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net, PRO BIKE HIRE.Life from an outsider s perspective How to patch an inner tube the right way. Posted on May 15th, 2008 by Dr. Leslie Brown A lot of people don t patch bicycle inner tubes anymore, which I think is a little bit sad. Generally speaking, it s better for the environment to repair rather tha n replace, so that s reason enough for me to continue patching tubes. I am sure th at the sale of a small patch kit along with extra patches more than offsets the environmental cost of yet another replacement innertube. I have a strong hunch that most people who buy new tubes all the time do so part ly because they don t know the correct procedure to use when patching an innertube . Maybe what happened was that like me they tried to repair a tube when they wer e a kid & failed miserably. I ll admit that despite 10 years of biking experience, I never really bothered with patching tubes until fairly recently either. It s no t that I lack time - it s that they ve never worked for me in the past, because no o ne taught me the proper technique. I have had limited success with glueless patc hes (park ones are the best by the way). But if you follow this detailed guide, you can repair your punctured bicycle tubes the old fashioned way (using glue an d patches) so they behave just like new. Before I get started, why did I suddenly become converted? Well, what happened w as, I got one of my hire bikes back, and to my surprise, one of my clients had p atched one of my butyl inner tubes that had punctured. It was the most amazing p atch-job I d ever seen! The edges of the patch were *completely* flat. This one pa ticular cyclist had reached what I d call punture repair perfection . It was even bet ter than those glueless patches I tell you. So ever since then, I reaslied it co uld work. After a fair amount of trial and error, I eventually found the right w ay to repair tubes using the traditional glue & patch method - I m convinced that nothing beats it. For the best inner tube repair, it s best to wait until you get home. This is why y ou should always have at least one spare inner tube handy when you go on a ride. Wash your hands. I don t know about you, but whenever I m in my workshop my hands & f ingers are covered in dirt and grease. Get all the air out of the tube. The aim is to get the inner tube as flat as poss ible. Suck on that valve if you have to (that s also the best way to get inner tub es to fold up into a tiny package by the way)! Repairing tubes with air still in them is not the best way to do it the patch usually crumples when the air is out . Roughen the area with wet/dry paper. 320-600 grit is best. Too fine and you won t a brade the surface enough, leading to adhesion problems. To course and you ll scrat ch the tube, weakening it. Clean the whole area of the tube with isopropyl alcohol (Isocol) to get the butyl rubber residue off. If you can t get hold of that, use methylated spirits instead . Most people use waaaaay too much glue. A rough guide is that one of those tiny tu bes of rubber cement should last about 30-50 patches (depending on the size of t he patch). If you are prone to getting punctures, and you re repairing enough tube s correctly, you ll end up with a major surplus of glue. To give you some idea, st art with an amount equal to the size of a split pea. Smear it over an area larger than the patch itself using your pinky finger (cause it s always the cleanest one). This is easily the most critical step, so pay atte ntion here. Apply 1-3 THIN coats of glue to the tube in this manner, and another THIN coat or two to the patch itself. Always wait until the glue is dry before applying another coat. Try and achieve the thinnest possible coats of glue, and you won t have to bother waiting about the drying times involved. You ll know if it s

thin enough, cause it ll start to become tacky during the smearing operation. When you can feel the glue starting to become tacky, stop smearing. If the layer of glue still looks wet after a few minutes then the coating is way too thick; it s better at this stage to keep smearing it over a larger area until it s thinner. A good way to check the thickness of your glue application if you re n ot sure: if it becomes all misty & fogged up when you blow on it & the fog doesn t disappear for a while, then it is too thick - so you need to wait for it to dry . Remember to apply less glue next time. Be sure to evenly cover the entire surface of the patch, taking care not to omit the edge zones. Done that way, the patch should stick to the tube almost instant ly. Having said that, resist the temptation to stick the two together. Let the glue partially dry. Partially means just that - partially. If you wait to o long, the glue will dry, it ll get dusty and the thing will never bloody stick r ight. Too wet and it the patch will slide around and you won t get good adhesion d ue to all the movement. You re linking molecules together here, so this step is ju st as important as the others, if not the most. Don t touch either the glue or the patch when it s drying, otherwise you ll contaminate it. Contamination = weaker bonding. Press the two surfaces together with considerable vertical force and zero horizon tal movement. Time for an analogy. Think of the scale. From the perspective of a tiny molecule or atom (~nanometre size), one millimetre of lateral movement is equivalent to ~2000km for you and I (depending on how tall you are). How the hel l can billions of people (atoms) hold hands (link together) if they re flying past eachother at 7.2 million km/hr? Molecules move around and vibrate enough as it is without amplifying the problem further. So aim to keep everything still! If i t slides around, you either haven t let the glue dry enough, or most likely, you re using too much glue in the first place. For the best results, put the inner tube onto the corner of a table & once it s totally flat, place a heavy flat object on top. Patience is the key to a perfect union between humble patch and bicycle inner tub e. Let it sit as long as you can to permit those interlinked chemical bonds to f orm. At least 10 minutes is good. 30-60 minutes is better. Overnight is best. I know, I know, you re eager to check and see how it went. That s understandable. But if you don t let the glue dry properly, you ll botch the whole operation. How do you know if you have done it well? There s one simple final test: very caref ully peel back the thin clear plastic layer. This is one task that all cyclists hate to do, because 9 times out of 10 one corner of the patch starts to peel off along with the protective plastic. Yes you can try to press it back with your t humb, but once it lifts, there s no hope for a perfect patch prize mate. If you ve f ollowed the method I reccommend here, to the letter, this won t happen. Remember that all steps are equally important. There are several patching a tube tutorial videos floating around the internet and I ve watched a few of them. One of the better videos can be seen on www.bicycletu I can tell that this guy never bothers to patch tubes because he doesn t know what he s doing. You can see that his patch doesn t even stick! Why don t people actually video the entire process including removing the clear plastic film (the most crucial step to determine if you ve made a good job of it)? Because the corn ers of the patch will peel, revealing their flawed methods, that s why. If you loo k at his video, the patch simply is not sticking. Here is yet another video atte mpt to patch a BMX inner tube. 10 points for this spur of the moment effort. No one apart from this young man actually goes to the effort of fixing a real punct ured tube either. Tags: Learning Curve // 6 Responses to How to patch an inner tube the right way. GeologyJoe // May 20, 2008 at 2:54 pm Good job describing how to reach Patch Zen Going Green. Life from an outsider's perspective... // May 22, 2008 at 3:34 pm

[ ] reuse inner tubes by first repairing them. There s a long lost skill in patching butyl innertubes. We continue patching them until the valve no longer functions or until they are deemed [ ] Bicycle Training on a budget. How cyclists can save money! Life from an outsid er's perspective... // May 25, 2008 at 12:07 pm [ ] Likewise, patch your punctured innertubes and re-use them instead of buying ne w ones all the time. Learn the correct way to repair your innertubes here. [ ] Geobio // Sep 20, 2008 at 5:56 pm Thanks! This guide definitely helped. It may also be helpful to note that one sh ould peel off the aluminum from the patch (leaving the plastic), then coat the t ire and patch with a bit of glue, and after mostly drying, stick together. Most of that was covered, but the part with peeling off the aluminum while leavi ng the plastic was left out. Lilawisl // Feb 18, 2009 at 3:59 pm Excellent description. My dad was a patch master. When we kids would get a flat riding around the house, he d patch it, and within an hour would be riding again. The patches never gave out and the corners didn t lift up on them either. My dad e ven had the really old kind of patches that sit on top of a metal casing that he ld a material that burned. If we were out of the modern patches, he d use one of t hem. After clamping the metal cartdidge onto the tube, he lit the material and l et the thing burn heating the patch and bonding it to the tube. Lately, I ve been wishing I had paid more attention to how my dad patched his tube s. So I really appreciate this post and look forward to applying the technique t o my own inner tubes. Neo // Apr 19, 2009 at 4:37 pm this was really helpful and it worked fine thank you whoever made this. my bike is running again. Hayes V9 rotor, the incredible 9? disc. Subscribe to the newsletter!

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