Universal Tube Eric Porter AndrewM
Editorial

Eric Porter's Universal Tube Trick

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Jun 26, 2018

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 crown of course belongs to Ryan Leech

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.*

*Except for Fat Bikes?

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!



Comments

mammal
+4 Endur-Bro Pete Roggeman Merwinn Andrew Major
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 Pete Roggeman
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 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman
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

AndrewMajor
+1 bart
Andrew Major  - June 25, 2018, 10:42 p.m.

Bart, I have to say that is a KICK-ASS avatar you have!

Reply

bart
0
bart  - June 28, 2018, 2:53 p.m.

It is priceless work of art bestowed upon me by a very talented individual!

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 Mammal
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 Pete Roggeman Andrew Major
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
+3 goose8 Endur-Bro AlanB
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 Andrew Major
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.

Reply

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

fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - June 28, 2018, 12:05 a.m.

I haven't used a tube in a long time but still carry one.  I am re-thinking this as I carry tyre plugs, patches and a small bottle of stans (plus valve screw).  For my local 2-3 hour rides I think I would rather try fixing a tubeless trailside and give up and walk home rather than putting a tube in. 

Saying all that I am probably going to double flat on my next ride....

Update - a few rides after my comment above I flatted on a group ride.  My 60ml bottle of Stans in my waist pack saved me having to use a tube as I was low on sealant.  Having never used C02 (and relying on a pump) I am now a convert especially on group rides.

I now carry a tube and tools on all rides - and of course my little bottle of Stans.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 28, 2018, 12:08 a.m.

I’ve lent out 4x tubes in the last ~year. All to people who should know better. Don’t be that person! Spare rubbers is everyones’ responsibility!

Reply

fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - June 28, 2018, 12:12 a.m.

Yeah that's what is nagging in the back of my mind.  The first ride I don't take a tube is when I / someone else will need it.

AndrewMajor
+3 Raymond Epstein Mammal Pete Roggeman
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
+3 Endur-Bro pedalhound Pete Roggeman
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
+1 Zapp
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

Endur-Bro
0
Endur-Bro  - July 3, 2018, 8:45 p.m.

I hope this isn't where E.Porter got the idea from...

Reply

lacykemp
+1 Andrew Major
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
+1 pedalhound
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

lev
+1 Bogey
Lev  - June 27, 2018, 5:42 a.m.

I'm gonna buy a 58er tube and sleeve it to 29 and get double tube protection.  Then I won't need to carry a spare.

Reply

Billsbutnoskills
0
Billsbutnoskills  - Sept. 16, 2018, 12:59 p.m.

Wonder if you ran sleeved in this way on non 29er bikes- would you be able to move the sleeve in the event of a puncture?

Reply

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