Inside the bike tire, there is an inflated butyl or Latex material, called an inner tube, that ensures riders get a balanced and efficient ride. However, inner tubes come in different sizes.
The size of the bike tube directly affects the performance of your bike. So, it is important to ask, what size bike tube do I need? Well, this article will discuss the different sizes of an inner tube and what size to get for your bicycle tire.
Table of Contents
- What Is an Inner Tube?
- Inner Tube Sizes
- Picking the Right Inner Tube for Bikes
What Is an Inner Tube?
An inner tube is an inflatable material typically found inside a bicycle tire. It holds the air in the tires and maintains a safe and smooth ride every time you are on the road.
If you get the perfect inner tire for your bicycle, you will notice that your ride is faster, lighter, more reliable, and less prone to punctures.
Here are ways the inner tube affects your bike ride:
1. Rolling resistance
The force necessary to bend the tire while it touches the road is termed the rolling resistance. When the tire bends, the inner tube also bends. So, if your inner tube is thicker than necessary, the rolling resistance increases.
Aside from the thickness, you have to consider the flexibility of your inner tube material. Inner tubes can be made of synthetic butyl rubber or natural latex rubber.
Between the two, latex offers more flexibility to your bike tire. It is also thinner compared to butyl rubber. If you want to lessen the rolling resistance of your bike and make it smoother, you can go for a latex inner tube.
But this kind of inner tube is also more porous. So, air tends to leak quickly; you will have to pump your tires regularly.
2. Puncture resistance
If you are looking for a puncture-resistant inner bike tube, a latex inner bike tube is preferable. The rubber in a latex inner tube is flexible and stretchier. You can also use a sealant to protect your inner tube. Sealants are perfect for inner tubes that come with removal cores.
You can use a sealant to seal the holes you might get when your bike encounters sharp objects or debris. Puncture protection from sealants is excellent, especially on-road and mountain biking.
To find bike tube size, you should also factor in the weight. Basically, a regular inner bike tube weighs from 100g to 110g. If you want to lessen the weight, you can cut it down to 55g.
Inner Tube Sizes
Bike inner tube sizes vary. When you visit a bike shop, you would usually encounter bicycle sizes like 700x38c, 700x23c, or 700x23c. These sizes use the ‘French system’, and represent the diameter and width of the tire. There are other tires that follow European Tyre and Rim Technical Organization (ETRTO) sizing system. For instance, the 700x28c in the French system corresponds to 28-622 sizing.
Take a look at this bike tire tube size chart, inner tube tires usually come in these sizes:
Common Inner Tube Ranges for 26-Inch, 27.5-Inch, and 29-Inch Tire Diameters
- 0 to 1.15 inches
- 25 to 2.0 inches
- 0 to 2.35 inches
- 4 to 3.0 inches
Common Inner Tube Ranges for 700c Tire Diameter
- 18 to 23 millimeters
- 20 to 25 millimeters
- 28 to 32 millimeters
- 35 to 43 millimeters
Picking the Right Inner Tube for Bikes
If you want to get the perfect tube size for your mountain bike, you have to know the procedure to the pick right tube size. These simple instructions can help you find the right inner tube for your bicycle and understand the conversion chart better:
1. Correct size
When choosing the correct size, there are two vital dimensions you need to consider – diameter and width. These specifications can be found in the bike tire itself and help you measure bike tube size. You will find numbers on your tire. The first one shows the diameter size, while the second one is the width.
The diameter sizes can be 26, 24, 20, 27.5, 29, and the 700c standard tire diameter. On the other hand, the second number indicates the inner tube width. The measurement can range from 1 to 3 inches in width.
A regular road bike comes with 700c wheels and requires 700c inner tubes. Bigger bike wheel diameters like those for gravel bikes can come with 650b or 700c wheels. The size can be used in smaller bikes, too.
With 700c wheels, you can use a valve of 25mm in width. This measurement is compatible with road bikes. You also have a 28mm tire as an option.
2. Correct valve stem
The ideal inner tube for your bike also requires you to consider the correct valve stem. The valve stem corresponds to the metal part of the bicycle wheel that comes out and permits air to pass through your tire.
The valve stem can be Schrader, Woods/Dunlop, and Presta. Schrader and Presta are the commonly used valve stems, while Dunlop is rare. You can find it in the Netherlands and some parts of Asia.
- Presta valve inner tube
Presta valves are very narrow and come with a screw at the tip. You have to unscrew the tip to put air into the tire. They are also lighter and smaller compared to other types of the valve stem. As a result, you will feel lighter when riding with a Presta valve inner tube.
This type of valve stem is great for withstanding air pressure and has a better tight seal than any other valve type. They are extendable and so are perfect for deep-section wheels.
- Schrader valve inner tubes
Schrader valve inner tubes are similar to the tubes used on cars. They are not compatible with the wheeled drilled for a Presta valve. Most Schrader valves are industrial and widely used on cars and trucks.
They are also highly durable and less likely to bend and break. With a larger valve stem like Schrader, more air can pass through the device to quickly inflate the tire. Car pumps are also compatible with a Schrader valve inner tube.
- Woods valve inner tube
Woods or Dunlop inner tubes are rarer compared to Schrader and Presta valves. It has a similar look with a Presta valve, but has a collar that holds the valve core into place. It is bigger than Presta and less likely to bend. Little air pressure can pass through the valve, so it will take a little more time to inflate the tire.
3. Quality or durability
Durability should also be a major consideration when choosing your bike’s inner tube. A high-quality bike inner tube will save you from experiencing flat tires. You can always ride flat-free if you use an excellent bike size inner tube.
You can also use self-sealing tubes to prevent tires from getting flat. It is the best kind of protection you can give to your inner tube. Self-sealant tubes can increase the longevity of your bike tube too.
For well-balanced and comfortable rides, it is necessary to pick the right tube for your bicycle tire. You have to consider the type, diameter, width, and material before buying your next inner tube. Now that your question, what size bike tube do I need, has been answered, you should have no problem getting an appropriate tube.
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