RB, when it comes to anything rubber on the outer perimeter of your wheels, you will not find two agreeing opinions on a motorcycle forum. In time, I believe we all find a confidence in our equipment we can live with. That confidence level and method of acquisition will differ for each of us.
I am frugal. Sometimes, so much so I embarrass myself. Even with that acknowledgement, I can say with total honesty I won't shop for the cheapest parachute or tire tubes. They both serve the same purpose, keeping me from smacking the ground real hard. I whole heartedly endorse anything that will keep that from happening.
When I have to, I have used whatever tube was available. My rear tube is an 18" Continental I found in West Virginia at an old Western Auto store. A sheet rock screw shredded the tube I had in the tire. I'm running it till I put new rubber on. When given the freedom to choose, I have stuck with Michelin T-6 tubes. They are heavier duty than an STD protective device, which some of the economy tubes resemble in thickness.
They are thin enough that they can be manipulated within the tire when mounting on the rim. Important if you have fingers larger than a fourth grader.
I subscribe to the idea that tubes must adjust to their cavity as they are aired up. Too thick of a tube may pinch, if not flexible enough to make the adjustment, making too thick of a tube a liability.
They also are constructed with an over lap at the seam, whereas many tubes today are butt-spliced. I have more faith in the over lap joint. The lap joint is directly opposite the valve stem, evening out the balancing act. They also will take a patch, and retain it once the tire and tube heat up from use. Having a flat and patching a tire can take the fun out of a ride. Having the patch come off a few miles later will clinch it as a bad day.
IMO, anything that will puncture the casing of the tire will penetrate the tube. Looking for a tube that is more puncture resistant than the tire is an effort in futility, again, IMO. Seeking out a tube that won't rot out in a short amount of time because of the low grade material it was made from is worth while. Higher rubber content = longer life and better patch adhesion.
I have a Michelin T-R6 on the front of the KLR that has about 33,000 miles on it, inside its third tire. It showed no indication that it was weakening or required replacement the last time it was remounted. Would another brand and model do the same? Probably. My experience with this tube has been consistent on a number of motorcycles, ranging from dirt bikes to cruisers. It is a medium price ranged tube and has good reviews. I currently am satisfied with its performance, and it gives me confidence in reliability and safety. YMMV.
“many a trip continues long after movement in time and space have ceased”- Steinbeck, [I]"Travels with Charlie"
[FONT="Century Gothic"][I]Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith[/I] [/FONT]