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  1. #1
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    New tube or patches?

    Went to pick up a couple new tubes to have on hand for the road bike today and started thinking...what do you guys and gals do if you get a flat? Buy a new tube and junk the old one? Patch the old one for a spare?

    I keep a good tube in my seat bag. I bought a couple of tubes today (cheap enough, $5 each), but was wondering if you guys just junk the tube that caused you problems or fix it for a spare. Do you put a new tube in if you have a flat on a ride or just patch it?

    Curious how others handle this.

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
    Senior Member exile's Avatar
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    First figure out why you got the flat. You need to know what caused the flat in the first place so you avoid having the same problem again.

    I keep a patch kit at home. I am more inclined to just replace the tube on the road with a new one and repair the other one when I get home. Once repaired you can now use it as your spare in the saddle bag.

    Depending on what you use the bike for, you might want to look into puncture resistant tires. I commute so speed and/or ride quality is not necessarily my top priorities.
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  3. #3
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    I buy tubes on line for $2 each: www.pricepoint.com. At that price, patching just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

    I'm a thrifty guy, but I save money on other stuff (like buying cables and housings in bulk, waiting for great on line sales on tires, doing all of my own wrenching, only buying bikes used, etc.)

  4. #4
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    Carry a tube; patch kit for second flat, if I am that unlucky. Don't patch tubes as feel it's not cost effective.

  5. #5
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    I carry a good tube as a spare and a patch kit. The 'good' tube is 'one that holds air' and may or may not have multiple patches. The tubes in my bikes right now probably all have at least one patch.

    Patch kit is $3 and you can patch ~10 tubes. 10 tubes would cost between $20 and $50, so the $3 one-time investment + 5 minutes per tube is worth it to me.
    Last edited by LarDasse74; 10-19-10 at 03:09 PM. Reason: formatting

  6. #6
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    I patch 3 times then it' toast. When I started cycling, I listened to the too much rotational weight weenies. The more I rode the more I realized this approach was silliness. So I quit wasting money. I buy the vulcanizing patch kit, works much better than those peel and stick temp fixes.

    I carry two spare tubes with me. If I flat, I insert a new tube (AFTER INSPECTING AND FIND THE CAUSE). I then take the punctured tube home, patch it then replace it in the tire. Replace the newer tube back into the seatbag as a spare.

    I always go with the patched tube in the tire on the bike for reason that I KNOW the tube is properly repaired and working. I've had friends bring out patched spares only to find they did not work after the hassle of changing the tube on the road. Oops, now it's gong to take more time to make the next tube change, another 5 minutes, somebody give me a magazine.

    Plus I don't want to fold the spare on the patch. It's much better in the tire pressed up against the inside of the tire as reinforcement rather than folded in a seatbag on the edge of a patch. Tat's my thinking thouhg, others may not think the same.

    I do buy my patches at a sports store though (REI, SPort Chalet etc). I can get 6 patches for $2 or pay $4 a the bike shop for 3 patches. I'm not much of an online shopper or I could get a ton for cheap.

    FTR, 7 bikes, = 14 tires, I do anywhere form 4500-7000 miles per year and the wife does app 3500 per year. This over the span of 13 years so lots of flats and repairs involved. If I did 2000 per year on one bike, I might go with a new tube.

  7. #7
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    +1 on patching for spares later on and vulcanizing patch kit (ie. Rema) work the best.. I found the Lezyne quick patches work the best but all of them lose there stickiness over time unlike the vulcanizing ones..

  8. #8
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cychologist View Post
    Carry a tube; patch kit for second flat, if I am that unlucky. Don't patch tubes as feel it's not cost effective.
    Don't understand this reasoning. Patching is cheap, and a patched tube is just as robust as a new one - as long as you aren't using self-adhesive patches, which will eventually fail. Personally I carry a spare tube then patch the punctured one when I get home - or when I've accumulated four or five punctured ones and have a half-hour to spare.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  9. #9
    I Biked Today Crazyed..27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by exile View Post
    First figure out why you got the flat. You need to know what caused the flat in the first place so you avoid having the same problem again.

    I keep a patch kit at home. I am more inclined to just replace the tube on the road with a new one and repair the other one when I get home. Once repaired you can now use it as your spare in the saddle bag.
    This is exactly what I do!

  10. #10
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    I too replace and then repair with a vulcanizing patch. Generally though if I get 3 flats, at different times, on a given tire I look for a replacement tire as I figure it is wearing out. I don't like flats though, so I tend to buy expensive sturdy tires to prevent flats in the first place. The closest thing I have to a real road bike is an 80's Steel Schwinn Traveler so I'm not a weight weenie by any means.
    Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

  11. #11
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    I carry a spare tube and a patch kit. I swap the tube and patch the old one at home, and it then becomes the new spare. I only have the patch kit with me in case I get a second flat (which has never happened so far) or if to fix someone else's tire if my tube doesn't fit. I patch the tubes if it's easy to do, and throw them away if they're hard (e.g. big holes / holes near old patches). I have had tubes with 5+ patches on them with no problems. I use bog-standard vulcanizing patches, and I have had no problems with them so far. I have never tried adhesive patches.

    Carrying the patch kit is not a problem; it's small in size and light compared to the tube / pump / tire levers / multitool I need to have anyway.

    The only thing which I have not solved yet is that the vulcanizing fluid dries out pretty quickly once the tube is open. I suppose it could happen that one day I get two flats and can't fix the second one because I can't get the stuff out of the tube. Oh well.

  12. #12
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
    Patch kit is $3 and you can patch ~10 tubes. 10 tubes would cost between $20 and $50, so the $3 one-time investment + 5 minutes per tube is worth it to me.
    Seconded. I have tubes on some of my bikes that have 25 patches each. At even $3 per tube, that's $75. A box of 100 patches from Third Hand costs $15 and a few tubes of glue cost another $10. I only throw out tubes that are blowouts or have damage to the stem.
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  13. #13
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    Patching Story

    I was driving past a local bike shop and decided to go in for a patch kit as I ran out of patches while repairing my fleet of tubes the night before (I actually have a whole bunch of tubes and save up the flats for a big patching session once a year or so). Anyhoo, I asked for a patch kit and the store owner (who I know fairly well) handed me a park insta-patch (or whatever). I told him I don't like those and they are only temporary. He assure dme that he has customers who have years-old quick-patches and they are as permanent as anything... I disagreed, he reassured me... someone came out from the back and said "do they even still make regular patch kits?"

    I felt like I was taking crazy pills.

    Anyhoo, I eventually agreed and figured I can use the park rapid-patch in a pinch and pick up a real patch kit next time I am ant Canadian Tire or MEC. I realized I had two more patches to do when I got home - the flat tire on my mountain bike and a spare mtb tube... so I fixed the tubes with my new hasty-patch kit and re-mounted the tire.

    THe next day was our regular Wednesday group trail ride and when I went to take my bike out of the car - Lo! - a flat recently Fast-Patched tube. I pulled it out while people waited for me (including the shop owner), and I replaced with the other Speedy-Patched tube... I made it about 200 feet down the trail and can you guess what I heard? Fsssssssssssst...

    I gave up and walked back to the parking lot. I took out the tube and the Swift-Patch was all wrinkled and clearly had room for air to escape.

    Permanent my ass!

    Anyhoo, the moral of the story is... don't shop at Bikes 'N' Stuff in Cheneaux, Quebec (Just kidding)... regular patches = good, Hurry-Patch = Bad

    Last comment: looking for the link to the Park QuickPatch I noticed that Park still makes regular patch kits!

  14. #14
    I Biked Today Crazyed..27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
    I was driving past a local bike shop and decided to go in for a patch kit as I ran out of patches while repairing my fleet of tubes the night before (I actually have a whole bunch of tubes and save up the flats for a big patching session once a year or so). Anyhoo, I asked for a patch kit and the store owner (who I know fairly well) handed me a park insta-patch (or whatever). I told him I don't like those and they are only temporary. He assure dme that he has customers who have years-old quick-patches and they are as permanent as anything... I disagreed, he reassured me... someone came out from the back and said "do they even still make regular patch kits?"

    I felt like I was taking crazy pills.

    Anyhoo, I eventually agreed and figured I can use the park rapid-patch in a pinch and pick up a real patch kit next time I am ant Canadian Tire or MEC. I realized I had two more patches to do when I got home - the flat tire on my mountain bike and a spare mtb tube... so I fixed the tubes with my new hasty-patch kit and re-mounted the tire.

    THe next day was our regular Wednesday group trail ride and when I went to take my bike out of the car - Lo! - a flat recently Fast-Patched tube. I pulled it out while people waited for me (including the shop owner), and I replaced with the other Speedy-Patched tube... I made it about 200 feet down the trail and can you guess what I heard? Fsssssssssssst...

    I gave up and walked back to the parking lot. I took out the tube and the Swift-Patch was all wrinkled and clearly had room for air to escape.

    Permanent my ass!

    Anyhoo, the moral of the story is... don't shop at Bikes 'N' Stuff in Cheneaux, Quebec (Just kidding)... regular patches = good, Hurry-Patch = Bad

    Last comment: looking for the link to the Park QuickPatch I noticed that Park still makes regular patch kits!

    Do you still go to this guys shop??? I would tell him our relationship is over...and walk the f-out!

  15. #15
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    Thanks for all the thoughts! I hadnt thought of keeping a patch kit on board also. That would be good in case of two flats on one ride.

    I am going to patch the tube and hang on to it! I really like Beanz advice about putting the patched tube back in the bike. That way you know if it holds air or not, instead of carrying around a leaky tube thinking it is good.

    Thanks!
    CB
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  16. #16
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    You flat, then pull out a patch kit, we're going to laugh at you then just leave.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crazyed..27 View Post
    Do you still go to this guys shop??? I would tell him our relationship is over...and walk the f-out!
    I still go. It is a good shop. He sold me a product that did not meet my expectations and he apologized profusely about it. I have the knowledge and experience to make my own decisions about what to buy. No need for a boycott.

    Also, I may have left out a couple of details for the sake of a good story ... the first patch that failed was over a pair of snake-bike holes, and the second was two patches on a pair of larger snake-bike holes... long holes where I had to orient the patch just-so to cover the hole entirely... I could have guessed it would fail, but if I had a 'real' patch kit I could have just used the larger patch size and I would still be using that tube.

    I blame the gluless patches, the shop guy's recommendation, and my own judgment... I think this is no more a reason to stop going to that shop than it is to stop using Park products or stop using my own judgment (as little as I use it).

  18. #18
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    Personally, I like to be extra prepared. I carry several spare tubes, and both regular and stick on patches. In the past, I've also stuck a couple of glueless patches between the tire and tube on my commuter as my "ultimate backup" in case I was out of patches and tubes. I only had to use it once, but it saved me from a long walk home.

    I replace punctured tubes with new/patched tubes on the road, and then patch the punctured tube at home. After 3 or 4 patches, I toss it. I still carry patches for those "just in case" emergencies. Hey, they're patches, they don't weigh much!

    As for why both types of patches, just in case the tube of glue has gone dry, I can use the glueless ones to (hopefully) get me to a bike shop.
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  19. #19
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbrown9064 View Post
    Thanks for all the thoughts! I hadnt thought of keeping a patch kit on board also. That would be good in case of two flats on one ride.

    I am going to patch the tube and hang on to it! I really like Beanz advice about putting the patched tube back in the bike. That way you know if it holds air or not, instead of carrying around a leaky tube thinking it is good.

    Thanks!
    CB
    I see others that use them as spares but I like the fact that I can be sure it works before hitting the road and not having to worry about pulling out a botched patch job!...or catching on something in the seatbag ripping/removing the patch over time....it happens!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    I see others that use them as spares but I like the fact that I can be sure it works before hitting the road and not having to worry about pulling out a botched patch job!...or catching on something in the seatbag ripping/removing the patch over time....it happens!
    If the patch is properly applied (clean the area you're going to glue with emery cloth, apply a thin layer of glue, allow it completely dry (you can't possibly wait too long), stick the patch, and firmly pressed in place with a tool), it isn't going to come off. I'm a put spare tube in on the rode and patch at home, though I carry a patch kit so I can fix a second (or fifth...) flat, or watch someone else fix theirs with it. I don't put the patched tube back into service until the next flat. Tubes are discrded for valve failure (or huge defects, but I've never had that on a bike tube.); there's no reason to limit yourself to an arbitrary number of patches.

  21. #21
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbrown9064 View Post
    Thanks for all the thoughts! I hadnt thought of keeping a patch kit on board also. That would be good in case of two flats on one ride.

    CB
    Or 3. Or 5. Or 20. Or 27

    Do make sure you close your adhesive tightly and check it at least yearly. They tend to evaporate.

    Quote Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
    You flat, then pull out a patch kit, we're going to laugh at you then just leave.
    You flat twice and we're going to laugh at you And since you laughed at me and rode away, I'm not going to share Have a nice time with the wolves!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    I see others that use them as spares but I like the fact that I can be sure it works before hitting the road and not having to worry about pulling out a botched patch job!...or catching on something in the seatbag ripping/removing the patch over time....it happens!
    Done properly, a vulcanizing adhesive patch will never come off. dscheidt covers the how to well. If the patch catches on something it wasn't applied properly.
    Last edited by cyccommute; 10-20-10 at 04:14 PM.
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  22. #22
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    CB, Generally I toss any patched tubes into the recycle bin after the patch is about a year old. If I'm planning a long unsupported/solo ride I run unpatched tubes. On the road I have a new tube, patch kit, pump, CO2 inflater, cotton balls and a small pair of needle nose pliers for repairs.

    Brad

    PS I have bought a batch of tubes that failed at the valve stem area so now any new tube I carry has been tested in service beforehand.

  23. #23
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    Picked up a cool little patch kit today at the LBS. 5 patches, sandpaper and glue in a tiny box for $1.95. Fits right in my small seat bag. Pretty cool!
    Thanks again for all the words of wisdom.
    Chris
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    +1 for carry a tube AND a standard patch kit.

    +1 for glueless patch kits suck. Just ride when it's 110 degrees - they turn to goo and slide off.

    +1 for diagnose/fix the cause, then put in the new tube. On the second flat you patch it.

    +1 for save the bad tubes and every winter have a "patch party" where I take an old tire and wheel and use them to "form" the patch onto the tube. I find the hole in the tube, patch it, put the tube in spare tire and pump it up, leave it for several hours to let the rubber bond, then deflate it, pull it out, and roll it up with the patch on a flat spot in the roll.

    If a tube has two or more patches I just toss it because I figure the rubber is getting old. I have about 20+ tubes in the "rotation" because I'm a sucker when they go on sell...

  25. #25
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Done properly, a vulcanizing adhesive patch will never come off. dscheidt covers the how to well. If the patch catches on something it wasn't applied properly.


    That's true but like I said, I like to use a patched tube that I know is going to work. I know I have been fooled by a tube with two holes (1 VERY small pinhole) thinking there was only one. If I hadn't installed the repaired tube at home, I would have been in for an unwelcomed visitor while attempting a roadside repair.

    I feel more comfortable knowing my 2 replacements are fresh tubes.

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