What are the toughest tubes I can get for my (most likely) inappropriate bike tires?
September 11, 2007 7:03 PM   Subscribe

What are the toughest tubes I can get for my (most likely) inappropriate bike tires?

Ok, so a couple of weeks ago I decided to turn my nice old Schwinn Sports Tourer into a fixed gear bike. To do this I needed to get a new wheel set and for whatever dumb reason I decided to get another set of 27" wheels instead of switching over to the much more common 700 size. I didn't want to end up with another pair of 1-1/4" tires for the bike so I ordered some 27 x 7/8" FasGrip Slicks from Harris Cyclery. Unfortunately they are nearly impossible to get on the rims and require 2 people to push the last bit of them over the edge. Now, just a couple days after getting the bike all setup, I woke up to find a mysterious flat. Despite my ride home the night previous going off without a hitch, when I went to take the bike to school in the morning I found that the valve on the tube was nearly completely torn off. I don't want to have to buy new fatter tires to protect my tubes and end up sinking even more money into this bike, so I am looking for recommendations for a miracle tube that will be tough enough for me not to worry about.
posted by Bengston to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total)
For 27" wheels, your options are going to be pretty limited. Maybe try some kind of sealant.
posted by box at 8:51 PM on September 11, 2007

More info please. What caused the valve to come off? Whatever the qualities of the tire, you need to discern what is causing the flats. Did the tube get pinched when you put on that oh-so-tight tire? Did you roll the rim tape while getting the tire on and now are the spoke nipples causing the flat? Figure that out and it shouldn't matter what tire you use.

You also could fill the tube with Slime.
posted by pgoes at 8:54 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

beaten to the Post button again....
posted by pgoes at 8:55 PM on September 11, 2007

it would not surprise me if the cause of your flat was pinching the tube with the bead of the tire during your installation.

there's really not much that can be said for tougher tubes. having decent tires (i like continental gatorskins, and vittoria rubino pros, but those might be more than you want to spend), having rim tape that protects the tube from the sharp parts of the rim, knowing how to put your tire on without pinching the tube, and maintaining an appropriate pressure in your tires - those will be what will prevent you from flatting.
posted by entropone at 8:58 PM on September 11, 2007

It's not going to be any consolation but we had more trouble with flats getting the tires on my dad's 27" wheels than we've had on any of the other bikes. You've just got to be extra careful getting the tire over the last bit of rim without pinching the tube.

My advice would be to move to 700s. Try Craigslist for a cheap bike or wheels, to keep costs down. Then you've got a lot more choices in tires.
posted by 6550 at 9:10 PM on September 11, 2007

I just recently did the same thing - converted a Univega Sportour into a fixie, and kept the 27" wheel size because I wanted to stick with the original front brake. I went with the Panaracer Pasela tires that Harris recommends, but no longer has available. Calhoun Cycle had the 27x1 size I needed, with the TourGuard puncture resistant belts, for $23 apiece.
posted by migurski at 9:39 PM on September 11, 2007

Deburr/chamfer the valve stem hole on the rim.
posted by hortense at 12:22 AM on September 12, 2007

What type valve are you using? Presta valves are likely to tear off if they're poking through Schrader size holes.

A good way to protect the base of the valve is to cut out a small square of used tubing and punch a hole in it with a hole punch. You can then fit this round the base of the vavle as a kind of protective washer. It works for me.
posted by popcassady at 12:23 AM on September 12, 2007 [3 favorites]

I am also looking for the "miracle inner tubes" I used to be able to get at the local bike shop. They were characterized as thorn-resistant because the outer walls were thicker than standard, and thicker than the inside (wall of the toroid).

I use 700 x 25C wheels, and the only tubes I can find which fit well are uniformly 0.9 mm thick, made in Korea, and they don't last very long.

Presta valve, naturally; sorry for the slight derail.
posted by Rash at 1:20 PM on September 12, 2007

I'm wondering if the flat was caused by pinching the tube also. Maybe you tube wasn't properly seated before you pumped it up. Here's a trick I learned to seat the tube with minimal effort:

First, check around both sides of the wheel between where the rim meets the beading of the tire after you get your tire on. Make sure there's no tube poking through.

Then, inflate the tube so that the wheel doesn't feel squishy anymore. I would go to minimum PSI.

Deflate the tube as much as you can.

Inflate to minimum PSI again, Deflate. Do this about 3-4 times and the tube should seat itself correctly.

I'm not sure how this works, but it does.
posted by nakedsushi at 2:49 PM on September 12, 2007

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