Friday, December 3, 2010

Fixing Tubeless Road Bike Tires With Hutchinson Rep'Air

When I got the link and the mention over at Bike Rumor, they mentioned and linked to their review of the Hutchinson Rep'Air patch kit.    As the world's foremost blogging expert on tubeless road biking, I of course have experience with this product.

The Bike Rumor review was focused on mountain bike tires, but in my experience the product works equally well on the road.    My first cut in a tubeless road bike tire was so close to the end of the tire's life, I chose just to replace it.   This season, I got a cut on an almost brand new Hutchinson Fusion 3 that I had just paid good money for. 

Interestingly, the tire would still hold about 60 pounds.   I could inflate it to greater than that, but it would leak down to 60 fairly quickly.   A roadside attempt to repair the tire failed, likely due to all of the sealant contaminating the glue.    For that reason, despite it's packaging, I would not consider Rep'Air a roadside repair option.   Fortunately, I was able to just finish the ride on 60 pounds and attempted the repair at home.

Repair Techniques 

First, you need to remove your tire and clean the sealant off of the portion you are to repair.  It will come off easily with a rag.   From there, the repair is similar to a tube repair.   Rough the surface up, add glue, and apply the patch.  

Unlike a tube repair, you will be repairing the inside surface, which is concave.  Furthermore, the road bike tire will be much smaller and less flexible than a mountain bike tire.   Also the tire is far less flexible than the tube.    In order to get the patch to stay on, I was able to clamp the patch to the tire.   If you don't own woodworker's clamps, you can just rest a leg of a piece of furniture on top of the patch for a few hours.

The Results

The tire has held air for months just as good as the unpatched one.  While junking a $5 tube rather than repairing it is not a bad option, it simply wasn't going to work for a $50 tire.  Yes, I can see the patch through the cut, as the above picture shows, but otherwise the repair is merely cosmetic.   There is no bulge in the tire, and I cannot feel it when I roll over the repaired portion.   I have been able to ride out the remainder of the tire's life with full performance intact, which is the entire point of the repair.

4 comments:

  1. Hi Jason,

    I've not yet converted to road tubeless, but am running tubeless on my MTB and have had to patch one big cut.

    In your review you say "Rough the surface up" but I've seen advice that the inside of tyres should not be sanded, as the threads are much closer to the inner surface and risk being damaged by abrasion. I've seen advice to use specialist tyre cleaning chemicals, as used in auto shops, but in the end I just rubbed the inside clean, put normal superglue in the cut, and applied a normal inner tube patch to the inside. Seems OK so far!

    Does the Hutchinson kit come with sandpaper? I'd be interested to know, to work out what to do with future cuts.

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  2. Hi Tim,

    Really good questions. I decided to write a post to address this issue.

    http://roadtubeless.blogspot.com/2010/12/question-about-patching-road-tubeless.html

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  3. Thanks for this blog. I'm new to road tubeless but liking it so far. I was wondering if you have tried one of the plug type repair kits like the ones from Panaracer and Innovations. They are meant for MTB tires, but I would think they could do for road as well.

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