. They hold a lot more air, so if a little escapes, there is still little pressure drop. They also run at much lower pressure, which may help less escape.

Not everyone wants a fat bike. But larger tires which hold more air, normally hold it longer.
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Old 12-16-20, 03:28 AM
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I have some cheap chinese CST brand tubes on my 1936 Dürkopp, i dont ride this bike very often but they need pumping after maybe 6 months. And i also have a beater fixed gear that has a ebay wheelset that came with some unbranded tires and tubes, they drop from about 7-8 bar down to 3 bar in about 3-4 months.
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Old 12-16-20, 06:31 AM
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When I'm building a bike, I rarely go with any other tube bands than Continental or Schwalbe, and I'm never disappointed. Even so, I top up the tire pressure in our bikes about once a week. Its the natural order of things. *cue the Lion King circle of life song*
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Old 12-16-20, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
Or buy new tires... I've never had such a dramatic problem as all that with any presta or shrader valve tires I've purchased in recent years. When I want to keep my 25mm road tires at 90psi I usually have to add some air every week or two, between every four or five rides out.

-Gregory
was with fresh tires. finally used the Specialized tubes and they have held, not a fan of Specialized as a company but, they manage the QC.
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Old 12-17-20, 12:53 PM
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The original tubes are holding air fine, no noticeable air loss.
I took the first set of tubes back, the second shop wouldn't take them back.
I inflated them as far as I dare in a wash tub in the basement, marked the diameter at a few points and measured them since
pressure I can't get a pressure reading with the tube out of the tire. They haven't lost any size in two days.
I took a spare front wheel and an old tire, mounted up one of the new tubes in that tire, pumped it up to the max 65 psi on the side of the tire and let it sit. It looses pressure pretty fast. I submerged the mounted wheel in the washtub and can't see any sign of leaks. The second new tube is still in the bucket of water. They don't seem to loose any air out of the tire, yet when in the tire, and inflated they go flat in a few days. I would also think that if the thing had a hole, it would leak all the time, it has to be air permeating the rubber under higher pressures. The fact that the mounted tire doesn't show any air bubbles when put in water has me baffled.
I considered trying some of that green 'slime' to seal the tube but don't see why new tubes should need 'sealing' with anything.

I grew up with a bikes, as a kid, I hardly ever remember having to pump up a tire to ride a bike, if I did, it was because it had a puncture and needed to be fixed. Tires didn't just loose pressure this fast. Going out and just hopping on the bike and going was the norm, not going out, pumping up the tires and hoping it lasted the whole day.
I ordered a couple more tubes from a different brand online, I've been looking for another bike and will need another set of tubes anyhow. Not sure what to do with the tubes I got here. At $11 each, I guess I might as well just thrown that in the trash.
I also ordered a large patch kit, maybe fixing the older tubes is the right answer.
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Old 12-21-20, 05:45 PM
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I don’t make tubes for a living, but I’ve been on TV.

Some last, some don’t. Same with tubulars.
I pumped up tires as a kid, and do now.
Tubeless, left to themselves in a storage unit, will deflate into a messy mess.
I’ve had batches of tubes fail, and a shop make it right (Bontrager latex, Bicycle Post in Greenville).
I’ve had others fail and just moved on.
There was little else to do.
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Old 12-22-20, 10:47 AM
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After leaving the two new tubes inflated all this time outside a tire they hold air fine, they only leak when put in a tire. The one I put in a spare rim and tire leaks down in a day or two.
I inflated it as much as I dare to and stuck the tube in a wash tub full of water and even after 15 minutes I don't see any air bubbles, with the valve cap off. I stretched, twisted and bent the inflated tube all different ways as well under water and got no bubbles. Yet it leaks air in the tire. I've tried it in a tire three times now and it looses air. In comparison, I dug out an old tube, one with five or more patches, that needed another patch to hold air, and it holds air fine. That tube is marked General Tire and Rubber made in Jeanette, PA, it came out of a junk bike I trash picked, an old Scwhinn woman's model that was rusted so bad the tube was showing through the rim. Yet the junk Chinese tube isn't even as good as a dirty, patched, scuffed up tube that's likely 50 years old or more.

One thing I can't help notice is the difference in both weight and size of the old American made tubes and the Chinese tubes. The old tubes are large in diameter buy almost double before inflating, and the rubber is thicker by at least double on the old tube.
The old tube feels different in hand, its less slick or shiny, and far stretchier than the new tube. The new Sunlite tube is smooth, sort of slick and shiny and very hard to stretch compared to the old tube. The new tube also likely has to stretch three times its original size to fill the inside of the tire, where as the original tubes barely have to 'stretch' at all. Some in fact are hard to actually 'stuff' inside the tire as you mount the second bead. The new tubes also need to be stretched around the rim.
They seem to be more a one size fits all deal now.
I suppose the only way these new tubes will be air tight is if I ad some sort of self sealing fluid to them.
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