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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For general cruising, training, or long distance riding, does it matter what tube you run in your tire? Is a $4 Performance Bike's Forte brand tube just as good as a Continental, a Michelin, etc.? Is there any advantage to matching manufacturer tube to tire? Or just a waste of money?


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For the first question: It does, in regards to reliability. There's some dissatisfaction amongst quite a few users here about Forte in particular, myself included. Michelin and Giant/Kenda notably has a non-threaded valve stem unlike most other brands. Functional benefit there is that it's more pump (head)-friendly.

As for brand matching, no biggie really. Tubes all have a...tubular shape, no one can really tell what brand you have unless they look hard at the stem, and I'm sure some brands share the same suppliers.
 

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I use whatever the LBS has in stock...generally Specialized tubes. I've always used whatever we carried at the shop or purchased from the local shop with no problems.
 

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RoadBikeRider
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I use pretty much any brand of standard weight tube except Forte...they seem to be underbuilt in the valve stem area and I used to tear them out on a regular basis. No problem with any other brand. No need for the featherweight tubes unless you like fixing flats.
 

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Descender
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My guess is that there are probably as many tube manufacturers as tire manufacturers.
Forte has gotten bad reviews on RBR and rightfully so, but they are not a manufacturer but a rebrander - another guess is that they use the cheapest tire manufacturer they can find to make thier tires and tubes. Thier sales premise is based on cost not quality for many things they offer.

If you use Michelin, Conti, Vittoria (my recent favorites) or other name brand manufacturer you should be fine.
 

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old school drop out
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I'm not picky about brand, but I do prefer lighter weight tubes. The weight savings may not be something that I can feel, but mentally it makes me feel better. :) I patch my tubes when I flat, and will patch the same tube multiple times, so paying $2 or $3 more for a tube that will last a long time seems like a minimal additional expense.
 

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Forte from Performance has had a bad run of tubes. I used Forte in the past but the current batch get holes at the base of the stem where they can't be patched.

When it comes to tubes personally I prefer tubes with smooth or unthreaded valves. The smooth stems make it lots easier to put the pump head on & off and the smooth stem seals better when the pump head is on. Threaded stems tend to chew up the pump head. Michelin and Kenda make threadless stems. There are others as well but I can't remember them right now.
 

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Devoid of all flim-flam
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In my ten years of running clinchers (after 35+ years of running tubulars) I've found that heavier tubes don't necessarily flat less than lighter ones. It's all the luck of the draw. Do they design the thicker tubes knowing that the extra millimeter or so is indeed going to fend off that broken bottle in the gutter? Or that goats head thorn on the bike path? As for mixing brands of tubes and tires, it absolutely does not matter.
 

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I can't tell the difference from one brand to the other.

Some will have more air than others after a few days sitting around but I'm pumping up every ride anyways so who cares about that.
 

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I like the tubes with the smooth valve stems. No matter what brand of tub that I have used, if it doesn't flat, the tub usually fails in two places: 1) the valve stem part breaks off (the part under the little screw down nut) and 2) where the valve stem meets the tire. Just fatigue I guess from using the bike pump and pushing/pulling the air chuck off the stem.

I think the life of the tub has more to do with the condition of the tire. My theory is that as the tire is wearing down it's getting thinner and doesn't have the ability (as when new) to shed off the road hazards as well as when it was new. As the tire wears down there are increased chances for flats with the small pieces of pointy junk that are abundant on the side of the road.

Bottom line: a) for most of us, any weight savings in a tube can be better used by cleaning up our diet so we don't put the extra 3 grams (or more) onto our bodies and b) thinner lighter tubes are probably not worth the expense unless you are an elite racing type, c) if it makes you perform better and puts you in a better mental performance state then by all means buy the lighter tubes.
 

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waldo425 said:
I'm a racer and I don't care. I think that the only people that can worry about the weight of their tubes are pure climbers.
I'm a racer and climber, but don't really pay much attention to the tube. I just need it to be reliable.
 

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vexatious enigma
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spade2you said:
I'm a racer and climber, but don't really pay much attention to the tube. I just need it to be reliable.
Well there you have it :)

Good to know that if I wanted to drop the 10 - 20 pounds to go from sprinter to climber that I wouldn't need to be a weight weenie :thumbsup:
 

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I use the Forte tubes. Been using them for over 3 years without issue. Biggest reason is that I get them at a very deep discount. There was a bad batch that came through a while ago that the reinforcement around the valve stem was weak, but that has seemed to be fixed. Run them in my road bikes and in all 4 of my mountain bikes.
 

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frdfandc said:
I use the Forte tubes. Been using them for over 3 years without issue. Biggest reason is that I get them at a very deep discount. There was a bad batch that came through a while ago that the reinforcement around the valve stem was weak, but that has seemed to be fixed. Run them in my road bikes and in all 4 of my mountain bikes.
I used them for a long time. Glad to hear they got their problem fixed. Too bad they don't make threadless or I'd be tempted to but them again.
 

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Mr. Versatile said:
I used them for a long time. Glad to hear they got their problem fixed. Too bad they don't make threadless or I'd be tempted to but them again.

Your not the only one who says that the threadless are preferred,
 

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No flats in over 4,000 miles for me!

You read that correctly- and I use Forte. The difference is that I use the THORN RESISTANT tubes. they are about three times the thickness (and weight) of a regular tube. I commute to work in the city on mostly bike lanes (read: debris and glass) and also ride spirited club rides in the country. I'm not a racer and I'm slender so the extra weight does not bother me!:) I'll let you know when I flat! (Knock on wood!)
 
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