The simple answer is:
700x38c converts to around 27.5” x 1.5”.
The even simpler answer is to stick with the 700x38c sizing and buy a tube that’s labeled with that size. We’ll take a look at why this is so important in a moment.
Would you like a recommendation?
Continental do an excellent inner tube that has a Presta valve fitted. Read through the details on Amazon and you will see that it comes in a variety of widths. Make certain to choose the inner tube that states “700 X 32-42 – 42mm Presta valve”.
Presta valves are quite different to the standard valves that you get on car tires. They’re quite a bit slimmer and lengthier than Schrader valves (the technical name for car tire valves).
If you’ve got an air pump that fits car tires you’ll also need to get yourself a small convertor for use on Presta valves.
Easy to use, just screw them onto the valve and you can use the same pump for both types of valve in the future.
Let’s get a little more detail behind the simple explanation
700x38c is the bike tire size, measured according to an antiquated ‘French system’.
‘700’ is the tire’s diameter (in millimeters).
‘x’ is multiplied by.
‘38’ is the approximate tire width (in millimeters).
‘c’ is the width code for the tire, in the French system. Whilst still frequently seen, nowadays it’s a term that’s pretty much obsolete. In France, it was previously used to categorize tires from narrowest (‘a’) to widest (‘d’). Therefore, a ‘c’ would have been almost as wide as tires got.
Would you also like a tire recommendation for your 700x38c bike? Then read on!
Do you also need a bike tire to go along with your tube?
There can be a huge amount of variability when it comes to tire sizing and your best approach is always to choose the same tire size code as you have on your wheel currently. Never ever attempt to swap from millimeters to inches or vice versa. You can find massive differences sometimes between the actual size of tires that ‘should’ be the same. Size differences, big or small, can cause big problems, like punctures, along the road.
Kenda has been producing tires since 1962, which means they know a thing or two about manufacturing great quality tires for your bike. They have a fantastic range and this tire is a very good example.
It’s the perfect size for your bike (make sure you choose the “700x38c” option listed on the Amazon page) and gets excellent feedback from buyers for being smooth and fast-rolling, and suitable for a range of terrain.
Take a closer look at the tread pattern and you will see that these tires have a fairly solid strip of rubber along the center with a more open waffle pattern along the sides. This is a great combination for your bicycle as it means that the tires will fantastically well on a wide range of different surfaces. On smooth paths and paved roads, they’ll roll fast with virtually no vibration. Then on looser gravel or dirt surfaces the sides will bite into the ground and give you excellent cornering ability.
Now, how about a recap on changing a bike tube?
Firstly, you’ll require some basic items of kit whenever you set out on your bike:
- Spare tubes (I normally take two)
- Small tire repair kit
- Plastic tire levers
- Air pump (remember the Presta tire valve adaptor I talked about earlier)
The process of swapping an inner tube should then take around 3/4hr to carry out. There are just five simple steps to fixing a flat tube:
Remove the wheel
Take off the inner tube
Determine the cause of the puncture (such as a thorn or piece of glass)
Either repair or replace the inner tube (I generally replace, so I know there’s no other problem that I’ve missed with the old tube)
Bolt the wheel back on
For a simple guide, take a look at this video.
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