Flat Bike Tire

i recently had the opportunity to repair a flat rear tire on my bike. while i was at my local bike shop picking up the necessary tools, i was a little amazed at the wealth of possibilities.

so, for you cyclists out there…what’s your technique for repairing a flat? how do you find the leak, what manner of patch do you prefer, or do you just buy a new tube?


for the record, i found the leak by immersing the tube in water, pinpointed it with liquid soap, and patched it with a 3M glue-inclusive patch. it seems to be holding up 4 days later.

I carry a spare tube. They don’t cost that much, and it’s no heavier/bulkier than a patch kit. (and a hell of a lot easier.)

I side with random. Mostly because I haven’t taken it upon myself to try and patch a tube yet. When I have patched a tube or two and feel a little more comfortable, then I’ll do whatever works out best in the time frame allowed.

Flick Lives!

I worked in a bike shop for 2 years.
I will typically repair the flat, but if I am in a rush, I will just replace the tube. I problablly have 10 spare tubes floating around my house. Of course, it is almost imnposible to figure out which tube is good.
I use the bucket of water trick to locate the puncture, and use the typical glue ‘rubber cement’ and rubber patch.
I have used the ‘speed patches’ on occasion (the patch that has the glue already on them, just scratch the surface of the tube, peal the backing off and apply to the tube. They will work fairly well on small punctures but are fair on larger holes.
The reason that they don’t fix flats and only replace the tube, at the bike shop, is due to the ammount of time it would take to find the hole and glue/patch the flat.

I’ll typically only patch if its a slow leak that’s nowhere near the stem and I can do it at home. If I’m out on the road or trail, I’ll replace the tire. Patching is too aggravating under those circumstances.

Typically the tools are just a bucket of water, rubber cement, and your standard bike tube patch.

FYI- one time I had the bright idea to fix my flat with a can of automotive “Fix-A-Flat” (“it’s probably just the same stuff as the tire goo they sell at the bike shop, right?”). It was the biggest mess I’ve ever made. My rims are still sticky 3 years later.

What I do:
[ul][li]Carry a spare tube AND patches.[/li][li]For the first flat of the ride, replace the tube. Always pack the bad tube home - don’t litter.[/li][li]second through Nth flat of the ride, patch.[/li][li]After a ride with one or more flats, exchange the punctured tube for one in good condition.[/li][li]Repeat until you have 10 punctured tubes in your punctured tube bag.[/li][li]Have a tube patching party.[/ul][/li]
Recommended for bikes where ultimate performance can be sacrificed for durability: Mr Tuffy tire liners. They change the way the bike feels a little, but not much. And, I’ve never had a flat with them in my tires. I use them on touring and commuting bikes, but not racing bikes.

douglips, this Tuffy Tube Liner intrigues me. Particularly since I regularly ride where the chinless hillbillies have thrown their beer bottles and suffered 4-5 flats over the summer months.

Please elaborate. . .

Flick Lives!

Warning: Shameless plug ahead.

I’m going to be in the minority here, but I like ‘SLIME’ (I only mention the name-brand because I’ve tried others and this one seems superior).
I use 6oz/tire and patch when I have to add air the second time in one week (rarely does a treated tire go completely ‘flat’). As an added bonus, the bright colour makes finding the leak a snap, and it cleans up easily w/ water.
I end up doing a patch about once every 700-800 miles (city riding like GLW) and replace tubes after the third patch.

“Scabs” are a brand of quick-fix patch (you peel them off a small card and stick them over the hole in the tube) that work pretty well on mountain bike tires (under @60psi), but do not work well on touring/racing tires (over @60psi). The nice thing about them is they’re quick, light, and don’t take up any room.

Look for a product called “Flat Pruf”

It is bright green in color and comes in 6 oz. bottle with a pointed tip.

It is put into the tube by removing the valve core from the stem and squeezing in 3 oz. The core is the replaced an the tire spun on the rim to distribute the goo around.

I had the same problem (patching tubes daily due to thorns). After I put it in my wheels I never had to patch them again. Amazing stuff.

Hey, is this the bike-repair channel? Do cars get equal time? TVs? Computers? Houses? I thought the SD was only interested in totally impractical information.

Ray (I shoulda stuck with Click 'N Clack.)

Here ya go! No more flats. :slight_smile:
Has anybody ever tried these?



Work like you don’t need the money…
Love like you’ve never been hurt…
Dance like nobody’s watching! …(Paraphrased)

I take an extra tube, and pack the punctured one home after I find the leak and know I can refind it later. When I am unlucky enough to get #2, I make sure I wait the full 5 minutes for the glue to cure before putting the patch on–the times when I have gotten impatient sometimes meant I had to start from scratch.

The other handy thing is when mounting a tire to always align the logo on your tire with where the valve stem comes through the rim. That way, when you do find the hole in the tube you can judge more easily which part of the tire you should inspect carefully for imbedded glass, thorns, etc.

GLWasteful writes:

I heartily recommend them for commuting/touring/I-dont-wanna-flat riding. There exist other brands of devices like this, one that springs to mind is ‘Spin skins’, but Mr Tuffy is the only one on which I have experience, which as I mentioned includes no flats despite years of commuting/touring over hot coals, beds of nails, and porcupines. OK, maybe not hot coals.

You can find the Mr Tuffy home page at http://www.mrtuffy.com/mrtuffy/.

In addition, on-line vendors that sell tuffies include
Nashbar and
Bike Pro.

Yeah, these kevlar tire liners are great, esp. if you have to ride in places where there’s lots of broken glass or other such hazards. I’ve never had a single flat after getting these things, and I’ve been over a LOT of glass.

Hey, where is Coldfire when you need him, anybody living in Amsterdam must know plenty about fixin’ flats! :wink:

It only hurts when I laugh.

Ever notice how tires only get flat on the bottom? :slight_smile:

I used to ride in fund-raising bike-a-thons. I would just carry extra tubes to speed up the process.

One trip, though, I fixed a flat. I didn’t feel any sharp objects on the tire, so I put in the new tube and proceeded. Two miles later it was flat again. This time I found the culprit: a piece of glass that was completely swallowed by the tire tread. And only when pressure was applied to the area did enough of it stick through to damage the tube. That repair slowed me down an hour. That was enough for all the aid stations to run out of all the good snacks: fruit, energy bars, sports drink. All I got for the next 50 miles was rice cakes and water. :frowning:

I always carry a spare tube and a patch kit and operate in much the same way as douglips.

I never use the slime-like products. They seem to work OK for simple punctures, but I’ve seen occasions when they don’t work and they make a huge mess resulting in hours of clean up. I know a guy that had to throw away a perfectly good tire because he couldn’t get all the goo cleaned off. Also, I’ve ridden bikes with this stuff in the tubes and I don’t think they feel right, especially over rocky terrain.

I use have some of the kevlar tire liners, but I don’t even bother to use them anymore because they never seemed to make a significant difference and they’re more trouble than they’re worth on the trail. I prefer a tire with kevlar in the bead. These are more expensive, but they’re more durable and you’ll spend more time on your bike, so it’s woth it to me. (check out the sales at bike nashbar)

Anytime you have a flat, take the tire all the way off the rim and turn it inside out. This can be very difficult sometimes with mountain bike tires. Once it’s inside out, feel carefully in both directions all around the circumference. About 1/4 of the time, the culprit remains in the tire. It can be difficult to find without inverting the tire. Also inspect visually from the outside - sometimes a thorn or piece of glass may be visible.

Kevlar tire liners work real nice for cactus needles, churros (common if you’re riding in the desert) and broken glass. They don’t work so hot for nails, stem breaks, or side punctures (i.e. blown sidewall).

IIRC, those “Green Tyres” are just tubes with the “slime” already in them. Those and the goo/slime you add to tubes work OK but if you get a large puncture, you’ve got a big mess on your hands.

JoeyBlades writes:

I’ve never used them on my mountain bike - on the trail I suspect you are more likely to get the traumatic complete destruction of your tire than on the road. On the road, the tire liners are quite useful.

I suspect you mean a kevlar layer in the casing. The bead is the part that goes into the rim, and has no effect on puncture risk. A kevlar beaded tire is ‘foldable’, while a wire beaded tire is not, but either kind of tire can have kevlar in the casing to make it more puncture resistant.

That being said, I’ve not used kevlar tires much. I’m sure they work great, I’ve just not used them.