Question: What’s the scoop on using talcum powder when installing a new tube? Is it necessary? — Lorri L.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Powder applied to a tube or the inside of a tire makes a slippery interface. They won’t stick to each other. This makes it easier to mount and seat the tire, with less chance of the tube catching under the edge.
Once the tire is mounted and inflated, the slipperiness of the powder reduces internal friction. There’s less danger of the tube being abraded and springing a leak. Later, when you have a puncture, the tube will pull out of the tire easier.
Powder isn’t essential. Plenty of riders don’t use it. But its benefits are quick and easy to obtain. I use a container of baby powder that has lasted for years.
Tip! Toss the box and pack your spare tube in a freezer-weight zip-lock baggie with a dash of powder. This helps prevent friction from rubbing a hole in the tube while it’s in your seat bag. Then the slippery powder aids installation.