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Weird Question: Whats the best way you've found to get tubes?

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Weird Question: Whats the best way you've found to get tubes?

Old 04-15-21, 09:31 AM
  #1  
TrashBoat
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Weird Question: Whats the best way you've found to get tubes?

This comes from a pretty beginner cyclist and tinkerer with old bikes. LBS in my neighborhood charge $9 a tube, which I feel like is highway robbery although that might be a little unfair on my end as they have to make money to maintain a brick and mortar presence. So in addition to cost effectiveness (I have been getting flats like crazy, which is the fault of my own inexperience, but it will continue to happen), it's an ethical question.

How do you more experienced tube buyers purchase your wares?
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Old 04-15-21, 09:37 AM
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I would stock up when my LBS held their annual sale. They would sell them at half price as a loss leader.
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Old 04-15-21, 09:38 AM
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$9 a tube is cheap right now. The shop may actually be cutting margins because they don't want the price to be too high. The shop I work at sometimes is doing that. There are other tubes out there, some of them aren't very good.
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Old 04-15-21, 10:35 AM
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If you are getting lots of punctures you either have a problem with the installation of your tyres and tubes, or you’ve got the wrong tyres for the roads you ride on.

With modern tyre technology (even ignoring tubeless systems) punctures should be a rarity, although in certain places this means using tyres that might not be as fast or nice-feeling as you’d want.

What tyres do you have, what pressures do you run, and where do you ride?
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Old 04-15-21, 10:44 AM
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Walmart charges 5 bucks a tube and they're pretty much indistinguishable from tubes you would buy from a bike shop. If they stock your size, that's the way to go imo.
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Old 04-15-21, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by TrashBoat View Post

How do you more experienced tube buyers purchase your wares?
I buy them at the LBS and don't think about the cost too much. While I'm there I browse around for other stuff I might need, and talk to the staff just to be friendly and maybe they'll remember me next time I come in needing a quick chain replacement or something.
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Old 04-15-21, 11:05 AM
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$9 is highway robbery?

I'll get far more satisfaction from spending $9 at the LBS than I will get from spending $9 at the McDonalds, gas station, Comcast, electric company, Home Depot, Walgreens, Verizon, State Farm, TurboTax and just about every other bill that comes across my desk. Life is too short to quibble over a few lousy dollars.
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Old 04-15-21, 11:14 AM
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I just bought these for $4.50 each (when you get the 6-pack) Amazon link
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Old 04-15-21, 11:15 AM
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Sounds to me like the inevitability of flats for the OP can actually be avoided by some skills training (mounting/inflation process) and equipment changes (rim tape, proper size tube, etc).

We all have a problematic wheel from time to time, which incurs flats we can't explain and certainly kill the buzz with time spent on the side of the road. But a careful work can usually find the culprit. Sometimes it's the tire that needs to be tossed or relegated to the beater bike.

Stock up when they're cheap, but most people won't need more than a couple tubes and a patch kit for hundreds if not thousands of miles. Right?
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Old 04-15-21, 11:44 AM
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I have to agree that $9 is not a big deal for a tube. I usually get them online, but also grab a couple if I happen to swing by a bike shop where they may even be more than that.
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Old 04-15-21, 11:45 AM
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Wait for sales online, and stock up. Also, invest in patches.
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Old 04-15-21, 12:13 PM
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these threads get met. people think $5 coffee is normal but a bike tire that is $9 is hi way robbery?

Anyway I have tried a lot of tubes, types, over the years.

As always you get what you pay for so a large degree

I have settled on Continental race lite butyl tubes. for me they are a good match in terms of weight, performance/feel, reasonable puncture resistance and having a removable core so I can use sealant.

Retail tends to be $10t to $11 but you can find them for in the $5 to $6 dollar range on sale, in uk bike on line bike shops or amazon bundled a a 4 pack buy

other wise as note above walmart, amazon

also Velox rim tape is only way to go IMHO and only Rema TipTop patches
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Old 04-15-21, 12:34 PM
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Bike shops will throw away a perfectly good tube that has one little hole in it. Wait until the bike shop closes. Then go into their dumpster sort though their tubes to find you size. One thing to look out for is that the staff at bike shops like to eat at the shop, so their meals will end up in the garbage as well. You might score some good food while your at it.

When you get home patch the tube and your good to go.

Or you could patch your own tubes without digging through the trash. They can be patched multiple times. There is no limit as long as when you patch the tube, you did it correctly and it still holds air.

By the way, since you are getting so many flats, and you shouldn't, when you take the tire off the rim, do some investigating. Find the hole in the tube. Is it a single puncture hole? Is the thing that punctured the tube still stuck in the tire? Bike mechanics will check the inside of the tire with their fingers to see if there is anything sharp still stuck in the tire before mounting a new tube. Being a bike mechanic comes with risks. That is one of them.

Do you have a "snake bite", two holes on the side of the tube? This indicates that there may not be enough air in the tire or that you hit a pot hole or bump. The tube is being pinched between the road and the rim. Are the tubes possibly leaking from the valve? Sometimes the valve doesn't seal well or the valve core may be loose. Are you using latex tubes? Probably not. These are specially tubes intended for the serious go fast cyclist. Latex tubes loose air and need to be pumped up each day.
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Old 04-15-21, 12:42 PM
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I recently read a thread elsewhere about how tubes and other parts are so expensive now. I also balk at paying that much for a tube but OTOH, my last batch of cheap tubes from one of the British websites (or maybe Amazon, can't remember ) failed at the valve stem pretty quickly. Lesson learned, I pay for quality and patch frequently.
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Old 04-15-21, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
also Velox rim tape is only way to go IMHO
Appropriate rim tape depends on rim. Current-generation tubeless rims tend to be precisely circumferenced and designed with thin tape in mind, so even if you're going tubed, tubeless taping is usually preferable.
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Old 04-15-21, 01:14 PM
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Most of my flats in the last two - three years have been near the valve stem near or at the junction between the valve reinforcement and the tube. Some times at the mold line. Since i don't have rim tape of any kind the rim is smooth and the spoke holes are covered, its the quality of the tube. The last one, last week, is a Continental tube. The bike was hanging after a ride. I was standing next to it looking at my ride stats when it blew. Ragged, ripped hole.

My experience is that there is a seriously bad quality control activity regardless of the name on the box.

My tubulars are more reliable!
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Old 04-15-21, 01:16 PM
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These guys are a great source: https://www.nosvacuumtubes.net

If you can get an Amperex 6922, PQ, white label, US, pinched waist (shield, gold pins), at any price, go for it.
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Old 04-15-21, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by SJX426 View Post
Most of my flats in the last two - three years have been near the valve stem near or at the junction between the valve reinforcement and the tube. Some times at the mold line. Since i don't have rim tape of any kind
When do your flats tend to happen? Direct contact between rim and tube is generally non-ideal because of braking heat.
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Old 04-15-21, 02:47 PM
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$9 robbery for tubes? Some people have differing ideas of what robbery is.


Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
These guys are a great source: https://www.nosvacuumtubes.net

If you can get an Amperex 6922, PQ, white label, US, pinched waist (shield, gold pins), at any price, go for it.
So I was going to ask if you knew where to score some Gold Lion KT88s... and then I see someone's making them (or making coke bottle KT88s and putting the Genalex Gold Lion name on them)

It's been a long time since my ol' buddy's had some primo tubes loaded up...

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Old 04-15-21, 05:39 PM
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I have learned to patch more than I used to.

I HATE paying lbs prices for consumables. Cables are another thing that just boggles my mind when shops charge $4, $5, $7 for a single cable.
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Old 04-15-21, 06:47 PM
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Dumpster bikes
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Old 04-15-21, 09:38 PM
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I search eBay's cycling category for "tube presta 32" (without the quotes).

The "32" is the stem height that my bikes require. They all hate really long stems. It's not me, it's the bikes.
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Old 04-15-21, 11:47 PM
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As noted by a couple of folks above, what type of flats are you getting? pinch flats? goatshead thorns? spoke punctures due to bad rim tape? road debris? pinched during tire mounting? You need to diagnose the problem and then figure out the solution. We can help you with that.

Also, I gotta ask, how many times do you patch a tube before buying a replacement? Unless you're slashing big holes in your tires/tubes, you should be able to patch at least 10 punctures per tube and patches/cement cost next to nothing. Properly patched tubes (no instant patches!) are just as strong as unpatched tubes. I have several tubes with 5 to 10 patches on them and seldom buy new tubes. The spare tubes I carry in my saddle bag usually have a few patches on them. If you're one of those wasteful people who throw away tubes with a single puncture then you need to take some lessons in proper use of a patch kit.
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Old 04-16-21, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
Properly patched tubes (no instant patches!) are just as strong as unpatched tubes.
There seems to be a lot of variability in both cold-vulcanized and glueless patches. Some glueless patches suck, but I've never had any trouble with Park GP-2. Rema seems to be the safe-bet option for cold-vulcanizing patches.
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Old 04-16-21, 01:48 AM
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Like SurferRosa says a 32 stem height is the most important to me. I go to my LBS to buy anything I can , but , alas , they don’t sell the short stem tubes. I am forced to buy on the bay.
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