10 Best Bike Tube Reviews and Newbie Guide 2020 (Expert)
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Flat tires are a fact of life for all bikers. They’re frustrating and dangerous. And no matter how cautious a biker you’re, you can’t run away from them.
Even worse, punctures happen unexpectedly…or when you least expect.
But there’s a way around it…
Arming yourself with the best bike tubes can save you when a puncture catches up with you when you’re far from a repair shop or your tube can’t take more repairs.
In line with this, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to reveal to you the secret to finding good-quality, reliable bike tubes for your specific bike.
The following guide will take you through some of the most popular bike tubes on the market today (plus some exclusive tips on choosing the right one for you).
Do inner tubes make a difference?
You might think that inner tubes aren’t much important but they affect the performance of your bike to a great extent. They’re responsible for holding the air that holds your bike off the ground—directly affecting how your bike rolls/rides.
One way in which the inner tubes make a difference in your bike performance is by reducing the rolling resistance (or rolling friction/rolling drag) of the tires. See, when your bike tires come into contact with the road, a force is needed to bend them which leads to the rolling resistance.
In the process of your tire bending, the inner tube has to bend too, and if it’s thick (well inflated), it helps conquer the rolling friction for easy rolling of the tires.
The incredible flexibility of your inner tubes also makes a difference. As you’re already aware, tubes are made using rubber—natural latex rubber or butyl rubber. We all know that rubber is a flexible material and this can further enhance the tube’s ability to reduce the rolling resistance.
Latex tubes are thinner and more flexible, making them even more helpful at reducing the drag.
NOTE: Keep your inner tube properly inflated at all times for optimal performance. Under-inflated tires are slower and don’t do well at decreasing the rolling resistance.
10 Best Bike Tubes Reviews:
1. Bell Standard and Self Sealing Bike Tubes
If you’re looking for the best bicycle tubes for your kiddo’s bike, this cheaply priced tube from Bell is a cool choice. It’s made to fit bikes with wheel diameter 16 inches and widths: 1.75 to 2.25". This is where the wheel size for most kids’ bikes falls.
As you can easily tell from its name, this tube comes in both standard and self-sealing style. The self-sealing style tube got our attention since it comes with a pre-installed liquid sealant which stands up against punctures for as long as 2 years! This unique tire seal holes up to 1.8-inch as you ride—keeping the possibility of getting a flat pretty low.
The standard model doesn’t come with self-sealing properties. But given that it comes with Schrader valve, which has an easily removable core, you can easily put the sealant material on your own. What’s more, this type of valve is easy to pump using the car pump.
Since this tube is made of exceptionally durable mold cured rubber, it’s sure to hold up to a lot of pressure, making it a good choice for mountain bikes.
Each box comes with only one tube, which is pretty understandable given the low cost. If you need to replace both tubes of your bike, you’ll need to grab two of these packages.
2. Slime 30045 Self-Sealing Smart Tube
Slime 30045 is another great self-sealing tube that instantly and repeatedly seals itself for a period of up to 2 years. it comes designed to seal the notorious tread area punctures—keeping flats at bay and ensuring you enjoy more riding time.
Like our first tube above, this tube also comes at a fair cost for a seal-sealing bike tube. It comes pre-installed with Slime sealant which helps provide maximum puncture protection for up to 2 years. Since it comes with the standard Schrader valve, inflating it is a breeze and you can easily reapply the sealant when the need arises.
This smart tube is made to fit adults bikes whose wheels have a diameter of 26 inches and widths ranging from 1.75 to 2.125 inches.
Extra-thick butyl rubber is used to construct this tube, and together with the extra layer of sealant make it a super-strong tube that every biker dreams of. The box comes with one tube and the instructions which make the installation part straightforward for you.
3. Street Fit 360 Tubes
Street Fit 360 has got something for every biker. Their tubes come in a variety of sizes to meet the needs of all bikers—from strollers to youth bikers, recumbent, road, mountain, urban, street bikers, and more!
The diameter of the tubes ranges from 20” all the way up to 700cc while the width starts from 1.75” and ends up 1 3/8”. By knowing the size and width of your bike tires, you’ll get to know which size of tube to choose.
All their tubes come with the standard Schrader valve which is hassle-free to inflate and easily removable. However, the 700 x 18-23 (27 x 1”) is an exception as it features the Presta valve.
Regarding the packaging, these tubes are sold in 1, 2, or 5 tubes per package. And the price is great if you buy more order the package with more tubes. The quality is also decent for this price.
4. Mongoose Bicycle Tube for Fat Tire Bikes
If your fat bike tires need a new set of tubes, this Mongoose Bicycle Tube package is a sure bet. For those who didn’t know, Mongoose is a popular manufacturer of quality bike accessories.
Their tubes come in a variety of sizes to meet the needs of different fat tire bike owners. these sizes include the 20” x 4”, 24” x 3”, 24” x 4”, 26” x 4”, and 27.5” x 3”. What is the size of your fat bike tires?
Just like most of the previously discussed tubes, this tube comes with the standard Schrader valve system for problem-free inflation. The valve’s core is also easily removable when the need arises, say when you want to add a sealant to the tubes to make them self-sealing.
If it’s from Mongoose, it’s made of quality. This applies to this particular tube as it comes with a heavy-duty design (it’s thicker than the standard tubes), thanks to quality butyl rubber used to construct it.
5. Schwinn Tube
If you’re on the hunt for the best mountain bike tubes at fair prices, you should include Schwinn tube in your shortlist. This tube gives you some peace of mind knowing that you can easily take care of flats as soon as they show up and continue exploring the trail.
We expect a bike tube from Schwinn to be well made and durable. This Schwinn tube features a sturdy rubber construction which enables it to stand up to all forms of riding.
The tube comes with the Schrader valve system and fits all 26” mountain bikes…though it comes in other several size variations to allow you to choose the right one for your specific mtb bike.
6. Continental 42mm Presta Valve Tube
For the best road bike inner tubes, the Continental Tube doesn’t disappoint. It’s a fact of life that those fancy tires on your road bike can go flat anytime and arming yourself with this set of spare tubes is highly recommended.
These premium inner tubes are loved by riders and champions all over the world. One thing which sets them from their competition is their unparalleled quality. they’re vulcanized tubes—which are seamless and mold-cured for uniform roundness and greater reliability at the valve system.
Mind you; every Continental tube has to pass a stringent 100% quality control inspection before being released into the market.
Another thing we loved about this tube is its unitube system. This facilitates greater compatibility of the tubes with even more tire sizes.
The major difference between this tube and the others we’ve discussed on this list is it comes with a Presta valve system. This is the most suitable type of valve for road bike tires. Remember the valve core is 100% removable for flexibility.
7. Diamondback 16x1.75-2.125 Schrader Valve Bicycle Tube
Still looking for a good tube set to replace the old, punctured tubes in your kid’s small bike? If yes, this reliable tube from Diamondback is another great choice for you.
The bike tube is made to fit small bike wheels with a diameter of 16 inches a width of 1.75 to 2.125 inches. Check the readings on the side of your young rider’s tires to know if this tube will truly fit in those wheels. Some parents have also used these tubes on strollers with 16-inch diameter wheels, where it works pretty well.
The tube has a wall thickness of 0.9mm. Although they might sound thin, it’s not that bad for a kid’s bike…and for the price of this tube.
Like the majority of tubes featured on this list, this tube comes with the regular Schrader valve. This means it’s easy to inflate and will hold air pretty well.
Parents who have bought this tube explain that it works pretty well. It’s easy to install and gets their kids back on the road without worries of getting flats again.
8. Continental 42MM/60MM Presta Valve Bicycle Tube
Here’s another set of premium inner tubes, ideal for any rider looking for the best road bike tubes. These quality tubes will do a good job holding air in your tires while minimizing chances of punctures.
Like the other Continental tube, this one also comes with the Presta valve system (with lengths 42mm and 60mm), which is suitable for use with road bike tires. What’s more, the valve core is easily removable whenever you want to add Revo sealant or add extenders.
These tubes also boast of seamless construction which eliminates all the weak points, significantly reducing the chances of a puncture occurring. Not to forget the tube is mold cured and vulcanized to ensure uniform roundness and greater reliability.
Keep in mind that the complete package contains 2 premium tubes plus a FREE bike a mile patch kit to help you take care of flats while riding.
9. Slime Smart Tube Schrader Valve Bicycle Tube
The best way to prevent flat tires is by installing a self-sealing tube like these ones from Slime on your bike. With their ability to repeatedly and instantly seals any holes on your tubes, you’ll spend less time fixing punctures and more time riding your bike.
The smart tire’s self-sealing ability lies in the factory-installed FibroSeal Technology which enables it to instantly seal holes as tiny as 1/8-inch (or 3mm). Note that this sealant doesn’t freeze or dry up; it remains in liquid form for a period of 2 years.
Just like the other Slime tube we discussed earlier on, this tube is also made from extra thick butyl rubber. This helps increase its durability and resistance to puncturing as well as degradation from the sealant with time.
This tube features the regular Schrader valve which is synonymous with the mountain bike inner tubes. It fits tires with a diameter of 24 inches and a width ranging from 1.75 all the way up to 2.125.
Oh! Don’t forget that each package comes with 2 tubes, one for each wheel of your mtb!
10. Street Fit 360 32mm Schrader Valve Tube
Our bike inner tube reviews come to a close with another bike tube from Street Fit 360. This tube is made for tires of cruiser bikes, mountain bikes, and any other tires with a diameter of 26 inches and a width of 1.95 to 2.125 inches.
The inner tubes are extremely easy to install and work pretty well. They hold air. They’re equipped with 32mm Schrader valve which makes the inflation a breeze.
The quality of these inner tubes is great too. They’re made of great materials which hold up to the pressure of different riding situations for increased longevity.
If you want good value for money, these tubes will give you just that. All the previous users of these tubes agree that they come with a great package deal and the price is great.
How Do I Choose a Bike Tube?
DON’T let anyone lie to you! There’s no such a thing like universal bike tubes.
Bike tubes vary in terms of diameter, width, construction material, type of valve, and even price.
With that said, you’ll need to be careful which tube you choose to ensure it fits and works on your specific bike.
We have compiled the 4 MOST important tips to help you easily choose the best bike inner tubes for your bike(s).
The 4 TIPS include:
1. What’s the tube size?
First and foremost, you’ll need to check the size of the tube you’re buying to ensure it will fit your bike tire.
Checking the tube size boils down to:
So, how do you get to know the diameter and width of your bike?
It’s simple…check the sidewalls markings on your tire and you’ll see numbers separated by letter x. the first number refers to the tire diameter while the second number is the width.
For instance, a tire marked 26 x 2.35 means it has a diameter of 26 inches and a width of 2.35 inches.
What if you’re far from your bike?
You might consider checking up this info on the website of your bike manufacturer. Most brands usually indicate the full specifications of their bike modes, including the tire size.
2. Check the tube material
Next, you should check at the type of material used to make the tube you want to buy.
As we hinted you a bit earlier, the two most common materials used to make bike tubes include latex and butyl.
Of the two materials, butyl is the most common since tubes made of the same are relatively durable and cheap. What’s more, butyl tubes can easily be sealed using the standard bike repair kits by the road.
Most bake parts manufacturers also make lightweight butyl tubes to help cut weight for racing purposes. However, such tubes are usually pricier and thin-walled –making them more prone to puncturing.
What about latex bike tubes?
Well, these are the lightest of the two. The lightweight, however, means a thinner rubber layer and less durability. They’re also highly priced than butyl tubes.
Bikers who have used latex tubes before state that they’re a bit challenging to fit onto your bike wheel without immediately pinching, ripping them. They also lead air faster than butyl tubes, meaning you’ll need to keep pumping them. Not forgetting they can’t be repaired using a flat kit once they get ripped.
Overall butyl tubes are more popular among bikers, and we suggest that you get them instead of the latex ones.
3. Check the valve that comes with the tube
Another important thing you need to check when buying a bike tube is the valve (the type of valve used and its length).
Let’s start with valve type…
As you’ve already noticed in our top bike tube reviews above, the two most popular types of valves for bike tubes include Schrader and Presta valves.
Quick TIP: if you go with the Presta valve, make sure it comes with a removable core. This will enable you to easily add a valve extender or even a sealant (for self-healing purposes, as discussed below).
Regardless of which valve style you choose, you’ll need to check its length.
This is how you decide the appropriate length:
If your bike has the typically shallow-rim road wheels, a valve of any length will work for you. If your bike wheels have deep rims however, you should consider getting a tube with longer valves (or valves with a removable core to let you easily add a valve extender.
4. Standard or self-sealing tube?
One more decision you’ll need to make when choosing a bike tube is whether to get a standard or self-sealing tube.
Unlike the standard tubes, self-sealing tubes come with a pre-installed liquid sealant inside which provides an extra layer of puncture protection. It does this by instantly sealing holes up to 1/8-inch while you ride.
Honestly, this is a great feature to have in a bike tube as it can help minimize flats.
The price gap between standard and self-sealing tubes isn’t significant, so getting this convenient tube will not cost you your life savings.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are all bike tubes the same?
No, bikes tubes are not the same. They vary widely and the right one for you depends on what bike you ride. The most notable differences among tubes include the size, construction material, and so on.
Check our buying guide above on how to quickly shoes the ideal tubes for your bike.
2. How do I puncture-proof my bike tubes?
The most popular method of puncture-proofing your bike tires involves adding a good sealant into it.
For you to be able to do this, however, you’ll need tubes whose valve system has a removable core.
To protect your tubes from punctures:
While this method might not help in case of larger holes, it works magically to instantly seal the smaller holes (up to 3mm) as you ride.
A good sealant can offer flat tire protection for up to 2 years, without freezing or drying up.
However, keep in mind that this method might not work for latex inner tubes as they may fail with time.
3. What do I do in case of a flat tire?
If you encounter a flat tire, you have two main options—to replace the punctured inner tube with a spare one or to seal the puncture.
The former is an easier and faster fix as it involves replacing the worn out inner tube with a new, more reliable one (check our list of top tubes above for tube spare options.
The other method involves using a repair kit to seal the hole (this kit is readily available in your local bike shop). Here, you’ll need to first identify the spot where your tube is leaking. You’ll also need to check where the spot was in contact with the tire to see if debris, e.g. a glass piece, could have caused the puncture.
The whole repair process will take you around 5-10 minutes as you’ll need to wait for the glue to dry up and inflate the tube with a hand pump.
Flat tires are a fact of life for all cyclists. It doesn’t matter how or where you ride your bike—a puncture will always catch up with you when you least expect it.
With this in mind, we encourage you to equip yourself with spare quality bike tubes to help you take care of puncture when they occur so that you continue enjoying your rides.
The market has varieties and varieties of bike tubes, so you’ll need to be careful about what you choose to ensure it works on your bike.
The key factors to look out for when shopping for the perfect bike tubes for your specific bike type include the diameter and width of the tube, tube material, type and length of the valve used. You might also want to look for self-healing tubes which seal any punctures instantly as you ride.
Get yourself one of the10 best bike tubes we’ve outlined in this post for the ultimate reliability and durability.