Rema Tip Top Sport puncture repair kit £2.95
Repairing punctures may be tedious work, but it saves wasting money by discarding otherwise useable inner tubes. Easy on the wallet and on the environment; what’s not to like? Some cyclists will simply say that they don’t like the idea of a repaired tube inside their beautiful tyre, besmirching what would otherwise be a pristine machine. More reasonably, others cite the excess weight added by one or more patches to tubes bought specifically for their light weight. Patches weight about 1g each, which is next to nothing. The only compelling argument against patching is reliability, and it is one readily dispelled by a demonstration carried out at the recent IceBike show organised by Madison Cycles.
A hole in a piece of car inner tube was repaired using a Rema Tip Top patch. As soon as the patch was applied, the piece of tube was placed in a device that allowed it to be pressurised. Even when inflated to the point where the piece of thick butyl rubber burst, the patch stayed stuck fast.
According to Rema and backed up by the demonstration, their patches make a permanent and 100percent reliable repair when correctly applied. The vital step in the process is allowing the vulcanising solution to dry, which takes at least five minutes. The solution has to be applied to clean rubber, of course, and roughening the surface of the tube helps the solution to ‘key’ to it. Once allowed to dry, the solution becomes a skin of uncured rubber on the surface of the tube. The sticking surface of the patch is, likewise, a skin of uncured rubber, which instantly adheres to itself or the skin on the tube with incredible tenacity. Unless allowed to dry properly, the solution retains some (environmentally friendly) solvent, which impairs adhesion.
The only delay in the process is the wait for the solution to dry. Once the patch is in place, the cellophane backing can be split along perforations down the middle of the patch, allowing it to be peeled away from the centre outwards. Rema says the dried solution will not adhere to the inside of the tyre, so dusting with chalk is not necessary. The tube is ready for use immediately, as the demonstration neatly proved. Of course, repairing tubes at home is generally more convenient and comfortable, but there is no real excuse for not repairing a reparable tube – unless it already has several patches.
The Tip Top Sport repair kit includes four extra thin round patches suitable for narrow inner tubes, one larger patch, solution and abrasive paper. The Touring kit has six larger round patches for the same money, but either kit does the job. If you are not already into tube repair, what’s stopping you?