Most people don’t give much thought to tubes – I know I didn’t for many years. What I typically did was walk into a shop, ask for the cheapest tube to fit a particular tire size, and leave it at that. But then one time I accidentally ended up with a premium tube from Schwalbe and I was amazed to find there are major functional differences between generic tubes and the more expensive Schwalbe tubes. Following are a few of their advantages:
- They hold air far longer (a BIG deal for daily commuters)
- Their stems fit Silca pump heads nicely
- They have a stepped valve stem washer that can be flipped over to fit either Presta or Schraeder rim holes
- They have removable presta valves for inserting puncture sealant
- They come with nifty clear valve caps (just cool looking)
- And Schwalbe offers what may be the best selection of sizes on the market
I haven’t tried other premium brands, mostly because I’ve been so pleased with Schwalbe tubes, but I’m guessing other premium tubes offer some of the same advantages I’ve found with Schwalbes.
I run the Schwalbe SV17 on all of my bikes. The quality and fit of these tubes is so good, stem tears and abrasion flats have been non-existent since switching a few years ago. I used to think a tube was just a tube, but this is a nice product that’s definitely worth the extra expense.