Road bikes are the most common type of bicycle used by the general public. Whether it’s for daily commute, or simple rides around the block, having a trusty road bike can make or break your day.
However, there will be times when you’ve ridden your bike too much and need a change of inner tubes. Or worse, maybe you rode over a sharp object and got your tires punctured. Whatever the case may be, you will need a new set of inner tubes for your bike tires eventually.
But when you look online to search for a new set of inner tubes, you suddenly come to a realization. You don’t even know what size inner tube for road bike is accurate. How are you going to find a replacement this way? Well, worry not, child; we’ve got all the answers for you.
Choosing Inner Tube Size For Road Bike
Not knowing what size inner tube for road bike will match your particular bike model is an embarrassing but common newbie dilemma. So don’t look down on yourself just yet.
As with everything else, accurate sizing is the key factor here. So naturally, you’ll want to get an inner tube that fits your tires. That means choosing an inner tube that fits the diameter and width of your bike tires. The diameter is the length of your tire when measuring from bead seat to bead seat. The width is the gap between the flanges of your tires.
If you don’t know what these mechanical terms mean, we’ll have to get a little bit technical. So, a tire bead is the part of the tire that actually sits on the rim. It holds on to the wheel and firmly maintains its position to give the tire some stability and structure while cycling. Meanwhile, a flange is a projecting edge on the rim’s circumference that keeps the wheel on a rail. To give you some clarity, every bicycle tire has two bead seats and two flanges.
We all know how ridiculous bike sizing can be when crossing over to a different sizing system. Thankfully, it isn’t the case when it comes to figuring out what size inner tube for road bike is accurate.
If you want the quick and simple answer, here it is. Road bike tires are always compatible with 700c inner tubes. So if you’re looking for an inner tube replacement for your road bike tires, you’ll want to get some 700c inner tubes. Nothing more, nothing less.
Alternatively, these tubes are also called 28-inch tubes. We’re assuming this is for those of you who don’t like using millimeters and want to stick to inches. If that’s the case for you, now you know what to get. So, you’re welcome.
Common Inner Tube Sizes For Road Bikes
Most people like to refer to a sizing chart rather than make their own calculations and measurements. After all, if there is already a pre-existing system that works, why not use it? It certainly beats having the doubt of buying the wrong inner tube, despite knowing all the information beforehand. Tsk Tsk.
Traditional or beginner road bikes usually come with the familiar 700c wheels and 20 to 25 mm tires. If you own such a bike with these tires, we recommend going for inner tubes around 700×20 to 25mm. As long as you have the measurements right, there are no chances of any sizing errors here. The inner tubes you pick will be precise and fit perfectly into your bike tires.
People coming off from the beginner level might want to look for something more adventurous yet safe at the same time. These mid-level road bikes will most probably come with 700c wheels and 25 to 32mm tires. In this case, you’ll want to go for an inner tube size of 700×25 to 32mm. Trust us; the shoe will fit.
Now that you’ve had your intermediate phase, you want to become an expert bike rider who holds his own on a long trek. This will bring you to the higher level cyclocross, hybrid, or gravel bikes. These bikes usually come with 700c wheels and 28 to 37 mm tires. So naturally, you’ll want to buy inner tubes that are sized 700×28 to 37 mm. Now you won’t be worried as you cross that narrow ridge.
Once you’ve attained tremendous skill and tenacity in the above three levels, you’ll finally be ready for the big leagues. Enter the master-level bikes compatible with both roads and the wild wilderness! These bad boys come with 700c wheels and a strong set of 32 to 47 mm sized tires. For this beast, you’ll definitely want to get the 700×32 to 47 mm inner size tubes. Remember, only perfection will get you across that treacherous valley in one piece!
What NOT To Get For Your Road Bike
It’s easy for a newcomer to get confused with the hoards of sizing options available for inner bike tubes in the market. We’ve had several of our readers mug up critical information regarding measurements, only to buy the wrong thing in the end. There’s just something about all these numbers that immediately put the mind to sleep. Maybe we can change that.
If you find it difficult to remember the millimeter measurements, just remember the number 28. Road bike inner tubes will measure exactly 28 inches in diameter, nothing more, nothing less. So, if you’re buying in inches, only buy a 28-inch inner tube. Do not buy anything that says 26 in, 27.5 in, 29 in, or 650 b. These numbers are mostly for mountain bikes, not road or hybrid bikes.
So, now that you know what size inner tube for road bike is accurate, you won’t have any issues finding a replacement. Just remember, it’s all in the numbers, so whatever you do, remember them like how you remember your birth date. At the end of the day, these numbers are the only thing that’s keeping you from buying the wrong inner tube.