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On Punctures and Patches

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On Punctures and Patches

Old 04-08-08, 02:19 PM
  #1  
Mendel
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On Punctures and Patches

Yesterday, I punctured on the way home of my 16.5mi commute. No sweat, I thought, I have 2 spare tubes. Well it turned out I had only one tube and that was a patched one. The patch failed after 100ft and now I was walking the 4 miles to the next LBS on my route home.

I need to learn how to do patches well otherwise the price of tubes will make it cost effective to drive! I need some tips. How do you evenly apply pressure to the patch when it is wider than the tube? (I run 23mm racing tires) What is the best online guide for patching tubes?

Thanks.
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Old 04-08-08, 02:37 PM
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Try Sheldon Brown, he has some good hints, and he was a genius, RIP. Anyway, my wife calls me the "king of flats". I usually just get a new tube, but now I'm patching, so we'll see how it all turns out in the long run.
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Old 04-08-08, 03:32 PM
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Cut down the size of your patches with a scissors?
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Old 04-08-08, 03:43 PM
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That's a bad idea. The patches are feathered to keep them from peeling off and from creating lumps. Don't cut them unless you really need to for some reason or plan to replace the tube when you get home.

What I always do is try to keep the tube inflated to at least the size it would be in the tire while I patch to make sure the tube stretch doesn't cause it to peal away or tear the tube. Always leave the clear plastic ON the tire side of the patch, don't try peeling it off.

The other tips are obvious: make sure the glue extends past the patch all around, sand it really well while making make sure to sand down the seams as much as possible and wait until the glue is basically dry before putting the patch on. I've never had a patch fail before and some of my mountain tubes have 5 or 6 patches on them.

You also might need to compromise on the tires and get something with at least SOME flat protection.
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Old 04-08-08, 03:46 PM
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Sheldon Brown will have the answers. RIP.

A few hints from my own experience:

Sounds like your patches are too large - they shouldn't be any bigger than the width of the tube when flat. Cutting them down will work fine. Patches now all seem to be round, and taper to a thin edge. I remember not so long ago buying patches as large sheets and just cutting small squares off to use for each repair (5-10mm across). They used to work fine, even on narrow, high pressure tubes, despite not having a nice thin edge.

Also make sure you rough up the tube sufficiently with sandpaper before applying the patch. Not doing this leads to poor adhesion.

When you apply the rubber cement to the tube, let it dry quite a bit before applying the patch. It should be tacky, not still liquid.

You can squeeze the patch and tube between two large coins after applying it, so that you get even pressure whilst the cement cures.

Persevere with patching. It's much cheaper than new tubes! I haven't had a patch fail in years.
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Old 04-08-08, 04:11 PM
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I've never had a glued patch fail.

Here' a pretty recent thread about patching: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...hlight=patches
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Old 04-08-08, 04:36 PM
  #7  
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Those German made ones that are about the size of nickel and cost a quarter are the way to go
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Old 04-08-08, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Slabshaft View Post
That's a bad idea. The patches are feathered to keep them from peeling off and from creating lumps. Don't cut them unless you really need to for some reason or plan to replace the tube when you get home.

What I always do is try to keep the tube inflated to at least the size it would be in the tire while I patch to make sure the tube stretch doesn't cause it to peal away or tear the tube. Always leave the clear plastic ON the tire side of the patch, don't try peeling it off.
I agree with everything except it's better to leave the tube uninflated. The patch won't pucker that way.

Peeling off the plastic is a personal choice. If the patch job is properly done, the plastic won't peal off the patch

Originally Posted by Slabshaft View Post
The other tips are obvious: make sure the glue extends past the patch all around, sand it really well while making make sure to sand down the seams as much as possible and wait until the glue is basically dry before putting the patch on. I've never had a patch fail before and some of my mountain tubes have 5 or 6 patches on them.

You also might need to compromise on the tires and get something with at least SOME flat protection.
The glue should be completely dry before applying the patch. This is why it's best to repair the tube later unless you really have to do a road side repair. And 5 patches is just getting broken in I have tubes with 25

First, Mendel, only use Rima TipTop patch kits. They just plain work better. Here's a video of how to do it. I'd wait much longer than he did (notice he didn't try to pull the plastic off) before I applied the patch. The glue should not be shiny, i.e. a matte finish, when you press the patch on. That's where most people make a mistake with patching. If the glue is still wet, the patch won't hold.

I also put a bit of pressure on the patch to make sure it's seated.
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Old 04-08-08, 05:13 PM
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Oh one more hint, one that I learned later in my biking life... before closing up the glue tube, squeeze all the air out.. just bring it right up to the opening and then cap it... that way it won't dry up before you need it again.

BTW patches work just fine... I usually patch the tube and then let all the air out and roll 'em flat and put that one back in my repair bag... and then take a previously patched tube out and put it into the tire. This gives the new patched tube plenty of time to set. Been doing it this way for ages, works great. I only carry one tube (patched here and there) and a small patch kit... along with a few other handy tools in my repair bag. I keep a bag on each bike and forget about them... until I need 'em.

I use these... they have always worked... Tip Top.




Oh one more thing... I use a Zefal pump... and I keep duct tape wrapped around it... just in case I get a bad tire rip or tear... a couple layers of duct tape inside the tire will hold up for a long time. And the duct tape is handy for any other thing that might work loose on a long tour.

Last edited by genec; 04-08-08 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 04-08-08, 05:18 PM
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Make sure you are using the right side of the patch.
Scuff up the area with sand paper.
DO NOT touch or let anything touch the scuffed area.
Apply glue and wait.........................
...........................................keep waiting.................
..........wait a little more........................

Press on patch and hold for a few seconds.


Done.
Strong as the tube itself.


Tube clean. Glue dried. Will work every time.
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Old 04-08-08, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post

Oh one more thing... I use a Zefal pump... and I keep duct tape wrapped around it... just in case I get a bad tire rip or tear... a couple layers of duct tape inside the tire will hold up for a long time. And the duct tape is handy for any other thing that might work loose on a long tour.
Hey is this true that duct tape will hold for a while if wrapped right? I am new to patching and not fast enough at it that theres any chance in heck I could patch on the roadside, but if all I had to do was duct tape and inflate as a temporary fix that would be awesome and something I could do roadside.
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Old 04-08-08, 07:53 PM
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"Hey is this true that duct tape will hold for a while if wrapped right? I am new to patching and not fast enough at it that theres any chance in heck I could patch on the roadside, but if all I had to do was duct tape and inflate as a temporary fix that would be awesome and something I could do roadside."

I doubt duct tape would hold over a few pounds of pressure and not even that for long. Maybe you should consider carrying a spare tube or two until you get enough practice to feel comfortable with patching roadside. You can patch the holes in the comfort of your home base and rotate the patched tubes into your spares. Follow the instructions that the guys above have provided and you should develop confidence in your work pretty quickly.
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Old 04-08-08, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by -=Ģem in Pa=- View Post
Make sure you are using the right side of the patch.
Scuff up the area with sand paper.
DO NOT touch or let anything touch the scuffed area.
Apply glue and wait.........................
...........................................keep waiting.................
..........wait a little more........................

Press on patch and hold for a few seconds.


Done.
Strong as the tube itself.


Tube clean. Glue dried. Will work every time.
Yes. I would add -- make sure you remove from the inside of the tire whatever little bugger caused the flat in the first place. These pieces can be difficult to find, so be thorough in your search. Quite often the 'failed patch' is just the same forgotten sharpie poinking through the perfectly adhering patch when the tire is pumped up again. Also, just because you found and patched one puncture and removed the culprit, doesn't mean there isn't another one in there.

Robert
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Old 04-08-08, 09:56 PM
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At about $6 every 1000 miles I don't think extra tubes will make up the cost difference.
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Old 04-09-08, 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Here's a video of how to do it. I'd wait much longer than he did (notice he didn't try to pull the plastic off) before I applied the patch. The glue should not be shiny, i.e. a matte finish, when you press the patch on. That's where most people make a mistake with patching. If the glue is still wet, the patch won't hold.

I also put a bit of pressure on the patch to make sure it's seated.

The guy in the video says to wait about 1-2 minutes after the glue is spread on. Someone on here said to wait longer. How long do you guys wait for the glue to dry? And I though you wanted to wait till the glue has dried to a tacky feel, but not completely dry because if it was completely dry the patch would not adhere.
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Old 04-09-08, 12:44 AM
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Just want to stress again the importance of sanding or scuffing the tube material until it's truly a dark and dusty looking black before applying the glue. And if you MUST touch the glue to see if it's dry do so only at the very edge of the spot you made purposely a touch larger than needed. But mostly you just need to wait until the glue is dull and most of the solvent smell is gone. It'll smell pretty consistently strong until it dries the right amount. When it is noticably weaker then is the time to stick the patch on.

I usually go for 5 or 6 patches and then toss them.
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Old 04-09-08, 07:14 AM
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I generally wait 5 minutes at least. I don't think the glue will COMPLETELY dry in any reasonable amount of time.
If the patch is done right, it's not even possible to remove them; they weld to the tube. I took a patched tube once that was getting very old and heading for the trash, and tried to remove the patches. I just tore the tube around the patch.
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Old 04-09-08, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by bellweatherman View Post
The guy in the video says to wait about 1-2 minutes after the glue is spread on. Someone on here said to wait longer. How long do you guys wait for the glue to dry? And I though you wanted to wait till the glue has dried to a tacky feel, but not completely dry because if it was completely dry the patch would not adhere.
It depends on several factors. What you are waiting for is the solvent to evaporate from the glue. If it's a hot day, this can take the 1-2 minutes. If it's a cool day, it can take longer...perhaps up to 5 minutes.

As for being completely dry, the patch will still stick. When I patch at home (where most of my patching is done), I'll leave the tube hanging for much more than 5 minutes. The patch bonds even better when the glue is completely dry. That's the way that most contact cements like those used in patch kits work. They bond best when completely dry.
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Old 04-09-08, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by crhilton View Post
At about $6 every 1000 miles I don't think extra tubes will make up the cost difference.
Depends on where you live. Here in the west where pokey stuff grows everywhere, you expect many more flats per mile. Like I've said, I have tubes...note the use of the plural... with 25 patches. At a conservative $3 per tube, that's $75 that I can use on other stuff.
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Old 04-09-08, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by crhilton View Post
At about $6 every 1000 miles I don't think extra tubes will make up the cost difference.
Where did you get that statistic? I'm lucky to go 1000 miles without a flat. It depends on where you ride, etc. etc.
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Old 04-09-08, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
I use these... they have always worked... Tip Top.

I agree. Rema Tip Top is the best and the right size. I order four patch kits at a time form wallbike.com.

Bob
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Old 04-09-08, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by bellweatherman View Post
The guy in the video says to wait about 1-2 minutes after the glue is spread on. Someone on here said to wait longer. How long do you guys wait for the glue to dry? And I though you wanted to wait till the glue has dried to a tacky feel, but not completely dry because if it was completely dry the patch would not adhere.
Five minutes. And don't go touching it to see what it feels like. you can go 10 minutes if you like, but not 2 minutes. This is critical to the long term success of the patch. The Rema instructions say 5 minutes.

Bob
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Old 04-09-08, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by wrobertdavis View Post
I agree. Rema Tip Top is the best and the right size. I order four patch kits at a time form wallbike.com.

Bob
If you do patching at home, you can order 100 packs from Loose Screws as well as spare glue tubes. REI also carries 1 oz tubes. I replace mine every spring if they were used the previous year. Saves walking
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Old 04-09-08, 08:59 AM
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My biggest problem with patches is that by the time I need one I can't find them. I buy a pack of 3 or 4 and they're missing or dried out a year later when I need one. I guess I can't get much sympathy on that point though...
I did run over some broken glass this morning, for the first time in many months. I'll have to go down and see if I've got a flat at lunchtime. Normally I'd just steer around it but I haven't seen broken glass in so long I didn't recognize it in time.
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Old 04-09-08, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
My biggest problem with patches is that by the time I need one I can't find them. I buy a pack of 3 or 4 and they're missing or dried out a year later when I need one. I guess I can't get much sympathy on that point though...
I don't have a problem with patches drying out, but once opened the vulcanizing fluid will dry out very quickly in the saddle bag - a couple weeks in the summer, so I always keep an unopened one too. It would be nice if there were 'single serving' sized vulcanizing fluid as I usually end up having 90% of the tube dry out before I use it.

(Those German patches I recommended earlier in this thread are the Rema ones that others recommended earlier - the name had slipped my mind.)

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