If you’re like many cyclists, tubes won’t be at the top of your list of potential exciting purchases this year. Perhaps it’s because they’re relatively low priced items or maybe because they’re hidden out of sight. Still, it’s a good idea to understand the different types of bike tubes and how much they cost.
So, how much does a bike tube cost? The average price of a bike tube costs between $5 and $9. You can find tubes for as little as $2 and up and even some models beyond the $35. Specialized tubes and puncture-resistant tubes will cost more than traditional bike tubes. Repairing bike tubes can be a cheaper option, but a full tube replacement is more reliable.
The Average Price of Bike Tubes
There are a lot of different factors that influence the price of bike tubes. Some of these factors will be dependant on the type of bike you ride. As the best deals for tubes are often found in multi buys, it’s worth finding out what an expensive tube might offer you that a cheap tube can’t.
Will the price of the tube be affected by the size of a tube? The answer to that is yes, but probably not in the way you expect. There is sometimes a small increase as the tires get bigger. In most cases though, it’s the less common sizes that might have a premium, as you can see by scrolling through the options of Continental tubes.
Do road bike tubes and mountain bike tubes cost the same? In the basic models, there can be some difference, and it’s often the mountain bike tubes that are more expensive. Presumably, this is down to the width and extra material needed. If you look at Continentals standard two pack, the 29” mountain bike tubes are five dollars more expensive than matching size road tubes.
Saving Money on Bike Tubes
Tubes aren’t terribly expensive, but they are a cost. And if you’re replacing tubes a lot, this is an expense that can add up. Let’s look at a few ways to save money with bike tubes.
Buy in Bulk
Like anything else, buying in bulk with bring the cost per item down. Buying tubes in packs of 2 is nice, but you can save a lot more money buying in larger quantities. Not only is this a cheaper option, but you’ll have them on hand and won’t need to order them again for quite a while.
Some of these packs, like the Contrast Bike Tube Pack, comes in 10 and is really quite affordable.
Fix Your Own
Repairing your own bike tubes isn’t just a way to save money, but is a good skill to have. When you’re on the road, it’s a good idea to carry a spare and a repair kit. Here are some ways to repair your own bike tube.
On affordable option is the Super Patch Repair kit. These little kits come in packs of 3 with 6 patches each. They are stored in a waterproof container and comes with a little sandpaper for tube preparation. These are really small and lightweight that they can fit pretty much anywhere. Check out the Super Patch Repair Kit on Amazon.
If you’re looking for a more complete kit that includes wrenches and tire levers, the Daway Repair Kit is another option. This kit comes with everything you need and only weighs 10oz. Just throw it in your bag and you’re good to go.
What About Tubeless Tires?
Tubeless tires are one option for your bike. This does sound appealing, as you may be thinking, “look ma, no more flats!”. But, are tubless tires worth it?
First, what are tubeless tires? Tubeless tires are just that – bike tires without a tube. These tires work by locking the tire to the rim so that it’s airtight. To make this happen, the tire will need a special type of sealant.
If you go this route, you will be spending more money. The idea here though is that you’ll get more bang for your buck.
Money aside, there are other factors to consider. For benefits, you will get fewer flats. Pinch flats (see What are Pinch Flats?), for example, will be impossible to get. Additionally, many riders feel a better ride with Tubeless tires.
As far as downsides, tubeless tires can be a little more complicated. Mounting will take longer, you’ll need to deal with sealant, and you’ll still want to carry a spare tube in case of a leak.