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is this new tube ok?

Old 12-29-16, 07:50 AM
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MikeinFL
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is this new tube ok?

Brand new Bell 700c tube I pumped up with hand pump but stopped when I saw a bubble around the stem. Has not been in a tire yet. Is it ok? Would you use this?:



Last edited by MikeinFL; 12-31-16 at 08:40 AM.
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Old 12-29-16, 07:54 AM
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Pump it up and let it hang for 24 hours to see if it holds air.
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Old 12-29-16, 07:58 AM
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Let some air out and put it in a tire.

It should be fine. The tire provides support.
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Old 12-29-16, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Let some air out and put it in a tire.

It should be fine. The tire provides support.
I don't want to put it in a tire until after 24 hours so I can determine if there is a small leak in a new tube. I plan to do this with all new tubes. I didn't think a bubble would form around the stem, and not sure it that means it's still ok to use, even if not leaking.
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Old 12-29-16, 08:13 AM
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That's normal for many tubes. The tube isn't that flexible where it's reinforced at the stem opening and overexpands on the opposite side
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Old 12-29-16, 08:19 AM
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Bubbles equal Air Leak
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Old 12-29-16, 08:45 AM
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If you saw bubbles when you immersed the tube in water, then you have a defective tube. Uneven expansion just means the rubber may be slightly thinner near the valve. Whatever part of the tube is thinnest will expand the most as you put air in it.

I never bother to inflate brand new tubes to check them out of the box. Waste of time. I use the inexpensive XLC and Sunlite tubes sold by Niagara Cycle. The only time one has gone flat is if I stupidly put a hole in it with tire irons while installing it. I now use tires that are flexible enough for me to install the tube just using my thumbs to finish putting the tire back on the rim.
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Old 12-29-16, 08:50 AM
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Completely normal.
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Old 12-29-16, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeinFL View Post
I don't want to put it in a tire until after 24 hours so I can determine if there is a small leak in a new tube. I plan to do this with all new tubes. I didn't think a bubble would form around the stem, and not sure it that means it's still ok to use, even if not leaking.
This might be a total waste of time and effort. The amount of pressure that you can put into a bare tube is too low in many cases to cause the hole to leak.

let me explain it another way. Your tire was at 50 psi and leaked down to 20 psi and stabilized there because 19 psi isn't enough pressure to push air out of the hole. It's even worse when the tube is out of the tire because you are only putting in a couple of psi.

If you want to test tubes before using them I'd recommend submersing them in water as your best chance to spot a defect.
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Old 12-29-16, 12:57 PM
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Life's too short. Buy from a reputable source, and install them...if there's a defect, it will make itself known very quickly.

IME (changing several hundred flats in a given year) the incidence of defective tubes is super low, like 2-3 a year (and those are usually assembly errors from the factory w/ regards to the bike). Now, sometimes I'd stretch the truth a bit, if I felt sorry for the person, but still...no manufacturer, no matter how big (and I would bet money that they're actually from CST/Kenda) stays in business by putting out anything more than a tiny amount of defective merchandise. I believe my experience pans out, there.

Now, you want to check your patch job, go right ahead, can't hurt.
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Old 12-29-16, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by wschruba View Post
Life's too short. Buy from a reputable source, and install them...if there's a defect, it will make itself known very quickly.

IME (changing several hundred flats in a given year) the incidence of defective tubes is super low, like 2-3 a year (and those are usually assembly errors from the factory w/ regards to the bike). Now, sometimes I'd stretch the truth a bit, if I felt sorry for the person, but still...no manufacturer, no matter how big (and I would bet money that they're actually from CST/Kenda) stays in business by putting out anything more than a tiny amount of defective merchandise. I believe my experience pans out, there.

Now, you want to check your patch job, go right ahead, can't hurt.
I have to agree with this. Been there, done that. There is a reason that they are so cheap. I have had outstanding luck with QTubes which are more than likely available at most bike shops.
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Old 12-29-16, 02:04 PM
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The tube is 100% perfectly normal.

Tubes are just shaped balloons made to hold the air in, and it's the fabric plies in the tire that determine the shape.
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Old 12-29-16, 02:54 PM
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I don't buy the cheap Bell tubes from Wallyworld anymore. Had a couple spontaneously explode on me a couple years ago. So there's that. I'm pretty picky about tubes now. I'll buy a bunch special order from Niagra or other sources. Been using very heavy weight "thorn proof" tubes on some bikes with excellent results.
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Old 12-29-16, 03:05 PM
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Tubes don't spontaneously explode. The tire prevents it. Unless you've mounted them poorly and left a bit of the tube pinched under the tire bead.

Regarding the bulge, the tube is fatter there because the air tends to stay on that side of the tube, where it first goes in. <g>
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Old 12-29-16, 03:11 PM
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Tube quality does vary somewhat maker to maker, but the brand on the box and/or the place you buy it aren't good predictors.

There is a small handful of companies who actually make the tubes. With the exception of Kenda, Cheng Sin, and a few others, the brand on the box only tells you the importer. All those companies buy from one of the pool of makers, and don't necessarily stay with the same one year to year. So, last year's Walmart tube, may be this year's Trek or Giant.
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Old 12-29-16, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
Tubes don't spontaneously explode. The tire prevents it. Unless you've mounted them poorly and left a bit of the tube pinched under the tire bead.

Regarding the bulge, the tube is fatter there because the air tends to stay on that side of the tube, where it first goes in. <g>
Yes, and no in that order.

Yes, the tube doesn't offer structure and will not explode unless the there's a gap (usually from poor mounting) which allows it to balloon out.

No, the air doesn't magically stay closer to where it went in. Air has so little viscosity that for all practical purposes we can consider the pressure in any closed vessel to be equal throughout.

Tubes expand unevenly outside the tire because of the relative actions of increased tension as they stretch, and increased hoop stretch as the diameter increases. Anyone who's blown up a long balloon has seen this effect as the balloon first expands in one area, then continues to expand along its length, then when the full length has expanded then continue to expand somewhat evenly.

Minor variations in the material or thickness will cause some areas to expand first in any tube, but once there's serious pressure combined with the constraint offered by the tire the tube will simply stretch until it's pressing evenly up, down and sideways all the way around
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Old 12-29-16, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeinFL View Post
Would you use this?:


Looks like a Chinese sausage dog tube.
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Old 12-29-16, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by SquidPuppet View Post
This might be a total waste of time and effort. The amount of pressure that you can put into a bare tube is too low in many cases to cause the hole to leak.

let me explain it another way. Your tire was at 50 psi and leaked down to 20 psi and stabilized there because 19 psi isn't enough pressure to push air out of the hole. It's even worse when the tube is out of the tire because you are only putting in a couple of psi.

If you want to test tubes before using them I'd recommend submersing them in water as your best chance to spot a defect.
Does air leave a tube hole easier under water? ie. using your example, that same few PSI of pressure in a bare tube is enough pressure for air to get thru the hole but only if under water?
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Old 12-29-16, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Tube quality does vary somewhat maker to maker, but the brand on the box and/or the place you buy it aren't good predictors.

There is a small handful of companies who actually make the tubes. With the exception of Kenda, Cheng Sin, and a few others, the brand on the box only tells you the importer. All those companies buy from one of the pool of makers, and don't necessarily stay with the same one year to year. So, last year's Walmart tube, may be this year's Trek or Giant.
Are there however a greater qty of valve makers? I seem to have noticed a wide variety of quality differences in presta valves.
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Old 12-29-16, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Are there however a greater qty of valve makers? I seem to have noticed a wide variety of quality differences in presta valves.
Actually I suspect, but have no specific knowledge, that there are fewer valve makers, because logic dictates that there are fewer vendors than customers.

I've been using PV tires (tubulars) and tubes for 50 years, and until PV started becoming common and production moved to Asia, NEVER had issues with the valves. The common practice of burping before pumping wasn't necessary because Italian made valves didn't stick.

Over the last few years, I've seen an overall decline in quality, not so much in the valves themselves as in the joining of the valve to the tube. IMO the Asian valve were never that good in the first place.

Like with so many things these days, I suspect that every possible mil is being squeezed out of production costs because of the OEM buyers are so focused on price and barely care about quality. God forbid that they pay one cent more on better tire tubes on a bike that will ultimately sell for $500 or more.

Sorry for the rant, but I get angry at the way the schist is displacing quality in just about everything we buy.
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Old 12-29-16, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeinFL View Post
Brand new Bell 700c tube I pumped up with hand pump but stopped when I saw a bubble around the stem. Has not been in a tire yet. Is it ok? Would you use this?:


You have already over-inflated it, for not being inside a tire. IMO anyway.
You're not supposed to put a lot of air in them like this, because it can cause tears to form around the base of the stem.

As for the fact that it doesn't inflate perfectly the same size all-the-way-around, it's not going to do that near the stem, and what variation there is elsewhere is normal and doesn't hurt anything. When it's inside a tire on a rim, the tire restricts it to the tire's shape.

It is okay to put a bit of air in, just to get them to inflate to a round shape all-the-way-around, but you don't put in enough air to stretch it out.

Yes, I would use it.
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Old 12-29-16, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Does air leave a tube hole easier under water? ie. using your example, that same few PSI of pressure in a bare tube is enough pressure for air to get thru the hole but only if under water?

Have you never used this method? You squeeze the tube. Pretty simple, and it works well.
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Old 12-29-16, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by SquidPuppet View Post
This might be a total waste of time and effort. The amount of pressure that you can put into a bare tube is too low in many cases to cause the hole to leak.

let me explain it another way. Your tire was at 50 psi and leaked down to 20 psi and stabilized there because 19 psi isn't enough pressure to push air out of the hole. It's even worse when the tube is out of the tire because you are only putting in a couple of psi.

If you want to test tubes before using them I'd recommend submersing them in water as your best chance to spot a defect.
Overinflating the tube like a balloon will cause most holes to open up and leak out.

Just putting enough air into a tube to fill its shape (1 or 2 PSI), and it can appear unchanged for quite some time.
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Old 12-29-16, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by SquidPuppet View Post
Have you never used this method? You squeeze the tube. Pretty simple, and it works well.
I tried it once and gave up finding the hole, which I know it had as I had removed the tire radial wire from the tire after flatting. Makes sense now though.. by squeezing you're saying to effectively push a lot more PSI thru the tube. Not just submerge a low-inflated tire in a bathtub and look for bubbles.
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Old 12-29-16, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Overinflating the tube like a balloon will cause most holes to open up and leak out.
.

I've always avoided doing that. Just seems risky to me to go beyond their intended size. They can hold a lot of pressure when constrained, but I don't know if they will tolerate stretching very well. Might be a fun experiment someday.
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