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With the way BMX riders ride their bikes, it’s inevitable that there’s going to be a flat tire or two… or three.. four… five… (We’ve had those days before, too). Sometimes the tube isn’t a complete blow out and a tiny pin hole can be repaired. We caught a small pinch flat and figured instead of tossing in a new tube, we would do a quick how-to on patching a BMX tube instead of replacing one. As you can see from the video, we’re using the Flybikes Cobra tube, which speeds up this process even more because it has eliminated the need to actually take our wheel off. So, check out the quick video above, then we’ll take you through the steps below…
Alright, so let’s start this out from the beginning. When you’re going to patch a tube, you’re going to need a patch kit. There’s a few different styles and quality levels of patches that either come with a glue or the other kind which does not require glue. The reason why a patch kit can be more valuable than a new tube is because you can get kits with 20 patches for $4.99 or so dependent where you buy it. However, higher quality ones usually run for a similar price but only include around 6 patches and the glue. When it comes to patches, your best bet is to go with a higher quality patch that requires glue and comes with solid patches. Unfortunantly the shop we picked some patches up from was sold out of the good stuff, but they did have this kit which was one of the lower quality non-glue kits with 20 patches. You can also find patch kits on Amazon if you don’t have a local shop.
Inside this particular kit, there are 20 patches on these sheets. It’s a little hard to see since the patches are pretty much clear with a hint of yellow from the glue.
As you could see in the video, I went with a flat head to get my tire off. This is not recommended because you can easily puncture another hole in the tube if you aren’t careful. You can also scratch your rim real easily if you aren’t careful as well. I’ve been doing this so long with a flat head that I didn’t even think to take the plastic tire levers out of this kit and use them, haha. The plastic tire levers are more forgiving on your rim as well and work scratch as easily or at all. So, use the tire levers if you got ’em!
Inside the kit, you will either get one of these scratchers or some sand paper. This is used to rough up the rubber a bit to give the patch something to grab on to. Once you scratch the surface, make sure you wipe away rubber that was scratched off because that can interfere with the patch sealing to the tube properly and can cause a leak or for the patch to blow right off when you pump up the tire.
Here’s a look at the tube after it has been patched. Make sure the patch is completely adhered to the tube so it cannot leak. When you use a patch that requires glue, make sure to give the glue some time to dry before you go and pump it up because the air will just blast the patch off if the glue hasn’t set.
So, here are the steps on patching a BMX tube…
1. Remove your wheel (Unless you are using Flybikes’ Cobra tube which is pretty convenient in these situations).
2. Use tire levers remove the tire from the rim. Only remove one side because this will make it easier to re-install the tire once you have repaired the tube.
3. Remove the tube from the tire and rim. If you cannot find your puncture, inflate the tube until you can hear leaking. Using your ears to listen for the leak or your hand to feel the air leaking out of the tube to pinpoint the spot. If you cannot find it, try pumping it up and submerging the tube in some water and look for the bubbles.
4. Once you have found the leak, use the scratcher or sand paper to rough up the area around the hole. Once you have done that, make sure you clean up excess rubber that may have been scratched from the tube so the patch has a clean area to adhere to.
5. Dependent on the type of patch you have, either place the new patch over the hole and make sure you have completely adhered the patch to the tube with no air bubbles. If you are using a glue patch, apply the glue to the patch and a little on the tube just to insure you have enough. Make sure the patch has no air bubbles as well. Let the glue dry so the patch is fully attached to the tube.
6. Test the patch by inflating the tube slightly before re-installing. There’s nothing worse than getting a patched tube all the way back into your wheel and having the patch blow off because it wasn’t set properly.
7. Once you know the patch is set, deflate the tube but leave a little air in the tube to keep the shape. Place the tube back inside the tire and rim and re-seat the bead of the tire on the rim. Re-inflate the tube to the recommended tire pressure.
8. Re-Install your wheel (assuming you had to take it off) and get back to riding!
That wraps things up! Let us know if you have any questions or comments below! Have a better way of doing things? Let us know! You can learn more about the Flybikes Cobra tube here if you’re curious how that works.