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MTB tube "stretchability"

Old 08-20-23, 07:32 PM
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MTB tube "stretchability" wrt to tire width

Went into REI today to look for a 26-2.20 tube. Turned out my location only carries their own CO-OP brand of 26" tubes, which are available in 1.5-1.75, 1.9-2.125 and 2.3-2.4 widths. The 2.2 width is not covered by these ranges. Meanwhile, when I look for 26" tubes on Amazon, I see Continental-branded offerings that cover 1.75-2.50 range.

My question is why REI CO-OP tubes are sized with such surprisingly narrow precision, especially compared to overwhelmingly wider range covered by Continental tubes? Are they really made differently? Different material? Different thickness?

In a pinch, would 1.9-2.125 be suitable for 2.2 tire? Or should I opt for 2.3-2.4 in such a situation?

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Old 08-20-23, 10:41 PM
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It will be fine. Back in the day I'd carry 26er tubes as backups because they are smaller and work in everything including 29ers.
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Old 08-21-23, 05:28 AM
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Personally I prefer to run undersized tubes when using butyl tubes. They are lighter and less bulky when carrying spares. They are easier to install without pinching. I have not had a reliability issue, but you could concievably experience one if you go too far. I have gone pretty far undersized on touring bike tires with no issues though. They do lose air a bit quicker so may need topping off a bit more often if way undersized. That effect would not be noticeable unless very undersized though.
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Old 08-21-23, 09:15 AM
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I was an early 29er adopter and the only tubes available were 26" when I assembled it; it was that way for at least a year. BTW, FME, REI tubes are excellent and relatively inexpensive lately.
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Old 08-22-23, 11:09 AM
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I've used 26 x 2.4 tubes on my fat bike tires which are 26 x 4.8 with zero issues. And that's what I still carry around for back up in case my tubeless setup deflates.

Those tubes stretch farther than you think.
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Old 08-22-23, 12:32 PM
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The 1.9-2.125" tubes will easily stretch to fill a 2.2" tube. Tube markings are more guidelines than specs.
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Old 08-22-23, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by AndreyT
Went into REI today to look for a 26-2.20 tube. Turned out my location only carries their own CO-OP brand of 26" tubes, which are available in 1.5-1.75, 1.9-2.125 and 2.3-2.4 widths. The 2.2 width is not covered by these ranges. Meanwhile, when I look for 26" tubes on Amazon, I see Continental-branded offerings that cover 1.75-2.50 range.

My question is why REI CO-OP tubes are sized with such surprisingly narrow precision, especially compared to overwhelmingly wider range covered by Continental tubes? Are they really made differently? Different material? Different thickness?

In a pinch, would 1.9-2.125 be suitable for 2.2 tire? Or should I opt for 2.3-2.4 in such a situation?
Different manufacturers list a different range for their stuff. Generally for tubes I would go slightly oversized than undersized. REI is not the most ideal of bike shops but sometimes they are good in a pinch.

In terms of Continental Tubes, they make great tubes have run them for years but get them from a shop to make sure you are getting legitimate ones as always. They can be a bit more expensive but they are high quality rubber and I probably have quite a few sitting in bikes that have been there for 5-10 years.
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Old 08-22-23, 07:21 PM
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It will work at like 2:1 size because it herniates. Thereís a chance if it punctures it will pop like a party balloon. It leaves an unpatchable flappy hole. Itís happened to me but only once

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