Bike Tubes Buying Guide

Probably the most common replacement on any bike , bike tubes are liners that hold the air inside your tyres .  Also known as inner tubes , these balloons  are usually doughnut-shaped and have a valve for inflation that is designed to prevent any air leakage.  Check out the different style bike tubes--they often vary by material and valve design--to see which is best suited for your normal riding routine.

The Materials

The two main materials that bike tubes are made of are butyl and latex.  Before World War II, tyres and tubes were made from natural latex rubber that was harvested from tropical trees.  But once the war began, the supply became insecure and scientists worked to make synthetic latex materials that could measure up to the real deal.  They came up with a more than adequate substitute called butyl, which was actually better for creating tyres and tubes than the natural latex that once inspired its creation.  Today, most riders prefer this butyl rubber because tubes and tyres made from it are not as porous as latex, and they do not need to have their pressure topped off as often.  Some people, however, prefer to stick to latex inner tubes specifically because they can be a little bit lighter than butyl and tend to have less rolling resistance.  

The Valves

Types of Tube Valves

Shraeder Valve 

  • A Schrader valve is made up of a hollow cylindrical metal tube with a threaded exterior end.
  • The tube is typically made from brass.
  • The centre of the exterior end of the valve has a metal pin that is flush with the end of the valve body.
  • The interior end of the valve comes in many shapes and sizes depending upon what it is being used for.  The most recent development in Shraeders are valve stems with integrated transmitters for tire pressure monitoring systems  (TPMS).


Presta Valve 

  • The three main pieces of a Presta valve are the valve body, the threaded valve stem, and a lock nut. The valve body is available in various lengths. 
  • The air inside of the tyre holds the valve shut while the stem can be screwed down to ensure the valve remains closed. 
  • It is narrow in diameter when compared to the Shraeder valve.
  • A screw cap prevents the valve from puncturing the tube when it is rolled for storage, but it is not needed to keep air from leaking.

Woods/Dunlop Valve  

  • These valves have bases that are wider than Presta valves.
  • The most common type of pump used with Woods/Dunlop valves are pincher connection pumps.  Presta pumps can also be used.
  • These valves can be replaced easily, without the use of any special tools.

Related Guides

Types of Tube Valves

Bike Tyres

Bike Pumps

Bike Cases

Bike Pedals