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I would have a dumpster full of tubes if I trashed one every time I flatted. I've had tubes with a dozen or more patches on my mountain bike. (On the mountain bike, most of the time there are two holes per flat tire event.) A properly patched (using the self-vulcanizing paches) tube is no less reliable than a new one.
 

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I patch tubes and test them to be sure they will hold air. I don't have a problem running a patched tube, but I always carry "new" tubes in my bag on the bike just in case a patch may have somehow developed a leak before being installed. I'd much rather deal with that sort of issue before a ride than to find it on the side of the road.
 

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I carry a new tube in my minimal saddle bag - with tire levers and a CO2 inflator. Tubes are so cheap nowadays, I might patch one tube out of ten. I usually ride with other people around town, so I like using a CO2 inflator, it's a lot lighter than any pump. Patching a tube by the side of the road takes a long time, plus pumping it up by hand to high pressure is a hassle.

If I think the tube is salvageable, I patch it at home where I use soapy water and properly prepare for a real patch. I also inspect check the tire and the rim.
 

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I once had a tube with 27 patches. Still held air.
Now that I am much older, I don't have patience for that anymore.
Just use a new tube
 

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I save them up and then patch them in batches on rainy days.
 

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Yep, I patch my tubes. No set number, but around 3 or 4 patches on a tube...I decide it is time to spend the money for a new one. Well, I keep a stock of tubes around, buying them when they're on sale.

Tubes are one thing I have brand affinity for. Maybe it doesn't really matter, but I've had great luck with Continental tubes and not very good luck with Bontragers. Again, probably just the situation, but I tend to stick with Conti tubes.

What bugs me lately is how hard it is to find mid-length valves. The "standard" length tends to be 36mm from most dealers, while the "long" tends to be 52mm. I'd like one in between, for my mid-depth rims. 36 just barely peeks over, but 52 sticks way out. I have some 40s or 42s or 46s, but can't always find them.
 

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Kindred spirit

Oxtox said:
why I'll patch a tube until the puncture requires the patches to overlap or it leaks at the base of the stem...
^ This. I can count on one hand the number of times I've had a patch fail. I can't fathom why people think a new tube is somehow more flat resistant than a patched one.
 

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I've not had lots of luck on high pressure road bike tube. Mtb tubes ok. IMOH.
 

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I used to get new tubes when I flatted until I decided to patch a couple. My suggestion...patch those bad boys & ride'em. The self sticking patches are IMO, junk. Get the ones you have to use glue with.
 

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Great Idea

MR_GRUMPY said:
Science has proven that if you have one flat on your bike, you will have another one, sooner or later. This is the reason that you should always buy a new bike when you get a flat.
Grumpy, bloody awesome reasoning. After a year riding in San Antonio I would've had 8 new bikes. Instead I had a tube with 8 new patches.
 

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I rode with a bicycle shop owner for years. He would use those condom colored lightweight tubes and they had many patches on them. He was cheap. I have never had a patch fail. I use real patches that you glue on. Not those crap stick on patches. They are retarded.
 

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Both tubes on the road bike currently have 4-5 patches each. Good glued patches, not done at the roadside in a hurry. And they cover normal, small leaks. I see no reason to regard these tubes as handicapped in any way.

The commuter is another story. 12,15 patches per tube - who knows? Some cover pinch flats. Some cover quite bad long cuts. And in at least one case, I have a patch on top of a punctured patch. Yes, a thorn hit right where a patch already sat.
It runs fine. New tubes and tires, on this bike considering the road hazards it deals with? No way.
But I do make sure to always carry a spare tube for this bike too.
 

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Yes. What's worse than having a good spare around. Like someone else mentioned I save em up and patch them on a lazy day.

I've rode on tubes with upwards of ten patches. Though I swear if feels like the ride gets lumpy with too many patches.
 

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What do you do with the tires? I got my first puncture flat last week from a shard of glass that left a 4mm gash in the tread. Tires were brand new proRace3's, and my immediate reaction was to order a pair of armadillos. But would I be alright just leaving it alone?
 

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omahapaul402 said:
What do you do with the tires? I got my first puncture flat last week from a shard of glass that left a 4mm gash in the tread. Tires were brand new proRace3's, and my immediate reaction was to order a pair of armadillos. But would I be alright just leaving it alone?

Maybe a short length of gaiter - a piece cut from an old tyre sidevall and fixed inside your tire against the gash? Plus some electricians tape over it to prevent the tube from chafing?
 

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I keep patching tubes until the valve goes or they develop an unrepairable leak. I carry a spare tube in my seat bag and use that when I get a flat, but keep the flatted tube. I pile up all of my flatted tubes in the garage until there's a rainy day, and then spend an hour or so patching the tubes all at one time.

I would like to know where you can buy $4 tubes. Most bike shops are charging close to $10 for new tubes these days. Performance used to have Michelin tubes on sale for $5 each every so often, and I would stock up, but I haven't seen any sales in a while.
 

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Sure, I'll patch em as long as the hole is not too big. Gave up on quick patch type a long time ago though.

But really when it comes to flats the tube is not the problem. Rather it's the tires and/or the tire pressure you're running. Check that your tires aren't low on pressure before you ride. A tire getting worn out is more susceptable to flats too. If you want extra protection then run tougher tires. I've used a set of Bontrager Hardcase 23mm tires for the last 2 years and have only had a couple flats.
 
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Vulcanized patches only make the tube stronger. It is easy to do ... why not?

Now, I have to say ....

You wanna hear cheap? I peel old patches off tubes that I am discarding and reuse them!

... this sets a high bar for frugal!
 

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+1

Kerry Irons said:
^ This. I can count on one hand the number of times I've had a patch fail. I can't fathom why people think a new tube is somehow more flat resistant than a patched one.
In my commuter, though.

Actually, my current rear tube in the commuter's valve stem has a slow leak, like 20psi / day, so i have to pump it up nightly. I just pretend it's latex!

It has three patches, too. I guess eventually it's time to hit the bin.

Go green or go home!
 
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