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Old 08-21-2004, 01:02 PM   #1
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Not all inner tubes are the same.

Afternoon fellow inmates,
I recently had an opportunity to measure the wall thickness of various brands of "heavy duty" and beyond... inner tubes. The trails I ride on can be very rocky, and I wanted to find the thickest tubes that were readily available.

I measured Maxxis, Dunlop, Pirelli, Metzeler, IRC, Bridgestone, Michelin and Moose.
I was able to measure tubes in 21/18 sizes in heavy, extra heavy and in one brand, “ultra” heavy.
All measurements were taken across two thicknesses of tubes and divided by two. I used a pad type dial caliper that almost eliminates over and under pressure of a measurement.

Bridgestone "ultra heavy duty" tubes are the thickest I measured at .118" for the front and .107" for a rear.
Maxxis "extra heavy duty" tubes came in at .092" front and rear.
Moose "heavy duty" came in at an average of .077" front and rear
The remaining brands came in between .050" and .065".

If thickness equals puncture resistance, then these numbers translate to approximately 1.5mm average for standard HD tubes, 2.0mm for good HD tubes, 2.5mm for extra HD and 3.0mm for ultra HD.

I'd be the first to admit that this was not the most accurate or scientific of tests... pretty raw in fact, but it was all I could do with what I had available.

Just something to consider… if you thought all tubes were the same.

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Old 08-21-2004, 01:47 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creeper
Just something to consider… if you thought all tubes were the same.
Interesting figures. When lacking calipers in hand (like standing at the dealer's thinking "hmmm which one should I buy", I'd suggest weight as a rough indication. Same (nominal) sized tube, but one brand weighs more than the other....
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Old 08-21-2004, 02:30 PM   #3
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Hey Creep

Just as important to me as thickness is have'n natural rubber tubes off road.

Do ya know which of those tubes are natural?
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Old 08-21-2004, 02:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viverrid
Interesting figures. When lacking calipers in hand (like standing at the dealer's thinking "hmmm which one should I buy", I'd suggest weight as a rough indication. Same (nominal) sized tube, but one brand weighs more than the other....
The Bridgestones feel "massive" in both thickness and weight.
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Old 08-21-2004, 02:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creeper
The Bridgestones feel "massive" in both thickness and weight.
This is a perfect lead in for a sarcastic statement.

However.......

In my experience there is also the issue of strength of valve stem, I have had some (Chinese?) tubes in the past that although good thick rubber have suffered from snapped valves after only a little off roading, I've also had this with Michelin tubes, obviously caused by the slippage of the tyre if no rim locks are in place.

I have never had a failure with Bridgestone, Vredestein or another make that I cannot quite place, may be Schwalbe? Even though when using these tubes the tyre slippage has been the same as with the failed tubes.

I think it is important to stick with well known brands in general.

Now what was that about thick rubbery things?
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Old 08-21-2004, 03:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rad
Hey Creep

Just as important to me as thickness is have'n natural rubber tubes off road.

Do ya know which of those tubes are natural?
In the advertising I have available:
Moose makes a point of their tubes being natural rubber... as "being less prone to pinch flats".
Maxxis makes a point of their tubes being synthetic, which they claim to be "stronger (a not unreasonable claim) and do not leak like natural rubber".
Metzeler and Pirelli are the only other companies to state specifically that they use natural rubber.
Dunlop, Michelin, Bridgestone and IRC make no mention one way or the other.

Moose makes what they call a "Foam Tube". I have not seen them in person but they are a combination of a small diameter conventional tube with a foam cap that goes over it. They charge $60 retail for these in 18, 19 and 21-inch sizes. Not cheap, but cheaper than the Michelin Bib Mousse by less than half.
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Old 08-21-2004, 03:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckster
This is a perfect lead in for a sarcastic statement.

However.......

In my experience there is also the issue of strength of valve stem, I have had some (Chinese?) tubes in the past that although good thick rubber have suffered from snapped valves after only a little off roading, I've also had this with Michelin tubes, obviously caused by the slippage of the tyre if no rim locks are in place.

I have never had a failure with Bridgestone, Vredestein or another make that I cannot quite place, may be Schwalbe? Even though when using these tubes the tyre slippage has been the same as with the failed tubes.

I think it is important to stick with well known brands in general.

Now what was that about thick rubbery things?
Hey Bucky,

Vredestein and Schwalbe are brands not readily available in the US, so I can't offer a comment.
Your stem reference is a very valid point... some manufacturers reinforce this area and some, (cheap shite) not at all.

Something I've done for years (and learned in trials competition) is when mounting new tires and tubes, with or without rim locks, is to position the stems at an angle opposite to the direction the tires/tubes tend to turn. I’ve seen some pro motocrossers do it as well.

When I rode trials, at the very low pressures we used, even with rim locks and angling the stems, the tires/tubes would turn to the point of pulling the stem completely thru the hole... a good reason to not use outer stem nuts, and only plastic caps PITA to fish them back out.
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Old 08-21-2004, 04:05 PM   #8
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My god man! You have way too much time on your hands to think about shit like this!
















But I'm sure glad you do. Now I know which tubes to buy. Thanks
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Old 08-21-2004, 04:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtrider
My god man! You have way too much time on your hands to think about shit like this!
But I'm sure glad you do. Now I know which tubes to buy. Thanks
I'd recently picked up some Maxxis 6006 DS tires to try out when the Metzeler Saharas are done so, I thought to myself, why not see how the various tube brands compare.

I'm working at a shop right now doing inventories, bin locating, fronting POP shelves for maximum impact... that kind of shite, I just figured I'd order a bunch of tube brands from Parts Unlimited for inventory... and of course...measurement purposes

Took all of about 10 minutes... kept the Bridgestones for myself. Expensive buggers they are at 20 bucks a piece retail, but what the hell, maybe there so good I can use 'em twice
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Old 08-21-2004, 04:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creeper
When I rode trials, at the very low pressures we used,
Hey, I'm curious, what pressures do trials riders use? I'm playing around with an X-11 rear on my DRZ right now, I guess I need to run higher as I am trail riding on it, but just curious.

Thanks,

-Vincent
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Old 08-21-2004, 05:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viverrid
Hey, I'm curious, what pressures do trials riders use? I'm playing around with an X-11 rear on my DRZ right now, I guess I need to run higher as I am trail riding on it, but just curious.

Thanks,

-Vincent
In SoCal. in the 1980s, I ran 3 to 7 lbs, dependant on terrain and weather. Generally 2-3 lbs more in front than rear, to get a little crisper feel in front.
Some would actually adjust pressures to suite a particular type of section.
Trials tires on a DS bike with low air pressure can offer much better traction than conventional knobbies on hard slippery surfaces like rock faces and slopes, due to the more flexible sidewalls and soft compounding. Keep an eye on the valve stems though
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Old 08-21-2004, 06:08 PM   #12
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Creep,
Good info. Thanks for being so anal. No really!
If you haven't seen or used the Dual Star 4 ml heavy duty tubes before you should check them out. I haven't measured but they sure feel quite a bit thicker and much heavier than the Moose tubes I have used in years past.
Keep up the good work mate.
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Old 08-21-2004, 06:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creeper
Trials tires on a DS bike with low air pressure can offer much better traction than conventional knobbies on hard slippery surfaces like rock faces and slopes...
I started with 14 lbs. I will try running 12 lbs. next, but I'm afraid to run them down very low as unlike (what I think) Trials is like, I do sometimes accelerate onto more open sections of trail, plus ride dirt roads and paved segments of a few miles at speeds up to 55 mph, though usually not more than 45 mph.

Even at the 14 psi, the one ride I took (80 miles but some dirt & tar road as the guy I was riding with had an injury so we used roads back to Start), I really did notice the improvement on solid rock ledge, and also even on some loose climbs where what's loose is softball - football - bowlingball sized rocks. Most of my riding is not slickrock, but the slickrock sections I do encounter are usually critical ones.

The tire showed no wear after 80 miles, I was afraid I might tear it or chunk it with a heavy DS bike.

-Vincent
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Old 08-21-2004, 06:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steelhead
Creep,
Good info. Thanks for being so anal. No really!
If you haven't seen or used the Dual Star 4 ml heavy duty tubes before you should check them out. I haven't measured but they sure feel quite a bit thicker and much heavier than the Moose tubes I have used in years past.
Keep up the good work mate.
Yep... the "Monster Tubes". Never seen them before in person. By 4ml, do you mean 4mm thick?

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Old 08-21-2004, 06:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viverrid
I started with 14 lbs. I will try running 12 lbs. next, but I'm afraid to run them down very low as unlike (what I think) Trials is like, I do sometimes accelerate onto more open sections of trail, plus ride dirt roads and paved segments of a few miles at speeds up to 55 mph, though usually not more than 45 mph.

Even at the 14 psi, the one ride I took (80 miles but some dirt & tar road as the guy I was riding with had an injury so we used roads back to Start), I really did notice the improvement on solid rock ledge, and also even on some loose climbs where what's loose is softball - football - bowlingball sized rocks. Most of my riding is not slickrock, but the slickrock sections I do encounter are usually critical ones.

The tire showed no wear after 80 miles, I was afraid I might tear it or chunk it with a heavy DS bike.

-Vincent
If you have rim locks... try running them down to about 8-9 psi. If they feel a bit to "vague" on paved sections... up the pressure a pound at a time.
In trials, you sometimes have to ride a bit from section to section at a good clip... most trials bikes will do about 40 to 50 MPH in top gear.
The X-11s last an amazingly long time when used primarily in the dirt, and it's neat the way they "wrap around" rocks and sharp ledge approaches.

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