Bicycle Tubes: Sizing, Material &
You don't really need me to explain that the reason you buy a collection
of bicycle tubes is to hold the air in your "non-tubeless clincher
tire". Bike tires do exist that do not require a tube but that's
pretty rare... so here's a bit of information about the various
options that might keep you riding longer before the inevitable
It is always best to buy bicycle tubes that matches your tire in
diameter. A 24" tube for a 24" tire, but a close metric
equivalent will also do the job as long as we're not talking about
a huge difference in diameter.
It is not as important to purchase the exact width of tube to
match your existing tire, as the typical tube has a fair degree
of elasticity to conform to your existing bicycle tire, but keep
this in mind.
If you buy a wide width say 2 1/2" bicycle tube when you really
only need a 2" width, it will not cause any harm and remain
under inflated, But the tube will be much heavier with the extra
rubber needed for the wider design.
If you select a tube that is narrower than your tire design, the
tube will be stretched more than normal, decreasing the rubber's
effective thickness and thus increase its chance of punctures.
Bottom line is that the best approach is to get into the habit
of purchasing bicycle tubes that match as closely as possible to
your tire size. Match the sizes to both your bicycle road tires
and a wider size for your mountain bike tires. This particular bicycle
part isn't expensive to inventory extras.
There are two different types of bike tire tube stems. Tubes can
have either a shrader or presta valve, each with its own advantages.
Shrader valves are very common and easily filled at the standard
gas station pump. Presta Valves are common on road bikes where their
slimmer design creates less drag and requires a smaller hole in
the narrow road bike rim.
Slime, puncture protection?
an extra few dollars you can purchase bicycle tubes with a chemical
sprayed into the inside of the tube to seal small punctures as they
happen. One brand of the sealant is actually called "Slime"
and they produce a Slime Self-Sealing Tube. The chemical leaks out
of small punctures and solidifies on contact with the air. You'll
never know you had a leak.
Composition of Bicycle Tubes:
Bicycle tubes can be made of Latex or Butyl rubber. Butyl being
the synthetic man-made made version of naturally "grown"
Butyl bicycle tubes are the norm. This is what you find at your
standard bicycle parts outlet store. It is cheap and holds air well
in comparision to the natural rubber equavalent.
Bicycle Wheels: Tubes and Tires, Spokes
Bicycle Parts including Wheels,
Power Train, Brakes & Frames