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Do you bother fixing a punctured tube?(29 posts)

Do you bother fixing a punctured tube?Brian C.
Aug 21, 2001 8:30 AM
Or do you just spring for a new tube?

I tried patching a couple of tubes this morning but after all the muss and fuss they were still spouting bubbles in the bathtub. Either the puncture was too close to a seam, the patches/glue weren't good enough or the guy doing the patching didn't do it right.

Just curious.
Not anymoreThioderek
Aug 21, 2001 8:37 AM
After my bike messenger days were over, and I started making more money, I stopped patching my tubes. I dont have the time that I used to. I will carry a patch kit along with a few spare tubes on a long ride though. Never want to be caught in a bind when you know that all you need is a little tiny patch kit that doesnt weigh much and and takes up no space.

I hope this doesnt sound elitist.
re: Do you bother fixing a punctured tube?DINOSAUR
Aug 21, 2001 8:37 AM
On a ride, I'll just slap on a new tube. I'll repair the punctured tube when I get home and use if for a spare when I'm down to no more new tubes in stock. Sometimes for some reason the patch just won't adhere. Some guys don't mess with repairing tubes, they just chuck them. I look for sales and if I can get tubes real cheap I don't feel bad if I toss it..
Sure DoBreezydz
Aug 21, 2001 9:05 AM
Do the same as you except I use the patched tube on the bike. That way if over time there's a slow leak from the patch it goes flat in the basement rather than making a 2nd flat on a ride.
Of course. Why would you NOT do it?cory
Aug 21, 2001 8:57 AM
Toss a $4.50 tube rather than spend one minute patching it? No way...
I usually carry a spare tube when I'm riding, and swap if I have a flat, then patch it at home. But I have from one to four or five flats a week in summer (record is six on my 22-mile commute, and that's thorns going THROUGH the Mr. Tuffy). A man would be a fool not to patch.
Can't understand why you should have more than a very occasional peeling or leaking patch. I can remember only two in nearly 30 years of riding. Patches are normally stronger than the original tube (unless you're using glueless--failure rate with those runs 25 to 50 percent for me).
Where do you ride??PaulCL
Aug 21, 2001 10:01 AM
In a briar patch?? one to five flats per week!! I'll get one to five flats per summer. I'll guess you do more miles than I (I ride about 3500 per year). Do you have a seperate item in your budget for tubes, repair kits, and tires???

P.S. Now that I've posted the fact that I don't get many flats, guess what will happen on my next ride.....
Hey PaulCL, keep us posted. Just checking a theory :-) nmLive Steam
Aug 21, 2001 11:29 AM
I ride in Reno, home of the...cory
Aug 21, 2001 4:27 PM
...smashed beer bottle by the side of the road. And the cast-iron goathead thorns. And I weigh 220, which may be a factor. I don't do that many miles (coming up on 2000 this summer), and I've tried all kinds of tires, kevlar belts, Mr. Tuffies, everything.
Friends who ride with me, most of them 50-70 pounds lighter, have far fewer flats--the one riding buddy I have who weighs over 200 gets almost as many as I do. We're in a rural/suburban area in the foothills west of Reno, and a lot of crap blows onto the road. The beer bottles really hurt, too--it's pretty trendy now among the local kids to throw the sixpacks out the window so if they get stopped, they won't have any in the car. On Sunday mornings the shoulders glisten with amber-colored shards.
re: Do you bother fixing a punctured tube?bikedodger
Aug 21, 2001 9:09 AM
I usually repair the tubes when I get three or four lying around. I do it while watching TV and it doesn't take long. If the tube has four or more patches on it then I toss it.
nope, won't risk itDog
Aug 21, 2001 9:30 AM
I just don't think it's worth the risk of the patch failing. It's expensive to have to buy new tubes, but I value each ride enough that I don't want it spoiled by a defective patch.

AbsolutelyAndy M-S
Aug 21, 2001 9:30 AM
I carry a spare tube (new or patched) on my ride, as well as a patch kit. If I get a flat, the tube goes in. If I get another, I patch it (of course, this hasn't happened to me yet--but it's happened to folks I know).

When I get home, I patch the damaged tube, and then it's not damaged anymore. I get a great feeling of satisfaction from patching a tube; it's kind of like a fisherperson mending their nets...
Toss 'emDMoore
Aug 21, 2001 9:31 AM
I've never learned how to use a patch kit, although I've averaged around 5-6K miles per year for the last 5 years. Tubes are dirt cheap. Other people I ride with will occasionally rescue a punctured tube as I'm heading towards a trash can with it. There are limits, though -- I don't toss my silk tubulars when they puncture. Those I'll send off to be repaired.
Yes and noterry b
Aug 21, 2001 10:32 AM
I use Specialized Air Lok tubes (self-sealing) and when they finally go flat, they usually have 4-6 puntures. I will patch them if all the punctures are on smooth surfaces (patches that span seams often leak) and I never, never put a patched tubed back in my seat bag. Learned that lesson the hard way, replaced one out on the road that leaked as badly as the one that had punctured. I will swap out a patched tube for a flat tube if I find the tire flat at home as the bike then has the opportunity to sit in the garage and go flat if the patch job is bad.
re: Do you bother fixing a punctured tube?PEDDLFOOT
Aug 21, 2001 11:02 AM
Not in the middle of a ride. That's why you carry an extra tube with.Patch it at home where you have more time and space to work with.Just don't expect every tube to be saveable.Some you just can't get back.
Aug 21, 2001 11:06 AM
On the ride I replace the leaky tube with a fresh one. Then I repair the puncture at home, test it with a few pumps and let it sit overnight. If it doesn't leak, I'll then use that as my spare. Once I get more than two patches on a tube, I toss it.

For a road bike, try to not use the glueless patch kits. They don't hold up well under high PSI.

For the patches that require glue, be sure to let the glue dry a little bit, 2-3 minutes, before you put on the patch or it will fail.

What frustrated me for a while was that once you open the glue, it drys up pretty quickly even with the cap on. Even if you don't use it, prepare to replace it every six months because the shelf life isn't very long, even unopened.

I think the more you ride the more appreciative you are of being able to repair stuff quickly and efficiently.
Aug 21, 2001 12:12 PM
I can't remember the last time a patch failed on me, and I've patched many tubes. I see no reason to by a whole new component everytime I get a puncture which can be totally repaired by the side of the road in 10mins. Use the old method carefully and take your time: I posted my procedure recently here or on the Components board, maybe do a search for it if you're doubtful of your method.

AlwaysRich Clark
Aug 21, 2001 12:14 PM
I've never had a patch fail. Properly applied, the patch is stronger than the rest of the tube. Basically, I run with the tubes that are mounted and one spare, which is the last tube I patched. I only buy new tubes if I buy a new bike that takes different size tubes that I don't already have.

since I was 14 years oldlonerider
Aug 21, 2001 1:57 PM
I've ben patching tubes since I was a kid now I'm 38.I still makes me feel like I'm kid again every time I patch one.By the way I carry two tubes and a patch kit with co2 inflator alittle over kill I know but I commute 25 miles each way to work.
Good reasons to learn to do it ...Humma Hah
Aug 21, 2001 2:12 PM
Being a cheapskate is NOT a good reason to patch tubes. They are priced to throw away (although I'd appreciate it if more cyclists would toss them in a trashcan instead of the gutter or bushes).

I generally carry a 26 x 1.75 standard tube, patched, to give away to stranded cyclists. I help them fix their flat, then take the old tube in trade, patch it, and give it to the next "victim". I've also patched 20" tires for riders of smaller bikes. A patch kit can win you friends.

There are times when it is more practical to simply pull out a bit of tube to patch a puncture, rather than pulling the whole wheel. My wife's 3-speed or Dog's Milano are cases: pulling a rear wheel on internal-gear-hub bikes is a real chore.

There was a story here a year or so back about a cyclist on the C&O towpath, on the last leg of a trans-continent trip, who'd run out of tubes on the towpath in a rain. One rider here gave him patches that got him thru.

I nursed my old tubes for 27 years, not because I couldn't afford new, but because they're Genuine Schwinn parts of considerable vintage. Not valuable, really, but they were so old, and had given such great service, I'd actually gotten attached to them!
Aug 21, 2001 2:20 PM
Patches are unreliable at best. I don't get more than a few flats a year, and the security that a leaking tube won't spoil my ride or cause me to crash is worth the minimal expense involved. Think of a poorly timed patch failure on a winding downhill. Think of the cost of repairing parts and body from the resulting crash. New tube seems like a bargain now, doesn't it?
Aug 21, 2001 3:17 PM
how does 'unreliable at best' tally with mine and others' experiences that well-applied patches don't fail at all in years of use? I've never heard of a patch failure causing a catastrophic accident at speed- these accidents usually occur when lightweight parts like handlebars complete a fatigue fracture dramatically, or-vanishingly rarely- an old tyre casing ruptures (fatigue again) or pops off the rim momentarily, allowing a tube of any kind to explode. The worst result of a failed patch I've seen is a fairly slow puncture, which is in accordance with theory. These timely allusions to devastating 'fast descents' only obscure the facts. If you're concerned about such conditions, get yourself a steel handlebar- it'll improve your odds better than a new tube.

my experiencepeloton
Aug 21, 2001 5:52 PM
I have never had a patch that has held it's air for what I would consider a permanent fix. The reason that shops won't patch tubes, aside from the cost to the customer is that they can't be sure that the patch would hold for any significant time period. Patches are great to get you home in a pinch, but permanent, I think not. If you use patches for any period of time you have to admit that they don't all hold.

My safety concern would be the patch letting go in a corner. When a clincher tire has no air in a corner or even in a straight line, it can roll off the rim. I have never been on a bike that a tire has rolled on without crashing. Granted, most of the time the clincher does stay on the rim, but having experienced when it doesn't I don't do anything that could repeat the situation. Why do anything to tempt fate when there is a cheap and easy alternative? I percieve it as cheap insurance.

It's my experience. I have never found patches to be what I consider a permanent solution, and I'm not fond of re-occuring flats even if they are not dangerous. Tubes are cheap, and even putting in thousands of miles a year I don't go through many. It's a worthwhile and small expense to me to know that my tires are as good as they can be. If patches work for you, great. FWIW
the reasonJofa
Aug 22, 2001 1:20 AM
we'd never patch tubes in the shop I worked for was that the labour charge would be higher than the cost of a new tube. No other reason, in fact frequently customers would get offended that we were trying to dupe them with an expensive new component instead of repairing their existing one. We always gave back the original tube if it was salvageable with a recommendation of how to repair it. We always repaired our own tubes.

My affrontery was not expressly directed at you Peleton or your experience, but at this persistently cited 'worst-case' scenario of a blowout on fast downhill corner. The only way that a tube can give up its air explosively, is if it is freed from the restraint of the tyre, at which time it is unsupported and will explode. The primary reason for these two events ever coming unfortunately together, is the tyre blowing off the rim, due to braking generated heat increasing the tyre pressure beyond that which the clinch can manage. For this reason, you should make sure your tyre pressure isn't within 10-20% of maximum before a long mountainous descent. A failed patch or even an ordinary puncture simply can't cause this kind of rapid failure, as the air has nowhere to go very fast.

Sometimes examination of the components after the event can make things look as though this is exactly what happened, though. What actually happens is the tyre blows momentarily off the rim; a section of tube escapes the gap and explodes outside of the tyre: if any part of this tube has a patch on it, then the patch may well fail due to its relative inelasticity. Air pressure released, the tube returns elastically to the rim and the tyre pops back into its clinch. All this occurs within a fraction of a second, and on examination at home what do you see? "Damn patch failed on me again, that's the last time I ever repair a tyre, nearly killed me." In fact the patch is innocent: the tube was outside of the tyre- it was going to fail somewhere.

You can tell if a tube failed outside of the tyre, as the hole will have a starburst effect or similar raggedness, like a burst balloon. I've had customers ask for refunds on these tubes, swearing at the percieved 'poor quality'. What they didn't know and would rarely believe was that it was their tyre which had failed them, not the tube.

I remember a trick my dad showed me.Brian C.
Aug 21, 2001 2:22 PM
To make the glue dry faster, he'd light a match and set it ablaze for a few seconds; then, after a few more seconds, proceed to put on a patch. (Don't try this at home, kids! :-))
Those fat MTB, even hybrid, tubes were so easy to fix. But these thin racing tubes have proved difficult, especially trying to deal with the raised seams. Guess, I'll have to keep working at it. Good idea, though, about keeping the good, new tube in the repair bag and starting out with a patched tube. That way, if the patched tube blows, you can feel a little more confident heading home on a good tube.
I replace 'em, but never litter w/the old ones. (nm)Tig
Aug 21, 2001 4:22 PM
Absolutely, what's wrong with you people?char
Aug 21, 2001 7:28 PM
I carry 1 or 2 spares (with patches) plus a Rema patch kit that contains viable glue. If I or another cyclist have a flat, the spare goes on. If I help another cyclist who is not prepared, I give them a tube and take their's (to be patched later).
I wait until there are a few tubes that need patches and just do them all at once. Pump them up, locate the hole and buzz them with the Dremel tool (sandpaper attachment) assembly line style. I apply 2 coats of glue letting them dry between applications then affix the patch. A light dusting of talc over the patch, pump it up, and let hang for a day or so. If it holds air it rotates in the spare queue, otherwise troubleshoot for another leak. I have never had a patch fail with this method and I have complete confidence in these patched tubes at 80 kmh during descents.
Send your tired spares to me.
dremel! how come i never thought of that? great idea, thanks,nmsupercorsa
Aug 21, 2001 7:38 PM
no such thing as too many patches!supercorsa
Aug 21, 2001 7:33 PM
just say NO to helplessness, there's no reason not to patch tubes. done properly they'll last forever. i've got some tubes with more than a dozen patches on them, and they hold air just fine, thank you very much! i never toss a tube unless i get a new puncture extremely close to an existing patch, which can compromise the new patch taking. the only other things i've seen that keep a patch from taking are not sanding the mould flashing down enough for holes close to it, using old glue, and not letting the glue dry long enough. i'll generally patch my tubes and stick 'em right back in, although i do carry spare tubes and a few tire boots in case of large glass cuts. i've never had any instance of "dangerous" failures of patched tubes in all my years of riding, and that includes quite a few extremely high speed descents. get a good patch kit (rema is the best in my book) and learn how to use it, it will stand you in good stead. i always buy two patch kits and double up the contents into one box for my on-road toolkit.

happy trails, eric
re: Do you bother fixing a punctured tube?rpicayo
Aug 22, 2001 10:06 AM
I new to road biking, but had a my first flat about 600 miles ago and slapped a glueless patch on it, reinflated the tire, kept riding and it is still good as new (I just checked it this morning). I got another flat yesterday and did the same thing and it held up perfect through the rest of the ride (and looks good today).

It was my understanding and it made sense to me that actually having the tube in the tire after applying the patch and riding it helps the patch adhere to the tube.

I guess it should be added as well that I only have the patience to inflate the tire with my mini-pump to about 80psi on the road, but once I get home the patch holds fine at the 120 I usually ride at. I was just raving yesterday that the glueless patch kit was the best $3 I've ever spent.