A flat tire is a nightmare for a cyclist so it is a good idea to know how often you should replace a bike inner tube. Outside of an accident, having an inner tube in top shape will keep the tires in better shape and less likely to go flat.
Bike inner tubes lose air naturally in the same way car tires do. Regularly checking tire pressure and filling with air is the best way to prevent a flat or blown tire. As with the other parts of the bike, the inner tubes will eventually wear and need to be replaced.
How the bike is ridden, the type of bike, and your maintenance schedule all influence when you will need to replace the inner tube.
Being familiar with your bike is the best way to know when to replace the inner tubes. You will know best how often you ride, how aggressive you ride, and how often you maintain the bike.
This guide will help you evaluate when inner tubes need to be replaced based on these factors. Taking care of an inner tube is one of the best ways to keep you on the road.
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Table of Contents
How Long Do Bike Inner Tubes Last
|Type of Bike
|7 – 8 years
|4 – 5 years
|2 – 3 years
|1 – 2 years
|5 – 10 years
|3 – 4 years
|2 – 3 years
|1 – 2 years
How Often Do Mountain Bike Inner Tubes Need To Be Replaced
Mountain bikes have bigger and thicker tires than road bikes. This is so they can take you off road and to adventure. Typically, the tires and inner tubes will be designed to accommodate this type of ride.
There are many different types of inner tubes out there, and the brand will influence how long they last. Generally speaking, inner tubes in mountain bike tires can last for up to 7 years before needing replacements. Of course, if you get a flat, they will need to be replaced much sooner.
The top reasons that mountain bike tires and inner tubes get flat are because of uneven terrain. It is not uncommon to get punctures as a result of riding over rocks and hills.
Even if the tires themselves do not get punctured, the rims can get bent allowing a slow leak. Continuing to ride on an inner tube that is leaking can weaken it much quicker. This will result in a replacement sooner than planned.
If you are riding off road a lot, the way you take care of your bike tires will influence how long the inner tubes will last. Make sure the inner tubes are never over inflated or under inflated.
It is also important not to store the bike in the sun. If you are resting while out on a trail, be sure to place the bike in the shade and extensive heat exposure can weaken the inner tube materials. Once they are worn, they will need to be replaced much quicker.
How Often Do BMX Bike Inner Tubes Need To Be Replaced
With a BMX you will want to replace the inner tubes every 3 years to make sure they can withstand the pressure of stunts and tricks. If the inner tubes are ever damaged, then you will need to replace them more often.
Pressure is important for BMX tires because too much pressure will result in a blown tire. It is also important to check tire pressure and tubes regularly, to make sure there is no damage.
With regular maintenance BMX bike inner tubes will last between 3 and 5 years, but if you are riding hard most days, replacing the inner tubes every 3 years is recommended.
How Often Do Touring Bike Inner Tubes Need To Be Replaced
Touring bikes are not typically ridden as aggressively as mountain or BMX bikes. They are designed for road travel, so the only big danger is potholes. So long as you are not running over potholes and up and down curbs all the time, the inner tubes can last close to 10 years before needing replacement.
As with other tires, pressure is important. You want to keep the inner tube filled correctly. Too much pressure can result in a blown tube and too little risks the rim denting anytime a bump is hit.
Since the rims for these tires are not designed to be as tough as those on mountain bikes, a dent like that can damage the inner tube too and force you to replace it much sooner than necessary.
How Often Do Racing Bike Inner Tubes Need To Be Replaced
Racing bikes have very narrow tires designed for speed. The trouble with the narrow tires is that they are easily punctured. Dents in the tire rims can also damage the inner tubes. For that reason, racing bikes are to be ridden on pavement only and potholes and curbs should be avoided.
Racing tires are essential for speed, so going fast will depend on the condition of your tires. Even if you ride carefully, it is a good idea to check inner tubes for racing bikes every month.
You want to watch for signs of wear so you can get them replaced before damage to the wheel occurs. For a well-maintained racing bike, the inner tubes will ideally be changed every 3 or 4 years. Again, this will depend on how you ride.
How Often Do Child Bike Inner Tubes Need To Be Replaced
The inner tubes in a child’s bike are the same as those in adult bikes. Depending on how they are ridden, the inner tubes can last for about 5 years.
This does not mean you want to leave it every 5 years for replacement. To make sure your child’s bike is safe and steady on the road, the tires and inner tubes should be replaced every 2 years.
To make the inner tubes last as long as possible, make sure your child is not riding too hard. They need to stay clear of potholes and avoid riding up and down curbs.
Even with a mountain or BMX bike, kids’ tires are smaller and so are more at risk for damage and wear. The harder a child rides, the quicker the inner tubes will wear out and need to be replaced.
How To Replace A Bike Inner Tube
To replace the inner tube on any bike, the steps are the same, and are relatively easy. Make sure you have the right size inner tube for your tires and follow these steps.
First you need to flip the bike upside down. For the front tire, loosen the bolts on each side of the tire. For the back tire, remove the chain before removing the bolts.
Remove the wheel from the bike frame. The next steps involve removing and replacing the inner tube.
- Take off the cap from the valve, and remove the fastener
- Stick a screwdriver in between the tire and wheel and work around the wheel, taking the edge of the tire out of the rim.
- Pull out inner tube
- Insert the new inner tube by placing the valve inside the rim first
- Insert the rest of the inner tube into the tire. Once the inner tube is half in, you can slightly inflate it to make this step easier.
- Press the tire back into the wheel.
- Tuck the tire back into the rim while turning the wheel.
- Use a screwdriver to get the last portion back on, taking care not to push the screwdriver too far or you risk popping the new tube.
- Inflate the new inner tube with an air compressor and put the fastener cap back on.
Ways To Make A Bike Inner Tube Last Longer
The inner tubes on bikes are different. While they perform the same function, they are designed differently depending on the style of bike. Some need to be thinner such as those in racing tires while others in BMX and mountain bikes are more robust. Regardless of the tires and inner tubes you have, there are things you can do to make sure they last as long as possible.
- Do not keep your bike in the heat. Extreme temperatures and sun exposure weaken inner tubes making the more prone to wear and damage.
- Store upside down. When not in use, turn the bike over to rest on the handlebars and seat. This leaves the tires elevated which reduces pressure on the inner tubes.
- Check tire pressure regularly. The more often you check tire pressure, the easier it is to identify if inner tubes are getting worn. Keeping tire pressure maintained helps inner tubes last longer.
- Protect your tires. Avoid sharp items like glass or nails when riding and do not go over potholes or curbs unless necessary. Some tires can withstand uneven terrain, but in general the less you bump around and the less debris you ride over, the less risk there is for puncture.
Helpful Tips To Know How Often Should You Replace Bike Inner Tube
Regular tire maintenance and checks are the best way to make sure your inner tubes last. There are some helpful tips to remember that can help you identify when it is time to replace your inner tubes.
- Look for punctures or dents to the rim
- Check for slow leaks
- Tires that go flat often will need new tubes
- If the outer tire is worn down and there is no tread, the inner tube is likely worn too and needs to be replaced
Most people think about the tires rather than the inner tubes when it comes to bike maintenance, but this is a mistake. You need to remember that the inner tube is responsible for keeping the tire rolling. Even a new tire will be useless if the inner tube is worn out.
So how often should you replace a bike inner tube? The answer depends on how you ride, how often you ride, and the bike you have. With proper bike care, which includes regular tire maintenance, you can make sure your inner tube lasts for at least 7 years.