I have tried a few brands of inner tubes for off road riding, mainly slime and dr. sludge but recently I have suffered more punctures than I'd care for despite the 'green goo'.

My question is what are people's recommendations for good off road inner tubes or tubeless systems.

  • 1
    I don't ride offroad, but to me the tubes seem to not matter as much as quality tires, and proper inflation. However as anecdotal evidence, I was using Gatorskins with Tuffy tape on my old bike and ran over a shattered beer bottle without getting a flat. Didn't get a flat in 2 years with that combo (not counting a flat due to a broken valve). Then again, I got a nice track pump last Christmas and keep my tires properly inflated (because the track pump makes it so easy) and I haven't had a flat all year on my new bike. Even though the tires aren't great and I didn't put the tire liners in.
    – Kibbee
    Nov 9, 2012 at 14:54
  • 1
    I'd have thought your choice of tyre would be far more important than your choice of tube, surely?
    – PeteH
    Nov 9, 2012 at 15:29
  • well I'm riding continental mountain kings already, properly inflated before each ride. That is the reason I am now looking to a better choice of tube. Unless you can recommend a better tyre, but as hillsons said, mountain kings are pretty reliable. Nov 10, 2012 at 10:47
  • Are you using a belted tire? The Mountain King apparently comes in belted (ProTection) and unbelted versions. Nov 14, 2012 at 12:56

4 Answers 4


Maxxis DH or Freeride tubes. They're not light but I've only ever once punctured the DH model - a 6inch nail through both side walls, so I won't hold it against them!

  • thanks! I'm not fussed about them being heavy so this might be ideal for me. Nov 10, 2012 at 10:48

Kibbee is on to something, your tire is your best defense against punctures no matter the terrain. Try using Continental Trail King tires or Continental Mountain King tires and you will surely see a decrease in punctures. Most tubes will hold up the same, if I had to pick one I'd say go with a continental tube or stick with the slime tubes.

  • I'm already riding mountain kings :) I will look into continental tubes but Maxxis Freeride tubes (suggested by cmannett85) might be the right fit for me. Nov 10, 2012 at 10:50
  • Shoot, you've already got mtn kings. Sometimes you just endure a string of flats for no tangible reason. I've had weeks with many unjustified flats, and I've had months with not so much as some low tire pressure. Sometimes there's no rhyme or reason. Nov 12, 2012 at 3:27
  • Same here, I've worn through a mtn king without a single puncture, but recently I've been finding all the wrong lines it would seem. Nov 12, 2012 at 8:34

You need to understand why you are puncturing- are you getting "snake bites", or is it being caused by object penetration. Looks at the punctured tube - if the holes looks like its been bit by a snake, (surprise) its a snake bite.....

Snake bites - aka Pinch Flats - cause by low tire pressure - when you hit an object hard the tube gets pinched and punctures - tire choice wont help much, meaty tubes will help only a little, but more air pressure in the tire is the real answer. If you don't want more air pressure, then tubeless completely solves this problem (and replaces it with "burping" the air out of it's not a good system. I know you have said that you are inflating them properly, but you have not said what "properly" is, (pressure is not enough as we do not know you riding style, weight, speeds you hit etc).

Penetration Punctures - if you are getting these regularly, its good to understand why. Do you ride an area with problems such a plants with sharp spikes, trails made with nails etc. Do you make absolute certain that the object is no longer in the tire after fixing a puncture. In that case, Kevlar Armour is required. Again - heavy tubes help, but the tire should be stopping sharp pointy things getting to the tube. If you are using good quality tubes and your MK's are puncturing, I suspect there little you can do about it - maybe add some gator skins and see if it helps - or there are Puncture proof tires available, although I have never used them.

One hint is to always mount the tire in exactly the same place on the rim after a puncture repair. If you re-puncture in the same place as last time, its likely the tire still has something stuck in it.

Another option to try is cheap department store tyres - these tend to be excessively heavy and have thick casing - making them surprisingly resistant to all sorts of problems - perhaps its more to do with the speeds you (cannot) obtain when riding on them more than there robustness.

  • I appreciate the list of symptoms, however in my case the tyre pressure is optimum and the tyres are relatively new (3 months) with medium usage. I shall take a look at some of your suggestions, thanks Nov 12, 2012 at 8:33
  • 1
    Another puncture prevention I have used is to put talcum power in the tires. Prevents snakebites by allowing the tube to slide around more easily.
    – mattnz
    Nov 12, 2012 at 20:34

If the tubes you're using have removable valve cores, you can put some Stan's or equivalent in the tubes. Some tubes (Continental is one brand) have removable Presta valve cores. Alternatively, you can buy tubes that come pre-filled with sealant. I'm not a huge fan of Bontrager products, but I've used their sealant-filled tubes around Southern CA, where we have goat-head thorns among other things, and they work well for small punctures.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.