spare tubes

17 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

Had two flats (different times, first rear tire, then front) in the pouring rain last Sunday a.m. Patched the tubes that afternoon. A buddy and fellow cyclist told me that if I use those patched tubes (holes were tiny and when filled, repaired tubes held air) I would be changing the tube soon after using it as a spare, as the patches don't hold. Need some input. Also, what's the consensus on ordering tubes cheap online? Any to avoid? I'm tired of paying top dollar at retail shops in nyc and piermont.
Thanks for the input, guys. (Better than talking about religion and pets, in my opinion anyway.)

Anonymous's picture
JP (not verified)

"Tubes are $4-6 online or at the lbs. I pay a ""flat"" $5 at my lbs for Continentals.

Stay away from the light tubes.

Also, riding in the rain increases flatting probablity. The rain masks glass, which otherwise shines in the sun and lights. Puddle form and debris tends to gather there. Perhaps the slicker rubber surface may help a shard slide off better, but there will be a lot more shards grouped around in the rain.

And changing a flat in the rain is unpleasant"

Anonymous's picture
Christian Edstrom (not verified)

"If you use Rema Tip-Top patches (the fancy German ones which are black with an orange halo and come in a fancy green box) and their vulcanizing fluid, and clean/abrade the tube appropriately prior to patching, the patch will last longer than the tube itself. In college, I once had a tube with 11 patches. No problems.

I can't be held accountable for the results (or what I might think of you) if you use another brand of patch. Let alone those ""glueless"" abominations. Note to Park: They're all glueless. That isn't an adhesive, yo!

Note to friends: Hey, what's up? The cow is back.

- Christian"

Anonymous's picture
George Arcarola (not verified)

Welcome back!!!

BTW, I still have a tube with 5 patches on it and I thought that was bad!!. It's butyl, not a lite-weight.

Anonymous's picture
Chaim Caron (not verified)
Rema Tip-Top patches

"Hi Christian,

>Rema Tip-Top patches
Where do you get them?
I bought patches made by Innovations in Cycling, Tucson. Do you know if these are ok?
Thanks, Chaim ""Brooks"" Caron

Anonymous's picture
Christian Edstrom (not verified)

The Innovations patches look fine too. I really just meant to use real patches with sandpaper and a proper tube of vulcanizing fluid.

Oh, and if you patch on the road - keep an eye on your vulcanizing fluid. Once you open the tube, it has a tendency to dry out very very quickly. So it's good to have a few small replacement tubes stashed at home. For this reason, Ivy and I only patch at home, where you can keep a bigger jar of the stuff nicely sealed.

The Rema TT02 Patch Kit is the standard I use, but if you want to get real fancy, you can buy the Rema F0-P Round Patches instead. These are smaller patches, which can seal holes closer to the valve stem. You can also get tubes of vulcanizing fluid separately.

All this stuff can be bought at any (good) bike shop. Just go in and ask them to look up the parts in the Quality Bicycle Parts catalog. Then you can order away to your heart's content.

The bikeman also has all this stuff:

Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)
Re: Flats in the rain

"If your patching technique is good, and the patches are not the ""glueless"" kind, they will last forever.



Buying tubes from Nashbar or Performance is fine. Avoid ""ultralite"" tubes, and get the correct size for your tire.

By the way, you will tend to get more flats when the roads are wet because water acts as a lubricant allowing glass slivers to slice through the tire/tube more easily.


Anonymous's picture
tony (not verified)

I have seen advice twice now to avoid ultralights. Why? I thought lighter was better?

Anonymous's picture
Christian Edstrom (not verified)

Ultralight tubes are made of latex, not butyl, and are a major PITA.

Anonymous's picture
Bill Vojtech (not verified)

I don't know. I've used ultralight butyl tubes and they're just fine. My theory: If it gets through the tough tire casing, no normal tube will withstand the sharp object. They also fold smaller, so I can fit more in my repair kit.

Rema patches last forever if applied correctly. I've seen tubes that had so many patches, you could hardly see tube. I've even used a hole punch on a patch so I could patch a hole near the valve.

Tires flat more readily in the rain because rubber cuts better when wet. In industry, they cut rubber when it's wet to make it cut easier.

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
Performance Lunar Lights

They were butyl, extremely light, tended to develop pinholes at the seams, occasionally even before they were ridden. Discontinued.

Michelin Ultralights were problematic for a while but for a different reason - the valve skirt used to separate from the rest of the tube. QC problem solved.

>Ultralight tubes ... made of latex ... are a major PITA<

Ditto that.

Re: glueless patches - they beat having no patches at all when you get your third flat of the day and you're out of tubes. They're also good as mini tire boots, to cover the jagged edge of a puncture inside a tire to prevent it from abrading a hole in the tube, and as headtube protectors - one on each side to prevent Shimano gear cables from ruining your paint.

Anonymous's picture
Paul (not verified)

">>If your patching technique is good, and the patches are not the ""glueless"" kind, they will last forever.<<

Agreed. When I have a flat, I use my spare tube to get me home. Once home, I repair the punctured tube, install it back on my bike and put the pristine tube back in my tool kit.

FWIW, the most number of patches I've put on a tube is six and I'd still be using that tube had the valve stem not fallen off

Anonymous's picture
Ron Gentile (not verified)
Check your patches

After patching a tube at home it's a good idea to inflate the tube and put the patch under water to see if any air is escaping.

Anonymous's picture
michael S (not verified)

Patches hold a lot better if you patch and then reinstall and ride on it.

Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)
Let it cure

"""Patches hold a lot better if you patch and then reinstall and ride on it.""

I think you'll find a higher success rate if you let the patch cure completely before inflating. If in a hurry, it's best to install a spare tube to complete the ride.

In fact, it might make sense to wait until you have a couple of punctured tubes, and fix them all at home on a rainy day.



Anonymous's picture
one slow mo fo (not verified)

i buy discount bulk tubes when I can at nashbar or performance bike. Usually like 1.95 per tube and I buy 10-20. Lasts a couple of years. can't go wrong.

Anonymous's picture
Peter Storey (not verified)
Well, yeah you can . . .

As with anything, occasionally there's a bad batch of tubes. Performance had a bad batch a few years ago that got lots of webplay. Buying in bulk makes it more likely that if one is defective, most of the rest will be too.

Anonymous's picture
don montalvo (not verified)
i usually buy a few at a time...

...and i hold the ones that flat on the road. once every month or so i have a beer/patch fest at home. after a patch or two, i lose confidence in the tire (too many poossible points of never know, patches may fail).


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