As a new invention, self sealing bike tubes have not yet received any considerable amount of recognition from the biking community. It sounds like an extremely viable solution for the frequent punctures we all face, at least on paper.
But does the lack of acceptance in the community mean something? It costs a few more dollars than the conventional tubes. Are self sealing bike tubes worth it?
The answer is not monolithic. It may change depending on the person. However, if you take a closer look, you will realize that these tubes have both positive and negative camps.
In this article, we’re going to investigate the claims of both parties and come up with our conclusion. Let’s get into it.
How Do Self-Sealing Inner Tubes Work?
To know why such a feature has failed to win over the whole community, first, we need to understand what goes on inside the tubes.
How does a seal-sealing tube repair itself? Or does it even repair?
If you cut open a brand new tube, you’ll find sealing liquids inside. It’s known as tire slime made from a coating inside the tire. When the tire is undamaged and full of air, it remains normal.
But, just as the tire experiences a puncture, the air from the tube will go out and in the process tries to suck out the tire slim through the puncture hole.
And the slime mixed with different types of fibers plugs the hole and prevents the tube from emptying out. It can repair punctures in moments.
Limitation of Seal-Sealing Inner Tubes
The limitation of these tubes is that the sealant can only plug gaps with no more than 0.2mm diameter. If the holes are larger than that, sealant alone won’t work. You’ll need to use patches.
When Is Self-Sealing Tubes Worth it?
When Is Self-Sealing Tubes Worth it? If you experience frequent punctures on your daily route, you most likely deal with repairs more than you’d have liked. It can lessen your troubles of finding repair shops or carrying around repairing tools with you wherever you go.
Do You Need a Self-Sealing Tube?
Now, we don’t want to jump on the hype train and spend our money. Decisions like this, most of the time, come back to bite us in the back.
You need to ask yourself a few things to figure out whether or not it’s a good addition to your bike.
Here are a few reasons why a self-sealing tube may not be a good idea.
Nowadays, some wheels do not need the inner tubes. That is a signification contribution to reducing the bike’s overall weight.
For competitive bikers, speed is the key, and increasing the bike’s weight by adding a tube is a bad idea. Most competitive cyclists use tireless wheels, which are much lighter than even conventional tubes.
Paddling a heavier bike also takes more toll on the cyclist’s leg muscles leading to early fatigue. And that is enough to make them lose the race.
Tubeless wheels are not only lighter but also easier to repair. You can simply swap them out. Even when the wheels are damaged that can work until you can find a repair shop or get a hold of replacement wheels.
In such cases, seal-sealing tubes aren’t worth it since they can only deal with only diameters smaller than 0.2mm.
It’s also a matter of time. The sealing tubes need time to seal the punctured parts. Those in a hurry or professional cyclists will find it really troublesome.
So, are self sealing bike tubes worth it? Yes, it is. But it’s worth it for only those who don’t have a problem with the increased weight and deal with the sealing time.
If I say so, I’d say it’s a perfect solution for kid bikes and leisure bikes where you’re not facing an emergency. But it won’t be of any benefit to competitive cyclists.