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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 12-04-02, 03:33 AM   #1
trmcgeehan
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I carry Fix a Flat

I always carry a Fix a Flat with me on the road. This is a small, orange, pressurized canister especially made for bike tires that fills the tire with air and some kind of sealant. You can get 'em for $5.95 at K-mart. Fix a Flat has saved my butt more than once. It only fills the tire to about 40 pounds, but then you can use your hand pump to blow it up harder. This sure beats having to take the tire off and find the leak.
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Old 12-04-02, 03:43 AM   #2
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This sounds like a good plan of action. Whenever I go out I always make sure my tires are inlfated to the right PSI. If not, I try to correct the "problem", before it becomes a real problem later on in my ride. I'm fairly new to the roadie scene, but I can say with confidence for everyone here, no one wants to get a flat and then have to try and fix it, only hoping to make it all the way home.
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Old 12-04-02, 06:12 AM   #3
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Of course, fix-a-flat gums up the valve, and doesn't hold much pressure, either. When it gets cold outside, all the stuff congregates on the bottom of your tyre and solidifies, making your wheel wildly unbalanced, and it also spews a mess between your tyre and tube, making it nearly impossible to pull apart. It also weighs much more than a spare tube and levers does, takes up more space, and costs more than a tube. Once you fill a tube with fix-a-flat gunk, you'll never get a patch to stick to it, either. All this for $6/can? Oy!
FWIW, a patch will cost you pennies, will hold pressure, and will last nearly forever. Or, you could buy some Armadillos-they flat so infrequently, you might even risk going without a spare tube. I've never actually flatted an Armadillos, even with many thousand miles on them, and rolling over all kinds of stuff (broken bottles, sharp metal objects, etc.) They cost less than $30, for the most part...
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Old 12-04-02, 08:45 AM   #4
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I have noticed very consistantly that Fix-a-flat ruins valves.

I don't know why - maybe it is the butane acting as a solvent.

In any case, the metal valve delaminates from the rubber valve stem and air escapes.

For this reason, I do not use Fix a Flat on bicycle tires.
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Old 12-04-02, 09:08 AM   #5
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It's a lame solutoin to being able to fix a flat and carrying a spare tube.
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Old 12-04-02, 09:26 AM   #6
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Not a weight weenie eh?

That stuff is so messy.

Why would you want to ride around with glass, nails and such in your tires that can do more damage?

Changing a tube honestly only takes a few more minutes and gets quicker with practice. All real bikers must learn to do this. I always get a kick out of showing some new rider how to fix a flat. There's kind of a Houdini effect. Patching and reusing a tube is also more environmentally responsible.

If you are in a hurry to disarm a nuclear bomb or something and plan to throw away the tube if the world is saved, then ok.
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Old 12-05-02, 01:05 AM   #7
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I have a large auto size can of some sort of flat fixer, and I add a small amount to any old tube which I inflate. Not enough to get the pseudo flat protection, but it seems to stop slow leaks due to the age of the tube.
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Old 12-08-02, 04:23 PM   #8
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after reading the pros and the cons on that subject I will just go for the regular fix a flat , meaning a glue, a tube patch and a sand paper and a my CO 2 pump.... it may take me a couple of minutes, but then I can pump the punctured tire to the maximum PSI as recommended and its not messy..
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Old 12-08-02, 09:00 PM   #9
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I carry a full-size pump (Zefal HP-X or Blackburn), conventional glue-on patches with an unopened tube of glue, a few glueless patches, and a spare inner tube (two on very long rides). I cannot remember the last time I needed to patch a tube during a ride, but the patch kit provides peace of mind.
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Old 12-10-02, 11:44 AM   #10
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he he he, sorry Trm - I'm glad I'm not the only one that hates this stuff. I blew a bunch of this into a car tire once then drove it to Les Schwab for a puncture repair. After the guy fixed the tire, he came out and asked that I please never put that crap in my tires again - it makes his job hell.
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Old 03-21-04, 07:53 AM   #11
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glad i read this post. new to the scene with an 80's schwinn with original tires and tubes. ive been riding obsessively and my rear tire seems to have a slow leak now, most likely coming from the valve. it flattens quickly after i pump the tire but i put a valve cap on and it take a lot longer to go flat now. but it sucks because i loose pressure after an hour of riding and have to keep stopping and pumping. i was thinking about dumpinig some fix-a-flat in the tire, only because i plan on getting rid of the wheel/tire anyway (when i get my fixed gear rear wheelset and convert the bike). i dont want to spend more money than i have to in order to fix the leak. fix-a-flat is more expensive than a new tube? i have no clue... and i ve never had or fixed a flat before. whats the cheapest way to get this fixed??
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Old 03-21-04, 09:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by modmon
glad i read this post. new to the scene with an 80's schwinn with original tires and tubes. ive been riding obsessively and my rear tire seems to have a slow leak now, most likely coming from the valve. it flattens quickly after i pump the tire but i put a valve cap on and it take a lot longer to go flat now. but it sucks because i loose pressure after an hour of riding and have to keep stopping and pumping. i was thinking about dumpinig some fix-a-flat in the tire, only because i plan on getting rid of the wheel/tire anyway (when i get my fixed gear rear wheelset and convert the bike). i dont want to spend more money than i have to in order to fix the leak. fix-a-flat is more expensive than a new tube? i have no clue... and i ve never had or fixed a flat before. whats the cheapest way to get this fixed??

Using fix-a-flat in a slow leaker is like shoving a cork in a dripping faucet. Just get a new tube, couple of bucks at the most. Pick up some tire levers, another couple bucks. Read how to change a tire. Now you'll have the tools & skills to do the job right, from this moment forward.
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Old 03-21-04, 09:20 AM   #13
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thanks dobber, will do. im just watching the clock, waiting for my LBS to open.
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Old 03-21-04, 03:10 PM   #14
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I would rather deal with the problem once and for all. I just had my first flat last week in over 1000 miles. I run Slime and noticed something wet on my leg while out on a ride. I looked up. No pigeon.

I soon heard a hiss. The slime was trying hard to seal the puncture but just couldn't do it. I was about 4 miles from home and probably could have came close to making it. However I was getting close to being back in town and decided to fix the flat out in the country where i was alone.

It only took me probably 4-5 minutes to replace the tube and I was soon on my way. Then when i got home all i had to do was squeeze in a little more slime, throw another tube in the seatpack and all was well. Good for another thousand.
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Old 03-21-04, 05:43 PM   #15
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My wife carrie a tube of Fix a Flat whenever she rides on her own. She doesn't have the patience to fix a flat tire on the side of the road. The one time she used a can, she roade straight home, and I later repaced the tube before she rode again, and bought a new can of Fix a Flat.

Now for the car, I've used Fix a Flat a few times myself. Sure as hell beats changing a flat on a hot summer day, or in the middle of a street in Savannah or Charleston, where the streets were put in before cars were invented, let alone pnumatic tires.
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Old 03-21-04, 06:51 PM   #16
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A replacement tube is cleaner

Clinchers Tires:
Try not to patch or use the gum Stuff. Patches and gum will ruin or badly stain the tire. Okay I got your attention. Some tires cost too much to gunk up. A study showed that some tiers had a kind of dry rot in the areas of a patched tube it appears that the adhesive is still wet even though it is dry to the touch. (the safety of the tier never was diminished by the adhesive) Then there is the gum stuff –well let’s say it can gum things up. A replacement tube(s) does not weigh much and puts your bike back in to a safe efficient mood. You then can pump your replacement tube back up to specifications and start enjoying your ride as if it never happened. You can always patch the tube in case of emergency or take it home and patch it.
Out here in Ohio on a hot muggy day, if you don’t know how to replace a tire you can be eaten alive by misquotes or you might even catch a glimpse of big foot crossing the path. It is a matter of life or welts. I used to patch but it is a lot faster to replace the tube. With all the patches I did in the past I did have one or two that leaked (applier error). I never had a bad replacement tube (knock on wood).
The funny thing last Spring I fixed over 6 tires various times for total strangers that just could not quite get the back tire figured out. All but one had an extra tube in hand. The one I had to patch was a small kids bike that they could not get the tire off the rim. Talcum powder and fast tire rollover the rim did the trick.
May you never get a flat again.
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Old 03-22-04, 01:49 PM   #17
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80's schwinn with original tires and tubes
Are you sure that the sidewalls are in good shape with no dry rot. You could be flirting with disaster here. Especially on the front.
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Old 03-22-04, 03:11 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by D*Alex
FWIW, a patch will cost you pennies, will hold pressure, and will last nearly forever. Or, you could buy some Armadillos-they flat so infrequently, you might even risk going without a spare tube. I've never actually flatted an Armadillos, even with many thousand miles on them, and rolling over all kinds of stuff (broken bottles, sharp metal objects, etc.) They cost less than $30, for the most part...
Alex,

Wouldn't it be great if they simply made tubes the thickness of the patches to begin with, then there'd be even less flats.
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Old 03-22-04, 04:12 PM   #19
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Yeah, because your wheels would be so heavy, it would be no fun to ride, So, your bike wouldn't get any miles put on it.
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Old 03-22-04, 04:31 PM   #20
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wow avalanche, you called me out on that one. yeah, both of my tires are crud... dryrotted and ready to explode. i was already warned by my LBS owner, but im cheap and stubborn. wasnt able to get a tube yesterday so i switched out the rear tire with another vintage schwinn... the tire is not dryrotted but has really worn out tread. oh yeah, and its noticable out of true. its the best solution i could come up with, otherwise i wouldnt have been able to do my daily ride this morning. hopefully, my fixed rear wheel will be ready for me tomorrow, and i wont have to worry about any of this anymore. if not, ill cave in, buy the tube and some tools, and learn how to change flats.
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