At what point is it cheaper?

At what point does it become cheaper to buy a bicycle tube than to keep patching it?

After I got my bike back from the bike shop, I got a flat within a week. I pulled the tube to repair it and found that there was a pretty good size cut in the tire. The bike shop did not replace the rim tape when they put the new rims on. The old rim tape was stiff and carried a lot of rust from the old rims.

The purpose of rim tape is to keep the lugs that hold the spokes onto the rims from poking into the tube. Good rim tape will protect the tube well. Good rims won’t be caked with rust. Old rusty-crusty rim tape on brand new aluminum rims somewhat defeat the purpose for having new rims installed.

I patched the hole. I was not able to get to the bike shop to buy rim tape. Then a few days later I patched the hole again. The patch did not hold, so I placed another patch on the tire the next day. No good. Today I removed both old patches and put on another patch. After getting the tire blown up and almost on the bike…PSSSssssttt! New patch removed and number 5 installed. This one seems to be holding for the moment.

Much of this was my fault as I was not patient with putting the patches on. The glue was not dry enough when I slapped the patches in place. After a bit of googling I learned how to do it right.

New tube = $1.20

5 patches = $0.60

I guess I can put about 5 more on before springing for that new tube. And, when I do make it back to the bike shop, I will be picking up a couple rolls of rim tape.

By the way, the bike shop I am going to now is not the same one that held my bike hostage for several days.

2 thoughts on “At what point is it cheaper?”

  1. When you are out of practice on something, you kinda lose the knowledge of repairs. I am so out of practice, I don’t think I can get the vulcanized patches that I used to use. You know, the kind that you put a match to. I wonder if there are any Vulcan clamps around these days. I wonder if riding bikes here would be a benefit to me? Everything is so far away.

    Be sure to check the other wheel. It also may need to be replaced.

    1. I read a great website yesterday on how to properly put on patches. I have been doing it very wrongly, as I suspect most people do. The next time I have the need to repair my tube I am going to take pictures and document here how to do it using this guy’s steps.

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