Universal Tube Eric Porter AndrewM
Editorial

Eric Porter's Universal Tube Trick

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date May 31, 2017

Eric Porter

Eric is a diverse pro rider with a history of XC, DH and Slopestyle competition. He shreds on a bike and now focuses on producing stories and videos from Guatemala to Alaska and anywhere else there are shenanigans to be had. 

He rides for Diamondback, Magura, POC, Clif Bar, Camelbak, Reynolds, Kenda, Deity and Fox Racing Shox. He's a delighted dad, quite possibly the second nicest guy to professionally ride bikes* and he's a consummate bike nerd.

The Universal Tube Size Trick

Universal Tube Eric Porter AndrewM

Step #1 : 29'er Tube. Valve at the bottom.

Eric happily stomped on my long held opinion that if I'm going to carry one tube in the event of a tubeless tire failure a 26" is the best choice as a universal donor. It can be stretched into a 27" or 29'er tire in a pinch and stuffing a larger tube into a smaller tire is a pain right?

Wrong. Eric's easy to use sleeve trick makes it quick and simple to re-size a 29'er tube to any size in a pinch. Your kid's 20" BMX has a flat? As long as there's a 29'er tube in the house it's all good. 

Universal Tube Eric Porter AndrewM

Step #2 : Holding the 29'er tube in one hand Eric uses his finger to form an indentation.

Universal Tube Eric Porter AndrewM

Step #3 : Using a finger the tube is then gently sleeved into itself. In this way the tube can be sized down to whichever tire dimension is called for. 

It's ridiculously quick and easy to do - heck, I even managed on my first try - and there are tonnes of scenarios where it will come in handy. For example, when your buddy has his 5th flat of the day riding The Whole Enchilada in Moab and no one has a 26" tube left to lend him. 

For a person riding more than one wheel size it also means I can carry one size of tube in my pack without having to think about what bike I'm riding. A 29'er tube will also easily inflate to support a 29+ tire so this trick opens me up to every eventuality I see on the trail**.

Once the tube has been sleeved down the right size it's just a matter of popping it into the tire and inflating it. Ride it home, clean it up, and throw it back in the pack for next time.

Thanks Eric!

*The crown of course belongs to Ryan Leech

**Except for Fat Bikes?!

Comments

mammal
+3
Mammal  - May 31, 2017, 7:45 a.m.

This is outstanding information. Not very often I have one of those "Ohhhh Yeeaaaah" moments with mtb'ing anymore...

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1
Andrew Major  - May 31, 2017, 8:04 a.m.

Cheers!

That's how I feel about it too. I've learned a lot of little tricks over my years working on bikes but it's been a while since I had one of these epiphany moments.

Reply

bart
+2
bart  - May 31, 2017, 7:54 a.m.

used to fold mine but this makes way more sense!   sometimes it is just the simple things, so glad you wrote about this!

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 31, 2017, 8:04 a.m.

Thanks Bart!

Reply

Kieran
0
Kieran  - May 31, 2017, 8:22 a.m.

Neat solution.

But wouldn't it be better with a 27.5 tube? Then it could stretch to 29 more easily and less of a fold (and possibly bulge in the tire) for 26?

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1
Andrew Major  - May 31, 2017, 8:51 a.m.

There's no negative to sleeving the 29'er tube - down to any size - other than weight. The tube will maybe perform differently at bottom out (sleeved area double thick) but otherwise it's all constrained by the tire. 

Advantage of the 27 or 26 is a lighter tube to carry but stretching it larger is still stretching it even if by a lesser factor. 

Carrying just a 27" or 26" is going to get you out but I think the sleeved 29" is going to have the best survivability?!

Reply

AlanB
+2
AlanB  - May 31, 2017, 9:33 a.m.

This sucks. It totally blows my excuse for not lending a tube to the unprepared rider that flats their Canadian Tire Flyer 26er 5 miles from the trailhead. "Sorry, dude. I don't carry spare tubes that size anymore. No one does."

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1
Andrew Major  - May 31, 2017, 9:59 a.m.

The best I've ever overheard on the trail:

"Sorry bro, if I give one to you then I'd have to give one to everyone else."

Reply

mammal
+1
Mammal  - May 31, 2017, 12:32 p.m.

That old chips commercial... Classic. The last 3 tubes I can remember using were all given to others. Serious tube-karma. One day I'm gonna double flat like a mofo and repo those thangs.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 31, 2017, 3:02 p.m.

@Mammal, wow you're nice!

Way back when I used to be a sardonic jerk my saying was a tube's worth $5 in the shop, $10 at the trailhead, $15 on the trail and $20 at the top of the downhill.

Reply

switch900
0
Andrew Hewitson  - May 31, 2017, 10:55 a.m.

I had to walk down John Deere last year because the dumb dumb I am got a flat two days earlier and then flatted again and I hadn't replaced the tube in my camelback.  In the old days when this happened you could usually count on trail Karma from someone who had an extra tube.  But EVERY single rider was like "Sorry I ride tubeless.  I don't carry a tube anymore. "

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 31, 2017, 10:59 a.m.

Really?

How many of them had a tube strapped on their bike? 

Most the guys I see with hip-packs and no packs still have a tube strapped to their rigs.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+3
Andrew Major  - May 31, 2017, 11:25 a.m.

For the record Andrew: in a pack, fannypack, pocket or 'space docked' I believe honesty is the best policy so I generally just go with: "Yes I have a tube. No I won't share it it's for me."

A stranger called me a dick on Fromme one day for politely declining to give up my backup plan - and I started having second thoughts re. Karma as I continued on my ride - so now I carry a couple small glueless patch kits. I'm happy to hand out a patch or two and get on with my ride.

Reply

switch900
0
Andrew Hewitson  - May 31, 2017, 12:35 p.m.

You would have been a hero to me and my unborn children if you had showed up with a patch kit that day.

Reply

craw
+1
Cr4w  - May 31, 2017, 11:10 a.m.

You can call this technique "space docking". But do not. I repeat do not look it up on Urban Dictionary.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 31, 2017, 11:20 a.m.

I looked it up because you told me not to... now I'm triggered like a tall person shopping for mountain bike shorts.

Reply

switch900
0
Andrew Hewitson  - May 31, 2017, 12:33 p.m.

I'm eating cold Glico curry for lunch...

Reply

lacykemp
+1
Lacy Kemp  - May 31, 2017, 1:33 p.m.

There's a reason we joke that Porter is the best dad in mountain biking. That dude is always prepared. Awesome trick!

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 31, 2017, 8:05 p.m.

Just have to say... if I get one more e-mail or message saying I'm wrong because Wade "The Godfather" Simmons is the nicest guy on knobby tires. I mean yeah, Wade is wicked nice - and a great dad - and always makes time - and has a charming smile - and shreds on a bike with a big grin on his face - and gets other folks stoked - and etc...

But Ryan Leech!!!

Reply

jonas-dodd
0
Jonas Dodd  - May 31, 2017, 11:06 p.m.

This is so awesome! How about a list of everyone's best / favourite bike maintenance tricks for a future article?

Reply

CuomoBiker
0
Stephen Cuomo  - June 2, 2017, 6:04 a.m.

Genius little trick, Eric !  I am definitely going to share that with all of our bike-tube.net friends.  Coincidentally, we just got a shipment of fresh 29" x 2.1-2.4" presta valve tubes, so they're back in stock. Why buy any other diameter ?  ; )

Reply

El_Sketchio
0
William Gaffney  - June 12, 2017, 1:38 p.m.

But.... are 29er tubes cheaper? If so I'm sold. Ill go have a look!

Reply

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