If you’re looking to save money and repair an inner tube yourself, I have lots of handy information for you coming up.
Rather than going to a bike mechanic every time you get a puncture, grabbing a high-quality bike tube for your road bike can prevent you from going to a mechanic each time you get a flat.
There are different types of bike inner tubes with different features, though, so check out my comprehensive guide on all things bike tubes.
My top 5 best bike tubes for road bikes in 2021 are:
Before the best bike inner tube reviews, let’s clue you up on how inner tubes work and what to think about when picking a bike tube for your road bike.
What Are the Functions of Inner Tubes?
Bike inner tubes are the part that gets filled with air when you inflate your tires with a bike pump. It’s located inside the bike tire and has valves to make sure that it remains pumped up. It’s through these valves that you pump in air to inflate your tires.
If the tire gets punctured, it’s likely that the inner tube will, too. But, since it’s the bike tube that holds the air, carrying extra inner tubes with you is a good idea. Otherwise, you might not be able to fix a flat tire while on the road.
The only exception to a bike tube’s necessity is if your bike has tubeless tires, whereby the tire uses the rim to create an airtight seal and hold pressure—just like in car tires.
Even so, tubeless tire punctures can be difficult to fix, and most road bikes will come with an inner tube.
How to Pick the Best Bike Inner Tubes for Road Bikes
Sadly, it isn’t a case of closing your eyes and buying the first best bike tube you see.
Instead, go through the below factors to choose the appropriate tube size, valve type, valve length and material to pick the best bike inner tubes.
Bike Tube Sizes: What Size Inner Tube Do I Need for My Road Bike?
Most road bikes have a tire size of 700c, which is approximately 28-29 inches. For these bikes, you should opt for an inner tube of 700c.
In contrast, some city and hybrid bikes need different size tubes since they’re usually wider. Mountain bikes and kids bikes usually have smaller tires and need smaller tubes.
So, don’t think that you can mix and match bike tubes from your road bike to others!
There are different valve types, with Presta and Schrader being the most common to make life even more complicated.
Presta valves are smaller in diameter than Schrader valves. They’re easier to pump since the valve head is a lock nut and not a spring.
Higher-end bike tires typically use Presta valves since they’re designed specifically for bikes.
Compared to a Presta valve, Schrader valves have a larger diameter and use a spring and not a lock nut.
They’re also used on cars and are usually used on less expensive road bikes.
These valves are also referred to as a “Woods” valve and are mostly seen on urban bikes in mainland Europe and are quite uncommon in the US and the UK.
A Dunlop valve is compatible with the same pump head as the Presta valve but is similar in size to the Schrader valve.
Presta valves come in different valve lengths, so watch out for this when buying your bike tube.
This makes them compatible with deeper rim profiles on road bikes, which is why it’s important to make sure that the valve is long enough to reach through the rim so you can attach a bike pump to it.
In general, having a longer valve length than needed isn’t a problem, except that it might not be the most aesthetic option.
Presta valve lengths go up to 80mm, and if you have even deeper valves, you can buy valve extenders.
Bike inner tubes are usually made of either latex or butyl rubber.
Butyl is a durable choice of material when it comes to bike inner tubes. It’s also more common in inner tubes because it’s cheaper than latex.
But, butyl bike tubes are heavier than latex bike tubes, adding more weight to the bike and impeding overall speed.
The good news is that you can repair butyl rubber inner tubes with a standard puncture kit.
Latex rubber is the fastest option and is incredibly lightweight since it’s made up of around 55 to 65 percent water. However, it isn’t as durable as butyl.
It also reacts badly with some greases and oils, which might be a problem when visiting a bike mechanic.
Also, it doesn’t hold air for as long because it’s gas permeable.
Overall, latex inner bike tubes are typically more difficult to repair because of their fragile nature.
What Are the Best Bicycle Inner Tubes?
OK, now we’re on to the good stuff!
Use the information above to pick out your ideal road bike inner tube from this list:
These are 700c high-quality bike inner tubes from the famous German brand, Continental. Despite this, the bike tubes are on the more affordable side without lacking quality.
They’re threaded and have a removable valve core, making it easy to change valves to fit your wheels.
Note they’re made from butyl rubber and, thus, are long-lasting and can withstand more impact than latex tubes. Unfortunately, the bike tube quality can vary depending on which specific tube you are sent, which implies some inconsistencies by the manufacturer during production.
The 42mm long Presta valve makes this an especially good choice if your bike has 30mm or smaller wheel depth. If they’re deeper, you might want to consider the AR-PRO bike tubes instead or remove the valves and replace them with longer ones. This is possible due to the removable valve stem.
- High-quality bike tube.
- Renowned Continental brand.
- Rather affordable.
- Removable valve core for changeability.
- Durable butyl rubber tires.
- 42mm-long Presta valves that suit most road bikes.
- Quality isn’t consistent.
- 42mm valves are too short for bikes with more than 30mm depth wheels.
This pack comes with six inner bike tubes that are the perfect size for a 700c road bike. This does make it a more expensive option, but the value for money is excellent.
Note that the bike tubes are made of thick butyl rubber, making them durable and shock-absorbing, but be aware that O2 inflators aren’t compatible with these tubes.
Also, these AR-PRO bike tubes use a 60mm Presta, making it ideal for road bikes. If your bike has a deeper rim, this is a good option for you. The long valve makes sure that the bike pump reaches the valve through the deeper wheel.
These bike inner tubes are also explosion-proof. If they’re punctured, an airtight seal is immediately created to prevent damage to you and the bike.
Lastly, you don't need any separate tools to replace your tubes since you get two tire levers with this pack, which customers love.
- Comes with a total of 6 tubes.
- Fits most standard road bikes with a 700c wheel size.
- Made from durable and shock-absorbing butyl rubber.
- Long 60mm Presta valves.
- Two included tire levers.
- A little pricey compared to the other tubes.
- Not compatible with O2 inflator bike pumps.
This Vittoria latex option includes two 700c latex bike tubes. They improve rolling resistance and are quiet, according to customers. But, and this is a big but, some users report that they can leak about 10psi per ride. Also, they fill unevenly when inflated.
These tubes use a 48mm long Presta valve, so if your bike has a deeper rim, you might want to consider bike tubes with longer valves, such as the ones from AR-PRO I’ve reviewed. But, for most road bikes, 48mm is enough.
Also, this inner bike tube has removable valve stems, so the valve is replaceable for longer ones if 48mm is too short.
- 700c bike tube suitable for most road bikes.
- Lightweight at 0.18 pounds.
- Improves rolling resistance.
- Added quietness.
- 48mm Presta valves with a removable core.
- Quite expensive.
- Fill up unevenly.
- Not the best at maintaining air pressure.
- Unsuitable for bikes with deeper tires.
If you're looking for a bike tube with Schrader valves that fit any type of bike, this tube is a great option—you can even use these on mountain bikes.
But, it's made for a 16-inch frame, which is slightly smaller than 700c and probably too small for a few road bikes.
You get six long-lasting tubes made from butyl rubber in the pack, giving excellent value for money, and that’s not to mention the included reflective tape and levers. They’re also heat-resistant and are great at holding air, making them a worthwhile purchase.
The Schrader valve is available in 48mm, which is a great fit for most bikes. Such a long Schrader valve isn’t easy to come by!
- Suitable for different bike types.
- Great at maintaining air pressure.
- Reflective tape and two tire levers included.
- Rare, long Schrader valve.
- Slightly small for a 700c tire.
If you’re looking for a good-quality budget option, this Michelin A1 Airstop tube is a good choice. It’s made to suit a standard 700c road bike with a width of 18-25 cm (approximately 7-9.8 inches).
But, you only get one tube with your purchase, so it lacks here compared to the other models. However, if you buy two single packs of the Michelin tube, it’ll still be cheaper than a single Vittoria 2-pack.
Even though it’s made of butyl rubber, the bike tube only weighs 0.22 pounds, which isn’t bad compared to other butyl tubes.
The valve choice in this bike inner tube is Presta, making it a perfect choice for road bikes. The tube is also available in different valve lengths of either 40mm or 52mm, which is rather short. Make sure that your tires and bike rim aren’t too deep before buying this tube.
Note that the valve cores are removable if you want to change them. However, the valve stem isn’t threaded, meaning there’s no option to thread the locking nut to secure it.
- Fits most road bikes with standard 700c tires.
- Option of a 40mm or 52 mm Presta valve.
- Removable valve cores.
- Only comes with one bike tube.
- No threaded valve stem, so you can’t secure the locking nut.
And the Bike Tubes Winner Is…
Even though all the products have qualities that make them stand out, the overall best bike tubes, in my eyes, are the Continental Race 28 700×25-32c Bicycle Inner Tubes.
They’re made with high-quality components from the famous Continental brand, come in a pack of two for decent value and are quite affordable. In addition, they’re suited for 700c tires and use 42mm long Presta valves that are well-fitted for your standard road bike.
To top it off, they’re made from durable butyl and don’t puncture easily!