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Should You Use Talcum Powder on Your Inner Tube? (The Truth)

Does powder really help? Let’s find out.

Man replacing inner tube with a presta valve on a black bike tire.
Man replacing inner tube with a presta valve on a black bike tire. Source: Adobe stock.

You might have heard that storing your spare bike tube in a zip lock bag with talcum powder may be beneficial. Some say that it will prevent tire puncture, but others say its amyth. Well, which is it? Should you use talcum powder on your inner tube?

There is little evidence that sprinkling talcum or any other powder over a tube or tire can prevent a flat tire. However, a little powder can help make your inner tube easier to install, and there’s no harm in using it.

But there’s a lot more to it than that. So, in this article, you will learn whether or not you should use any powder on your inner tube, so you can put the urban legends to rest.

Editor’s note: This article was updated on October 28, 2021, to include additional information regarding powder use on inner tubes.

What is a tire pinch flat?

Pinch flats occur when you ride into anything that makes a sudden impact, such as a rock, railroad track, or the edge of a pothole. The collision compresses the tire so much that the tube becomes trapped between it and the rim’s edges.

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This results in two little holes approximately a half-inch apart on the rim side of the tube. Because they resemble fang marks, pinch flats are sometimes known as snakebite flats.

The majority of pinch flats are caused by a combination of three factors: insufficient inflation pressure, too thin tires, and/or improper riding style.

if you’d like to learn how to avoid all kinds of flates, check out out article on how to avoid bike tire punctures.

Does talcum powder prevent tire pinch?

The idea that talcum powder can protects against pinch flats is false. Presure from a pinch flat will orccurw weather or not you use powder.

Several rolled up unused bike tire tubes.
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Several rolled up unused bike tire tubes. Source: Adobe Stock

Shoud l I use powder on my inner tube?

They might not help you prevent a flat, but they may help you install the inner tube. It can often be awkward getting the tube to sit evenly in the tire. Powder allows it to move without sticking, making it easier to fit the tire. So, if you are installing a tube, go for it. If you want to use some powder, no ones is going to stop you, and It certainly won’t hurt.

If you are looking for some gear to help with tire replacement, take a look at some of the options below. And if you want tosme help choosing an inner tube, take a look at our article on how to choose an inner tube for yoru fixed gear bike.

Why do people believe talcum powder is beneficial?

This myth comes from the old idea that, “if it’s good for automobiles, it must be good for bikes.Cars Trucks utilize talcum or graphite powder between tire and tube since the two may vulcanize due to rolling heat. This often results in tube removal being destructive, with tube pieces being lodged in the tire casing.

Bicycles do not create enough heat to vulcanize tubes. Thus they may be easily removed from the tire. Aside from that, talcum has little impact on punctures other than to speed up the discharge of air when it occurs.

The reason inner tubes contain talcum powder inside is because when they are manufactured, they grow hot enough that they would otherwise become irreversibly stuck when folded.

Can I use corn starch powder to install an innertube?

Talcum powder is pretty inert and will stay stable inside your tire. Cornstarch is not inert and will change its characteristics with moisture, heat, and friction. Not necessarily harmful, but it’s not the same as talcum.

If you really want to use powder, the baby powder might be a viable option. Check out this video below that shows you how to install an inner tube using a little bit of talcum powder, corn starch powder, and baby powder. We also wrote an article on how to replace yoru inner tube that’s worth checking out.

A video called Cheap talcum powder substitute for bicycle tube from Tony Marchand’s YouTube Channel.

Conclusion

Flat tires are no fun, and neither is installing an inner tube, but if you want to use. a little powder to do so and hopefully prevent a pinch, then go for it. It won’t hurt, and who knows, it just might work.

In this article, we covered talcum powders used in bike inner tube installations in maintenance. Here are some key takeaways:

Key takeaways

  • You can use powder if youd liek, but there mghith not be real benefit.
  • They idea comes from care manufacturers who powder the tires
  • Powder cna help you install the tire eaier
  • Talcum powder and cornstarch powder react diferently when wet, so choose yoru powder carfully
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So, do you use talcum, corn starch, or baby powder when installing your inner tube? Let us know in the comments below (we read and reply to every comment). If you found this article helpful, check out our full blog for more tips and tricks on everything fixie. Thanks for reading, and stay fixed.

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Written by Bradly Knight

As a native New Yorker, Bradley is no stranger to the fixed gear scene. He’s been riding fixed for over ten years. When he’s not on the bike, you can find him practicing his many hobbies including playing guitar, video production, and photography.

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