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-   -   Using Old Tubes (http://bikeportland.org/forum/showthread.php?t=3910)

dmc 05-20-2011 03:11 AM

Using Old Tubes
I've been running through tubes. I have low grade tires on a low grade bike.

Today I installed Mr. Tuffys tire liners.

I have 3-5 tubes that have extremely small puncture wounds on them. THESE ARE GOOD TUBES!!! Can I like patch them and fill them up with a bunch of slime and get my money the ghetto way? Some of these tubes have the smallest of puncture wounds. I would feel so much better if I could invest 10 bucks and have them as backups in my seat bag.

Whats up? Each tire in my mind's eye is a five dollar bill. I havent tossed them because I believe they are still valuable. Am I crazy? Help me save moneh! :) :)

Simple Nature 05-20-2011 04:22 AM

Slime is a mess if you ever got a real puncture. I would go the patch kit route if you want to save a tube. A tub of water and a pump will get all those pesky little holes out of the way so you have a good spare in hand. Just make sure to patch the tires exactly as described in the instructions and you will get a reliable patch.

dmc 05-20-2011 05:58 AM

Do you feel the rubber glue patches work better than the pre-glued ones?

Bent Bloke 05-20-2011 06:53 AM

I ride on patched tubes all the time. Never had a problem until I get another puncture. Then I just patch it again. So I think you will be fine patching old tubes and using as spares.

I mostly use the Touring patch kit, where the patches already have adhesive, but there is also a tube of glue that you use first.

scdurs 05-20-2011 07:45 AM


Originally Posted by dmc (Post 26431)
Do you feel the rubber glue patches work better than the pre-glued ones?

The pre-glued patches are only useful to get you home where you can use a rubber cement patch kit. I recommend using the old fashioned rubber cement kind, then use the tubes as spares to carry. Carry a patch kit along with your spare tube. Use the tube if you don't have time to patch it. If you run out of tubes while on the road, then use the patch kit. I collect my punctured tubes and have a patching party every so often.

Get some real tires - you shouldn't be getting so many flats. Even if you get some Performance brand kevlar belted tires for $12.99 - they work great by the way - you're better off than cheap rubber with no kevlar belt. But spend some money on Schwalbe Marathons or similar and you won't regret it.

DaveT 05-20-2011 10:15 AM

REMA TipTop patch kits (green plastic box - http://www.rematiptop.com/parts.php?sid=4) are the gold standard for patch kits; they include a tube of "glue" (actually vulcanizing cement that "melts" the rubber patch to the rubber tube), patches, and a piece of sandpaper to clean/roughen the tube surface before applying the cement.


Most independent shops will have the TipTop patch kits. I imagine the store brand kits (eg Performance) are probably the same stuff, but I stick :D with what I know works. I usually will patch tubes until they have five or more patches before I toss them.

The number one thing to remember is you MUST wait until the vulcanizing cement has completely dried (test it with the back of your finger) BEFORE applying the patch - this can take from less than a minute in the summer to 2-3 minutes in the winter.

Another tip - after you open the tube of vulcanizing cement it will dry out over time. One way to slow this is to squeeze the cement tube slightly before putting the cap back on to make sure there is no air in the tube. If you are going to be very far from help (like on a tour) I recommend you put an extra tube of cement in your kit. Some shops sell the vulcanizing cement separately.

As stated above, the self-stick patches are NOT permanent. I also recommend carrying a spare tube as well as a patch kit and using the tube for roadside repairs. When I have 2-3 tubes that need patching I do them at home.

lynnef 05-20-2011 10:48 AM

I ride on patched tubes all the time. Good practice when riding with a group - if someone gets a flat, patch the old tube while they are installing the new one. Saves time later on when that second flat occurs.

Sweep the inside of the tire for that invisible bit of glass or wire. Might save you from getting subsequent flats.

Every once in awhile, closely examine your tires, and pick out all the little bits of glass and such.

I don't get many flats, but ride with people who do. 650B tires have a bit more rubber :)

wsbob 05-20-2011 09:49 PM

The first order of the day should always be, 'Stay out of the road crap at the side of the road', if at all possible. Road crap is a legitimate reason for riding the line of the bike lane rather than in its middle, or for taking the lane if you're not being a total pest by holding up traffic behind you.

I ride those very affordable Performance brand tires mentioned in an earlier thread, and have used no other puncture resistant measures. Works great...no flats until...the winter snow and ice arrives. Then DOT throws down that flinty gravel that has a heyday with my poor tires. Around Christmastime, I had about four flats in close succession. Once the road crews got that stuff cleaned up, the flats stopped. Still, this winter, I may have to get some flat protection.

Tires aren't that tough to fix on the road with the rubber cement kit, but it gets old the second and third time in a week. I heard a story somewhere about a bike shop replacing a tube for someone they described as homeless. Said he had more than 25 patches on his old tube.

dmc 05-21-2011 01:41 AM

This is really great information. All of my questions have been addressed and answered.


dmc 05-30-2011 08:04 PM

There is no question in my mind that my tires need to be replaced with higher grade ones. Hopefully that will come in the next month. Meanwhile, I have installed Mr. Tuffy's tire liners. I have high hopes of utilizing these for a few years.

I sat down by myself and had my first "Patch Party". I had to practice on about 3 tubes before I found the right formula of rubber cement vs surface area vs drying time.

I am currently riding on a rubber cement patched tube in my back tire and a patched tube as my spare. I am very happy and confident that the system works.
I will never buy pre-glued "patches" (glorified stickers) again. I am a rubber cement patch guy from here on out!

By taking my time and patching my tubes according to instructions I was able to recoup 30 dollars of puncture tubes.

I'm what you would call a "happy camper". :D

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