Author Topic: REI tubes  (Read 2199 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline PeteJack

REI tubes
« on: March 06, 2012, 10:09:56 am »
REI is so handy for bike tourists it's pricey but you have: everything in one place, knowledgeable help (usually), decent quality and a return policy second to none. BUT their tubes are rubbish. If you get a flat with an REI tube and can't find where something went through the tire, chances are the tube is coming apart at the seams. This happened to me a couple of days ago. I fixed the leak and by next morning the tire with zero miles on it was soft again.  Another leaking seam about 2" from the one I'd just fixed! I'm not the only one who thinks this if you check out the reviews of their tubes there are a couple of dozen negative ones. I've also had the join of the valve stem and the tube leak. Completely unrepairable.

Some people find that pumps slip off the stems without threads. I took some sandpaper and roughed up the stem and that seemed to fix it.

And these tubes are not cheap.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: REI tubes
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2012, 10:15:22 am »
Thanks for the tip.  I've been using them and have not noticed such deficiencies but will think twice about buying them again.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline paddleboy17

Re: REI tubes
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2012, 12:01:45 pm »
I have a bunch of REI tubes, and I don't find them to be any more or less reliable.  And I find their selection to be broader than what my local bike shop has.

Their are only a handful of companies that make tubes, and chances are the same manufacturer is making them for REI and your local bike shop.

This was probably a bad run of tubes.
Danno

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: REI tubes
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2012, 12:03:07 pm »
Other brands of tubes have had similar issues in the past.  I suspect there's a half-dozen factories in the world that actually make tubes, and hundreds of companies buy them and have them packed in store/brand specific boxes. 

If you have a number of these tubes, bought around the same time, take them all back to REI for a refund.  That will allow REI to give the manufacturer some feedback, and hopefully they'll review their quality procedures.  REI's normally pretty good about refunds, much better than most "bike" brands.  Cross your fingers and buy another batch elsewhere.

Offline indyfabz

Re: REI tubes
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2012, 12:24:30 pm »
Their are only a handful of companies that make tubes, and chances are the same manufacturer is making them for REI and your local bike shop.

This was probably a bad run of tubes.

+1. Several years ago I was on a group ride. One of the participants flatted. She had two tubes with her that were the same brand and had been bought at the same time. She put in one of the new tubes only to find that it wouldn't hold air. Removed it to find a seam defect. Put in the second tube only to find that it also had a seam defect. Must have been a bad run.

Offline PeteJack

Re: REI tubes
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2012, 01:02:23 pm »
W Edwards Demming would not accept the excuse of 'a bad run'. With proper QA a bad batch would have been detected and tossed, they should never have got to market. We're talking a product made with highly automated processes which, if they are done right, should eliminate the variations that result in a bad batches. I see this as a symptom of the Walmartization of the retail sector, margins are so thin even for Chinese manufacturers that they try to get away with as much as they can. In this case as thin and as cheap a material as possible. If we had a wheel collapse because of inferior spokes, should we just shrug (if we still can shrug) and say 'must have been a bad batch'. If you have a front tire blow out going fast downhill it would be difficult to pin point (as you might say) the bad tube. Which is probably why they get away with making iffy tubes.

I don't think it will do much good taking tubes back except to get a refund. I had a Cateye computer die on me, a new battery did nothing. I asked the REI guy if they sent bad ones back, he shook his head. Perhaps if enough people stop buying their tubes it will get their attention.

Offline Old Guy New Hobby

Re: REI tubes
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2012, 04:26:07 pm »
Amazon is good for some things, including Michelin tubes. I had a bad tube. Shortly after that, I got a puncture flat that happened to be right on the seam. I couldn't make the patch work. The second flat wasn't the tube's fault, but the difficulty in patching it was. Disgusted with bike shop tubes, I went to Amazon and found they sell seamless Michelin tubes. I ordered some and found them to be of good quality. I haven't had a problem with tubes since I switched. I don't know why bike shops stock only cheap tubes. Maybe they think nobody thinks about tube quality. Good tubes are available.

Offline PeteJack

Re: REI tubes
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2012, 08:19:20 pm »
Thanks OGNH. These look just the vicar's knickers. I think I'll get 4 for my next tour (1 per wheel and 2 spares)

Offline waynemyer

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 274
  • More PITA than PITA. That's our motto!
Re: REI tubes
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2012, 06:42:10 am »
W Edwards Demming would not accept the excuse of 'a bad run'. With proper QA a bad batch would have been detected and tossed, they should never have got to market.
You can have perfect quality control. How much are you willing to pay? Cost, features, quality: pick two, reality determines the third.
waynemyer.com
warmshowers.org  (user:waynemyer)

Offline PeteJack

Re: REI tubes
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2012, 08:23:02 am »
Quote
How much are you willing to pay?
There's the rub. Sam Walton made the great discovery that people will buy any old junk if it was cheap enough. Has anyone come across tubes made in Japan? Are they better? One can hope.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 08:25:11 am by PeteJack »

Offline paddleboy17

Re: REI tubes
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2012, 10:02:30 am »
Japan's economy has faltered the last 15 years due to unfavorable exchange rates and a labor pool that has become too expensive for commodity items. 

I think Japanese made tubes have gone the way of Japanese made consumer electronics..
Danno

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: REI tubes
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2012, 11:20:32 am »
Shortly after that, I got a puncture flat that happened to be right on the seam. I couldn't make the patch work. The second flat wasn't the tube's fault, but the difficulty in patching it was.

Not to condemn or approve seamed tubes, but it's usually possible to patch them.  The key is to scrape or sand the ridge off the area where the patch goes on.  Some people have taken to using disposable razors to shave the ridge off -- 100 or 120 sandpaper works for me with a bit more elbow grease.

Offline PeteJack

Re: REI tubes
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2012, 11:41:40 am »
Quote
Some people have taken to using disposable razors to shave the ridge off
I tried a disposable razor for this without much luck. Mind you it was a used one, next time perhaps I should use a new one?
Quote
Japanese made tubes have gone the way of Japanese made consumer electronics..
Alas I think you're right. I checked out the Michelin seamless ones from Amazon and if the reviews are to be believed some people have had bad luck with them. Also the stems don't come with dustcaps, are threadless and seem to a bit on the short side. The one and only time I got a tube from Walmart (Sorry  :-[ I was desperate and couldn't find a bike shop) it had a very short stem but it did have a dustcap, fortunately my wheels aren't very aero so it worked. As tubes go it wasn't noticeably bad. I thought the short stem was Chinese cost paring but someone has told me it was a standard length meant for non aero wheels.