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I went to replace the tubes on my bike but realized the tubes I’m replacing say “thin” on them. The tubes I just bought do not. Does it matter? Can I use a regular tube?

The sizes match just this one difference. Besides, I just looked for “thin” tubes and can’t find them anywhere.

2 Answers 2

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As long as the new tube matches the rim size, width, and valve, you're fine.

"thin" tubes are simply made of thinner rubber and therefore weigh less. The difference is maybe 50 grams between a regular and a light tube, and another 50-100 from a regular to a heavy tube.

A thinner tube is slightly more likely to puncture, where a heavier one can often shrug off the same damage and retain air.

A thinner tube could "leak down" slightly faster than a thicker tube, but it might need re-inflating every 5 days rather than every 7-10 days. The difference is minimal.

In short, as long as the new tube has

  • the same valve style
  • the same diameter
  • and covers the width of your tyre, then you're okay.

If the old tubes still hold air, stick one in your on-bike spares bag along with levers and a pump.

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It matters -- a lot.

Thin tubes leak air way too fast. Put the thickest tube you can find in there. Another good practice is to put the widest tube you can fit. For example, if you have 622-32 tires, and have an option for 622-25/32 or 622-32/47 tube, the correct choice is the 622-32/47 tube since it's wider. It may also be possible to fit a 622-32/47 tube into a 622-28 tire; it takes a bit of effort but is totally worth it.

With thick and wide tubes, you are able to have two week long inflation periods on a road bike. On other kinds of bikes, such as a low-pressure high-volume fatbike, the period could be even several years!

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  • 1
    the correct choice is the 622-32/47 correct? I don't think it's correct. It's certainly a choice with perceived benefits and perceived trade offs. But, man, can you just try to post an answer without egregious FUD around choices that don't fit within your narrow preferences?
    – Paul H
    Aug 5 at 14:51
  • I'd certainly prefer to carry less weight with me on my bike, so I routinely choose the narrower tube. I've made it a custom to check the tire pressure every few days anyway, plus these quick inspections can only make a ride safer.
    – jayded-bee
    Aug 5 at 21:19

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