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How many patches before you trash the tube?

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How many patches before you trash the tube?

Old 07-23-19, 09:20 AM
  #1  
davester
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How many patches before you trash the tube?

I just threw out a couple of tubes that had a rather embarrassing number of patches on them (about five each). I'm a bit of a hoarder and my mother taught me to never waste anything (she grew up during rationing in WWII England) so I tend not to throw out stuff that still has life remaining. I've always been of the opinion that a tube repaired with a vulcanizing patch is close to as punctureproof as the original tube. That has certainly worked for me over the years...I don't remember ever having a patch later fail as long as the original repair was good. On the other hand I know people who consider a patched tube to be fatally flawed and will immediately remove and trash such a tube upon getting home from a ride. What's your policy? Are you a pristine tube kind of person, or are your tubes more than 50% patches?
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Old 07-23-19, 09:30 AM
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If I have to use a patch out on the road (rarely happens I carry spare tubes). I will usually replace the whole tube when I get home . Tubes are dirt cheap and I like the small bit of peace of mind I get from having tubes with no patches in them
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Old 07-23-19, 09:36 AM
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I am lucky in that I donít get a lot of flats (maybe a dangerous statement) but like the OP I am fine with riding on patched tubes. Once I give up on them they get put into service tying up hoses or extension cords, wrapping/clamping odd shaped pieces in the wood shop, or tying boards on the roof rack.
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Old 07-23-19, 09:37 AM
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Old 07-23-19, 09:58 AM
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If Iím out on the road and near a bike shop when I get a flat, Iíll buy a new tube just to save myself from the hassle of having to find the hole and patch it. If Iím at home, Iíll patch. Some of my bikes have tubes with up to 4 or 5 patches. In the moment when you get a flat itís cheap to just replace the tube, but when you add the savings valve of all those patches it adds up fast. At $7.99-$8.99 per tube, it doesnít take long for me to notice. There is so much glass and debris around here that I had 11 flats last year. This year so far, 4.
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Old 07-23-19, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Pcampeau View Post
If Iím out on the road and near a bike shop when I get a flat, Iíll buy a new tube just to save myself from the hassle of having to find the hole and patch it.
What are the chances of that happening? For me, it's close to zero. Throw in Murphy's Law and the chances of getting a flat near a bike shop are negative zero.

Let me just add that I usually have a tube or two with me, but since my typical weekend rides are 50 to 100 miles, the chances of occasionally getting two or more flats on a ride are moderately high (in my experience, flats come in threes). My normal procedure is to use my spare tube and then when I get home patch the punctured tube so that I'll have a spare for the next ride. Rinse, repeat. I usually only get around to ordering new tubes when I order new tires.
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Old 07-23-19, 10:22 AM
  #7  
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</= 1. New (i.e. never flatted) tubes to begin rides. Patched tubes (once only) for spares.
If I flat on a new tube, I strip it out and stuff it away for it to be patched after the ride. I then use a patched tube (generally) to replace the flatted tube in mid-ride.
When I get home, I replace the patched tube in the wheel with a new one, and the patched tube goes back in the spare bin.
If a patched tube flats, it goes in the garbage though I admire every one of you who recycles it in some way.
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Old 07-23-19, 10:28 AM
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Old 07-23-19, 10:32 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
What are the chances of that happening? For me, it's close to zero. Throw in Murphy's Law and the chances of getting a flat near a bike shop are negative zero.

Let me just add that I usually have a tube or two with me, but since my typical weekend rides are 50 to 100 miles, the chances of occasionally getting two or more flats on a ride are moderately high (in my experience, flats come in threes). My normal procedure is to use my spare tube and then when I get home patch the punctured tube so that I'll have a spare for the next ride. Rinse, repeat. I usually only get around to ordering new tubes when I order new tires.
Here in Minneapolis were quite fortunate to have so many bike shops. I pass within a few blocks of 7 of them on my 5 mile commute. I agree with you about longer rides though, in which case I employ the same method you do. Bring a new one with me and patch when I get home.
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Old 07-23-19, 10:32 AM
  #10  
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I am on fixed income. Money spent on tubes could buy me something more permanent or better food or simply be kept in the bank. Tubes cost $5-6 each. Patches 25 cents each. A good patch job is permanent. Patches cannot be seen and weight very little so riding on them isn't an issue. So I see absolutely no reason not to keep patching tubes until they no longer work. I've tosses tubes from valve stem area failures and other un-patchable events with as many as 8 patches already. By my simple math, that is $38 I didn't spend. Or about 7 tubes I didn't put in the landfill.
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Old 07-23-19, 10:59 AM
  #11  
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I've counted as many as 13 on the same tube.
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Old 07-23-19, 01:19 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
I just threw out a couple of tubes that had a rather embarrassing number of patches on them (about five each).
Ha ha. That's about two too many for me. I call it done at three.

The nice thing about flipping a few bikes each year is I can move stuff like a 3-patched tube over to those bikes heading out the door. So, on my own bikes, there isn't more than a patch on any. Most are free of any.

But this effort makes it a little difficult to remember ... "ok, which of you has a patch and which doesn't? Which of you was my last flat?"

my mother taught me to never waste anything (she grew up during rationing in WWII England)...
Same, pretty much. Mom's folks went through the great depression, owned a pharmacy, and they never threw out anything.

And a cult classic film, called The Gods Must Be Crazy, made a big impression on me. In it, a tribe finds a Coca-Cola glass bottle that falls from the sky (an airplane) and use it for all kinds of activities to better their lives. One of those things we toss everyday could be used as a valuable resource somewhere else...

That said, I always toss dork disks, reflectors, and kickstands. I can't do anything with 'em...
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Old 07-23-19, 01:33 PM
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I'm aghast that anyone, never mind a whole lot of people, would throw away a perfectly good tube just because it had an easily patchable (and patched) leak. Honestly, the patched tube is as good as new. It's just gratuitously wasteful to toss them. Eventually tubes will leak at the valve stem -- only then do they get repurposed for non-air-holding tasks (although I admit I don't have a lot of such uses so usually put them in the trash....but never tossed on the side of the road, right?)
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Old 07-23-19, 02:03 PM
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I grew up 35 miles from the nearest bike shop. Patch kits are my friend. Short hops I'll have a lone spare tube and my frame pump, but longer rides or rides out into the boonies I'll take a virgin spare, a patched spare (or two) AND a patch kit. A Carradice Nelson encourages such things ...
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Old 07-23-19, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by conspiratemus1 View Post
I'm aghast that anyone, never mind a whole lot of people, would throw away a perfectly good tube just because it had an easily patchable (and patched) leak. Honestly, the patched tube is as good as new. It's just gratuitously wasteful to toss them. Eventually tubes will leak at the valve stem -- only then do they get repurposed for non-air-holding tasks (although I admit I don't have a lot of such uses so usually put them in the trash....but never tossed on the side of the road, right?)
Dead tubes have a lot of uses. I cut strips from them to wrap around handlebars for lights, computers, etc. (And forks and seat/chainstays for speed/cadence sensors.) They work better than bungee cord in a lot of places (and tie far more secure knots). I did a carbon fiber wrap of a broken frame, had the epoxy setting before I was ready and was struggling to get the fabric to stay down. Hastily cut innertube strips and wrapped the whole mess tightly. A lot of resin squeezed out. Next day I approached the mess with trepidation, figuring I had probably trashed the (sweet riding!) $20 frame. Unwrapped the inner tube and behold! the job looked professional like it had been vacuumed bagged. 8000 miles later I retired the frame because sooner or later it was going to break elsewhere. (It had been hit hard by an SUV.) That repair was the strong point of the bike.

I rode a charity ride where a young woman had made a rather stylish vest of interwoven innertubes.

Edit: patches do get in the way of many post-mortem uses. Fortunately I've bought enough lesser tubes to have good patch free lengths.

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Old 07-23-19, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I am on fixed income. Money spent on tubes could buy me something more permanent or better food or simply be kept in the bank. Tubes cost $5-6 each. Patches 25 cents each. A good patch job is permanent. Patches cannot be seen and weight very little so riding on them isn't an issue. So I see absolutely no reason not to keep patching tubes until they no longer work. I've tosses tubes from valve stem area failures and other un-patchable events with as many as 8 patches already. By my simple math, that is $38 I didn't spend. Or about 7 tubes I didn't put in the landfill.
Works for me. If the patch holds, then the tube is equivalent to a new tube.
Install the patched tube in a wheel at home to make sure it holds for a day, before using it.

I take 2 spare tubes on rides, and patch the flat later at home.
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Old 07-23-19, 02:55 PM
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I think I'm up to six on one of the errand bike's Schrader tubes. I'll keep patching until it's more patch than tube. But I haven't had any puncture flats since switching to Michelin Protek Cross Max tires. Bulletproof.

For my road bikes I use Lezyne self-sticking patches, which are nearly paper thin. They don't interfere with seating tires on tight fitting rims. I may have three patches on one tube.
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Old 07-23-19, 03:34 PM
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If the valve fails, the tube gets tossed.

And sometimes the tube cannot be patched. If the puncture is too close to the valve, or another patch, the tube gets tossed. If the valve core is removable, I'll save that.

Some patches just don't hold air. If that happens, for whatever reason, I may try doing the patch over, though it is likely to tear when I pull the failed one off. If so, the tube gets tossed.

And then there's the blowout, a big star shaped gash. Tube gets tossed.

If none of the above, I don't care how many times it's been patched.
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Old 07-23-19, 03:48 PM
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I usually limit it to 3 or so. Might vary from time to time. With a proper patch applied correctly, there's not really any reason why you couldn't patch many more times than that. I'm just being careful. Also, I always spring for genuine Rema patches. Never had one fail.

No patches at all on front tires/tubes. If they get patched they move to the back.
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Old 07-23-19, 03:49 PM
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I donít patch tubes.

Way back in my shop days we had a customer with 36 patches. He was disappointed in having to buy a new tube.
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Old 07-23-19, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
I don’t patch tubes.

Way back in my shop days we had a customer with 36 patches. He was disappointed in having to buy a new tube.
Miamijim! Great to hear from you.
Your customer must have been Scottish, like me. There is a joke about a sergeant-major from one of the Scottish regiments of the British Army who brought a used and battered condom into a shop in Aberdeen (a bike shop, I suppose, being latex and all) and asked if it could be repaired. The shop man, familiar with this sort of request, squinted at it and quickly itemized all the bits of work that would need to be done to make it serviceable again, then quoted him a price of 3 shillings 6 pence. The RSM nodded in tentative agreement but then fixed him with a flinty gaze: "Ver-r-ry well....but I'll have to fir-r-rst obtain author-r-r-ity from the r-r-regiment."
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Old 07-23-19, 05:31 PM
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I don’t patch tubes either, just install a new one. Less time consuming, and tubes are cheap.
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Old 07-23-19, 05:49 PM
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$3 or less gets a Conti tube. I carry 2 spares on my rides, plus two CO2 cartridges, and a pump. I don't patch.
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Old 07-23-19, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by conspiratemus1 View Post
Miamijim! Great to hear from you.
Your customer must have been Scottish, like me. There is a joke about a sergeant-major from one of the Scottish regiments of the British Army who brought a used and battered condom into a shop in Aberdeen (a bike shop, I suppose, being latex and all) and asked if it could be repaired. The shop man, familiar with this sort of request, squinted at it and quickly itemized all the bits of work that would need to be done to make it serviceable again, then quoted him a price of 3 shillings 6 pence. The RSM nodded in tentative agreement but then fixed him with a flinty gaze: "Ver-r-ry well....but I'll have to fir-r-rst obtain author-r-r-ity from the r-r-regiment."
I searched his surname....either Southern Germany/Rhineland or North Yorkshire. That's close to Scotland!!
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Old 07-23-19, 06:10 PM
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Depends...

My personal record was 11. I have no problem with patching a tube. With most of my bikes, it is easier to patch than replace the tube. So patch them I do. I am don't like the CO2 cartridges, I consider them wasteful, ditto just swapping out the tube for a new one. Must be my Scot's heritage.

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