Best Cheap Bike Accessories | Reviews by Wirecutter

Best Cheap Bike Accessories | Reviews by Wirecutter

A bike seat bag packed with two tubes, tire leavers, and tools
Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

Continental Tire Tube with Presta or Schrader Valve ($10 at the time of publication)

The most common way to fix a flat when you’re out riding is not to patch the tube right then and there but to replace it, so you’ll need to carry a spare tube with you. A bike shop can help you choose the right size, but if you can’t get to one in your area, ordering a tube online is simple. You just need to find your tire size and your valve type.

To find your tire size, go to your bike. Look at the tire—the rubber surrounding the wheel—and search for numbers that look something like 27.5” x 1 ½ or 700c x 23mm. The first number is the diameter of the wheel. The second number is the width of the tire. If you purchase a tire online, select the tube that matches both numbers.

If you have a mountain bike, your numbers will likely be represented in inches, as in 26”, 27”, or even 29”. If you have a hybrid or road bike, the first number will likely be expressed in millimeters—700 being the most common (though the figure could be 650, 650b, or the like). If you want more detail, this is a good resource to learn more about tube sizes.

Next, know your valve type. It’s likely either a Presta or a Schrader. Look at the valve where you inflate the tire. Is it narrow, with a tiny piston you press down to release air? That’s Presta. Does it look like a valve on a car tire? Schrader. Select the tube that matches the valve type you currently have.

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