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My daily rider is a Schwinn MTB with 26" wheels/tires. Specifically the tire size is 26x47/52. On the inner tube there's a label that reads 26 x 1.90-2.125.

I'd like to purchase a few spare tubes in order to avoid getting stranded. Question: are 26 x 1.90-2.125 and 26 x 1.95-2.125 inner tubes interchangeable?

  • I would strongly doubt that the fabrication tolerances for bicycle inner tubes are better than 2.5%. That would mean that these sizes are not only interchangeable but effectively the same. – bhell Dec 6 '12 at 9:32
  • Presumably the "47/52" means 47-52mm tire width, depending on who's measuring. This would be 1.85-2.05 inches. This does kind of put you on the edge, but tubes are quite tolerant of size differences, and the 1.90-2.125 tube should be fine. – Daniel R Hicks Dec 6 '12 at 12:36
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In case of inner tube, difference between 1.90 and 1.95 is totally negligible. The tubes will be completely interchangeable.

Rather than carrying a few spare tubes on your bike at all times, experienced riders most often carry only one spare tube + patch kit. It takes less space and weighs less than multiple spare tubes. It's rare to catch more than 1 flat on a single ride, and if you do, patching a tube takes only a few minutes.

  • I've been known to carry 4 spares, and need 3 of them, but that was before belted tires. But if you use the bike to commute it's not a bad idea to keep a spare tube and a patch kit at work, as well as the set at home. – Daniel R Hicks Dec 6 '12 at 12:37
  • Many times you can use a smaller tube with a tire that is larger than the max number on the tube in a pinch. It's not always a great idea, but I do know some people who prefer to use 26in tubes on 29in tires so they don't have to buy different tubes and they can save a bit of weight. – Benzo Dec 6 '12 at 13:58

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