To the novice, just about any bike inner tube will work for any bicycle. In fact, for many newbie cyclists, bike tire tubes are probably the last thing that pops into mind when thinking of important bike parts.
But a flat tire can suddenly remind you of how important tubes are. And if you must enjoy cycling, it is crucial to pick the best bike tube for your bicycle.
Whether you are thinking of replacing bike tubes or looking for the most suitable option for your bike, this list outlines some of the best options to choose from.
Best Bike Tube – Reviews & Buying guide for 2021
Best Overall: Continental Race 28
This first-rate tube from Continental is one of the most suitable replacement bike tubes for road bikes.
The Race 28 comes as a pack of two bike inner tubes designed for 700cc tires with a 42mm Presta valve stem.
This is an excellent pick if you have a wheel size of 28 inches.
- Bike Type: Road Bike
- Material: Rubber
- Valve: Presta
- This German-made product comes threaded with a removable valve core, making it easy to install.
- The butyl rubber construction makes it a lightweight tube, weighing only about 4.7 ounces. And it holds air pretty well, allowing it to offer a smooth ride over longer distances.
- Continental designed this with durability in mind. Provided you pump the tube to the recommended psi, it should cover over several hundred and miles and give you zero issues for several months even when you ride in fairly poor road conditions.
- Overall, this makes a great bike inner tube but Continental tends to have issues with quality control, as some users have pointed out. In other words, you may get a pack with defective tubes if you are unlucky, although this doesn’t happen very frequently.
- The tubes come with a cute Continental logo sticker that looks great on your bike tires.
Getting the Race 28 pack of two high-quality inner tubes at its current price is a steal!
While the construction ensures maximum durability, you can never rule out a flat.
But your purchase gives you two bike inner tubes, so you’ll always have a spare in case of a flat, making this a great buy.
Runner-Up: AR-PRO Bicycle Tubes
As far as heavy-duty bicycle tubes go, AR-PRO is the brand to beat.
While its tube is one spot shy of our best overall position, it is no doubt an excellent pick when it comes to building quality, durability, and value.
This thick tube is easy to install. It is stretchable and the reinforced brass valves provide airtight sealing with zero chance of leaks.
- Bike Type: Road Bike
- Material: Rubber
- Valve: Presta
- They are designed with safety in mind, meaning they can withstand high psi. The extra-thick wall construction eliminates the possibility of explosions.
- Of course, punctures can still occur but when these happen, the tubes are designed to immediately create an airtight seal to prevent further damages. This also protects the rider from possible accidents and injury.
- With a weather-proof rubber construction, these tubes will perform effectively all through the year, regardless of the season.
- Plus, your bike will glide around smoothly over bumps, thanks to the thick butyl rubber construction designed to absorb road shock and making your rides more comfortable.
- The replacement inner tubes are a great fit for most 700cc road bikes with 28-inch wheels. They come with 80mm Presta valves, which should work if your bike tires have a width of between 20mm and 25mm wide.
- The free levers may not be as durable compared to those other levers. You may need to buy levers if you want something that won’t break apart easily.
- The inner tubes might not be your best pick if you want to ride light because they are big and very thick.
- The product comes with two free tire levers that make replacing bike tubes a lot easier and quicker.
AP-PRO offers you a great chance to get a bunch of bike tubes for the fraction of the cost. We recommend this option if you are in the market for a heavy-duty road bike tube.
The super value bundle offers six tubes plus two tire levers, giving you plenty of bang for your buck.
And consider getting a good-quality top tube bike bag to hold all the extra tubes!
Alternative: SCK Bike Tubes
Need a replacement tube for your cruiser bike?
SCK got you covered.
The Schrader valve inner tubes are available in a pack of two and work exceptionally well for cruiser bikes, mountain bikes, as well as hybrid bicycles.
The tubes are designed for 26-inch wheel size with width measurements between 1.75 and 2.125.
Whether you predominantly ride on gravel or pathways, these tubes hold up very well and are easy to install when it comes time to change your tubes.
- Bike Type: Cruiser Bike
- Material: Rubber
- Valve: Schrader
- The build quality is impressive, thanks to the high-quality butyl rubber material. This means you can expect the tubes to last for several hundred miles without issues.
- SCK bike inner tubes have remarkable heat resistance and great air tightness, making them suitable for riding in a variety of weather conditions.
- The inclusion of two levers is great, but they are a lot thinner than many other solid options on the market. You may need to buy levers separately as the included ones are weak and likely to break easily.
- Each pack comes with two free tire levers that let you easily and quickly remove the old tube out of your tires when you need to change it.
Consider these inner bike tubes if you want something that works well for a 26-inch wheel.
Two tubes at this price point are considerably cheaper than products from many other brands. Yet, SCK doesn’t compromise on quality.
You are not stuck with the tubes if you get a defective one.
SCK offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so if the product doesn’t work as advertised, arrives with some fault, or you simply don’t like it for whatever reason, simply return it and get a full refund.
Alternative: VeloTubes Premium
The options from VeloTubes are widely popular among MTBers for a reason. This is the best bike tube as far as mountain bikes are concerned.
These bicycle inner tubes come with 48mm Presta valves and are available in a variety of sizes to fit all mountain bikes wheels, including 26”, 27.5”, and 29ers.
These tubes undergo rigorous safety tests, including inflating each one for 24 hours to ensure they are no leaks and to guarantee maximum durability.
- Bike Type: Mountain Bike
- Material: Rubber
- Valve: Presta
- Each of the tubes weighs approximately 230 grams, making them a great fit for riding on off-road terrains.
- Plus, the Presta valves are designed so that you can easily remove them if you want to install a sealant or slime for extra protection.
- This is probably not a deal-breaker for most people, but the tubes do not come with tire levers. That means you’ll have to buy them separately.
- VeloTubes Premium Mountain Bike Inner Tubes is available as a pack of four giving users great value.
Go with this option if you want premium dirt bike inner tubes. They are designed to withstand the high-impact and serious dirt on off-road terrains.
Even though the pack of four tubes is high-quality, the individual tubes average out at a far cheaper price than many options on the market.
VeloTubes will not hesitate to refund your purchase if you are not completely satisfied with the product for any reason.
Alternative: ZUKKA Bike Inner Tubes
Zukka Bike offers these bike inner tubes at an insanely affordable price point, making them a solid choice for those on a budget.
In line with the manufacturer’s vision of providing innovative and decent-quality bike accessories to outdoor enthusiasts, this model is designed to suit MTB and road bikes as well.
The pack of two tubes is constructed with a Schrader valve, so make sure this fits your tires before ordering.
- Bike Type: Road Bike, Mountain Bike
- Material: Rubber
- Valve: Schrader
- Zukka’s offering might be the least expensive bike inner tube on this list, yet it is made from high-quality butyl rubber. This accounts for the tube’s impressive heat-resistance quality as well as remarkable durability.
- It doesn’t have the outstanding thickness of AR-PRO models, but the bike tube can absorb quite a large chunk of vibration on bumpy roads. This makes for a more comfortable and safe cycling experience, regardless of weather conditions.
- This is not your best pick if you have wider wheels. Also, some packs may not include the free levers as advertised.
- The product comes with two free levers to make the installation process hassle-free.
This is a good option to buy if you want the best bike tube at a very affordable price point.
It is a great bicycle replacement tube with plenty of size options, so you are more than likely to find one that matches your road bike or MTB.
Bike Tube FAQ
Now that we’ve covered the best bike tube options available, it’s time to answer a few commonly asked questions.
This section will help you figure out how to choose the correct size of inner tubes for your bicycle tires.
What kind of tubes do road bikes use?
In most cases, road bikes have 700c wheels. This means a 700c tube will work great for most road bike tires.
However, 28mm are increasingly becoming common with road bikes. For these, you will need wider tubes.
Keep in mind that while most road bikes use inner tubes, some road bikes don’t. These types of road bikes use one of the following types of tires:
A tubular tire comes with an inner tube that is permanently attached inside the tire.
The design of a tubular tire system also has the tire attached to the wheel so that it sticks to the rim even where there is a flat.
These types of tires provide increased riding comfort in addition to their low rolling resistance. Plus, tubular wheels are lighter than those found on clinchers and tubeless tires.
This is a no-brainer. A tubeless tire, as the name suggests, does not have a tube inside the tire.
Instead, it has a sealant that plugs the splits and holes when air is pumped into the tire.
On the surface, tubeless tires look like clinchers – the most common and widely popular road bike tires available.
However, tubeless tires rarely get punctured because of the combination of lower tire pressure and sealant.
But even in cases where punctures do occur, the sealant is quick to handle and prevent a flat. This means the tire can continue to support the bike even when it takes a hit from sharp objects.
The downside of tubeless tires is their high price point. They are typically more expensive than tubular tires and clinchers.
Besides, they are more common on gravel and MBTs than on road bikes.
Do bike tube brands matter?
Many cyclists, particularly newbies, tend to face the tricky decision between buying tubes from a well-known brand and choosing any generic brand.
To make matters worse, the answer to this question usually depends on who you ask.
And that’s not surprising because not all cyclists have the same experiences with this seemingly insignificant but crucial bike part.
Here’s the thing; you should be picky about tube brands if you are in the market for reliability.
Many cyclists tend to be dissatisfied with certain brands, particularly when it comes to performance tubes.
Some brands may only manufacture tubes with a different stem valve design than what suits your bike wheel.
Perhaps they only offer a non-threaded valve stem that doesn’t work for your tires. In this case, the tube brand you choose matters.
But in many cases, it doesn’t really matter whether you buy a tube from a renowned brand or a manufacturer that’s not well known.
The most important thing is the build quality, particularly the stems and seams. You are likely to find great products from household brands as well as their little-known counterparts.
However, while it might seem as if you are throwing away your hard-earned money by purchasing tubes from a widely popular brand, it might be your best bet if you are looking for a solid tube for racing.
Of course, you don’t have to split hairs about brands if you are mainly using your bike for cruising around the neighborhood or commuting.
Here’s another thing to keep in mind. Any good-quality tube will work for your tires, as long as you choose one that matches the diameter and width of your bike tires.
In other words, there is no need to stress about matching tube and tire brands. Tubes come in a tubular shape and will work with the correct size tires.
What size inner tube do I need for my bike?
Figuring out the size of the inner tube that fits your bike requires understanding a couple of things about your bike wheels.
These include knowing the correct diameter and width of your bike tires. Ignoring this can cause less than satisfactory time on your bike and may even lead to avoidable accidents.
Your chances of ending up exploding the tubes or developing a flat tire when you’re in the middle of nowhere are high if you select the wrong size of inner tubes.
That’s because a tube that is too big for your tire will result in pinch and punctures.
On the flip side, the pressure of your bike will likely pop a tube that is too small for your tires.
When shopping for bike inner tubes, pay attention to the numbers printed on your old tube and the sides of your bike tires.
These numbers are the information that tells you the diameter and width of your wheels.
Typically, your bike tire should be marked with “diameter x width” information. For example, 26” x 1.75” – 2.125” is a common tube size.
This example tells you that the tube is designed for tires with a diameter of 26 inches, and it will fit nicely into any tire with a wideness or width in the range of 1.75 inches to 2.125 inches.
While it is important to choose the correct size, your tire width doesn’t necessarily have to be the exact measurement.
That’s because tubes are stretchy and a small difference in measurement shouldn’t be a problem.
Can I use a bigger tube in my bike tire?
Sometimes your local store doesn’t have the exact tube that matches your bike tires or you can’t seem to find an exact match online.
In this case, it is okay to use a slightly bigger (or even a bit smaller) tube in your bike tire.
That’s because tubes are made from rubber materials that can stretch, so tubes and tires don’t have to match exactly.
However, you shouldn’t install just about any tube into your bike tire simply because it can stretch.
A half an inch or 10 millimeters narrow or wider tube may as well fit your tire if it has high elasticity. Also, make sure to use a tube that matches your rim diameter.
For example, putting a 29 x 2.5 inner tube in a 29 x 2.0 tire might not pose any problem, but it can become an issue if you put the same tube in a 29 x 1.25 tire.
The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing bike inner tubes is to try and match them to the tires as closely as possible.
Also, it is crucial to be aware of a few possible downsides to using bigger tubes in smaller bike tires.
First, a significantly larger inner tube will most likely fold and wrinkle inside the tire. This will eventually affect your ride quality.
But tubes that are only slightly bigger than your tires shouldn’t cause this problem.
Another disadvantage of using bigger tubes for smaller tires is the possibility of catching the tube under the tire bead when changing tubes.
This is particularly true when you have a flat on a trail or road.
Fixing or repairing a flat in the middle of nowhere usually means you are in a hurry to get out of the jam.
For many people, this results in not being as careful as they would be if there were installing the tube at home.
Your bike inner tubes dictate your cycling experience to a large extent. It doesn’t matter how expensive other bike components are, you can’t ride if your tubes are no good.
Indeed, price is not the only parameter for knowing a good-quality bike tube, but cheap products are often a sign of poor quality.
It makes no economic sense to pinch pennies and end up with frequent flats.
Consider choosing one of the high-quality options on this list that is most suitable for your bicycle type and enjoy a safer and longer-lasting bike tube. Plus, you’ll get a better riding experience.
Last Updated on February 18, 2022 by Matthew Carpenter