Bike tubes are among the few things you’ll need to replace or repair on your bike. However, this won’t be at the top of your list because they’re hidden out of sight or relatively low-priced items.
Although bikes are low maintenance and cost less than car maintenance, it’s a good idea to know how much it costs to replace a bike tube.
How long do bike tubes last?
With proper storage and maintenance, bike tubes can last up to 7 years. However, several factors determine a bike’s lifespan, including temperature, storage, light, heat, riding conditions, and exposure to elements.
Every tube will last a different length of time, but there’s no science to show exactly how long a bike tube will last. In rough conditions, you’ll need to repair or replace your bike tube every 1-3 months.
It’s advisable to replace inner tubes whenever you replace the tires or when the tubes can no longer hold air. Regardless, ensure you replace your bike tubes after 2-4 years of hard riding.
How Do I Know a Bike Tube Needs Replacing?
Visible cracks clearly indicate that it’s time to replace your bike tubes. Cracked tubes cannot be used safely since the areas with the cracks are thin and close to total disintegration.
Lack of elasticity
If your inner tube is at the end of its lifespan, you will notice poor elasticity when stretched.
Some damaged bike tubes don’t have external signs of wear, but once you start inflating them, you will notice uneven expansion because some parts of the tube are damaged. Sometimes these tubes burst when inflated to the recommended pressure.
Average Cost of a Bike Tube
The average cost of a bike tube is between $5 to $9. But some tubes cost as little as $2, and high-end models go beyond $35. Puncture-resistant and specialized tubes will cost more than traditional tubes. Although repairing a bike tube is cheaper, buying a new one is more reliable.
There are several factors that determine the price of a bike tube. Some of these factors depend on the type of bike you ride. Before making the final decision, it’s worth checking what a high-end tube might offer compared to a cheaper tube.
How to Save Money on Bike Tubes
Although bike tubes aren’t highly-priced, they do have a price tag. And if you replace them frequently, you may end up spending a lot. Here’s how you can save money with bike tubes.
Buying your bike tubes from online stores like Amazon is important because you can easily compare the products and the prices and choose one that suits your bike. Bike tubes from online stores are usually cheaper than those from a local bike shop.
Buy in Bulk
Buying your bike tubes in bulk will save you some dollars. Although buying tubes in a pack of two is nice, you can save a lot of cash buying in bulk. This is not only a cheap option, but you’ll have them with you and won’t need to order them for a while.
If you don’t want the inconveniences of bike tubes, you can opt for tubeless tires. Tubeless tires don’t have a tube and function by locking the tire to the rim to make it airtight. However, this tire requires a special sealant to prevent air from escaping. Additionally, these tires are more expensive, but you will get more bang for your buck.
Fix Your Own
If you don’t want to buy new bike tubes, repairing them will save money and improve your bike maintenance skills. Anytime you’re on the road, ensure you have a spare and a repair kit to avoid getting stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Factors to Consider when New Tubes for your Bike
Your Bike’s Tire Size
You’ll need to make sure that the tube you buy matches the size of your tire. The tube will have the size indicated on the packaging and on the tube itself. The tube size (indicated as a range e.g. 28″ – 700×25-32mm) will usually show the tire size tube will fit in. A 28″ – 700×25-32mm means the tube can fit on a 28″ wheel with widths ranging from 25mm to 32mm.
Most bikes use Presta valves, but some use Schrader valves instead. Make sure to get the right type of tube valve for your bike!
Type of riding
You need to consider what type of riding you’ll be doing most often. If you’re mostly riding on the pavement (road bikes), a standard tube will work just fine. If you’re hitting the trails more often (mountain bikes), however, you may want to invest in a tougher tube that can handle rougher terrain.”
Make sure the tube you want to buy is within your budget. Shop around until you find a tube that fits within your set budget.
Is it worth patching a bike tube?
Since bike tubes are a bit costlier to replace, repairing them may be more cost-effective. However, if your inner tubes are worn out, you will have to deal with repetitive flats that are quite frustrating.
Should I replace tubes when I replace tires?
It’s advisable to replace your tubes anytime you replace your tires. If your tires are in top shape, chances are you don’t need a new tube. But if the tire is worn out, your bike tubes may be equally bad.
When should I change my bike tube?
If your tube no longer holds air even after patching it up, it’s time to change. What’s more, if the tubes have repetitive flats, the chances are that they’re bad and need instant replacement.
Most cyclists worry about the tires rather than the tubes when it comes to bike maintenance, but this should not be the case. Always remember that your bike tubes are responsible for keeping the tire rolling. Even if you invest in new tires, it’s worthless if the bike tubes are worn out.