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Tube Decisions - Junk It or Potential ReUse?

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Tube Decisions - Junk It or Potential ReUse?

Old 05-14-23, 11:50 AM
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Bruce27
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Tube Decisions - Junk It or Potential ReUse?

Hi All
Looking for input from the experienced crowd here....
Purchased a patch kit last week and finally got around to patching a few flats. One of the 3 tubes I patched looks like this with not very much air added. Looks concerning and haven;t encountered anything like this in the past.
Anyone reuse a tube with a bulge like this? How did it work out? Thanks



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Old 05-14-23, 12:08 PM
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The tire will contain it, no worries.
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Old 05-14-23, 12:09 PM
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Yep, that's pretty normal.
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Old 05-14-23, 12:15 PM
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Thank you
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Old 05-14-23, 12:24 PM
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Agreed. Inner tube aneurysms are extremely common, and do not affect performance or durability as long as the tube eventually ends up properly mounted in the correct size tire + rim.
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Old 05-14-23, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Bruce27
One of the 3 tubes I patched looks like this with not very much air added. Looks concerning and haven;t encountered anything like this in the past.
That just shows the rubber is a bit thinner where it's stretching. If you get a very localised bulge it may indicate a flaw that's more likely to fail, but otherwise it can usually be safely ignored.
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Old 05-14-23, 06:23 PM
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I see that is a Forte tube, which was Performance Bike's house brand. I have had terrible luck with those, as have several of my riding buddies. They seem to fail where the valve attaches to the tube.

The price difference between generic and name branded tubes is not much, so go with the better ones.
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Old 05-14-23, 08:28 PM
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I always go with a new tube of a known quantity, Patches are hit or miss and the time it takes to patch tubes and the money for patches is more than just buying a new tube. I like the idea of saving tubes and not tossing them but there are other uses for them.
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Old 05-15-23, 03:41 AM
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I've tried patching tubes before. Maybe my technique or patching supplies (or both) were flaky, but I've had bad experiences with patching.

After having two patched spare tubes fail during inflation on the same ride (I'd found a small nail or piece of tire wire which caused the original flat), I swore - and also swore off patching. I also changed to more puncture-resistant tires.

Now, on those rare occasions where I get a puncture I just use a new tube and discard the punctured one.
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Old 05-15-23, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
Patches are hit or miss
I've had approximately zero failure rate, just use good quality supplies and take the time do it properly.
Originally Posted by veganbikes
and the time it takes to patch tubes and the money for patches is more than just buying a new tube
I wouldn't normally patch tubes for a customer because labour costs, but for my use I can patch a batch of tubes pretty quickly, and anyway it's something to do on a wet Sunday afternoon.
Buy quality gear (Rema Tip Top) in bulk from tyre repair specialists, not bike shops or Amazon. Those little patch kits are OK for roadside/trailside emergencies (you did bring two spare tubes, right?) but uneconomic for regular use.
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Old 05-15-23, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by grumpus
I've had approximately zero failure rate, just use good quality supplies and take the time do it properly.

I wouldn't normally patch tubes for a customer because labour costs, but for my use I can patch a batch of tubes pretty quickly, and anyway it's something to do on a wet Sunday afternoon.
Buy quality gear (Rema Tip Top) in bulk from tyre repair specialists, not bike shops or Amazon. Those little patch kits are OK for roadside/trailside emergencies (you did bring two spare tubes, right?) but uneconomic for regular use.
That is good, I have had some failures in the past using Rema Tip Top which is the only one I recommend. It is certainly something to do on a rainy day or when you have time but for me it is just not worth it.

Glad you haven't had failures, I know people hate to hear it but it is good luck and hopefully that streak continues. For me I would rather do less work and spend less money and just put a new tube in.

I generally carry 1-2 spares depending but I also generally carry a patch kit as well just in case with both Rema and some glueless ones just to hedge my bets and I usually have a bunch of tubes at home. I just bought a case on deep deep sale for my main commuter and my mountain bike but I hope to not need that many.
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Old 05-15-23, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Hondo6
I've tried patching tubes before. Maybe my technique or patching supplies (or both) were flaky, but I've had bad experiences with patching.

After having two patched spare tubes fail during inflation on the same ride (I'd found a small nail or piece of tire wire which caused the original flat), I swore - and also swore off patching. I also changed to more puncture-resistant tires.

Now, on those rare occasions where I get a puncture I just use a new tube and discard the punctured one.
Originally Posted by veganbikes
I always go with a new tube of a known quantity, Patches are hit or miss and the time it takes to patch tubes and the money for patches is more than just buying a new tube. I like the idea of saving tubes and not tossing them but there are other uses for them.
Rema tip top patches and cement only.
really abrade/sand around the puncture
apply the cement and the super secret BE PATIENT AND WAIT UNTIL IT IS DRY before putting the patch on

my approach is to carry spare tubes and a patch kit, I have had cases where I needed to use that patch kit because of too many flats or failed tubes

normally though i put a new tube on, and then patch back at home, the patched tube goes back as as a spare
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Old 05-15-23, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Bruce27
Hi All
Looking for input from the experienced crowd here....
Purchased a patch kit last week and finally got around to patching a few flats. One of the 3 tubes I patched looks like this with not very much air added. Looks concerning and haven;t encountered anything like this in the past.
Anyone reuse a tube with a bulge like this? How did it work out? Thanks


It will be fine once it digests the rat it ate.
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Old 05-15-23, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
Glad you haven't had failures, I know people hate to hear it but it is good luck and hopefully that streak continues. For me I would rather do less work and spend less money and just put a new tube in.
My good luck will continue because I use good materials and effective technique. Failure is normally down to not sufficiently abrading the patch area, insufficient vulcanising solution (always prepare an area larger than the patch you're using) or failure to allow sufficient drying time (using tube slime is also setting yourself up to fail). As for spending less money, I'm not sure how you figure that out when a patch and glue costs maybe 0.30
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Old 05-17-23, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
I always go with a new tube of a known quantity, Patches are hit or miss and the time it takes to patch tubes and the money for patches is more than just buying a new tube. I like the idea of saving tubes and not tossing them but there are other uses for them.
Patches are hit or miss ONLY if you are using poor quality stuff or you don't know how to do it. Of perhaps the past 300 patches I have done over hundreds of thousands of miles, I've had maybe 3 issues attributable to the patch, and all were easily fixed. How you come up with your cost math is beyond me.
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Old 05-17-23, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by KerryIrons
Patches are hit or miss ONLY if you are using poor quality stuff or you don't know how to do it. Of perhaps the past 300 patches I have done over hundreds of thousands of miles, I've had maybe 3 issues attributable to the patch, and all were easily fixed. How you come up with your cost math is beyond me.
Not always I know what I am doing and am using Rema TipTop so not cheaping out but I am more talking cost of time and then if not buying a bulk pack but $5ish for a single box typically plus the added labor time plus the labor for installing a tube.

Whatever though I am glad people have way better luck then I have had. That is truly awesome and I know this is text and might come across as sarcasm to some but I assure you it is not. I really wish I had the same luck but I so rarely get flats and most of my last ones couldn't have been patched as the holes were too big so it is not a big deal. I remember last time doing it I was super careful and slow and mindful and let it cure for a long while and it still failed. The tube was nice and scuffed, it was a fresh tube of Rema Vulcanizing Fluid and a TipTop Patch and it felt like perfection...maybe I missed something but I was very careful watched a bunch of tutorials just as added back up and still no luck.
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Old 05-17-23, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by KerryIrons
Patches are hit or miss ONLY if you are using poor quality stuff or you don't know how to do it. Of perhaps the past 300 patches I have done over hundreds of thousands of miles, I've had maybe 3 issues attributable to the patch, and all were easily fixed. How you come up with your cost math is beyond me.
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Old 05-17-23, 04:47 PM
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I'll admit to getting some satisfaction from patching tubes. I buy the little road-sized Rema patches. Box of 100 lasts me several years. Very few folks in my group want to bother so I was collecting the punctured tubes, patching them and making them available. Hardly any takers so I found myself with dozens of tubes with a variety of stem configurations. I eventually gave it up, only keeping some for my own use. Now I'm down to one bike and contemplating going tubeless. Either way, I expect what's left of my current box of Remas will see me out.
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Old 05-18-23, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv
so I found myself with dozens of tubes with a variety of stem configurations. I eventually gave it up, only keeping some for my own use.
I was tidying my spares and found I have a medium storage crate full to the brim with tubes.
Originally Posted by shelbyfv
Now I'm down to one bike and contemplating going tubeless. Either way, I expect what's left of my current box of Remas will see me out.
I was down to one bike some years ago, but nature dictates n+1 so I really need to build a bike shed.
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Old 05-30-23, 08:19 PM
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Here's a fun one from today. Nothing wrong with the tube - it just likes to be a bit eccentric.

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Old 05-30-23, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
I always go with a new tube of a known quantity, Patches are hit or miss and the time it takes to patch tubes and the money for patches is more than just buying a new tube. I like the idea of saving tubes and not tossing them but there are other uses for them.
incorrect information. There is no way that the cost of patches costs more than a tube, and there is not a hit a miss if you know how to patch which obviously you have problems with.

You can get two boxes of Rema patches for $4.49, each box contains 6 round patches 1 oval patch, a tube of glue, and a buffer, that means for $4.49 you can patch a tube at least 12 times; but you're saying that it's cheaper to replace the tube after each flat, that means you will be buying 12 tubes, show me where I can buy 12 good quality tubes for $4.49 total! Heck, show me 12 cheap crappy tubes for $4.49.
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Old 05-30-23, 09:47 PM
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Over the years, I've gathered that a person's enthusiasm for patching tubes tends to correlate with their success rate at it. Mine certainly isn't perfect -- every once in a blue moon, I find that I can peel one off if one edge wasn't tacked down perfectly. (Old patch? Fluid drying up? Didn't clean the spot on the tube well enough?) But I usually find that once I sand and clean the spot again, the next patch sticks for good.

Like @shelbyfv, I enjoy rescuing and patching tubes that were headed for the bin. It feels good to keep them in circulation.
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Old 05-31-23, 12:30 AM
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I do not exaggerate when I say I patch hundreds of tubes per year, nearly all for local bike nonprofits. I unfortunately see many tubes where I can literally peel off a patch with my fingers because the person either did inadequate surface prep (perhaps a couple desultory passes with the sandpaper instead of scrubbing to expose virgin rubber) or skipped the surface prep step entirely. And then they probably think that patching is a waste of time and money.

Proper surface preparation is by far the most important factor, followed by using reliable quality materials (as in "Rema".) One thing I use is a dremel with a sanding drum to prep the area - does it in seconds and provides an excellent bond with the patch once the vulcanizing fluid is applied and is ready.



I also buy genuine Rema patches by the 100 count box, so the overall cost is remarkably low - especially compared to the cost savings of not having to buy new tubes at the current... inflated... prices.

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Old 05-31-23, 12:56 AM
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And somehow a thread about tube bulges turns into an open diary on patching.
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Old 05-31-23, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by RCMoeur
Here's a fun one from today. Nothing wrong with the tube - it just likes to be a bit eccentric.

I think I'd have stopped pumping a few strokes earlier...

Originally Posted by tFUnK
And somehow a thread about tube bulges turns into an open diary on patching.
Entirely predictable. "Patch tubes" regularly explodes into the same two back-and-forth camps, just like "wax chain" threads do. TBH I thought this might be one of the corner cases, like a long snakebite flat, where some judgment might be applied. As is often the case, though, O.P. had a genuine question which was quickly and correctly answered (I'll save you flipping, "no problem"). Then the thread was overrun by the never-patchers and the debate ensued.
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