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Old 05-05-08, 08:59 PM   #1
malkin
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Pitch or Patch

Do you patch tubes?

Of course I did, back in the day, when I was a student, and lived on my teaching assistant stipend...and then after that, I had a grown up job, and I didn't have any flat tires for several decades, except on my car, but that's different.

So now, I'm riding again, mostly on the tandem, and the tandem captain switches out the tube when there's a flat. So I always say, because I believe it, that I will patch those tubes, someday...but the collection keeps growing.

I ALWAYS patched tubes, sometimes I even patched them without taking them all the way off the wheel...
and they were FINE...

So, should I get patching?
And, are there better patch kits than there were back in 19-mumbling-erother?

What do you do?
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Old 05-05-08, 09:08 PM   #2
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I patch 'em unless they're really shot or I'm in a terrible hurry. One trick that I found that makes things much easier is to use alcohol to clean the affected area instead of sandpaper/rasp. The only hassle now is waiting for the glue to dry once it's applied. I've never had a patch fail and with 3 kids, I'd go broke buying new tubes for everyone's bikes.
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Old 05-05-08, 09:19 PM   #3
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Install a new one on the road. Bring the dead one home and patch it. Put it back in the seat bag.
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Old 05-05-08, 09:45 PM   #4
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Install a new one on the road. Bring the dead one home and patch it. Put it back in the seat bag.
No doubt that's the right choice for any number of reasons, but with one or two flats every couple of years, I've gotten lazy, and tend to just replace the punctured tube with a new one and never get around to fixing the old one.
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Old 05-05-08, 10:04 PM   #5
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Install a new one on the road. Bring the dead one home and patch it. Put it back in the seat bag.
That's what I do. I like patching tubes, don't know why...maybe because it's an easy way to beat the system. I've never had a patch fail either.
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Old 05-05-08, 10:32 PM   #6
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- Install new tube on the road.
- Bring flat home and tie it in a knot so that I remember it has a flat
- Throw it on the "patch" pile
- Once a year, throw the patch pile away.
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Old 05-05-08, 10:50 PM   #7
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Install a new one on the road. Bring the dead one home and patch it. Put it back in the seat bag.
A am adopting this policy. To toss them seems wasteful. Today I went for a ride and got 2 flats - after fixing another one from yesterday that happened so close to home that I just carried the bike a block to my house. I had to patch the second flat because I only had one tube with me. A seam seemed to have split in the tube and I used two patches to cover it, but it held. The patches work fine, and I now see no excuse for not using them. Come to think of it, I could spend all the money I save buying tubes and patch kits an invest in some good quality tubes and "puncture proof" tires. But, that's another topic entirely...
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Old 05-06-08, 08:26 AM   #8
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That's what I do. I like patching tubes, don't know why...maybe because it's an easy way to beat the system. I've never had a patch fail either.
Do you use glue-on or glueless patches? I have had limited success with the latter.

I hate the wastefulness of tossing a punctured tube, but today's tubes simply do not seem to last as long as those of yesteryear. I have had several tubes split along a seam, and others have failed at the base of the Presta valve stem, a problem I used to have only if I put a Presta tube on a rim drilled for a Schraeder valve, without a washer or boot.

I would rather carry a brand-new spare tube with confidence and ride on a patched one.
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Old 05-06-08, 08:40 AM   #9
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I'm Malkin's tandem captain (but she's my Rear Admiral!). I think patching the pile with quality glue-ons is a good idea--maybe I'll arrange a party. I also appreciate the suggestion of using alcohol rather than sandpaper. We'll try that.

And I'll always carry at least one new tube. Purchased in quantity from an online dealer, tubes are about $3 each. It's really a pity that the cost to replace is arguably less (including time and materials) than the cost to repair. Chalk it up to our throw-away culture.

"One or two flats every couple of years..." Wow.

We've had 3 (or is it 4) already this year. Maybe it's just a Utah thing.

Cheers!
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Old 05-06-08, 09:16 AM   #10
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This raises an interesting question. Who has the biggest 'patch' pile?
Mine only has 3 in it, but from some of your responses I am expecting something quite a bit bigger.
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Old 05-06-08, 09:18 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by doctor j View Post
Install a new one on the road. Bring the dead one home and patch it. Put it back in the seat bag.
That's what I do, except for step 3: I put the patched tube back in the tire, and the new tube back in the bag. That way, I've always got two NEW spares in the bag. Nothing worse than replacing a tube in the middle of a long ride and finding out the patch job leaks.

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Old 05-06-08, 10:01 AM   #12
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Rema still makes the best patches, same as in 19XX. You can get a box of 100, then use any old rubber cement and save a ton of cash. Those small glue tubes always dry up on me.

The leaks I really hate are the super small ones I can't find without water.

Anyway, I'm a patch guy.
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Old 05-06-08, 10:57 AM   #13
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Quote:
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No doubt that's the right choice for any number of reasons, but with one or two flats every couple of years, I've gotten lazy, and tend to just replace the punctured tube with a new one and never get around to fixing the old one.
Me too. I don't think that I've got any tubes with holes in them downstairs, but I've got a good assortment of both new and patched tubes.
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Old 05-06-08, 11:20 AM   #14
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I patch.
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Old 05-06-08, 01:49 PM   #15
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I know what I should do- Patch when the puncture occurs. But just a few pointers. Put the Tyre label over the valve when you fit the tyre. Then when you locate the hole in the tube- it will give you an indication of where- the Flint- Thorn- lump of Glass is in the tyre so you can inspect the tyre and get rid of the offending item. Keep the tube well talced and it is easier to fit- and as to patching- it only takes a couple of minutes- in fact less as to change a tube you have to get the tube out- put a bit of air in it- Check the tyre for offending items from the inside (which you should do in any case) and the OLD tube that you are going to forget to repair before the next ride- has to be rolled up to fit back in the wedge.

All that goes by the board as the last 3 punctures I have had all been in the rain. And trying to patch a wet tube is not easy.
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Old 05-06-08, 04:42 PM   #16
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Not that you need another opinion on this, but I'm a patcher for at least a couple of reasons.
First is economic. A new tube costs, what, about five bucks? I work seven minutes to make five bucks (before taxes). I can patch a tube in less than half that time, even if you don't count the time required to go to the LBS and buy a new one.
Then there's the landfill issue: Why should I toss a tube that will be better than new after I fix it (the patch is stronger than the original rubber)? It's a small thing individually, but not when multiplied by the 35+ years I've been riding. Plus needless waste just pisses me off on principle--it's one of the problems with our self-centered society.
OK, off the soapbox. FWIW, though, in almost 40 years of riding as an adult, surely hundreds of flat tires (I had nine on a century one time), I can remember only two patch failures, and one of those was my fault.
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Old 05-06-08, 05:10 PM   #17
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Hey, thanks everyone!

Our patch pile has a bunch more than 3, some of them fit bikes we don't even have anymore. And I'd never be able to toss them--I'd have to work out some nifty way to recycle them in to rugs or casual furniture or cat toys or something. Fortunately, the bike collective will take them too.

But you've all got me convinced; I'll patch.
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Old 05-06-08, 05:28 PM   #18
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I used to patch until there wasn't room for more. A couple of times I've gotten burned when patch jobs failed when I took them out of my saddlebag out on the road somewhere.

Lately I've had less flats and have just gotten lazy, so now I patch a tube only once, maybe twice. Also, now I patch a punctured tube and put it right back on the bike as soon as I get home. The patched tube has to hold air overnight before I ride on it. The spare tube I carry is always unpatched or at least has been proven to hold air a few days if patched.
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Old 05-06-08, 05:35 PM   #19
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Do you use glue-on or glueless patches? I have had limited success with the latter.

I hate the wastefulness of tossing a punctured tube, but today's tubes simply do not seem to last as long as those of yesteryear. I have had several tubes split along a seam, and others have failed at the base of the Presta valve stem, a problem I used to have only if I put a Presta tube on a rim drilled for a Schraeder valve, without a washer or boot.

I would rather carry a brand-new spare tube with confidence and ride on a patched one.
It just doesn't make sense to toss out good (except for a tiny hole that can be fixed) tubes .
I've never used glueless patches, never could figure out what is so difficult about glue-on patches.
I always use talcum on a fresh patch.
I've had a few tubes split at a seam but overall, luck has been on my side.

Uh-oh, to talc or not to talc, a whole new argument.

Last edited by Louis; 05-06-08 at 06:24 PM.
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Old 05-06-08, 06:41 PM   #20
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Timely post. I don't get many flats - maybe 2 a year on the road since I changed over to Gatorskins a few years back and check the pressure every 2 or three times out. I got a flat last Sunday on the back and when I inspected the tire (starting the third season on it) I found it had several shards of glass in it so when I got home I pulled out a new tire. The Gatorskin with the kevlar bead is always a bear to get on new the first few times so I patched the tube knowing that I would pinch it putting it on the first time or two. Well after two trys and three patches the tire went on without a new hole in the tube but then I noticed I had it on backwards - gatorskins like to rotate in a specific direction. Off again/on again - but this time I put a new tube back in and was successful in the repair.

So - I occassionally patch but mostly pitch.
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Old 05-06-08, 07:33 PM   #21
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I buy new tires and tubes every spring..... I know, I know.... sounds wastefull... but I give my "old" ones to a kid down the street that rides on a tight budget.
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Old 05-06-08, 09:43 PM   #22
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What do you use for talc? I've been using baby powder with cornstarch, but figure there is probably something better to use.
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Old 05-06-08, 09:45 PM   #23
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So I went to the neighborhood bike store to buy a patch kit for our tube patching party. The kid behind the counter looked at me as if I had asked him for replacement parts for my spoon brake! He finally sold me a store-branded patch kit that included about .00001 oz. of glue and 8 tiny patches after railing on and on about Air-Lock tubes by Specialized.

The follow-up question is this: Do you use Air-Lock (or some other version of slime-infused tube)? Why or why not?

Cheers!
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Old 05-06-08, 10:27 PM   #24
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What do you use for talc? I've been using baby powder with cornstarch, but figure there is probably something better to use.
Thats what I've been using. I was using the word "talc" generically. I have used official talcum powder, don't think it makes any difference for our use. Once, while being forced to patch roadside (2 flats), I blew some road dust on the patch before installing the tube, it worked fine.

I'm also one who talcs the whole tube when it's new, and the inside of a new tire as well.
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Old 05-06-08, 10:36 PM   #25
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So I went to the neighborhood bike store to buy a patch kit for our tube patching party. The kid behind the counter looked at me as if I had asked him for replacement parts for my spoon brake! He finally sold me a store-branded patch kit that included about .00001 oz. of glue and 8 tiny patches after railing on and on about Air-Lock tubes by Specialized.

The follow-up question is this: Do you use Air-Lock (or some other version of slime-infused tube)? Why or why not?

Cheers!


Tubes, tires, glue, talc, etc. - all part of the lore of cycling, if you ask me.

I wouldn't let "Slime" get within 100 feet of any bike of mine.

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