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I ordered a 26 by 1.95 tube for my bike tire. Come to find out my tire size is 26 by 2.10. Will the tube still work?

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    Hi Christopher and welcome to Bicycle.SE! Leaving is always an option of course, but before you do, perhaps you can check out the tour? It explains how you can use this site to get help. If you have another question it's best to ask a new question, please include details such as a photo as that makes it easier for people to provide the right answer. Commented May 30 at 12:40
  • For your other questions, please post them under individual new posts and we will be happy to help you out! Alternatively, if you want to discuss in a more informal context, please join us in the Bicycles Chat.
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    Commented May 30 at 16:52

5 Answers 5

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Most butyl inner tubes are approved for a size-range, not a single size. You would have to check excactly what you have ordered and see if your tire size is within accepted range for the tube you ordered. Your stated size discrepancy is small, so there is a good chance it will fall within range.

Going beyond spec might work, but I have never done it, it might push the durability limits and I'd rather get something within spec for peace of mind on such an affordable and important part.

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  • Dumb mistake on My Part. Looked up the Bike instead of Reading the Tire. Took off the Tire put My reading Glasses on & noticed it Today. Ordered the Tube off the Net. My Fault. Agree with what You said. Thank You! WornChain, Good Name, I Should have been more Creative? Commented May 30 at 13:14
  • @Christopher Everyone makes (such) mistakes and Christopher is just fine!
    – WornChain
    Commented May 31 at 8:36
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I would use that tube. Sizes are not accurate to the 0.15 of an inch.

As an example, a Bell 26" standard bike inner tube is recommended for tire widths 1.75 to 2.25, a .5 difference.
enter image description here

Michelin, Goodyear and Continental all have a size range for 26" tubes.

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  • Thank You! 4 Your Help Commented Jun 1 at 16:21
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Inner tubes are always rated for a range of sizes, not a single size. The range is typically between 0.5 and 1 inches from low to high, though it may be less in some cases.

In general, the lower limit of the range should be treated as a hard limit, you won’t fit the tube in any tire smaller than that and still be able to inflate it uniformly to a useful pressure. Trying to do so anyway will cause reliability issues, and will also have a significant negative impact on the overall ride.

The upper limit, OTOH, is more of a guideline. You’re typically still fine up to about 5-10% (depending on brand and quality) over the upper limit without significant issues unless you’re running at particularly low pressures (in which case it will be more susceptible to pinch flats) or don’t have good rim tape (in which case all the typical issues with either no rim tape or bad rim tape will be much more likely). Too much more than that and you’re just too likely to rupture the tube.

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  • I've got home on a touring tube rated for max 37mm (1.5") in a 2.1" tyre, so you can push it further. And going a few mm (0.2") smaller than the minimum is tricky but OK - once you've got the tube inside without trapping it a 32-38mm tube in a 28mm tyre is fine, and it's easier when everything is bigger.
    – Chris H
    Commented May 31 at 11:24
  • @ChrisH What does "got home" mean? I applaud sharing real world experiences with going beyond spec, but it's not clear how long/far it worked out for you.
    – WornChain
    Commented Jun 1 at 10:44
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    @WornChain a few 10s of km home. I don't think I replaced it before the next ride but can't be completely sure (hence the vagueness).
    – Chris H
    Commented Jun 1 at 11:23
  • Thanks! For all the Comments. Put it on Yesterday,Rode Today? Fingers crossed. Just saw the comments. Thanks again. Commented Jun 1 at 16:23
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The problem with inner tubes is inflation. The more space you need to fill, the thinner the inner tube gets.

The size range tells you the smallest size it will fit into as well as how big you should be able to inflate it to.

As a rule of thumb I go with the next size up. You're not streching out the rubber so badly and it's slightly less likely to pop if punctured.

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    You actually on purpose buy a tube that is larger than intended for your tire size?
    – WornChain
    Commented Jun 1 at 10:33
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"Will it work" - you are asking for a black-and-white answer to a gray-area question.

Will it fail immediately? Probably not. If you want to see how large a 1.95" tube can actually inflate, try inflating it OUTSIDE of a tire. You will see that it can get, actually, MUCH larger than 1.95" without failing.

If you were to take 1000 1.95"-rated tubes and 1000 2.10"-rated tubes made using an identical process and identical rubber, put them into 2.10" tires on otherwise identical bikes, and then bike 1000 identical miles on each one [for a total of 2000*1000 = 2,000,000 miles :)], I would wager that the 1.95"-rated tubes would tend to fail, on average, somewhat sooner than the 2.10"-rated tubes, but not that much sooner. How much sooner? I couldn't say, and you would likely need to perform the experiment described above to find out. Will the 1.95 tend to fail in 99% of the time of the 2.10? In 90% of the time? In 9% of the time? /shrug. OTOH, a 1"-rated tube would almost certainly tend to fail much sooner than the 2.10"-rated tube. How much sooner? /shrug.

OTOH, having a flat isn't the end of the world, so, if 1.95" was the tube that I had on hand, I would probably just use it in a 2.10" tire. If 1" was the tube I had on hand, I would save it for some other occassion. But that's just me.

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    I think it's more likely that 26x1.95 isn't only 26x1.95, but a range. (I've never seen a butyl rubber tube with a single size.) Looking quickly online, the narrowest spec I've seen fitting 1.95 is a 1.9-2.125; I saw others all the way up to 1.75-2.5. Basically, it's super unlikely the tube in question wouldn't simply fit.
    – DavidW
    Commented May 31 at 19:28

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