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I have 40-622 (a.k.a. 28x1.5") tires, and Schwalbe offers two different sizes of tubes - their models "17" and "19" - as applicable for that tire size.

Ok, either one would surely fit well. But apart from weight difference (150 vs. 220 grams), is there any reason to prefer one over another? Is it better to have as small & light tube as possible? Or perhaps a bit larger and heavier one would be more durable, as it wouldn't be stretched as much? Err on which side?

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Basically, the tube box will list the sizes it covers. Make sure your size is within those parameters (and ideally not "on the edge"). Beyond that you'd generally pick the lighter tube for road and the heavier one for off-road. –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 4 '12 at 11:47
    
@Daniel: pick the lighter tube for road and the heavier one for off-road actually answers to my question. Would you mind adding it as an answer instead of just comment? –  Joonas Pulakka Jul 6 '12 at 5:22

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Basically, the tube box will list the sizes it covers. Make sure your size is within those parameters (and ideally not "on the edge"). Beyond that you'd generally pick the lighter tube for road and the heavier one for off-road. And a heavier tube will generally provide a slight improvement in puncture resistance.

Avoid very light tubes unless you're a racer, as they will often "leak down" much faster than heavier tubes, requiring you to inflate your tires twice daily in some cases. (It would be nice if manufacturers rated their tubes based on leakage.)

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You want to get the tube to match the tire as close as possible. Nowadays they make the tubes smaller and allow them to stretch out, and for the most part it isnt a problem, but this is to save the company money and not because it doesn't matter. Anyway, I would suggest a slightly smaller tube over a slightly larger tube (in comparison to the tire) because there are more problems with pinching in a larger tube than stretching/herniating with the smaller tubes. As for which tube to use, I don't know the conversion, if the 19" is larger than the tire go with the 17". But I would say try find one that is closer to the actual tire size.

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Find the tube that will fit without any folding. I would avoid a tyre that needs to stretch too much. It can exopose manufacturing differences and makes patching harder.

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So it must be small enough so that it fits without folding, but large enough so that it doesn't stretch too much. Fair enough. But if I had to choose between the two offerings I described, which one would I choose, and why? –  Joonas Pulakka Jul 4 '12 at 10:22
    
I would get item 19 now I've looked at your link. –  DanS Jul 4 '12 at 10:52

Personally, I use the largest tube that will fit my bike. That makes me feel better because the rubber of the tube is not stretching out as much as it might be for a smaller tube. I honestly don't have any "prof" but I feel like it helps prevent flats. I've gone 1000 miles since my last flat. Mostly because of the tires I have, but I think that using the largest working tubes does help prevent things like pinch flats.

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Certainly I've had trouble when the tube was just a hair too small -- I'm thinking I was given a 1-1/8" max tube for a 1-1/4" tire. The area near the stem did not expand as readily as the rest of the tube resulting in a low spot when inflated. The hazard if the tube is a hair too large is the rubber doubling up and failing where it's creased -- I've had that problem too. (These are cases where I walked into my LBS and asked for the correct size and was told "Here, this will do.") –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 6 '12 at 17:36

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