Tire patches

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by lgrem, May 25, 2010.

  1. lgrem

    lgrem New Member

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    I recently bought a road bike. I got a pin-hole in my rear tire and tried to patch it. The patch slowed the leak but I still had a flat after a few hours. Is it worth it to try to patch a tube or should I just buy a new one? If patches are no good, is there anything else I can use to salvage the tube?
     
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  2. jagonz456

    jagonz456 New Member

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    dude tubes are $5 really good ones are $10 why would you mess with patches.
     
  3. curby

    curby New Member

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    searching the forum should produce a good thread or two, but in short I have had excellent results patching road (mountain, bmx etc.) tubes for 25 years. Maybe a 1 in 50 failure rate and that is usually due to inadequate glue (not covering an area larger than the patch, doh!). That said, it is a hassle to scrape down the various ridges and seams on a 700x23 tube. Takes several minutes for me to prep the area to be patched. But after that the process is simple, you almost can't mess it up. Let the glue dry, even completely still works in most conditions, apply the patch with good even force and pinch & roll it to make sure the bond is complete.

    good luck,

    curby
     
  4. tafi

    tafi Member

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    It might be useful here to distinguish between patching tyres and patching tubes (they are different and one can do both/either).
    "Patching a tube" is self explanatory
    "Patching a tyre" refers to:
    1) Placing a temporary reinforcement under the outer casing of either a tubular or a clincher tyre as a temporary solution to a cut, OR
    2) Gluing a special patch to the inside surface of a tubeless tyre to actually hold air.

    I know I'm probably being pedantic, I'm just trying to check to be sure, but I suspect that you are trying to patch a tube. If this is the case then you aren't alone in trying to save a bit of money and the world's resources. There are a few things to be wary of...

    Curby is right in saying that you need to ensure the whole area that the patch covers (I overestimate the size to make sure) must be given an even coat of glue and allowed to dry before pressing a patch on. It dries very quickly on the surface and you can check this visually. Don't check by touch, as the oil from your skin can hamper the bond.

    To ensure the bond is strong the surface of the tube around the hole must be clean and scored. I use coarse sand paper to take the smooth surface and any seams (as mentioned above) away before gluing.

    All of this works well as long as you are sure that whatever caused the puncture in the first place is not still in the tyre. In the case of a pin prick (usually due to street-sweeper brushes or wire reinforcements from car tyres) the fine wire can be very difficult to find in the casing (often you won't find it until you actually cut your finger on it while feeling the inside of the casing).

    I have a rotating supply of tubes and when the number of spares runs low I take all the holed ones out and do a patching session (easily less than 10 minutes a tube). For the rare cases in which the patch doesn't hold, I cut my losses and buy fresh replacements next time I'm at the bike shop.

    A tube of glue (does about ten tubes) costs me AU$3 and six small patches AU$3 so I get spares for 0.60-1.00 each (accounting for the odd failure). This is still cheaper than what the bike shop pays wholesale for tubes. It also saves the majority of my tubes (butyl is made from petrochemicals) from ending up in landfill.
     
  5. lgrem

    lgrem New Member

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    What type of glue are you using. Is it a glue specifially used for tubes? super glue? etc....
     
  6. tafi

    tafi Member

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    It is a vulcanising rubber solution designed for the particular bond between the patch and tube. I buy it at the bike shop. Weldtite make it I think, and their patches are nice and thin (good for road tubes).

    You could shop around elsewhere for the stuff at a lower price but I use so little of it that it's pointless to get larger quantities and I know that the stuff from the bike shop works so...
     
  7. 64Paramount

    64Paramount Active Member

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    I'm too lazy to mess with patching tubes anymore...

    :eek:
     
  8. tonyzackery

    tonyzackery Well-Known Member

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    I'm too cheap to replace tubes every time I get a flat. I'll carry a spare tube with me when on the road to facilitate a quick change, but I will patch the flat tube once I'm home.

    FWIW, those clear patches that come pre-glued are WORTHLESS, IMO. I've had nothing but leaks with them pieces of crap:mad:...Goes without saying that I've gone back to glue and regular patches - forever...
     
  9. tafi

    tafi Member

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    Yep, gluing out on the road is a waste of time and rushing to prevent your training partner from waiting usually results in a botched job.

    Do your patching at home where it's cleaner and easier.
     
  10. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    I also carry a tube, but I do carry a small patch kit just in case I get two flats on the ride. It can happen, and did to a co-worker of mine. FWIW....Slime Scabs are worse than worthless too.
     
  11. vspa

    vspa Active Member

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    glue (i use the one provided with the patches) needs to dry before putting on the patch.

    i also carry spare tubes and patch at home, but i also carry the patch kit just in case,

    one way or the other it is a good skill to have
     
  12. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    There you have it, all the cliches for not fixing a flat: tubes are cheap why bother?; Yep your wasting time patching a tube on the road; I'm too lazy to mess with patching; all these statements by supposedly road bikers who have been riding for a while, but in reality what their saying is: "THEY DON'T KNOW HOW TO FIX A FLAT"!!!! Yikes here comes the war of words.

    Fix a flat is not more difficult on the road then it is to change out the tube unless it's raining. Folding tires make fixing a flat easier then snapping your fingers, and glueless patches DO WORK, and they make the job even easier.

    With a folding tire all you do is remove about 1/2 of one side with the hole in the center of the half; next you pull out about 1/4th to 1/3rd of the tube again with the hole in the center; next you take your little sand paper your patch kit comes with and you lightly buff the tube where the hole is slightly larger then the patch will cover; next, and this is optional which I rarely do unless my fingers are greasy, is take a alcohol pad and wipe the area you sanded clean; next take a glueless patch and peal the back off and press it very tightly to the tube making sure you get all of it pressed on. Then check the tire where the hole is for the offending object and remove if it's still there. Now all you need to do is restuff the tube, reseat the tire, pump the tube to about 20psi and then let the air out then pump again to whatever psi you use or your pump can handle.

    There are plenty of doomsayers out there that are against glueless patches, but I've been using them successfully as permanent patches for at least 15 years! And I've never had a failure, even had one tube with as many as 13 glueless patches that all held for 5 years before I tossed the tube. The doomsayers are again a person who really doesn't know how to properly apply a patch. And you can test what I'm saying, apply a glueless patch to a tube and ride with it for about a week, then remove the tube and try to take the patch off with your hands...guess what will happen? Thats right, the tube will tear!

    Sure I carry a spare tube, you would be fool not too, but I patch first before using the tube because I can patch it just as fast if not faster then replacing the tube. I also carry a spare folding tire in my seat bag because I've had tires get destroyed; and I carry mini tool, tire irons, QuikStik (removes and installs tires fast once the tire irons get it started), other variety of stuff. Most riders won't carry a spare tire, so I just laugh as they walk (except in once case in remote mountains of Bakersfield CA I gave a guy my spare tire and tube after his blew and was faced with looming darkness and a long walk).

    If you practice with patching you will get good at, but don't get frustrated and give up after a couple of attempts. I've been riding for over 35 years and been patching all those years on the road, even patched tubulars on the road! (not something I recommend though, but I blew both of my spares thus had to patch it, and it took about 45 minutes to an hour to do). But with clinchers once you get good at it you can do a front flat in about 5 to 8 minutes, I've known a couple guys who can do it faster then that.

    Now the war begins with the attacks.
     
  13. rparedes

    rparedes New Member

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    patching tubes, if done correctly, works like a new tube. If the patch needs to be removed, use a heat gun or hair dryer to heat the patch, it will soften the rubber cement and you can lift the old patch. prep the area again from scratch and re-patch, why throw away something that can be re-used?
     
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