Author Topic: Best inner tubes for commuting bike?  (Read 11336 times)

jeromedawg

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Best inner tubes for commuting bike?
« on: April 03, 2015, 02:22:16 PM »
Hey guys,

I just rode into work for the first time in a super long time on my 10+ yr old Trek 7700fx. It was a nice ride in (only 4-4.5 miles) and I think I'm going to try to do it a least once or twice a week moving forward. I really need to teach myself how to properly clean and tune though - it hasn't been tuned in a while so I'm wondering if I should just take it in somewhere to get fixed up initially. It rides fine otherwise.

The biggest concern for me is getting a flat on the road with an unrepairable tube. That said, I had a couple tubes from Performance Bike that I recently tried to change out and the presta valve component failed on me - literally, the endpin broke and fell back into the tube. I think I tossed the tube (which I realize now was stupid because I could have cut the tube to use for future repairs) and have since avoided purchasing more from Performance Bike. Granted, I bought the tubes around the time I bought the bike so perhaps quality has changed?

Do any of you have a preference for a certain brand though as far as tubes are concerned? I just don't want to buy a crappy brand tube to find that it's defective months later. Any advice on this? I feel a little bit 'naked' right now riding around without a spare. Fortunately, work isn't *that* far either.

johnny847

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Re: Best inner tubes for commuting bike?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2015, 02:40:46 PM »
Hey guys,

I just rode into work for the first time in a super long time on my 10+ yr old Trek 7700fx. It was a nice ride in (only 4-4.5 miles) and I think I'm going to try to do it a least once or twice a week moving forward. I really need to teach myself how to properly clean and tune though - it hasn't been tuned in a while so I'm wondering if I should just take it in somewhere to get fixed up initially. It rides fine otherwise.

The biggest concern for me is getting a flat on the road with an unrepairable tube. That said, I had a couple tubes from Performance Bike that I recently tried to change out and the presta valve component failed on me - literally, the endpin broke and fell back into the tube. I think I tossed the tube (which I realize now was stupid because I could have cut the tube to use for future repairs) and have since avoided purchasing more from Performance Bike. Granted, I bought the tubes around the time I bought the bike so perhaps quality has changed?

Do any of you have a preference for a certain brand though as far as tubes are concerned? I just don't want to buy a crappy brand tube to find that it's defective months later. Any advice on this? I feel a little bit 'naked' right now riding around without a spare. Fortunately, work isn't *that* far either.

I've just bought the cheapest brand of tubes from Performance Bicycle and had no issues related to the quality of the tubes. That doesn't mean I didn't have flats - but that was because I ran over something that no tube or tire could have prevented becoming flat.

jeromedawg

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Re: Best inner tubes for commuting bike?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2015, 03:13:57 PM »
Hey guys,

I just rode into work for the first time in a super long time on my 10+ yr old Trek 7700fx. It was a nice ride in (only 4-4.5 miles) and I think I'm going to try to do it a least once or twice a week moving forward. I really need to teach myself how to properly clean and tune though - it hasn't been tuned in a while so I'm wondering if I should just take it in somewhere to get fixed up initially. It rides fine otherwise.

The biggest concern for me is getting a flat on the road with an unrepairable tube. That said, I had a couple tubes from Performance Bike that I recently tried to change out and the presta valve component failed on me - literally, the endpin broke and fell back into the tube. I think I tossed the tube (which I realize now was stupid because I could have cut the tube to use for future repairs) and have since avoided purchasing more from Performance Bike. Granted, I bought the tubes around the time I bought the bike so perhaps quality has changed?

Do any of you have a preference for a certain brand though as far as tubes are concerned? I just don't want to buy a crappy brand tube to find that it's defective months later. Any advice on this? I feel a little bit 'naked' right now riding around without a spare. Fortunately, work isn't *that* far either.

I've just bought the cheapest brand of tubes from Performance Bicycle and had no issues related to the quality of the tubes. That doesn't mean I didn't have flats - but that was because I ran over something that no tube or tire could have prevented becoming flat.

Thanks! Are those the "Forte" brand tubes?

MountainBeard

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Re: Best inner tubes for commuting bike?
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2015, 04:31:20 PM »
I had trouble with my old pump snapping off preta valves too.  Since I switched over to Lezyne brand pumps (screw on) I've had zero problems.

If your big concern is flatting, just carry a mini pump and spare tube.  There are lots of underseat bags that will work for this.

jeromedawg

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Re: Best inner tubes for commuting bike?
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2015, 05:01:00 PM »
I had trouble with my old pump snapping off preta valves too.  Since I switched over to Lezyne brand pumps (screw on) I've had zero problems.

If your big concern is flatting, just carry a mini pump and spare tube.  There are lots of underseat bags that will work for this.

Yep, I've got a Lezyne Mini with the flex hose and love it. I had a different pump and hated how hard it was to use. The Lezyne is awesome. I just need to get some more spare tubes but wasn't sure if certain brands are better than others. I may just try the Performance Bike Fortes, as the tubes I got from them that were jacked up were from 2005 haha. I'm gonna see if I actually did keep the tube that broke to see if I can exchange it too.

johnny847

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Re: Best inner tubes for commuting bike?
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2015, 06:03:55 PM »
Hey guys,

I just rode into work for the first time in a super long time on my 10+ yr old Trek 7700fx. It was a nice ride in (only 4-4.5 miles) and I think I'm going to try to do it a least once or twice a week moving forward. I really need to teach myself how to properly clean and tune though - it hasn't been tuned in a while so I'm wondering if I should just take it in somewhere to get fixed up initially. It rides fine otherwise.

The biggest concern for me is getting a flat on the road with an unrepairable tube. That said, I had a couple tubes from Performance Bike that I recently tried to change out and the presta valve component failed on me - literally, the endpin broke and fell back into the tube. I think I tossed the tube (which I realize now was stupid because I could have cut the tube to use for future repairs) and have since avoided purchasing more from Performance Bike. Granted, I bought the tubes around the time I bought the bike so perhaps quality has changed?

Do any of you have a preference for a certain brand though as far as tubes are concerned? I just don't want to buy a crappy brand tube to find that it's defective months later. Any advice on this? I feel a little bit 'naked' right now riding around without a spare. Fortunately, work isn't *that* far either.

I've just bought the cheapest brand of tubes from Performance Bicycle and had no issues related to the quality of the tubes. That doesn't mean I didn't have flats - but that was because I ran over something that no tube or tire could have prevented becoming flat.

Thanks! Are those the "Forte" brand tubes?

Uh yes in fact they are.

Rubic

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Re: Best inner tubes for commuting bike?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2015, 08:04:21 PM »
Interestly the tubes that I'm most confident in are the ones I 'patched', since I'm certain they can hold air (no hidden punctures, valve problems, etc.)  That said, I'd usually carry a pair of tubes when riding solo for redundancy and don't worry about which brand I use, assuming I choose the appropriate tube for the correct tire size.

The cheaper tubes may actually be more reliable because you're often paying up for lightweight racer gear (racers spend lots of money to reduce grams) which isn't the best criterium for commuting use. 

JRA64

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Re: Best inner tubes for commuting bike?
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2015, 09:37:10 PM »
This is a different take on your question....  About a year ago, my local bike shop sold me a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires that they said were developed especially for commuters, very flat resistant. Knock on wood, after over a year of riding, I've not had a single flat. And I've experienced LOTS of flats over the years! My personal record is 11 in one summer. I absolutely LOVE these tires. I don't remember the cost - tires never seem cheap to me - but I will buy these again when they finally wear out. Even so, I have at least two spare tubes and a patch kit with me at all times.

I think I have had some problems with performance tires, though I'm not positive. I think I got one which wasn't sealed around the valve stem. Another time I opened a box labeled Presta and found out they were Schrader valves months after I bought them.

I do patch and re-use tubes, but I toss them after three patches.

nonsequitur

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Re: Best inner tubes for commuting bike?
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2015, 10:40:18 PM »
I'll also chime in for Schwalbe.  You don't even need the Marathon Plus--I've got four regular Marathon tires (my and my partner's daily commuters), with Schwalbe tubes, and zero punctures since they've been installed, more than a year ago.  In the two years previous, we probably averaged a puncture every 6 weeks or so. 

jeromedawg

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Re: Best inner tubes for commuting bike?
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2015, 09:55:56 AM »
Thanks for the info on the Schwalbes! I actually stumbled across them earlier on Amazon but they seemed a bit pricey at $19.99 for two. But it sounds like you get what you pay for. I ended up ordering Fortes but maybe I'll just order the Schwalbes as well. In my limited experience, it seems it doesn't hurt to have lots of spares haha.

otter

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Re: Best inner tubes for commuting bike?
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2015, 02:33:01 PM »
Schwalbe and Michelin tubes probably have the best quality of what is commonly available. Between those two, probably Schwalbe. Make sure you know how to repair flats, and always carry a spare tube in addition to the usual patch kit and tools, and you'll be fine. As far as tires go, tires like the Marathon Plus that are armored will generally cut down on the frequency of flats, but they don't tend to ride very nicely. You may not be sensitive to ride quality, or you may be but not care about it; in either case, tires like the marathon plus would probably make you happy. I like super-plush fast tires and am willing to pay for them, but I am sort of an outlier.

jeromedawg

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Re: Best inner tubes for commuting bike?
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2015, 02:36:51 PM »
Thanks for the tips! I ended up bringing my old failed Performance Bike tubes back to a local store and the manager was nice enough to just let me swap them out with Fortes. So I ended up doing that and got a couple new tubes out of it. I did place a ship-to-store order for 4 of the puncture-resistant Fortes but I may just cancel the order after all is said and done.

Le Poisson

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Re: Best inner tubes for commuting bike?
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2015, 02:53:43 PM »
My biggest concerns in town tend to be 'snakebite' flates which are the result of under-inflation. Best cure - inflate your tires properly! (Duh!)

When I was riding X-country there was a lot of debate about the value of a tire-liner to prevent flats.

Best advice I've got is as was said above -look into a patch kit to carry with you, and maybe a spare tube in it. Compare prices of bike bags here to those locally. I found some good savings, but they take a long time to reach you (shipped direct from Hong Kong) http://www.dx.com/s/bike+repair.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Best inner tubes for commuting bike?
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2015, 03:51:34 PM »
Fixing a flat is easy. Watch a couple videos on youtube. Carry a spare tube, some tire levers and a pump.

Flat resistant tires are expensive and roll very slowly. I'd never bother with them myself.

Tire liners will start to breakdown and cause flats of their very own where they wear through a tube and they also add rolling resistance to the tire. Not worth considering in my opinion.

I would just roll with what you have for now. Don't ride super far to the right in the road where all the debris builds up which causes a lot of flats.

If you end up getting more than the occasional flat and you want to do something I'd suggest setting your tires up tubeless which replaces the tubes with sealant that blocks any small punctures without needing any attention. The tire will actually roll faster without the tube and it's quite hard to puncture a tubeless tire.

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sol

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Re: Best inner tubes for commuting bike?
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2015, 08:55:21 PM »
Generally speaking, you get flats because you have the wrong tire, not the wrong tube.

There are lots of puncture-resistant tires out there, and they all work.  The above mentioned marathons are fine, and I've heard good things about the Conti Gatorskins, and I run Panaracer Ribmos that haven't had a single flat in four years of city use. 

darkadams00

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Re: Best inner tubes for commuting bike?
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2015, 06:46:30 AM »
After looking for a minimal-flat alternative a couple years ago, I'm still on my first set of Gatorskins with more than 6,000 miles on them--no flats. They're a little more expensive and a little heavier, but for a commuting tire, they have my stamp of approval (performance is more about the engine and extra poundage in my case anyway). Given my experience with them, I just bought another set two weeks ago to put on another bike I bought in March. Extra sets of tubes have been sitting around unused for quite a time in my bike kits.

Miss Tash

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Re: Best inner tubes for commuting bike?
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2015, 01:41:41 PM »
I second the Gatorskins.  I won't ride anything else.  My bike seller had to be forced to put them on my new bike (Pinarello) but he finally did it.  I put on 6k miles per year of hard riding and I hate flatting out.  Also, I replace the tube using the CO2 canisters because its quick and then patch the tube at home when I have lots of time. 

frugaliknowit

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Re: Best inner tubes for commuting bike?
« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2015, 01:45:59 PM »
I think the money spent on puncture resistant tires is worth it (amardillo and the like).