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Experience using 700 inner tube in 26" tire as spare?


Old 06-12-18, 09:00 PM
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Experience using 700 inner tube in 26" tire as spare?

I use both a touring bike with 700 x 35 tires (Presta) and a mountain bike with 26 x 2.25 tires (Schrader). For loads, I use both panniers and wire baskets, and I've got a repair kit built for each system. I end up using both load systems on both bikes, so I've been carrying a spare tube for each size.

I'm wondering if I could just carry the 700 x 35 tube and use it in the 26" to get home and change to proper size tube.

Anyone have any experience doing that? I'm going to test it next time I have a flat at home on the 26" to see if the smaller tube fails, but that's one test and I'm interested in any experience base out there.


Last edited by flangehead; 06-12-18 at 09:15 PM. Reason: Clarification
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Old 06-13-18, 01:06 AM
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Not those sizes specifically but I’ve put smaller width tubes in, and also accidentally put in tubes with a wrinkle. It works to get you home but it’s more flat prone. The stretched tube will pop like a balloon if punctured and the wrinkle will gradually rub itself raw
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Old 06-13-18, 07:37 AM
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Suppose it would work in a pinch, but a tube is what, like $5, and you would do double the work, changing tubes twice. There is always the risk of puncturing the tube when changing, and there is extra wear and tear on the tire as you force it on the rim.
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Old 06-13-18, 02:42 PM
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sounds like you do enough prep to have the correct size tube on hand (at home?) depending on the bike you are riding. I use 1 rear rack trunk whether I'm on my 25mm road bike or one of my 45mm hybrids. when I switch bikes, I switch those two tube boxes so they match
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Old 06-13-18, 06:59 PM
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I have 2 bikes also, one a 28-559 tire the other 23-622. I keep a spare 26" tube in my commuter bag at all times, and a spare 700c tube in my road bike seat pocket at all times. I also keep a multi-tool in each. Is that really so hard? I suppose in a pinch (pardon the pun) if I absolutely had to I could sub one for the other, more likely though to help someone else out.
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Old 06-13-18, 07:39 PM
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Done this a few times when helping out other riders who didn't have their own spare and it worked fine. Also accidentally put a spare 700c/27" tube in the tool bag of the 26" tired bike our daughter took to college. When she got a flat she gave me a call as to how it should be fixed. From her description I realized that I must have given her the wrong tube. But she got it installed and had no problems using the bike for a few more months until the end of the school year.
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Old 06-15-18, 04:02 PM
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You want the right sized tubes. I've tried putting 700 tubes on 650 wheels and vice versa -- it's not a good idea unless you have no other option
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Old 06-16-18, 06:15 AM
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Yeah it would probably work, but why? Tubes are cheap so buy a spare of the right size. I typically carry 2 spares (and sometimes need them).
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Old 06-18-18, 02:24 PM
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Consider it a good emergency technique but not a good general practice.
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Old 06-19-18, 08:47 AM
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I tried the other way once -- not intentionally, I had accidentally packed a 26" tube as my spare, and got a flat with 700. The overstretched tube popped pretty soon, and not just a pinprick, it was a violent rupture.

So I would definitely stick with the appropriate radius. 700 vs 27" should be enough fudge factor, but 27.5 vs 29 I wouldn't even do. (Except note, it is common when using the 'split tube' method to go ghetto tubeless, to use a tube one size smaller)

As for using the wrong width tube, I've had pretty good success with that as long as the radius was appropriate. I've inflated roadie tubes (marked like 700x23) to fill 700x35, say. Or I've stuffed 'regular' 26" mountain tubes (marked like for 2" plus or minus) into 26x1.5 slicks. They wrinkle up and are annoying to get all stuffed in there, but they work.
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Old 06-19-18, 10:54 AM
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If you've ever inflated a tube that isn't inside a tire you will see that the tube diameter doesn't really stretch much, but the big loop will get really big.
From that experiment you can see that it's very reasonable to use a 26" tube on a 29" bike, or a 650 on a 700 should work with the tube diameter is roughly similar.
When most people were still riding 26" wheels I always carried a 26" spare tube instead of 29" because it would work for everybody in the group.

Putting a 35 width tube in a 2.25" or the other way around generally isn't going to work, tubes don't want to expand that direction and you're going to run in to problems. You might be able to get by for a short ride in emergency situation, but I wouldn't want this to be my normal emergency plan for flats.
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