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Does Anyone Patch Tubes Anymore?

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Does Anyone Patch Tubes Anymore?

Old 02-27-24, 05:14 PM
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Does Anyone Patch Tubes Anymore?

I kind of like the idea of not throwing away a tube for one little pinch flat. OTOH, I donít have any patches. Can I use rubber cement and little scraps of tube? Does that work?
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Old 02-27-24, 05:34 PM
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I patch, although more and more I’m riding my tubeless bike to avoid the flat issues. I think you need to use a vulcanizing cement, which rubber cement is not. I don’t know about scraps of tube, but I’m skeptical. Patches are tapered to avoid a hard edge, which can lead to a puncture as the tube flexes. I had this happen once when I had to boot a tire to get home.
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Old 02-27-24, 05:42 PM
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Get a REMA patch kit.
It's far superior than DIY methods.
With their feathered edges, you can overlap patches no problem. You can't do that with "rubber bricks".

I don't like stick on patches. They'll get you home, but IME, the NEXT flat is when they give problems if you have to blow up a tube to find a leak.
REMA is pretty much fused together.
Squeeze the air out of the glue tube before replacing the cap and it'll stay fresh. Waste a drop, save a tube of glue.

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Old 02-27-24, 05:43 PM
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Yep.
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Old 02-27-24, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Lionheart
I kind of like the idea of not throwing away a tube for one little pinch flat. OTOH, I donít have any patches. Can I use rubber cement and little scraps of tube? Does that work?
Sorta but not well. There is a lot more chemistry involved then just slapping rubber cement on the tube and sticking stuff to that rubber cement. In this post, I linked to a technical note that discusses the chemistry in-depthÖlike Mariannas Trench in-depth deep.

You read the literature, do a bunch of experiments, and spend a lot of money to replicate the REMA TipTop system. Or you could just follow the Doneem hypothesis* and buy a REMA kit and be done with it.
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Old 02-27-24, 06:56 PM
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If I go into an LBS, even just looking around, will often grab a couple green boxes just to have around. The little boxes have many uses after the patches are used up too (though I have never had a use for the large oval ones, just the round ones).

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Old 02-27-24, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Lionheart
I kind of like the idea of not throwing away a tube for one little pinch flat. OTOH, I donít have any patches. Can I use rubber cement and little scraps of tube? Does that work?
Yes, I just patched one yesterday. Rema patches. I tried the "cut up tubes" experiment many years ago. Poor choice.
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Old 02-27-24, 07:30 PM
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I haven't switched to tubeless yet, so I patch tubes all the time (well, as often as I get flats, which fortunately isn't that frequent). I find it's worth carrying a patch kit to help out fellow cyclists; their gratitude is usually well worth the cost of a patch and some glue. I was a little annoyed at giving away a dollar bill this weekend to boot a tire, but I'd already patched the tube and it would have been a waste to let it flat again immediately (found the hole in the sidewall after reinflating the tire).
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Old 02-27-24, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by nathand
I was a little annoyed at giving away a dollar bill this weekend to boot a tire...
Carry a couple pieces of Tyvek for booting purposes. They can be dollar-bill sized if you like. Spare yourself the annoyance... and save money!
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Old 02-27-24, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by nathand
........ I was a little annoyed at giving away a dollar bill this weekend to boot a tire, but I'd already patched the tube and it would have been a waste to let it flat again immediately (found the hole in the sidewall after reinflating the tire).
50 cents worth wasn't enough?
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Old 02-27-24, 11:14 PM
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Yes
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Old 02-27-24, 11:33 PM
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My first attempts with rubber cement and pieces from an old inner tube didn't fare well. But I have since learned how to do it and have had very good luck with patched tubes now. Tips-sand the heck out of the tube, clean with rubbing alcohol, put glue on tube and patch very sparingly and let sit for five minutes or so before putting together and pressing real hard with a tire tool. I've not had one fail yet. Some of my tires have multi patched tubes in them, but never a failed patch. If the leak is anywhere near the stem, chuck it or use it for patch material. If you have to go out and buy the rubber cement, skip it and pick up a Rema kit. Everyone seems happy with them. Good luck
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Old 02-28-24, 12:00 AM
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Not since I switched to tubeless but I will have spent at least as much on sealant and more expensive tyres and dynaplugs. The benefit has been time at the roadside and lack of waste - there is a place near here that recycles tubes fortunately but I donít know how common that is.
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Old 02-28-24, 03:13 AM
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Yes, I patch. Except that, as others have said, tubeless is making that increasingly redundant. My wife and son have bikes with tubes but I am by far the highest mileage rider in the family and both of my main rides are now tubeless.

Having said that, when I was doing a lot of patching I found that I was getting through the patches much faster than the glue, so I bought some patches in bulk off eBay. I've tried the self-adhesive patches but they don't last nearly as well, IME.
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Old 02-28-24, 07:20 AM
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I do, usually at home because I always carry a spare tube with me. Once a tube has been patched enough times (more than once and certainly less than, say, seven million times), I cut the part with the valve off and use the rest to wrap the handlebars (underneath the tape), patch things up etc. On rides I carry the very thin, self-adhesive and transparent Topeak patches (for when I get the pleasure of having more than one puncture), which work well but not necessarily for very long, while at home I use proper rubber ones which are much stronger and more durable, but also require glue.
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Old 02-28-24, 08:26 AM
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I don't patch - I replace. However, everybody knows that some patch and some don't, so I'll try adding something of value to the discussion:

If you don't definitively locate the source of a puncture and remove it, you need to accept the possibility that a sharp bit is still stuck in the wheel and may flat you again. Heck, even if you find and remove a shard, there might be more. Every time that happens, I would suggest slapping a dollar bill sized patch around the area to protect your new tube/new patch for awhile - even if the tire looks fine. You can always remove it later. I don't have any great suggestions about what might be the best material to use, but I suppose anything is better than nothing.
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Old 02-28-24, 08:28 AM
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I prefer to replace tubes on the road and patch tubes at home. That said, it's worth carrying a patch kit (see any LBS) in case you get two flats on one ride. And remember to put a fresh tube in your bag when you get home after replacing a flatted tube.

I'm using up my second box of Rema patches, still have about 80 to go (with luck, another 10 years' worth). After watching two bottles of (expensive) Rema fluid polymerize before I used it up, I'm using Slime cement from my local auto parts store at half the price. Despite the nay-sayers, I've found Elmer's rubber cement to work well, too.

The keys to making a patch work are, first, sand or grate the area around the leak well, enough to take the shiny mold release off the outside of the tube. Second, when the tube surface looks dull, put a thin layer of cement on and let it sit until it dries (hard to do when you're outside in the rain!). Then peel the aluminum foil off the back of the patch and press it on firmly.

One more tip: get a silver Sharpie and mark the location of the puncture. If you patch in batches of, say, half a dozen at a time, you'll save a lot of aggravation if you blow up the tube when you get home and run it through a sink full of water looking for bubbles. Mark it then, then save it for company. When patch day comes, sand, glue, sand the next tube, glue the next one, patch the first tube, and continue like a one-person assembly line.

Finally, on to the "why patch." Economics, for me. I don't remember buying new tubes for less than $4, and my last purchase was @$8. I can patch them for $0.25-0.60, so (worse case) I spent $60 to save $400. Yes, it takes time, but nobody pays me for sitting around the house on a rainy afternoon. There are those who refuse to patch; that's their choice. I've had almost as many flats from poorly made tubes right out of the box as I've had patches fail.
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Old 02-28-24, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Lionheart
I kind of like the idea of not throwing away a tube for one little pinch flat....
I patch all the time, maybe a dozen per year (for two household cyclists and a klutzy buddy), but I normally don't mess with pinch flats. Just punctures.

I also volunteer at some non-profit shops with limited budgets and we patch a lot.
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Old 02-28-24, 08:35 AM
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I go with dirt cheap tubes - $3.25 each.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Concord-R...7?from=/search
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Old 02-28-24, 10:27 AM
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I patch. And it's always a good idea to use the "right tool" for the job. Rema patch kits have a well earned reputation. As others have mentioned, it's a good idea to carry a spare tube as well as a patch kit. Quicker and easier to replace the tube and then patch at home. Another good idea, and one I've seen some skip, is to run a piece of cloth, or drier sheet (anything that will snag), around the inside of the tire, so as to ensure whatever caused the flat is no longer there. You could use fingers, if you don't mind a bloody finger.

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Old 02-28-24, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by ScottCommutes
I go with dirt cheap tubes - $3.25 each.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Concord-R...7?from=/search
Shall we do a cost/benefit analysis? A box of 100 Rema patches costs $20 or 20Ę per patch. An 8 oz can of Rema 203 fluid costs $20. Itís good for 2 to 3 boxes of Rema patches, so letís say 250 patches at about 8Ę per application. Weíre up to 28Ę per patch job. There is prep time which is about 10 minutes. At minimum wage, thatís $1.31 worth of time. Letís round up to $1.75 per patch.

I live in goat head country which means a lot of patches on a fairly constant basis. I have multiple tubes with multiple patches. My person record is 30 before the valve failed. At $1.75 per patch thatís $52.50 worth of patches and time. Without labor, $8.40.

Now compare that to replacing the tube. Using your price, 30 tubes would have cost me $97.50. Plus tax. Plus the cost of running down to the store and getting them or having them shipped to me. Thatís going to add another 10%. Sure I could buy the tubes all at once but, honestly, I donít have room for 30 tubes and, considering that I have 3 different tire sizes in my garage, I certainly donít have room for 90 of them.
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Old 02-28-24, 10:41 AM
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Old 02-28-24, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Plus tax. Plus the cost of running down to the store and getting them or having them shipped to me. Thatís going to add another 10%. Sure I could buy the tubes all at once but, honestly, I donít have room for 30 tubes and, considering that I have 3 different tire sizes in my garage, I certainly donít have room for 90 of them.
Interesting perspective.

For me, bike tubes are a grocery item like milk. I go to Walmart and buy groceries and such and if I'm low on tubes, I buy some tubes as well. I'm never more than 8 tubes ahead for any given tire size so they don't take up as much space as storing piles of old used tubes.

A little wasteful, sure, but quick, easy, and reliable.

Sometimes I do get the urge to patch when the hole is super tiny though.
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Old 02-28-24, 10:46 AM
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What happens to all these old tubes? Landfill?
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Old 02-28-24, 10:50 AM
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I patch MTB tubes (up to about two times) and was surprised to discover that Park's "glueless" system is working well.
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