P**cture repair: Time to be a grown-up

hopeful Posts: 76
edited July 2007 in Road beginners
The time has come for me to stop running away from puncture repair. What I'd normally do is go the LBS and get them to do the necessary for me, but I'm going to be a grown-up about it now (not least because I've got a new bike that I can go further on). I've watched bits of videos about quick releases etc., patching and new tubes. I think I'm okay on the theory, but will need to do some practising.

One question that I'm almost ashamed to ask is... you know the wee patches? Do you stick them on so that the black bit with the orange circle faces into the tube, with the shiny bit on the outside?

If anyone has any advice, insights etc., I'd be grateful.

One other thing... if punctures are as common as my own experience suggests, how come I've never seen anyone by a roadside doing a repair??



  • Eat My Dust
    Eat My Dust Posts: 3,965
    Get on eBay and buy your inner tubes in bulk, then they will only cost a couple of quid each, then you don't have to bother fixing punctures at the side of the road. Either throw the old inner tube away or fix at home.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    I've given up repairing tubes recently after a couple of repairs using different glue and patches on my mountain bike and my daughters bike failed. Tubes don't seem to have increased in price over the years so I just replace them now.

    I know it's wasteful but a flat tyre which you have not long repaired is annoying, especially when your daughter is pestering you to get going.

  • I don't bother with roadside repairs after my last attempt. I always carry spare tubes on a ride now and fix the old one back at home at the end of the day....saves time and hassle,especially in the weather that South Wales has had in recent months.

    Fixing punctures by the side of the road in horizontal rain is not good !!!
  • My pump has room in the handle for a couple of self-adhesive patches, which I keep in there for emergency purposes.

    I genrally can't be bothered to patch tubes - I allways carry 2 tubes.

    Luckily I very rarely puncture too, especially considering I commute on GP4000-S's.

    Changing a tube takes a max of 10mins once you have the technique down.
    Sweat saves blood.
    Erwin Rommel
  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    hopeful wrote:
    One question that I'm almost ashamed to ask is... you know the wee patches? Do you stick them on so that the black bit with the orange circle faces into the tube, with the shiny bit on the outside?

    If your patches look like these
    00004298.jpg then the silver foil is peeled off and that side goes against the tube. The shiny side faces outwards - it is actually covered by thin clear plastic wich you remove after the patch is secure, just bend the tube over and the plastic splits in the middle and peels off.
    One other thing... if punctures are as common as my own experience suggests, how come I've never seen anyone by a roadside doing a repair??

    You may be getting excess punctures because your tyres are underinflated, get a track pump and inflate to the maximum stated on the sidewall. Also your tyres my be of the more puncture-prone variety. Specialized make a range of tyres to suit different applications with Armadillo puncture protection. For touring type tyres, Schwalbe Marathon / Marathon Plus are very puncture proof.

    I always take a spare tube for on the road fixes, then patch the replaced tube at home (actualy punctures have been non-existant since getting Specialized All Conditions Pro tyres), but I would also take the patches with me as well because a second puncture is always a possibility especially if you fail to find the cause after the first one.

    Good on you for learning how to do this! And repairing rather than replacing tubes must be more environmentally friendly!
  • david 142
    david 142 Posts: 227
    Its worth practicing at home in comfort. Take both wheels off, and replace them. Now you now how to do that much - and its best to make sure your up to speed when your warm and dry - and unwatched!
    Take one off again and settle down with your puncture kit, Take off one side of the tyre and slip out the tube. You do have a new one to hand don't you? Good! shove a nail or similiar into the one you have just removed. Repair and replace. Go for a ride on it. Come down the next morning and admire your still hard tyre - you're qualified :lol:

    Its always worth taking a few patches along, they are an insignificant load beside the pump etc, and sooo useful if you get through your on board stock of tubes. I always used to think in terms of patching as the first approach but I'm reconsidering since a recent incident where I punctured and was unable to patch the tube, even at home. It seems that there are tubes about nowadays that glue wont touch.
    Now you know why I asked if you had a new tube handy!
  • powenb
    powenb Posts: 296
    With regards to just buying tubes, why would you buy the longer presta valve over the standard one?
  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    The longer valve is for deep section rims, if you have regular rims either will do.
  • david 142
    david 142 Posts: 227
    Presta valve stems come up to about 3" long.
    The longer ones are intended to be used with deeper section rims. At a pinch you can use longer ones in a normal rim - it just looks a bit odd, and if you happen to go off road I supose there would be a risk of snagging it on something leading to a sudden loss of pneumatic assist!
  • powenb
    powenb Posts: 296
    Oh yeah, it all makes sense now!!!
  • dazzawazza
    dazzawazza Posts: 462
    alfablue wrote:
    hopeful wrote:
    actualy punctures have been non-existant since getting Specialized All Conditions Pro tyres!

    I'll second that! I have them on my MTB commuter 26x1.0. Light and fast too.
    When the tyres on my road bike need replacing I'll be getting ACPs.
  • John Stevenson
    John Stevenson Posts: 962
    edited July 2007
    [This was a Cycling Plus blog entry that seems to have vanished. Hope it's useful!]

    The joy of punctures

    I’ve been fixing punctures.

    As a topic for a column, you likely think that’s probably up there with shovels and rain gauges, but bear with me.

    It’s probably years since I last fixed a flat. I switched to tubeless tyres on my mountain bikes in 2004, and since almost all off-road punctures are snakebites, that solved that problem.

    On the road I usually run belted tyres and tubes with sealant, since my road riding is largely a 30km commute. Now and then I hit a big lump of pointy metal and it gets through, at which point I shrug and throw the tube away. Goop-filled tubes are practically impossible to fix and it happens so rarely I can live with it. A new tube costs less than catching the train to work after all.

    But back when I was broke, and less cavalier about throwing away rubber rings, I got pretty good at fixing tubes. A few things that really help the process work are:

    1 Abrade the tube thoroughly. Get all the shiny surface around the hole roughened and sand off any moulding ridges.

    2 Apply a thin layer of glue and then let it set. Leave it alone till it’s no longer liquid at all (it won’t go completely dry of course, but it should be tacky, not wet.)

    3 Press the patch on hard. A tabletop and a hard, heavy object are handy here.

    4 Leave it to cure. The most common mistake is to immediately inflate a patched tube, blowing the partly-attached patch straight off. You can combine these two steps by, say, leaving the tube under a big pile of books overnight.

    5 Test it in a tyre. It might seem a bit mad to yank a perfectly good tube and put in one that you have just fixed, but this way you have a known good tube to carry as a spare, rather than winging it with a repaired tube.

    Even though I still sometimes throw tubes away, I enough of a tree-hugger that I can’t help feeling a bit guilty about it – I’d love to hear from anyone who has a foolproof technique for fixing big holes in
    sealant-filled tubes.

    Just lately, I’ve been doing early morning loop rides as my commute is currently about 500m. I’m using a bike with light tyres, so occasional punctures are a fact of life, and given the fast company I’m struggling to stay with I’m not going to sacrifice rolling resistance. That’s meant fixing punctures and I seem to still know how to do it. At the very least, it gives you something to think about while you’re watching The Bill.
    John Stevenson
  • Richie G
    Richie G Posts: 283
    If you're after cheap inner tubes, try Decathlon. I think it works out as £1.95 for 2! Always keep one in my rucksack in case (i got rather fed up with applying patches in the pouring rain!).
  • hopeful
    hopeful Posts: 76
    Thanks for all the advice, guys. I learn such a lot from all of you.
  • marmitecp
    marmitecp Posts: 203
    Those cheapie Decathlon tubes (in the big wire baskets) have a weakspot where the valve is joined to the tube - false economy, buy the regular Decathlon ones.
  • Mosschops2
    Mosschops2 Posts: 1,774
    I'm always suprised to hear that people throw inner tubes away rather than fixing the puncture! IME fixing the puncture is the simple bit - certainly easier than removing the wheel for example!

    If you've never done it, I'd also simply recommend buying a puncture repair kit, and reading the instructions! Sounds daft I know - but the adhesives and labels which are around now bear no resemblance to those I used to use 15 years ago!

    If you're getting a lot of punctures, as well as checking the tyre pressure - which is a valid point, I'd strongly recommend getting some decent tyres. I had a Dawes Discovery 201, which it turns out, is not renowned for having a decent standard of componentry on it..... I was getting 2-3 punctures per week. (5 mile commute!!)

    I got so narked, I checked around, read that Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres were pretty darn good, and since Feb, NO PUNCTURES!!! It's almost a different lifestyle, I'm so pleased with them (and annoyed with Dawes in equal measure :evil: )
    baby elephants? Any baby elephants here?? Helloo-ooo
  • Don't forget to check the inside of the tire before making the repair or changing the tube - the offending bit of thorn/glass/rock/nail might still be in there poking through and will cause you to puncture again. Be careful whilst you do this, or like me you will end up bleeding all over your shiney bike.
    Punctured Bicycle, on a hillside desolate.
  • Fab Foodie
    Fab Foodie Posts: 5,155
    Learning to fix tubes is an important part of cycling. Practice at home so that when caught by the roadside in the pouring rain in the middle of East Anglia, you'll be able to get home.
    I always carry 2 spare tubes and a P* repair kit.
    Recently on a 100 miler far from home had 3 punctures due to heavy rain and sharp f;ints, one more and it would have been all over, however fixing the repairable tubes could keep me going.

    I have tubes that were patched donkeys years ago and are still doing fine.

    The pessimists of this world are rarely disappointed....
    Fab's TCR1
  • baudman
    baudman Posts: 757
    Yet another culprit can be where your spokes attach to your rim. Check your rim tape and make sure you don't have a nasty sticking through it into your tube.
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • Have to agree, tyre pressure is probably the bset thing to look into, I check my tyre pressure weekly and keep the tyres as hard as I can (doesn't always make for comfortable riding tho.)

    Checking for objects in the tyre tread pays dividend also, you'll be amazed how much glass you pick up from cycle paths.

    I put some Specialized Armadillo Crossroads and slime puncture tape on my bike, had the tyres slightly soft, and I got a puncture first time out.

    Now riding some cheapy tioga slick tyres (with slime tape inside)which came on my bike, keeping the tyres really hard, I've only had one puncture in about 3000 miles.