If you’re struggling to find the correct size replacement inner tube for your bike, don’t worry, you’re not alone!
Choosing the right tubes for bicycle wheels can be an incredibly frustrating and confusing business. Why they can’t come in a nice handy one-size-fits-all-bikes size, I don’t know!
Anyway, I’m here to help. So, let’s get down to business. I’ve got three things for you today:
- A straight answer as to what tube you need
- My recommendation on the exact tube to buy (with a link to Amazon to go grab one)
- More detail on why it’s so difficult to find the right tube
That last point is purely optional – read it or ignore it as you see fit.
Outside the US? Try this Kenda tube instead.
My recommended bike tubes for your wheels
I’ve got two inner tubes for you below. Both are great and both are the perfect fit for your wheels.
So, what’s the difference between them? Well, the first tubes have a Schrader valve (the type you get on car tires) and the second have a Presta valve (which are slimmer and longer than Schrader). Go with the tube that has the same valve as you currently have on your bike.
Let’s take a look at the tubes now.
Schrader valve (car type)
An excellent inner tube from Co-op Cycles stocked by REI.
The tubes are sized 700×35-43c, so they’re perfect for your wheels. They also have a standard 35mm Schrader valve – this is the type that you get on car tires, so the same pump head will fit these.
As with any bike tube, when you’re fitting it to the wheel, make you use plastic tire levers and be careful to avoid puncturing the tube as you’re prising the tire on and off.
They’re great quality tubes and get fantastic feedback from buyers.
Presta valve (slimmer & longer than car valves)
The difference between this tube and the one above is that this tube has a Presta valve. These are slimmer and longer than the car type Schrader valves and have a locking nut (which you’ll find under the valve cap). Go for this tube if you’re existing tubes have the same valve type as it means that your bike pump will work with these too.
Reliable. Dependable. Excellent tubes.
Why are inner tubes so confusing to choose?
Remember, this section is optional. Read it if you’d like some detail, but I won’t be upset if you just skip it, buy the tube, and head out on your bike!
If you’re still with me, let’s take a look at what the numbers mean first.
‘700’ is the nominal diameter of your bicycle tires in metric millimeters
‘x’ is just a multiplication sign
‘35’ and ‘43’ are the minimum and maximum widths that the tube can be inflated to (also in millimeters)
‘c’ refers back to the old French way of classifying tire widths. ‘a’ was the slimmest and ‘d’ the widest
The problem we have is that, in the USA, bike tires are measured in inches. But, throughout the rest of the world, there’s a mixture of inches, millimeters, and ISO/ETRTO. Ironically enough, the ISO/ETRTO system was supposed to bring everything together under one system and make it really easy to understand. Trouble is that some manufacturers use it, some use inches, some use millimeters…and some use a combination of all of them.
The usual battle though is trying to work out what tire size your bike has (which determines your inner tube size). Here you’re at a major advantage as you already know this.
The tubes you’re looking for are good for a range of bike tires ranging from a slim ‘n’ speedy 700x35c up to a better-on-the-gravel-paths 700x43c. Wherever your bike comes on this scale, the inner tubes above will work great.
Have fun and enjoy the ride.