LAST UPDATED: November 27, 2019
Best Bike Tubes: Basic but Essential Parts for All Cyclists
Get the best out of your tires with these top three bike tubes
The Review Team
How We Decided
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PUBLISHED ON November 27, 2019
Whether you’re commuting to work or getting your kicks from flying down a mountain, there’s one thing you shouldn’t go on a bike ride without. If you bring along a replacement inner tube, you can repair punctures at the side of the road and quickly get back on your way. The tube you choose will ultimately affect how your bike performs, so it’s important to be informed. We’ve gathered the three best bike tubes on the market.
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- Buy the right size inner tube for your bike. Measure the circumference of your wheel for the right length and then check how narrow or wide of an inner tube you need to properly fill your tire.
- Always check your existing inner tube to determine the type of valve you need. There are two common types: Presta and Schrader. Presta valves are long and narrow with a built-in twist lock, while Schrader valves are typically short and squat.
- If you’re looking for a smoother ride, choose latex over butyl rubber tubes. Latex tubes are lighter and more supple but are also more challenging to fit and need topping up more often than butyl tubes.
Q: Do bicycle inner tubes have an expiration date?
A: The life of your bike tube depends on the quality of its construction. In general, they shouldn’t need to be replaced unless you get a flat tire.
Q: Are latex tubes more resistant to punctures than butyl tubes?
A: Latex is stretchier and more pliable, so latex tubes do tend to be more puncture resistant. However, this also means they need inflating on an almost daily basis, and this extra effort is likely to outweigh the advantages of fewer accidents.
Q: How do I store bike tubes?
A: It’s sensible to protect tubes from damage as much as possible while not in use. Keep the cap on the valve and store it in the original box, a ziplock bag with talcum powder, or wrapped in an old sock.
The high-quality butyl rubber TAC 9 26” Bike Tubes w/ 32 mm Schrader Valve is our pick for best overall bike tubes, while the sealant-filled Slime Self Healing 20” Schrader Bicycle Tube is our best value pick.