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  1. #1
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    Is talcum powder needed?

    Mounted two new tires this afternoon. Didn't think to slather talcum powder around the insides first. The new tubes also did not have powder on them. Tires are 38mm road tires, if that matters, pumped up to 80 lbs/in. Do I really care about the powder at this point? I am not keen to take the tires off and do the work all over again. What's the point of powdering the inside of my tires anyway?

  2. #2
    kneecap
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    I always do mine, I like that fresh scent of talcum when I'm covered with dirt after a pinch flat crash while repairing the tire.
    I recall MB action stating talcum gives a getto, less friction/tubliss feel to tires. Can't really say I've noticed that, but talcum does keep tubes from adhearing to the tire's interior. Also might help slightly to stay off pinch flats....

  3. #3
    Do It Yourself
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    I don't believe any of the legends or lore regarding the magic powers of talc but it does keep the tube from sticking to the tire and may help keep the tube from bunching or twisting during installation so I use it.
    Long Live Long Rides

  4. #4
    ravingbikefiend
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    I always use talc when I mount tyres as it does keep the tube from sticking / bunching and keeps it from adhering to the tire.

    I also get very few flats and I ride through some serious crap on a daily basis.
    I ride with 65'er...he's a mountain goat....But then again, we need to throw him in the mud and pack his pockets with lead shot before a scale will read him. - Psycho Mike

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  5. #5
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    I think it's primarily to make installation (especially the initial installation) easier, but I do recall years ago getting a set of lightweight latex tubes and I think they made a point of instructing the use of talc and even included packets of talc with the tubes so it may be more important with latex or super lightweight tubes.
    I've pulled tubes out of bikes that had been in there for years and obviously had no talc, and the tubes and tires were fine, so though I try to use it when i install a new tire or tube, I don't think I would remove an existing tire/tube that was working find just to add talc.
    About a week ago I removed the tires from a brand new bike and there was no sign of talc used, so obviously the bike shop that assembled the bike didn't seem to think it was necessary (though I'm not sure you can draw any conclusions from that).
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  6. #6
    56-year-old teenager
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    I've had to change a lot of tubes lately, and I never bother with talc. Yes, they tend to stick to the tire if you don't use talc. But it's not essential.

  7. #7
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    Yes!

    I use baby powder liberally inside my tires and currently I'm running Maxxis Crossmark exception series 2.10 with tubes and I run 28 psi in the front and 29 psi in the rear for about the last year and so far no pinch flats. I'd guess the baby powder has something to do with it, because I hit a lot of rocks and roots.
    If you're not falling, then you're not riding fast enough!
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  8. #8
    Do It Yourself
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    Quote Originally Posted by baraant
    I use baby powder liberally inside my tires and currently I'm running Maxxis Crossmark exception series 2.10 with tubes and I run 28 psi in the front and 29 psi in the rear for about the last year and so far no pinch flats. I'd guess the baby powder has something to do with it, because I hit a lot of rocks and roots.
    Just don't use cornstarch baby powder or it will make glue the first time you get water in the rims. Check the ingredients for talc. Last time I bought some, I had to look through a few bottles before finding non-cornstarch talc baby powder.
    Long Live Long Rides

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homebrew
    Just don't use cornstarch baby powder or it will make glue the first time you get water in the rims. Check the ingredients for talc. Last time I bought some, I had to look through a few bottles before finding non-cornstarch talc baby powder.
    Right now the talc I'm using (er, that I'm forgetting to use ) is from a bottle of foot-powder. I haven't seen talk used in baby powder in quite some time now.

    It's Dr. Scholl's "original" foot powder.

  10. #10
    Do It Yourself
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick
    I haven't seen talk used in baby powder in quite some time now.

    I know. I had to look all over and finally found it at KMart and picked up a large bottle of their house brand so I'm set for life.
    Long Live Long Rides

  11. #11
    bang
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick
    I haven't seen talk used in baby powder in quite some time now.
    there's a good reason for that apparently...talc has been shown to cause several types of cancer. i think that's why most inner tubes now are not talced from the factory.

    isn't keeping the tube from adhering to the tire more beneficial than just making it easier to remove in the future? i thought it lowered rolling resistance (by how much, i don't know) by allowing the tire and tube to move independantly as the tire patch deforms over terrain.

    oh, i use cornstarch to powder my tubes. i haven't had much trouble yet despite the creek crossings and the occasional rain shower i get stuck in.

  12. #12
    56-year-old teenager
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    Talc tends to contain asbestos, that's why it's not used in baby powder any more.

    EDIT: I'm wrong. Talc contains fibers similar to asbestos, but the cancer risk persists even when those fibers are filtered out. More info here.

  13. #13
    "El Whatever"
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    Quote Originally Posted by chucko58
    Talc tends to contain asbestos, that's why it's not used in baby powder any more.

    EDIT: I'm wrong. Talc contains fibers similar to asbestos, but the cancer risk persists even when those fibers are filtered out. More info here.
    Dang... Who would have thought about it?... A discussion about bicycle tubes makes me realize a potential danger for my kid.

    I'll stop using talcum based baby powder effective NOW. I'll use those corn based ones instead.
    Check my Site

  14. #14
    A wheelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick
    What's the point of powdering the inside of my tires anyway?
    I've found tubes on bikes of others that were just about welded inside the tires. I could not pull the tubes out until I took the whole tire off the rim.
    Mike The Bike's home wheelbuilding info - dedicated to providing Newby wheelbuilder information and motivation.

  15. #15
    i liek 2 wrench
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    ... and if we just ...

    I used powdered graphite in place of talc. It works amazingly well as graphite is ultra-slippery. However, there are some disadvantages:

    Getting graphite powder on the rims compromises rim brakes.

    Graphite powder turns your hand black.

    Graphite adheres to the tube so well that patching a puncture becomes an impossibility.


  16. #16
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    I do use talc as it keeps the tubes off the tyres & rim tape as mentioned above. Your tyres may move as you brake and so if your tube is stuck to the tyre, you might see your valve not at a perpendicular angle from the inside of your rim.

    I guess you could just adjust this by deflating the tyre and removing one side of it to re-position your tube.

  17. #17
    Two wheels are best
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    I've never used Talc (for on or off-road tubes) and I haven't had any problems with unusual number of flats or the "welding" of the tube inside the tire. I have had a few that were a little sticky but even those were easy to remove from inside the tire.
    Never be afraid to try something new.

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    Professionals built the Titanic.

  18. #18
    A wheelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by DM-SC
    I've never used Talc (for on or off-road tubes) and I haven't had any problems with unusual number of flats or the "welding" of the tube inside the tire. I have had a few that were a little sticky but even those were easy to remove from inside the tire.
    I've had two (not my bikes!) where I thought I was going to rip the tube getting it out. There is no way they would come out with the tires still on the rims.
    Mike The Bike's home wheelbuilding info - dedicated to providing Newby wheelbuilder information and motivation.

  19. #19
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    Chuck Norris uses talc in his tires
    Seriously - I have used powder for years- I tend to get less pinch flats than my friend and we have the same tires/ wheels. I think it helps more with the installation than anything though...just my $.02.

  20. #20
    Two wheels are best
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T.
    I've had two (not my bikes!) where I thought I was going to rip the tube getting it out. There is no way they would come out with the tires still on the rims.
    So you end up fixing other rider's flats, too? I'm not sure how the heck I get "volunteered" over andover for that???

    On the bright side...I'm fairly descent at it so we get back to riding a bit faster most of the time...
    Never be afraid to try something new.

    Remember amateurs built the Ark.
    Professionals built the Titanic.

  21. #21
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    hNow that were in summer 2014, does anybody find a need to use talc on their tubes? I regret wallowing in old stock talc that might have had traces of asbestos, but can relate to why its used, it really does lubricate tubes, helps prevent pinches too. It appears that Kenda road tubes have a light amount on them already

  22. #22
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    Tubes still come with a smidgeon of something on them, don't know what it is, but you can clean it off.The only tubes that welded on me were ones that I cleaned the tube and inside of the tire before re-installing without power. There is enough whatever on the tube when new, so if you don't want to use anything, just make sure you don't clean them off at any point and you'll be fine.

    I've noticed that tubes straight out of the box result in a bit of heat generation in the tire during winter rides, but with shake-n-bake the tube, the tires seem to remain dead cold. Haven't run a formal test, we should run one... anyone got one of those fancy infrared thermometers?

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