bargain inner tubes?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Brucey
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bargain inner tubes?

Postby Brucey » 3 Oct 2020, 1:52pm

I actually don't buy inner tubes (for my own use) very often; I tend to repair them and I normally have more than I need. However for many cyclists they are a consumable that gets replaced fairly often, and should I fix someone else's bike they usually like to have new tubes, so that is where most of the tubes I buy end up.

Quality and prices vary. The latter you can be fairly confident about when buying, the former less so. Wholesalers tend to compete with one another on inner tube prices in the same way supermarkets do on baked beans; they know that cheap inner tubes will attract customers that will probably buy things with a higher mark-up too. Sometimes cheap tubes are proper bargains, sometimes they are a false economy; for example tubes that are sold cheaply sometimes have manufacturing faults; as bad as leakage/easy splitting, to as benign as loose valve inserts. To be fair sometimes expensive tubes are just as bad. Schwalbe claim that they leak test every tube, but even so faults are not unknown.

In cheap retail tubes I have seen

- twinpacks in Decathlon; about £3.50 for two tubes, only common size, not always available.
- poundland tubes. For some reason they only seem to ever have (if they have anything) 26x2", 24x2", 20x2" all Schrader valve fitment. They are a quid each.
- planet x inner tubes. Constantly changing stock and prices. Just now they have lots of tubes at £1.99 and £2.99 each, and some even at 99p each. Always worth a look.

Anyone else seen bargain tubes?

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

rjb
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Location: Somerset (originally 60/70's Plymouth)

Re: bargain inner tubes?

Postby rjb » 3 Oct 2020, 1:58pm

I've not seen 26" inner tubes in Poundland for 12 months. They had lots of 24" tubes then. I check every couple of months as my spares are getting low. Has there been a run on them with the resurgence in cycling. :(
The Poundland ones Iv'e had in the past have felt like they were more polythene than rubber and became creased in use with the crease contributing to an eventual failure. It's most noticeably if you have to remove the tyre when the inner tube has developed a "concertina" appearance.
Anyone else experienced this. :(
At the last count:- Peugeot 531 pro, Dawes Discovery Tandem, Dawes Kingpin, Raleigh 20, Falcon K2 MTB dropped bar tourer, Longstaff trike conversion on a Falcon corsa. :D

greyingbeard
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Re: bargain inner tubes?

Postby greyingbeard » 3 Oct 2020, 5:27pm

Is someone suggesting that poundland sell <products of sub-optimal quality> ??
Who'd have thought it.
Last edited by Graham on 6 Oct 2020, 8:40am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: FFE . . .family-friendly edit

francovendee
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Re: bargain inner tubes?

Postby francovendee » 3 Oct 2020, 5:55pm

I've bought the twin packs from Decathlon and never had a problem with any of them.
I'm sure the rubber they are now made from is different than when I first bought some though.

pwa
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Re: bargain inner tubes?

Postby pwa » 3 Oct 2020, 6:02pm

Given that if you bulk buy, for example:

https://spacycles.co.uk/m14b0s123p3712/ ... s-%2810%29

you only pay £3.50 per tube from a known dependable brand, how tight does money have to be to want to pay less for a tube that will be a gamble?

slowster
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Re: bargain inner tubes?

Postby slowster » 3 Oct 2020, 6:39pm

pwa wrote:Given that if you bulk buy, for example:

https://spacycles.co.uk/m14b0s123p3712/ ... s-%2810%29

you only pay £3.50 per tube from a known dependable brand, how tight does money have to be to want to pay less for a tube that will be a gamble?

Agreed. If you don't have punctures very frequently, it's not much of a saving. If you use cheap non-branded tubes of doubtful quality, I would suggest making sure that spare tubes carried on the bike are from a good brand.

My preferred touring bike tube is the Schwalbe SV17 with a longer 50mm or 60mm valve (denoted by a yellow circle on the box, instead of red for 40mm). The SV17 covers a nice wide range of tyre widths from 28mm to 47mm, so it's suitable for whatever tyres I am likely to have on the bike at any given time, and the longer valves are better/essential for taller rims. I would rather pay a bit more for those, even in bulk, than acquire various different tubes from different manufacturers that are suitable for different widths and with valves that are too short for some of the rims I use.

As it happens my preferred MTB tube is occasionally available at a bargain price of 5 for £10 from Merlin, but at present they are out of stock:

https://www.merlincycles.com/michelin-a4-airstop-29-mtb-inner-tube-pack-of-5-172710.html

David9694
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Re: bargain inner tubes?

Postby David9694 » 3 Oct 2020, 7:24pm

I tend to poke around on Ebay for mine.

mumbojumbo
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Re: bargain inner tubes?

Postby mumbojumbo » 3 Oct 2020, 7:32pm

An inner tube can last `10 years,At a cost of £5 that is 50p a year or 1p per week.Would not worry about saving a few pence here and there.Its like fitting insulation in a loft without a roof.

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FerociousDog
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Re: bargain inner tubes?

Postby FerociousDog » 5 Oct 2020, 9:41pm

francovendee wrote:I've bought the twin packs from Decathlon and never had a problem with any of them.
I'm sure the rubber they are now made from is different than when I first bought some though.

Ditto.
I buy all my tubes from Decathlon and have had no issues.

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The utility cyclist
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Re: bargain inner tubes?

Postby The utility cyclist » 6 Oct 2020, 3:00am

My most recent great tube buy was a bulk box of Schwalbe long valve 28-47mm tubes that worked out to £2.16 each incl postage!
Bought some Vavert tubes for my mum at some silly price, think it was about £1.50 each for a ten pack.

These are what i've seen on ebay.
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Pack-of-10-V ... SwVSte6hOL
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/10-x-Contine ... XQhuVRSLuy
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/10-PACK-OF-7 ... SwgMFe-eAz

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Sweep
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Re: bargain inner tubes?

Postby Sweep » 6 Oct 2020, 6:52am

slowster wrote:
My preferred touring bike tube is the Schwalbe SV17 with a longer 50mm or 60mm valve (denoted by a yellow circle on the box, instead of red for 40mm). The SV17 covers a nice wide range of tyre widths from 28mm to 47mm, so it's suitable for whatever tyres I am likely to have on the bike at any given time, and the longer valves are better/essential for taller rims. I would rather pay a bit more for those, even in bulk, than acquire various different tubes from different manufacturers that are suitable for different widths and with valves that are too short for some of the rims I use.

As it happens my preferred MTB tube is occasionally available at a bargain price of 5 for £10 from Merlin, but at present they are out of stock:

https://www.merlincycles.com/michelin-a4-airstop-29-mtb-inner-tube-pack-of-5-172710.html

Like brucey I repair tubes and since I am very careful about checking my tyres for bits I have very few punctures - hence I have tons of tubes bought when tempted by cheap offers. Have only very recently come across the SV17 - yes it is incredibly useful - If I'd known about it earlier I would very probably have far far less tubes sitting around. I commend it to folk.
Sweep

pwa
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Re: bargain inner tubes?

Postby pwa » 6 Oct 2020, 9:45am

I don't get through many tubes. And as i prefer to buy 10 at a time I don't buy very often. Once every few years. But as with cables and brake blocks, I like to have a stock at the back of the garage, tucked away in cardboard boxes for when they are needed. When the stock eventually gets low I buy some more. And if you bulk buy, even the posh brands come at bargain prices. £3.50 for a tube that will be on the bike for ages, and which I will patch a re-use after a puncture, is not much at all. I also try to buy a tube of a size that covers more than one bike. When my wife and toured recently we had tyres ranging from 28mm to 35mm but I only took one sort of inner tube as spare, because I had tubes whose range covered both those sizes.

My procedure when I get a flat (very rare) is to replace the tube with a spare (which may be new or previously repaired) and patch the punctured inner when back at home. That then goes back in my bag as the spare. Simple. I also take a patch kit on rides in case of multiple flats, but that hasn't happened for ten years or more.

djnotts
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Re: bargain inner tubes?

Postby djnotts » 6 Oct 2020, 9:48am

Went in Halfords yesterday, looking for Slime. None to be had, so I picked up 2 26" tubes, £4 each. Guy at counter says "4 for a tenner?" I said yes.

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foxyrider
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Re: bargain inner tubes?

Postby foxyrider » 6 Oct 2020, 4:53pm

djnotts wrote:Went in Halfords yesterday, looking for Slime. None to be had, so I picked up 2 26" tubes, £4 each. Guy at counter says "4 for a tenner?" I said yes.


did say :D

Its not widely advertised in store and i'm not sure if you can get 4 mixed sizes in the offer or whether it has to be 4 of the same.
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

Slowroad
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Re: bargain inner tubes?

Postby Slowroad » 11 Oct 2020, 5:47pm

I've had Wilko inner tubes in the recent past and had a couple split.
But I now have loads of tubes as I've been given some - do they 'go off' over the years? I usually only need to replace one a year (fingers crossed...)
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