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  1. #1
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    Fix flat with duct tape?

    I just got a "slow leak" flat on my Specialized Hardrock. In the past, I've always taken my bike to the shop and had someone there take care of it. I've always been afraid I'd do it wrong. But now I'd like to try it myself. Now the cost of innertubes have gone up considerably, so I'm thinking of patching it instead. Would duct tape work? It seems like it would be strong enough, but I'd hate to try it, only to be caught miles from home with a flat. But would it work?

  2. #2
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    would you dress your cut with duck tape? NO? then don't try using it on your tubes... local bike shop has patch kits for a few bucks...

  3. #3
    Senior Member sharkey00's Avatar
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    Patching a tube is easy. Get a patch kit, follow the directions.

    Do not fix a flat with duct tape.

  4. #4
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    I thought duct tape fixed everything on this planet.
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
    .litespeed.classic.litespeed.firenze.bianchi.pista.dean.colonel.plus.more.

  5. #5
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    best left

    That seems like the type of thing that's best left for emergencies. When you're 15 miles from the road and you've already blown all the inner tubes you have on you, then try duct tape. Until then, buy a bunch of inner tubes to keep at home, and a few good patch kits.

    It's my preference to carry a tube with me on the road. It's easier than trying to path by the side of the road. Bring home the dead tube and patch it there.

  6. #6
    Senior Member triplebutted's Avatar
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    You can get patch kits on ebay for the price of Starbux coffee

  7. #7
    I make stuff up
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    Quote Originally Posted by inefekt View Post
    would you dress your cut with duck tape?
    Actually, yes I would. And yes I have. I keep a few wraps of duct tape around my pumps. Mostly I've used it to boot damaged tires. Did use it to once to hold a deep cut closed; cut it with a knife to make a butterfly bandage. Never repaired a tube puncture. If I was out of tubes and regular patches I'd give it a try.
    It's around here somewhere . . .

  8. #8
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    One can do it with duct tape. I've seen it done.
    But just to get home, normal patch kits work great, and last as long as the tube. And they are cheap, and smaller, and lighter, than carrying a roll of duct tape.
    I think the duct tape will start to leak eventually. A properly done tire patch will never leak.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  9. #9
    free mallocs
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    Quote Originally Posted by torellian View Post
    i've always been afraid i'd do it wrong.
    +1?

  10. #10
    Biker, Lover, Fighter
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    Quote Originally Posted by inefekt View Post
    would you dress your cut with duck tape?
    Yes! Super glue can work wonders as well.

  11. #11
    Senior Member adaminlc's Avatar
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    Duct tape is like the pre-glued patches you can buy. It works pretty well for a while in lower PSI tires (>60) but can't handle higher pressure.
    I like fat tires and I cannot lie...

  12. #12
    Senior Member adaminlc's Avatar
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    I would also recommend changing it as soon as you get home. You can't trust anything except for a real, good-old-fashioned glue-on patch.
    I like fat tires and I cannot lie...

  13. #13
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    And always remember: It says on the instructions - Let the glue dry. Do this for certain. It's a main cause of patches failing to hold.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cateye View Post
    Only panthers007 is stupid enough to believe that this is a good idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by roadfix View Post
    I thought duct tape fixed everything on this planet.
    yes, duct tape, chicken wire and a pair of vise-grip
    Last edited by bikeaday; 12-02-08 at 07:59 PM.

  15. #15
    Arranger Power Powerarranger's Avatar
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    Duct tape is like the Force:

    It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the Universe together.

    Geez, I crack myself up...

    Seriously, though - get a patch kit. Patching a tube is a very simple procedure.
    Originally posted by Elkhound
    Respect goes both ways. If we want motorists to respect our right to use the road, then it behooves us to ride in a responsible, lawful manner.

  16. #16
    Low car diet JiveTurkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by inefekt View Post
    would you dress your cut with duck tape? NO? then don't try using it on your tubes... local bike shop has patch kits for a few bucks...
    I wouldn't dress my cut with an inner tube patch either!
    Quote Originally Posted by slopvehicle View Post
    Not wearing a helmet makes me more aware of my surroundings. I find myself anticipating the hardness of concrete 50 or 100 feet in front of me, it's almost a zen-like connection between my face and the pavement.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadfix View Post
    I thought duct tape fixed everything on this planet.
    You're half right.

    If it moves and it's not supposed to, wrap it with duct tape.

    If it doesn't move and it's supposed to, spray it with WD-40.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadfix View Post
    I thought duct tape fixed everything on this planet.
    It does, but you need bailing wire along with it. You'll regret using duct tape to fix ur slow leak. Trust me ;-)

  19. #19
    Peace and bicycle grease! une_vitesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadfix View Post
    I thought duct tape fixed everything on this planet.
    that would be duck tape
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  20. #20
    Peace and bicycle grease! une_vitesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panthers007 View Post
    And always remember: It says on the instructions - Let the glue dry. Do this for certain. It's a main cause of patches failing to hold.
    right on that. one thing not included in most instructions is to clean area to which patch is to be applied. i like to use g'pa's hooch, a.k.a. isopropyl alcohol. once you do that, rough area with sandpaper, then apply vulcanizing fluid, let dry, remove patch from its backing and apply.

    if you don't want to spend any money, you can do a hot patch. i've seen it done on motorcycle innertubes when i used to live in bangladesh. i think it involves using heat instead of chemicals to vulcanize the rubber.
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  21. #21
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    IMO, duct tape is the most worthless substance known to man. All it ever does is make a sticky mess.

    I should qualify that a bit. Now, if you want to keep a little with you for EMERGENCIES ONLY, then I had a friend in college who would wrap a good bit around a lighter when we went hiking in Kentucky. You get a mini roll of duct tape and a lighter all in one. Duct tape will hold stuff for a little, but if it gets hot/cold/wet etc. the adhesive tends to start breaking down into a mess. IMO, it's better to keep a folding tool kit and patch kit with you on the road than a roll of duct tape.

  22. #22
    Infinite Regress InfiniteRegress's Avatar
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    Hey, I've used duct tape to fix a flat in a pinch. I was riding once and didn't have a spare tube with me (thought it was in my bike bag, but wasn't). Anyway, the hole was right around where the valve goes into the tube. I had to get home and didn't have time to go over to an LBS. So, I used some duct tape I had in my pack (always carry it with me) and was able to patch the hole up enough so that it held air until I got home. I don't think duct tape is a good patch for long-term use, but it works well in a pinch and is faster than using a patch kit. I do, however, carry a patch kit with me now. Duct tape is also good a wide variety of other "on the fly" bike repairs, such as holding cables in place, patching up gear, or just about anything else you can think of.

  23. #23
    Last one to the top... Little Darwin's Avatar
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    While I wouldn't hesitate to use duct tape in an emergency, I would use a patch kit for a permanent repair.

    Rubber, including most patches, has some stretch to it, duct tape does not. I can tear duct tape, I can't tear a tube patch...

    But frankly, if it seals a slow leak for a while, it is better than nothing... If the budget is tight, then the few minutes to replace it every few weeks or months may be worth your time. If you do it, let us know the long term results.

    If you do it, I would suggest experimenting with the size to get the best balance of adhesion... also possibly pre-stretching the tube as you apply the tape, and ensuring the surface is very clean.

  24. #24
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    duct tape has worked for me in an emergency to get home, but still went flat, but just not as fast.
    some things you don't wanna do to a bike:

    1. duct tape as a permanent tire repair solution.
    2. using a piece of steel plumbing pipe as a seat post. (guilty of this one myself in a fix)
    3. use shifter cables as brake cables. they are thinner and not as strong.
    4. pack a s.a. igh hub with grease when it calls for oil.
    5. ride a bike with a cracked front fork (OR FRAME)
    6. run a multigeared cluster on your rear wheel as a single speed without any derailleur or tensioner when they make single cog freewheels (and if you call it a fixie, i smack you)
    7. use duct tape for handgrips.

    we have all seen #6 and #7 and its time for that to just stop. i did #2 with alot of extra pipe in the seattube and believe it or not, sized perfectly with no freeplay and not too tightly as i could ever get out. if only bikes came with seat posts long enough for people 6'3".

  25. #25
    cycles per second Gonzo Bob's Avatar
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    It might work. Why don't you try it and let us know

    As others have said and done, I'd use it only in an emergency. Otherwise a new tube or a real patch kit (I've had mixed results with those "glueless patches").

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