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Buyer's guide: puncture repair kits

Cyclist magazine
27 Feb 2018

We select seven of the best puncture repair kits

Whether you fix it at home or at the roadside, you're not a proper cyclist unless you patch your own tubes. 

We put seven popular kits through their paces, considering the size of the container, the pre-sticking prep and the patches themselves, along with how easy they were to use and how long they lasted.

Just how do you go about testing a patch kit? Rather than wait for the inevitable, we assaulted an innertube with a pointy implement, then slit it with a knife.  

Two puncture wounds plus a centimetre long slash, which we felt represented the most common leaks – a hole brought about by broken glass or a thorn and the pinch puncture, typically caused by a pothole.

On one hole we just slapped on a patch to see how it fared, on the other two we prepared as per the instructions, then headed out on the road to see what happened...

Here are seven of the best puncture repair kits

1. The best puncture repair kit: Rema Tip Top TT02 Touring

German brand Rema Tip Top is the Old Spice of inner tube repair. It’s the one your dad used, and every decent shop sells. Arriving in a little box packed with the best glue, the best patches, and a little square of hardwearing emery cloth, you can find different versions suited to road, touring, or mountain bike width tubes.

Ensuring you get the best-sized patches, this will stop them distorting the shape of the tube once attached. However, even for road use, we favour the TT02 Touring kit for its slightly larger patches which are better able to deal with snakebites or big cuts. 

Regardless of which you go for, all Rema patches have double scalloped edges to ensure excellent bonding. If you've ever wondered what the little latex straw is for, the answer is repairing the inside of your valve cores. So now you know.

Buy now from Tweeks for £3.19

2. The best budget puncture repair kit: Lifeline 8-piece 

Coming from Wiggle’s own range of tools, this Lifeline eight-piece set is a cyclist’s staple. Formed of six patches, four tapered-edge 20mm versions along with two 30x20mm rectangles, it’s a vulcanising set so also includes glue and sandpaper.

It may be a budget kit but we can’t fault it for performance. Our three test holes were all covered well. With way more glue than is strictly necessary, it can be liberally applied to ensure the edges stay in place.

The patches’ slightly thinner and more flexible construction also means they wrap around the tube well.

Buy now from Wiggle for £1.25

3. The best glueless repair kit: ParkTool GP-2 Super Patch

Bearing more than a passing resemblance to the Flat Boy (above), out of the box the two kits look identical although this one is slightly pricier.

ParkTool’s instructions state that you need to lightly scuff the tube, peel the patch from the backing and press firmly into place (what could be easier?) although it’s worth mentioning that the surface also needs to be clean and dry (not so easy on a wet ride).

Although the sandpaper again proved awkwardly small, we had great success with the Super Patch. The patches themselves are extremely sticky, which is where their transparency again comes in useful, helping make sure you patch the right spot.

Buy now from Chainreaction for £3.49

4. Lezyne Smart Kit

Lezyne’s Smart kit is aptly named. The smallest kit in our round-up, it not only offers six super-thin self-adhesive 25mm circular patches and a metal scuffer, but also a 30mm by 50mm tyre boot (not pictured).

This doubles up as an instruction sheet and stops the tube bulging out through serious cuts in the tyre. Few others include a boot as standard.

The grater/scuffer is small and fiddly to use and seems very aggressive, so care is required to ensure an even surface is created. The patches are thin but mightily effective.

Working well with or without the scuffing, they contour around the diameter and over seams brilliantly. Overall, we were well impressed.

5. Nutrak Puncture Repair Kit

Forget your six-pack, Nutrak generously give you a 10 pack in this repair kit. Mounted on foil, the ten patches are identical, measuring 25mm round.

Thin and flexible, with tapered edges, the patches aim to work with the shape of the tube and prevent the edges peeling while providing excellent protection.

Being a vulcanising patch there is a rubber solution and preparatory sandpaper included, too.

Again supplied with more than ample glue, Nutrak’s repair kit did a great job of sealing our three holes, Nutrak’s patches also proved more flexible than some others so despite coming in one size, they covered our self-inflicted rubber wounds just beautifully.

6. Birzman Feextube Patch Kit 

Birzman has taken a slightly different approach to other brands, not only in its patches but its packaging, too. A rather stylish, mid-sized plastic box contains three square patches of the glueless variety, each measuring 30mm square, along with a short-term tyre boot (34mm by 42mm) plus a metal stainless steel scuffer built into the lid.

By giving the aggressive metal scuffer a holder, it’s much easier to use than some of the others on test.

The patches, meanwhile, were soft and flexible enough to conform well to the tube, although interestingly it was possible to see the 10mm cut bulging and lifting the patch slightly, meaning we had to reapply the first patch we attempted to apply.

Buy now from Bikester for £4.38

7. Parktool VP-1 Vulcanising Patch Kit

Packing three pairs of patches, the VP-1 will cover most of your hole-sealing options as standard thanks to the 20mm and 25mm round options, plus an oval one measuring 25mm by 35mm.

Being a vulcanising kit, it includes sandpaper for priming the tube prior to applying the glue and the patch.

These were the thickest patches on test, and though they adhere well enough in the centre they did struggle to wrap around the inner tube’s diameter. The result? We had to glue them on twice.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of glue in that small tube. Different patch sizes are a helpful inclusion, too.

Buy now from Leisurelakes for £3.79

Read the Cyclist guide to repairing an innertube 

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