How long do inner tubes last?

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The Mechanic
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Re: How long do inner tubes last?

Postby The Mechanic » 6 May 2014, 9:19am

Now I remember why I don't bother to fix punctured tubes. Thought I would have a go last night only to find that the unopened tube of glue in my repair kit was, in fact, empty.
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horizon
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Re: How long do inner tubes last?

Postby horizon » 6 May 2014, 10:15am

Inner tubes are so cheap and repairing them so fiddly and frustrating (as you have discovered) that it's best from a personal point of view to throw the old one away and pay £1 - 2 for a new one.

But that's from a personal point of view. When you start to think through what happens to the old one, where the raw materials for a new one come from and the processes involved in making them, you might get a horrible sinking feeling in your stomach: you realise that as fast as you ride out to enjoy your world, that world is receding from you.

I accept that not everyone feels this or thinks this way. In fact I would imagine very few people do. And they may be worrying needlessly or even mistakenly. But even if they are right to think this way, it is at times a sad and lonely place to be, I can tell you that.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: How long do inner tubes last?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 6 May 2014, 11:12am

Hi,
As inner tubes account for a very small amount of rubber say like tyres, I cant see that its high on the list :?:
Passing unwanted tubes to others who wish to repair them is probably best option at the moment, its enviorment impact compared to tyres is so small that I cant see a viable option apart from satisfying your own conscience............................

http://www.seas.columbia.edu/earth/RRC/ ... rubber.pdf

Edited -


Ok so a MTB tube wieghs 200 grams and a typical MTB tre weighs 800 grams, but a car tyre 10 - 20 kgs and they dont have tubes generally.
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Brucey
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Re: How long do inner tubes last?

Postby Brucey » 7 May 2014, 8:57am

car tyres are a monumental environmental problem for sure. They sell lots of them (between new car sales and replacement tyres it works out that every vehicle the road in the UK gets one or two new tyres a year) and there are no really good ways of recycling them. After five or ten years they are normally ruined whether you use them or not.

But we can't be held responsible for motor car tyres, can we? As it happens most tyres (car or bicycle) contain a good proportion of natural rubber which arguably isn't quite such an environmental disaster.

Once your outer (road) tyre on your bicycle is worn out a good deal less than half the weight of it is rubber, and half (or more) of that is natural rubber. Not much we can do about that, not without reinventing the wheel...

But inner tubes are repairable, and are made (entirely, I think) of synthetic rubber.

In my cycling life I've probably owned and used about 100 tubes or so (including about those I have in use at present). Had I never repaired any it would be at least 500 or so. It all adds up, and I am just one cyclist.

If there are 25 million cyclists in the UK and we each buy (say) 3 tubes a year then that is about 15000 tonnes of rubber and about 75000 tonnes of CO2 and 75000 tonnes of oil used. A drop in an ocean? Maybe, but every ocean is made of nothing but such drops.

cheers
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Zanda
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Re: How long do inner tubes last?

Postby Zanda » 10 May 2014, 5:16pm

Innertubes that can no longer be patched are an excellent source of elastic bands, once cut up. They don't perish like normal rubber bands. MTB ones are best, due to their larger circumference.

cycle tramp
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Re: How long do inner tubes last?

Postby cycle tramp » 11 May 2014, 9:14pm

The Mechanic wrote:Life is too short.

Have to admit that i tend to feel that way about derailleur gears, and the maintenance of. Whilst i may ride bicycles which are merely bolted from discarded parts from other people's bicycles and while i may do so at speeds slower than others, it is still with some sort of pride that i'm able to whip out a punctured inner tube, after a friend has gone to the bar, and have it patched and drying on the back of the chair before they return with the liquid refreshment.. There's no reason why any tube repair should take longer than five minutes...
..my grandfather used to go one better, and would repair any puncture in situ without the bothersome removal of the wheel. Indeed, he could have the patch drying on the tube long before some of his fellows had found the right spanner required to remove their wheels.. always a great trick and one i still have yet to master..

MikeF
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Re: How long do inner tubes last?

Postby MikeF » 11 May 2014, 11:09pm

horizon wrote:So what I would like to know is, what is to stop you from using an inner tube for 25 years and how many repairs can a tube reasonably take before it no longer functions properly?

About 3 years ago I started riding a bike that had been in the shed for some years. I replaced the tyres after a few miles because they were perishing. I didn't change the inner tubes as they looked OK, although a little while later I changed the rear tube because of a puncture with a thorn. Some hundred miles later I decided I would try a different front tyre and checked the front tube. Nothing wrong with it, one patch, but that was all. It was what now would be a Michelin A2 - maybe it always was known as that. However the tube was embossed with size markings that are not on modern Michelin tubes. On reflection it dawned on me that tube had to be over 15 years old so I changed it as a precaution. Do they still make them like they used to? :)
"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master

Brucey
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Re: How long do inner tubes last?

Postby Brucey » 12 May 2014, 8:53am

Zanda wrote:Innertubes that can no longer be patched are an excellent source of elastic bands, once cut up. They don't perish like normal rubber bands. MTB ones are best, due to their larger circumference.


if you cut the tube at an angle you can make larger 'elastic bands' even with a fairly narrow tube.

BTW I probably do have tubes which are 25 years old... :shock: I happily use them for commuting etc but I wouldn't go down an alp on one.

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Ayesha
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Re: How long do inner tubes last?

Postby Ayesha » 12 May 2014, 10:21am

String theory.

How long is piece of it?

Ayesha
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Re: How long do inner tubes last?

Postby Ayesha » 12 May 2014, 10:36am

In a similar vain, the more people in the world who demand innertubes, the more expensive they become through corporate greed and extortion.
Therefore, the more people we can deter and stop buying a bicycle, the longer we can defer any price increase in this commodity.

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CREPELLO
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Re: How long do inner tubes last?

Postby CREPELLO » 12 May 2014, 10:52am

If you do decide to chuck the old tubes, have a read through viewtopic.php?f=1&t=30756 for some second life ideas, or contribute if you have any good ideas yourself :)

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andrew_s
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Re: How long do inner tubes last?

Postby andrew_s » 12 May 2014, 11:45am

horizon wrote:Inner tubes are so cheap and repairing them so fiddly and frustrating (as you have discovered) that it's best from a personal point of view to throw the old one away and pay £1 - 2 for a new one.

Where do you get inner tubes that cheaply? They are more like £5 in most places.

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mjr
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Re: How long do inner tubes last?

Postby mjr » 12 May 2014, 12:02pm

http://www.innertubeshop.com/collection ... on-5-tubes is one that I've been told about but I've not yet used it myself.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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horizon
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Re: How long do inner tubes last?

Postby horizon » 12 May 2014, 12:25pm

andrew_s wrote:
horizon wrote:Inner tubes are so cheap and repairing them so fiddly and frustrating (as you have discovered) that it's best from a personal point of view to throw the old one away and pay £1 - 2 for a new one.

Where do you get inner tubes that cheaply? They are more like £5 in most places.


That makes me feel a lot better! :D
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

JohnW
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Re: How long do inner tubes last?

Postby JohnW » 12 May 2014, 12:42pm

I find that inner tubes have an easier life since the tyre manufacturers started putting the Kevlar (or similar) strips in the tyres.

When we could buy the red coloured patching strips I used to write the date of a repair on the patch; I'd have tubes which were still in use ten years or more since their first puncture. In the days when I used to do my commute on mainly urban roads I used to joke with myself that after 10 years a tube would be better than new, because it would be twice as thick. Eventually, we had to make a reasoned judgement.

Certainly I'd have twenty or thirty patches in a tube before I'd throw it away.

Over the last 10 or 12 years I've been riding Pasela Tourguards and I have tubes that have never been punctured in all that time. However, it only needs one side-wall blow-out on a brand new tube to render it unrepairable. I don't think it's so much time, as luck with punctures that limits the life of a tube.