Paying attention to our tire pressure is something that we all do consciously or by default to prevent unnecessary discomfort.
I’m sure if you own a bike, at some point, you have been concerned about your tire pressure. Due to this concern, we have all learned to inflate a tire or patch a tube.
Whether you are using your bike for leisure or work, paying attention to tire pressure is crucial because the amount of air in your tire may cause a drop-off in the performance and comfort of a bike.
On the other hand, having the right amount of pressure allows the tire to roll quickly and smoothly while avoiding flats in the most unlikely places.
Tires lose air over time, even a brand new one. Air migrate out of the bike’s tire through tiny passages in the valve over a period. Storing a bike over a long period will cause the tire to be dead flat by the time you need it. So, you need to be prepared to inflate by the time you need it again.
Since we bike lovers must inflate at one point, it begs the question; How long does bike tire pressure last? A typical road bike can lose half of its pressure in two days, while a mountain bike can take a week due to the larger air volume. It is perfectly normal for tires to lose their pressure over time, which may be caused due to non-use, but can be remedied. (source)
In general, triathletes must ensure that their tire is pumped up to the recommended pressure by the tire manufacturer just before the race to avoid any unnecessary increase in rolling resistance with works against the triathlete.
Also, check out our post on How Long Does It Take To Change Bike Tires? Hacks For A Quick Tire Fix
Now we know how long bike tire pressure lasts, let’s also answer the question; How long does a punctured tube patch last? For those that use the glueless patch kit, theirs lasted only for a few days or months of riding. While for those that used the glue patch kit, their patch lasted for a long time even up to years. A glue patch would not last if the glue isn’t allowed to dry out well or if a new puncture occurs very close to the old patch. (Source)
On a side note, do not waste your money on useless gear purchases and check out my Best Triathlon Battle-Tested Budgeting Gear
- Factors That Can Cause Bike Tires to Lose Pressure
- How To Patch Bike Punctured Tube
- How Many Times Bike Tube Can Be Patched ?
- How Long Can You Ride On A Patched Bike Tube Tire?
- Can A Patched Bike Tube Affect Your Bike Tire Rolling Resistance?
Factors That Can Cause Bike Tires to Lose Pressure
It is already a fact that bike tires lose air over time but sometimes they lose air due to normal and abnormal causes too. It is advisable to check your tire once a week or conduct a thorough bike check for athletes going for any event or competition.
When a tire pressure falls below 25% of the recommended pressure, the possibility of having a tire-caused crash increase by 3%. If you continue cycling on such a tire, it will eventually flatten out. Here is some reason why your tire can lose pressure:
Generally, a drop in temperature will cause your tire to lose air. This explains why bike tires become easily flattened during winter. For every 10 degrees drop in outside temperature, the bike tire loses about 1 psi.
This loss may look insignificant during summer, but when you go from summer to winter, there is about a 70-degree difference in temperature which means your bike is bound to lose twice as much air, which is a lot.
While cold air causes the bike tire to lose air, the too hot temperature does the same thing, albeit through a different process. So if your tire is over-inflated and sitting outside during a hot summer, heat can cause the pressure to expand and cause a rupturing in the tire.
A faulty valve is another factor that can cause a bicycle to lose its air pressure, although it is not a common occurrence. A valve can be a problem when it is not properly connected to the tube canal, and this fault is usually from the manufacturer.
Also, air can continuously gush out of the valve if the pin inside it is permanently bent, so having a cap over your valve is extremely important. There are two types of bike tires: tubed and tubeless. The tubeless tire is becoming somewhat popular these days.
A tubeless tire is suctioned to the rim around, and any bends in the rim can cause the tire to lose air pressure. Things like potholes and road obstacles can cause the rim to bend, which eventually impacts the tires.
Bike tires come with a life expectancy, and if your is way past this period, it is no longer safe. In addition, worn tires are unreliable and don’t have any traction, and they easily lose pressure because they are susceptible to forming holes.
Also, holes can be punched through the tire, which can cause the tires to lose pressure. Holes are commonly caused by nails or any other sharp objects.
You may also want to check out our post about: How Common are flat tires in Triathlons? Causes and how to avoid them.
Having a flat tire is unavoidable, and most people’s innate response is to patch the tube. However, some people like to get a new tube altogether because they are not too comfortable with patches.
Sure, patches are way cheaper than having the entire tube changed, and here is the fun part; it can last for years. Talk about cheap and reliable, and it comes highly recommended in many situations; however, some flats still require changing the tube.
You may check out our articles on how much bicycle insurance costs for bikes under 1,000, 3,000, and 6,000 USD.
Some people have claimed to have quite a number of patches on a particular tube and in different places, too, and the tube is still serving them well (source).
How To Patch Bike Punctured Tube
Bike tubes can be punctured by sharp objects such as nails, and this situation sometimes occurs at an unexpected time and in unlikely places. So what happens if you are stuck with this scenario and it is causing you to freak out.
Note that in this case, it may be possible to fix your punctured tube with our without glue. for this reason, I have compiled simple and easy steps that will bring the problem under control. Here are steps to fix a patch a tube:
Using a glueless patch kit
- The first step is to remove the wheel from the bike, this can be done on the road or in your home.
- Once the tube is detached from the tire, look for the hole in the tube. If the hole is not immediately visible, usually indicated by an air leak on the tube, you can pump air into it or submerge it in water. Escaping air from the tube will cause the bubble to come to the surface of the water.
- Clean the affected area with a rag, use sandpaper across and around the hole to roughen the surface of the tube. This action will help the patch stick better. Remember to clean your hand as well.
- Remove the backing from the patch and smoothly apply it over the holes. The presence of wrinkles indicates that there are gaps that could allow the escape of air. Leave the patch for a minute or two to dry.
- Reinstall your tube.
Check the video below to help you with the process,
Using a glue
Essentially the steps in patching a punctured tube are the same when using glue or not. The only difference is the application of the glue.
When using glue, you are to apply the glue over the punctured area and wait until it gets tacky before you apply the patch.
How Many Times Bike Tube Can Be Patched ?
I have seen a case of many people throwing tubes away after patching it several times. So, does it means that the tube is no longer useful? One could not help but wonder about the number of times a tube should be patched before discarding it.
Most bikers will tell you there is no problem; you can patch a tube multiple times; some say patching a tube depends on your riding style and road condition. However, some argued that you shouldn’t patch a tube more than three times.
So I came up with a set of principles that may be of great help when dealing with patched tubes.
- The first rule is to avoid patching an area that is already patched or closed to it. If a puncture is close to the patch, then it’s better to toss the tube entirely and replace with a new one.
- Never Patch too close to the valve. The reason is that the valve area is very sensitive, and due to the air input coming from the area, it is less stable.
- When a tube has more than nine patches, it is advisable to discard it. I know it sounds like just any number. But here is why you should toss it in the bin; by the time you are fixing your ninth patch, you would have encountered the first two points.
- And finally, when you are in trouble and no spare in sight, patch it no matter what. It just simple logic
It is a common myth that a patch area is stronger than an intact area; well, it is probably true. Not only does a patch fix the hole, but it also adds some thickness to the tube. But the downside of a patch is that it does not expand, unlike the intact area.
How Long Can You Ride On A Patched Bike Tube Tire?
The length of time you can ride on a patched tube tire depends on if you used the glueless patch kit or the glue patch kit. From the reviews I have seen on bike forums, you are expected to ride on a tube tire patched with a glueless kit for only a short period as they are not permanent patches.
But with the glue patch kit, it is estimated that you can ride with it for years and most times indefinitely.
Here is a review from one of the bike forums.
My understanding is the ‘glueless’ patches like the gp2 are a ‘limp-home’ thing, meant to let you finish your ride, and that’s it. Standard glue patches last pretty much indefinitely if applied correctly. They can be a pain to apply on the trail, but I’ve had them last over a year.Joules
Can A Patched Bike Tube Affect Your Bike Tire Rolling Resistance?
A tire rolling resistance is the energy needed to keep the tire moving at a consistent speed over the road surface. The higher the rolling resistance, the more effort is needed to move forward.
The question about rolling resistance being affected seems not to have a resolved answer as most bikers have shared very contrasting experiences.
Some have said it doesn’t except if the patch wasn’t done properly and it loses air while some have said it causes an increase in rolling resistance.
Nevertheless, considering that thicker tubes lead to higher rolling resistance which will eventually slow you down, I can theorize that patching a bike tube will increase the rolling resistance considering it causes localized thickening of the bike tube. Although, this increase might not be so evident since it is on a small part of the tube.
Tire pressures decrease through many factors, which is why it is advisable to check them every week and right before any bike race.
It has been said that a typical road bike can lose half of its pressure in two days, while a mountain bike can take a week due to the larger air volume.
Patching a tube can solve the problem of a flat, and it is said to last indefinitely if you use a glue patch it but only for few years if you use a glueless patch kit.
Learning how to patch is the knowledge that will come in handy in the foreseeable future. However, it is advised you know when to replace a bike tube with a new one because over-patching is not advisable.
Also, check out our recommended bike tire and tubes from our lost of Best Triathlon Battle-Tested Budgeting Gear