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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 07-27-07, 11:24 AM   #1
philhf
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Spare tube or just a patch kit

Is it better to carry a spare tube, or have you found you can get by with just a patch kit to fix flats. I'm mainly interested in riding a mountain bike on fairly easy trails.
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Old 07-27-07, 11:30 AM   #2
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I carry both.

Patches will help for punctures but a good rip (seam failure?) will require a new tube.

I don't use a new tube for simple punctures because I might get a second flat and it's easier to carry several patches and only one tube.
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Old 07-27-07, 02:32 PM   #3
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The day it is raining or you cannot find the location of the leak a new tube will sound like a good idea, otherwise patch kit works fine
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Old 07-27-07, 03:08 PM   #4
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I carry both, but always use the spare tube first. I hate patching tubes on the road and (1) they are more likely to be done poorly and (2) I have had times when I couldn't find the hole. #2 happens more often these days because I'm old and need reading glasses, which I don't carry when I ride.

I patch the tube at home, pump it up and watch it for several hours - then go ahead and put it in the saddle bag for the spare tube. Any question at all, I buy a new tube since they're much cheaper than the aggrivation of changing a tire on the road.
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Old 07-27-07, 03:19 PM   #5
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I just use a patch kit. Never had a problem. Not that there's no chance of me ever having a big rip in a tube and being screwed but it hasn't happened in 30 years.

Can somebody pick me up this afternoon? I'll be about 20 miles from home with a huge rip in my tube. Thanks!
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Old 07-27-07, 04:26 PM   #6
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I carry both but I patch on the road only as a last resort.
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Old 07-27-07, 04:28 PM   #7
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I carry both but I patch on the road only as a last resort.
Me too.

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Old 07-27-07, 06:01 PM   #8
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I carry both but I patch on the road only as a last resort.
I patch first; it just isn't that hard to do.
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Old 07-27-07, 06:15 PM   #9
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I carry both but I patch on the road only as a last resort.
To each his own. I carry both but change tubes on the road only as a last resort. Patching on the road saves having to do it later, and doesn't take significantly more time.
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Old 07-27-07, 06:38 PM   #10
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I carry both but I patch on the road only as a last resort.
Absolutely. The problem is often you can't find the leak in the bad tube if the puncture is very small.

Replace the tube on the road and patch the bad one at home where you can inflate it hard enough to find the leak or even use a bucket of water if it is really a slow leak.
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Old 07-27-07, 07:50 PM   #11
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I have to agree with the tube first crowd. I prefer patching where I don't have to worry about dust, moisture and other things that can compromise a patch job, and I can replace a tube much quicker. I was very glad I had a tube the time I got caught with a flat in the on a section of Bikecentennial in Idaho that was dubbed "the mosquito hatchery!"
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Old 07-27-07, 07:55 PM   #12
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Well, that clears THAT up.

Now, which chain lube is best?
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Old 07-27-07, 08:23 PM   #13
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... because I'm old and need reading glasses, which I don't carry when I ride.
Get yourself some of those glasses that fold up and fit in a small tube. Perfect for even small saddle bags.
Sooner or later you're going to need to see what you are doing ;-)
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Old 07-27-07, 08:24 PM   #14
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I generally carry just one tube. No patch kit. If I ever have more than 1 flat on a ride I guess I'll just have to rely on my wits to find a way home. Uh - I don't carry a cell phone either.
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Old 07-27-07, 09:23 PM   #15
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Absolutely. The problem is often you can't find the leak in the bad tube if the puncture is very small.

Replace the tube on the road and patch the bad one at home where you can inflate it hard enough to find the leak or even use a bucket of water if it is really a slow leak.
But it's not absolute.

If you can't find the hole (and I've never had that happen) then put in the new tube; if you can find it, patch away!
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Old 01-31-08, 02:12 PM   #16
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I recommend replacing your tube, as patches are generally meant to get you home. That said, a good patch-job will work fine if applied properly. Here's a video demonstrating how it's done...

http://bicycletutor.com/fix-flat-tire/
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Old 01-31-08, 02:25 PM   #17
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Both for me. And if i'm commuting, i've got 2 patch kits and 2 tubes.

Tube swap if i'm in a hurry, patch if i've got time. Of course, make sure to remove the thorn/glass/nail/etc. that caused the puncture first.
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Old 01-31-08, 02:28 PM   #18
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I carry both, for incase of 2 flats on one ride. I will generally swap out the tube and repair the old one at home, and that becomes my new spare.
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i jam my thumbs up and back into the tubes. this way i can point my fingers straight out in front to split the wind and attain an even more aero profile, and the usual fixed gear - zen - connectedness feeling through the drivetrain is multiplied ten fold because my thumbs become one with the tubing.
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Old 01-31-08, 02:35 PM   #19
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I carry both. I'd rather not mess with a patch on my way someplace cause usually I'm on a schedule. The patch kit is there in case I get a 2nd flat.
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Old 01-31-08, 02:37 PM   #20
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I carry both a tube and patches, I'll replace the tube on the road and patch and reinstall the tube after the ride unless the tube is in really bad shape, I did learn that its also a good idea to carry something to patch the tire also on my last flat the tire had a rip in it from a large piece of glass, I did have to replace the tire which was new.
But if I were a MB'r I'd carry a patch kit, tube and a few tire membrane patches like the Park Tool TB-2 just incase.
I did use a tube patch on the tire it did the job till I got back but was starting to bulge by the time I got back.
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Old 01-31-08, 02:41 PM   #21
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I carry both but I patch on the road only as a last resort.
Me three. I can change a tube in a few minutes. Patching takes a few minutes more. No big deal if I'm out for a Sunday spin but most of my rides are commutes and it's likely to be wet, dark, or I'm running late.
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Old 01-31-08, 02:44 PM   #22
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I carry both of them. Change tube on the road, carry patches for if I get a second flat....
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Old 01-31-08, 02:49 PM   #23
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I carry both: replace on road with new tube, and patch at home.
Easier for me as my eyes are also of the long reach variety.

On longer rides I carry two tubes.
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Old 01-31-08, 02:56 PM   #24
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I put quite a few miles on a tandem and I think that they (tandems) are a lot harder on wheels and tires and tubes and have had all sorts of tire mishaps including a tire casing ripping apart on a fairly new high end tire.

I now carry 2 tubes, a patchkit, AND a spare folding tire. I addition I carry spare spokes zip tied to the rack and a fabulous little tool I got from Harris Cyclery that will remove the rear cassette so that I can actually use the spare spokes on the rear wheel if needed.
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Old 01-31-08, 02:58 PM   #25
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I carry 2 tubes, 2 patch kits and tire boots whenever I ride, be it down to the shops or on a long tour, they are just always in my saddlebag.

The extension of the original question for tourists is whether to carry tire boots and a spare tire. I just carry the boots.
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