It’s a wonderful, sunny day. The wind is in your hair and the scene is breathtaking. You are on cloud nine as life could not get better. It comes suddenly and as usual unexpectedly. A flat. Nothing could be more irritating.
We, after digging into all available sources, have come up with this authoritative, objective and up to date guide and have hand-picked 10 bike tubes that we back as the best in the market. Also, we have explained some important aspects that will help you understand your bike tube better and empower you to home in on the best bike tube available.
Top Schrader Valve Bike Tubes
Bike Tube – Buying Guide
1. Type of Valve
Schrader Vs Presta
It is quite remarkable that such a tiny part assumes great importance in giving a smooth ride. Over and above, many people assume that it is not important to know it’s working. Wrong. It needs more knowledge than assumed to check on correct functioning.
So what are these valves? The Schrader valve is commonly used (including on automobiles) and is usually found on common bike models. The Presta is found more on high-end bikes.
The Schrader valve is broader than a Presta and the outer part is threaded right down the length. Sealing of the opening is attained with a screw-down cap. At the center is a check valve with a spindle that when depressed allows air in only.
The Prest valve is slimmer, is tapered and is closed with a knurled, threaded cap. It does not make use of a check nut but is sealed by the pressure in the tube.
A Presta valve, also called a French valve, is preferred for the following reasons:
- Because the hole in the rim is small and thus contributes to rim strength.
- They are lighter too and so do not require a counterweight to ensure smooth wheel rolling.
- They seal tightly on air-pressure alone unlike a Schrader with its mechanical check valve that can clog.
- Adaptors are used for the extension.
2. Bike Type
The choice and dimensions of an inner tube are wholly dependant on the type of bike and the wheel. Road bikes use 700c wheels and gravel bikes 650b wheels. City and hybrid bikes use 26” wheels with broader tires. Folding and kids’ bikes have different wheel sizes.
3. Wheel Size and Diameter
Obtaining the correct bike tube size is pivotal to taper down pinching and over-stretching, both of which will lead to a flat tire. The dimensions are usually stamped on the tube. The diameter of the tube and that of the tire should match. A mismatch will make it difficult to change the tube and the tube is more prone to a flat. A few common diameters are 700c for a road bike, 24” for a BMX tire, 27” for a standard US bicycle and 26” for a fat tire.
4. Tire Width
These are marked prominently on the tube itself. The number after the diameter of the tube which comes foremost is the tube size. For example, a marking that says 27” X1 ¼ indicates that the width of the tire. Here again, like choosing a tube diameter according to the diameter of the tire, it is a good practice to go with the tire width for the tube.
5. Tube Material
Latex rubber or butyl rubber is the main constituent of bicycle tubes. They can balloon and are shaped like a doughnut. Provision for inflation by means of a valve is provided. The main differentiator between the two types is that standard rubber tubes are less flexible than latex tubes. When riding, they adjust rapidly altering shape. Latex tubes are also faster and lighter.
When exposed to grease and oil, latex manifest sensitivity. However, rubber tubes score higher in retaining air longer. They are also more fragile and therefore require frequent changing of tubes.
Carbon rims do not so transmit heat as readily as the alloy ones. So every time you brake, a hotspot is created that can damage the inner tube.
6. Puncture Resistance
If a removable core is provided with your bike tube, by the addition of a good sealant, puncture protection can be achieved. Add the sealant after removing the core and replace back. Large holes may not be affected but smaller holes will be taken care of. Some sealants are not compatible with latex tires and will fail over time.
7. Rolling Resistance
The rolling resistance is the force required to bend the tire where it makes road contact. That is applicable to the inner tube also. If it is too thick, the rolling resistance will be higher. The flexibility of the inner tube makes a great deal of difference. Latex is more flexible and thinner so it is suitable. A saving of 4-5 watts is indicated.
The disadvantage is that latex tubes are porous and hence leak air more quickly. They need to be topped up every time before use. Nowadays butyl rubber tubes are being made lightweight and are flexible with lower rolling resistance.
8. Wall Thickness
Mostly, tubes have a wall thickness of 1mm. Lesser wall thickness increases the probability of punctures. So if you decide on a tube with a lesser wall thickness than 1mm be prepared for more maintenance.
9. Weight and Thickness
Without bothering inordinately about puncture prevention, a tube weight reduction is an answer. Typically an inexpensive inner tube weighs 100-110g. More expensive tubes can weigh as low as 55g (all weights are inclusive of 60mm valves). It is well worth it to get lighter inner tubes.
10. Tubeless Tires
Tubeless tires have been in use on mountain bikes for some time now. Just recently have they made inroads into road tires. You will require to have a wheel that is tubeless-ready and a tire too. Otherwise, chances are that your tire will blow. A Presta valve is an attribute of tubeless tires. The valve needs to be connected first before mounting the tubeless tire. Going tubeless can be a tad tricky especially getting an airtight seal on the rim. Probably you will want to use a sealant for this with the added bonus of small punctures being taken care of.
11. Special Features
- Self-Sealing- self-sealing tubes are partially filled with a sealant. This sealant is distributed around the tube evenly and when a puncture occurs, it arrests the leak.
- Extra Toughness- this is a determinant of wall thickness and the tire side wall reinforcement.
- No More Tubes
For a review team to be effective in their picking, being up to date is cannot be compromised. We educate ourselves from various sources as to the latest happenings and changes in the market place and from the manufacturers’ websites so as to deliver to our customers a precise account.
In the course of this review, we find that for mountain bikes, an apt choice would be in our estimation would be the Slime 30045 Self-Sealing Tube and the Sunlite Schrader Standard. The Tenda tube is perfect for road bikes.
After reading this guide, road enthusiasts would be in a position to appreciate that the simple inner tube is a vital cog in the performance of your cycle and should be treated with great care.
When choosing an inner tube, we trust you are sufficiently armed with knowhow to go in for exactly what you need; the best bike tube on the market to cater to your needs.
1. How to procure the correct size of the bike tube?
The failproof method is to refer to your manual. The tube size is directly related to rim size diameter. Just use a measuring tape to ascertain the rim diameter. This is the required tube diameter.
2. Method of changing the inner tube of a bike?
The first move is to remove the wheel that has the flat. Deflate the tube and remove the tube. This can be accomplished with a wrench or even a shoehorn to lever out the edges of the tire. Do not use a screwdriver as the chances of further damage are great. Once the tube is off the rims, replace it with a new tube and not another old tube. Inflate slowly checking that the tire beading is sitting properly.
3. Is there any difference by using inner tubes?
An inner tube provides a cushion of air for your bike. This dampens vibrations and makes your ride more comfortable and smooth. You cannot expect the same ride quality with tubeless tires.
4. What use can old bike tubes be put to?
Retain old tubes. You can recycle them to cut out a patch when you need to repair punctures
You can use a little bit of DIY engineering to fashion a tool roll for your bike.
Again another DIY effort. You can easily rig fenders using some wire and a used tube.