Finding the correct semi-fat inner tubes for a 27.5"+, 2.8" wheel

halfer

Esteemed Pedelecer
I am currently struggling to find the inner tubes I want online. They're for my Scott E-Genius 730 MTB bike.

The spec is:
  • 27.5"+ wheels
  • 2.8" semi-fat width
  • Presta valve only (Schrader won't fit the wheels)
  • Pre-slimed or with removable valve cores
In the past I have picked up Kenda tubes, but their Presta valve cores are not removable, and the tubes are not pre-slimed. I've found these WTB tubes, but it's the same deal with those - not "slimeable".

(I really do need to switch to slime - I have had so many punctures of late, I need to improve the reliability of the bike. I won't use puncture tape, as my experience of it is that it gets twisted up, and lacerates the tube).

I've tried removing the nut on a (non-removable) Presta valve and had no luck - it would not come off with the force I was willing to apply to it.

I see from MTB-oriented forums that folks are drilling their Presta-compatible wheels to allow the use of Schrader-valve tubes, which is not something I want to do. I would be more inclined to buy new wheels, but it looks like 2.8" tubes are hard to come by regardless of valve type.

I've looked on eBay UK, Amazon UK, Wiggle, Evans, Chain Reaction - any other suggestions? My search-engine-fu is pretty good, but it has not come up trumps yet.
 
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wheeliepete

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Feb 28, 2016
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Just drill out your rims, it only a mm or so, it will do no harm to the rim whatsoever. You can get washers to go back to Presta if you need to. How do you think they make rims to fit Schrader valves? If you are really against this, go tubeless.
 

halfer

Esteemed Pedelecer
Thanks Pete.

Just drill out your rims, it only a mm or so, it will do no harm to the rim whatsoever.
I'll have a look to see if tubes of this size are more readily available with a Schrader valve (since there would be no value in drilling if I cannot find similar tubes with the different valve). I seem to recall that Schrader values always have a removable core.

You're right, my reluctance is based on the perception I might damage the rims, and also because I'm a reluctant bike maintainer (and currently suffering more bike woes than I am comfortable with). I also would have to borrow a drill, but to be honest, it does sound more straightforward than researching and implementing tubeless.
 
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halfer

Esteemed Pedelecer
Searching for this has been a slog, and sadly some bike e-commerce sites do not have particularly good search systems. Accordingly, I will make a list here of possible matches, for other 27.5+/2.8" tyre users.
  • Chain Reaction has a Hutchinson 27.5/2.3-2.85 tube, with Presta, but the Q&A indicates the valve is not removable. At semi/fat widths, Schrader is not available.
  • Chain Reaction has a Maxxis 27.5+/2.5-3.0 tube, but it's only available with Presta. If one hunts in the Q&A section, or squints hard enough at the photo, it turns out this has a removable valve core. So, this is a match, but it is out of stock at the time of writing.
  • The search system at Evan's Cycles is particularly poor, but the only 2.8" tube I could find was for a 26" diameter wheel.
  • Amazon has this Presta tube, for 17 USD, including delivery to the UK.
  • Here is an exact match from Amazon again, unfortunately in the US. This one has a removable valve core. The price of 20 USD, with UK delivery, is rather steep for an inner tube. The title labels it as "29", but the description and the picture indicate it is 27.5+ (I believe these are similar anyway, so the title is not necessarily wrong).
  • I couldn't find anything on Planet X fitting this criteria.
  • This Maxxis fat tube at Wiggle looked to be exact match, but there is a discrepancy between the description and the photo. I got in touch with Wiggle, and they have promised to fix their listing - it looked like 27.5+/2.5-3.0, but is in fact 3.5-5.0, which is too wide for me. The valve is Presta, and this time it has a removable core. Normally an eye-watering £18, but currently reduced to £10.50; my guess is the heavy-weight rubber is the reason for the increased price.
  • Maxxis seem to mail-order directly, and offer both Presta and Schrader options. At the time of writing, both are sold out (from the people who make them!).
  • Merlin Cycles does not seem to have much of a tube range. There is this Schwalbe tube, which is for 27.5"+ and the box appears to indicate a Presta valve, but the width is unspecified.
  • Searching on eBay can be hit-and-miss, since sellers often do not include enough information. However, I searched for the Maxxis tube offered by Wiggle, and it is available in the UK at a matching price, but the seller wants £8 for domestic postage! Same here, but even pricer postage.
  • I found one Schrader valve tube on eBay, in Australia, for around £22 delivered to the UK.
(I will add more links and notes as I find them).

So, on the evidence I have so far, 27.5/2.8" tubes are usually available with Presta valves, and very rarely with Schrader. I'd be very happy to be wrong about this, but it looks like drilling will not improve the availability of tubes.

The item at Wiggle was my most promising lead, and that has now proven to be a false trail. I will see if I can get in touch with Maxxis for a list of UK resellers, but succumbing to the extortionate prices on eBay is not out of the question. The power of the market, eh?
 
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GLJoe

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 21, 2017
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Searching for this has been a slog
I would also have a look at the german mail order companies.
I've found that they often have a wide range of tyre related things, especially Schwalbe sizes that are often difficult to find in the uk.
 

halfer

Esteemed Pedelecer
I would also have a look at the german mail order companies.
Ah, nice one - will do. I will try calling up Evans to see if they can order something to my local store, but if that fails, I will try your suggestion.
 

halfer

Esteemed Pedelecer
What’s wrong with the Schwalbe AV/SV21F?
Heh, is that a rhetorical question? :p

Thanks for the links, I will take a look - they seem like they'd fit the width. I will check with them to see if the Presta is removable.

Or you could just get the tubes you want, cut a small hole in it, fill it with slime and then fix the puncture you created with a standard patch and jobs done.
I agree, and in fact that's what I have done so far. However, my current DIY attempts have been a comedy of errors (look away now). I slimed a tube in this way only to find the rim tape had caused another puncture, and then the tyre was too tight and would not go on no matter how much force I applied to it, and then I foolishly tried a screwdriver, which added another snake-bite puncture and damage to the wheel rim (yes, I know).

So, having learned a series of valuable lessons, I will now do it properly. Since it looks like I will need to get a bike store involved every time I replace the tyre, I have to minimise the number of times I remove the tyre. Hence, I have judged it necessary to be able to slime the inner tube without removing the tyre, which makes a removable core essential.

could you get away with the up to 2.5 one they have. I am presuming like all engineered items they build in a good safety margin.
Yes, but that one is Schrader. However, they have a Presta one - thanks for the linky, I will check if the Presta has a removable valve.

Slime isn't brilliant though, much better if you like this sort of thing is just go tubeless...
I don't doubt that you're right. However, I have had folks discourage me from tubeless in the past, so I'd have to spend a fair bit of time looking into it, to make an independent decision. I feel I understand slime presently, so I think I prefer this route because it is the least time-consuming, and the research is already done. My patience is worn a bit thin, and I need it to recover before I embark on new bike projects.

Thanks for the recommendation though - I will put it on the list.
 
wow... yes it sounds like you need someone to show you, on your bike how to get the tyres off and on. We had a local guy here have huge problems with a KTM he bought from a local dealer (same tyres / size as your scott). So I asked him to bring the wheel to our office. He couldn't get the tyre off with all kinds of levers and screw drivers. I had it off with my hands before he'd even finished explaining the problem. There is a nack, that I think you need to learn, and it involves getting the tyre away from the edge of the rim into the middle, where the wheel is smaller, so its loads easier to get the tyre off and on. You then just seat it properly using more pressure than you'd want to ride, and then let it down a bit to ride.
 
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halfer

Esteemed Pedelecer
There is a nack, that I think you need to learn
I would estimated I have changed around 50-60 tyres on various bikes, so I am far from a neophyte. This is the first one I have been completely unable to do. Take my word for it: these Maxxis off-road tyres are incredibly unforgiving. There is barely any elasticity in them at all, when the last 6-7 inches need to be lifted onto the rim.

it involves getting the tyre away from the edge of the rim into the middle, where the wheel is smaller
That's a good tip, thanks. After I have finished spray-painting the wheel (!) tomorrow, I will see if I have the emotional energy for another try. At this stage I shall not feel at all bad if I get someone to do it for me, but nevertheless, I appreciate the advice.
 
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Nealh

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Aug 7, 2014
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I slimed two tubes and it did diddly squat except make a mess, I found tubes are too flexible and thin for it to work.
 
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I would estimated I have changed around 50-60 tyres on various bikes, so I am far from a neophyte. This is the first one I have been completely unable to do. Take my word for it: these Maxxis off-road tyres are incredibly unforgiving. There is barely any elasticity in them at all, when the last 6-7 inches need to be lifted onto the rim.



That's a good tip, thanks. After I have finished spray-painting the wheel (!) tomorrow, I will see if I have the emotional energy for another try. At this stage I shall not feel at all bad if I get someone to do it for me, but nevertheless, I appreciate the advice.
I know the Maxxis brand well, I used to use their DH tyres when I was racing downhiil, on wheels we had powder coated yellow because we were Mavic sponsored but didn't want to use the yellow rims they provided, we used another Mavic wheel and painted it yellow. But I still stand by the fact that there are only a couple of tyre / rim combinations that I can't get off by hand, and I've had to prove this many many many times to people over the years :) Also mountain bikes are loads easier than road race bikes, deep section carbon wheels with tyres designed to stay on at 120psi can be very very tight.
 
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halfer

Esteemed Pedelecer
A belated update to this thread. After abandoning my bike for an embarrassing length of time, my other bike breaking down forced me to face the trivial tyre problems that defeated me on the last go.

I used two G-clamps on the tyre to push it into the centre of the wheel, so that it did not cling to the rim. This gave me enough slack to put in a plastic tyre lever and pull the tyre into place.

I appreciate it's not necessary for everyone, but I'm thrilled to have found a solution that did not involve a screwdriver! :cool: