Cyclist tip: Change your patch kit glue

If you carry a patch kit around and don’t use glueless patches, now’s a good time to check the glue in your patch kit. The glue can evaporate even from unopened tubes of glue. The end of the metal glue tubes are usually crimped, and there’s sometimes enough of a gap to allow the glue solvent to evaporate. If the glue has been opened, you probably didn’t tighten the cap enough to prevent the glue from drying out. It’s disappointing to find a useless patch kit after flatting.

Some people I know carry two tubes of glue, one that’s open and the other unopened. If the opened glue is dried out, they discard the tube after opening the “new” tube, and replace the new with another newer tube.

Another option is to use glueless patches. These patches, which have been around for a few years, are peel and stick patches. After cleaning and roughing up the tube, you just peel the backing from the patch and apply it to the tube with no glue and no wait required. In my experience, glueless patches don’t seem to hold as well as traditional patches, but they’ll get you home.


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0 thoughts on “Cyclist tip: Change your patch kit glue”

  1. Justin says:

    Glueless patches are okay for getting you home, for sure. I am of the mind to replace your tube as soon as you get a hole in it, but that hasn’t happened in the year and some odd months since I got my Marathon XRs. 😉

  2. Dave Lloyd says:

    I patched the tube in my front tire with a glueless patch about six months ago; it’s been long enough that I’ve forgotten exactly when. Oddly, my front tire holds air better than my rear.

    The Park glueless patches cost a bit more, but are definitely worth it.

  3. Noah says:

    I have a total of five Glueless patches on my Trek 1200. Three in front and two in the back. I’ve had them on for about 5 months now, and I’d say the oldest of them has seen about 1,000 miles. These are Park Tool glueless patches installed on 25-28mm inner-tubes inside 25mm Bontrager tires and pumped to 100-110 PSI. I didn’t ride it much over the winter, but at one point it went 6 weeks without being ridden. The front tube was down to 65 PSI and the rear was down to 80 PSI.

    I’ve noticed 3 situations where glueless doen’t work well at all (or at least, they’ve failed me plenty:
    * If you get a pinch flat where you have to cover 2 punctures close together. Glueless patches like to be centered over a puncture, and sometimes two patches overlapping doesn’t cut it.
    * If the puncture is adjacent or on a molding seam. You have to work to really smooth that seam out or you’ll have problems.
    * If you’re running tubes that are “just big enough” for your tires, like 22-25mm tubes in 25mm tires. They stretch too much upon inflation and come loose.

    Like CO2 inflation, I like glueless patches because they’re small, quick and easy when they work. Neither is a sure-fire deal, however, and I make sure to have an “out” plan.

  4. pedalmaniac says:

    I always have a few glueless patches with me but I have found that they don’t “hold” well over the long run. I will always use my spare tube first and then use the glueless in a “pinch” if I have run out of spare tubes.

    Another reason for not using the glueless patches is the fact that I feel bad about throwing out tubes. Because I have found that the glueless don’t work as well as traditional patches over time I figure that if a tube has a single glueless on it it is not worth fixing again and I will discard it. I feel bad about this so I will tend to use traditional patches on a tube until there is no more tube to patch.

    But, again, in a pinch the glueless has saved my bacon a few times.

  5. john t says:

    I got sick of flats, so I got quality thorn-proof tubes. There is so much broken glass where I ride I that could count on a flat a day without them. No more pinch flats, and you hardly ever have to add air due to normal losses. One of these days, I am going to get a flat, and I will hardly remember how to fix it. I haven’t had a flat in years, and I ride all the time.

  6. Obscura! says:

    I started using slime a few years ago and haven’t had to fix a flat yet. I get punctures all the time and they self seal. It’s fun when you hear pssst… pssst… pssst… pssst… and then it stops.

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