Thick Tubes. Are They Better?

I am a big advocate of regular maintenance. There are certain things dirt bikers should do to their dirt bikes regularly to keep things in good condition. For me, this does not include removing inner tubes on a regular basis. Herein lies the quest for the ultimate inner tube, as I hate having to dismount a good tire.

My riding is exclusively motocross, so I am not usually faced with all of the environmental variables a trail or enduro rider may be faced with. The motocross track typically does not have thorns, rock gardens or whatever other trail conditions one may happen upon. Still, motocross riding involves a riding style that puts a great amount of stress on the tubes. Table top jumps, double jumps, triples, whoops, ruts, pot holes, rocks and… did I miss anything? I suppose I could add “coming up short” or “casing a double”. How about over jumping? I’ve done that a few times with great discomfort. Without question then, those poor little inner tubes are getting hammered over and over again.

At some point, the tube gets abraded by the tire casing, eventually causing a leak. The answer to me seemed to be a thicker tube. It seems completely logical this would be true. However, I am uncertain whether it is or not. To be clear, a thicker tube is definitely better if you have to deal with thorns. The added thickness reduces the likelihood of a thorn piercing through the rubber. This, however, is not what I am talking about.

Over the years, I have ran all kinds of tubes from brand A to brand X, from thin to thick to ultra thick. My last tube up front was a super thick tube. I do not recall the brand but it was a very thick tube which was much heavier than any tube I had ever used. It was so thick that it was very difficult to mount (when breaking the tire on one side only). Equally, it was difficult to remove. The real point though is it did not appear to last any longer than other tubes I have used.

I don’t record the time of use on parts such as this, so I don’t really know how long the tube lasted. All I can say is it just did not seem to last any longer. I rode with it awhile and replaced it, just like I always have done. Perhaps the answer is to simply replace the tubes periodically. Doing so costs money, but it is very frustrating to have to replace or patch a tube at the race track when you really want to be riding.

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