Road bike tires are a frequent replacement item for bikers, but did you know how long road bike tubes can last?
Tubes get punctured from things like glass and thorns. Knowing when to replace your tube is important because it affects the ride of your bicycle.
Here’s what you need to know about the life expectancy of a tire tube on a road bike. Let’s get started!
What is a Road Bike Tube and how does it work?
These tires use rubberized cords and beads inside of them which provide the tension required for holding their shape.
The pressure from your weight keeps it flat on the surface.
Tubes are typically made of rubber which provides the flexibility required to hold air.
This air is what makes your tire have pressure, without it you can’t use your two wheels properly.
If you look closely at a road bike tube, you’ll see that there are little holes in them that help regulate air loss, since it’s no fun getting a flat tire.
Tubes are also made of other materials like nylon, but the most popular type is rubberized because it’s perfect for both racing and training.
They’re made to be lightweight which helps reduce the weight on your bike, making it easier to maneuver through tight turns.
How long should a typical road bike tube last?
The life expectancy of a road bike tube really depends on how much you use it. Some have been reported to last for more than 10 years, but the average for most cyclists is about 4 years.
If you take care of your tire by keeping mud and grime off of it, then it should last much longer than that.
It’s also important to make sure there are no holes, tears, or rips in the tube before using it on your bike. This will help prevent punctures.
Is it worth patching a road bike tube?
Let’s say you get a flat tire. You look down and see that it’s one of the smallest holes you’ve seen in your entire life, so you decide to patch it up rather than replace it. Is this idea worth considering?
If you don’t have any spare tube and the hole on the tire is rather too small, then it might be worth considering patching your tube.
However, keep in mind that patching tends to wear out on rough surfaces.
Patches are generally made of rubberized material which helps with the flexibility of the tire, so they do tend to wear out faster than regular tubes.
If you want your tube to last longer and provide a smooth ride, it’s best to buy a new one and replace it right away.
When should you replace your tube?
There are several signs that indicate your tube needs to be replaced. Here are a few of them:
1) The tire seems to go flat quickly, even after you inflate it.
When you inflate your tire, it seems to have a hole where the air is going out.
It never inflates up to its normal state and you can hear a hissing noise when you let go of the valve. This means that you need to replace it.
2) When the tube has been patched a couple of times.
Patch not only wears out the rubberized material, but it slows down the airflow within the tire.
If you patch your tube too much, it can’t hold air anymore and will need to be replaced.
3) You notice that there are many small holes in your tube.
If you ride on rough surfaces that feature sharp objects like glass or rocks, then chances are that you’ll get small tears in the rubber.
These holes can be patched, but it’s best to get a new tube since they will tear more easily if your old one has been patched too much.
4) You notice the tube has begun to develop bubbles on its surface.
If air starts bubbling up from the tube, then you know it’s time to replace it.
It might not happen all of a sudden, but if air bubbles start appearing, chances are that your tube will pop soon.
How to change a road bike tube:
Don’t be intimidated by the idea of changing your tube. It’s something that can be done easily and quickly if you know what to do. Here is a video on how to do it!
What are the benefits of replacing your tubes regularly?
1) The air pressure inside your tire remains the same.
When you inflate your tire and it seems to deflate out of nowhere, then something is wrong with the tube.
If you ride around like this, the tire will eventually pop off which can be dangerous if you’re cycling on rough terrain.
2) You get smooth rides.
Your tube has to be in good shape for your tires to develop the kind of air pressure they need.
If there are holes or rips, then you’re running the risk of punctures which not only affects your ride negatively but can actually prevent you from pedaling since it may be too painful.
3) Your bike becomes easier to maneuver.
When your tires are under-inflated, they tend to lose traction and become stiff.
This makes it harder for you to turn quickly or avoid obstacles on the road since you’re simply moving too fast for a tire that can’t grip on anything.
My final thoughts.
Inspect your tire regularly and change it when necessary. It’s a lot better to spend a little bit of money rather than risking your safety just to save a little bit of cash.
If you already have a flat tire, take a tube replacement kit with you so you can fix it yourself instead of having to walk home or pay someone else to do it.
If you check your tire regularly and only wait for the biggest holes to appear before replacing it, then chances are that you’ll be able to use your tube a lot more times than usual.
This is great for people who have a limited budget because they will get longer use out of their money.
By changing your tubes frequently, you’ll be able to go on tours longer without worrying about accidents or unsafe conditions.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to road cycling.