If done correctly*, a patched tube should be just about as good as a new tube. I save up a few and do them in front of the telly (J-Sports, natch).
"Done correctly" is generally incompatible with a speedy roadside repair. Glueless patches are good for getting home when you run out of spare tubes, but the repair needs to be re-done once at home.
* 1. CLEAN tube surface and clean hands. 2. Lightly scuff the area and liberally apply the glue. 3. Let it sit and DRY--at LEAST 5 minutes. 4. Apply the patch, and press and hold (lots of pressure), for another good five minutes or so. 5. Hang to dry overnight. The glue doesn't really set completely for hours afterwards, so no sticking it right back into the tire.
When I was a kid, my grandfather gave me an old Schwinn Speedster that he had found at the dump. This was the first version Speedster, which looked like a typical cantilever framed Schwinn, made in the early 50's. It had no chain, and as it had a skip tooth sprocket and chain ring, a new chain was impossible for me to find. I spent most of my time riding it by pushing it along with my feet.
One day I was pushing it down the sidewalk on a typical New Mexico summer morning when I ran over a goat head sticker which punctured the tube. My grandfather was nearby, and he enjoyed nothing better than to show me how to fix things. He had the wheel off and the tube out in less than five minutes, and he set to work trying to find the hole.
To my amazement (but not at all to my grandfather's) there were already 22 patches on the inner tube. Living in New Mexico (land of cactus, goat head stickers, and broken beer bottles) one would expect to patch an inner tube from time to time, but even at the age of 11, I suspected 22 was well above normal.
My grandfather patched the tube with one of those old vulcanizing patches that had to be ignited with a match or lighter. I had seen my grandfather do this numerous times, and it never failed to amaze and mesmerize me.
It took about 15 minutes altogether to put the 23rd patch on the tire, but the 23rd was to be the last one that Schwinn would ever see. I still hadn't found a chain for the bike, and since it was a coaster brake equipped bike, no chain meant no brakes. The next day I found a very steep road to coast the Schwinn down, but the road dead ended at a cliff. The Schwinn and I went for a short flight at the end; I escaped with a broken clavicle and a concussion, the Schwinn suffered a broken fork and and a bent handlebar. Sometime during the impact, the front wheel came off (the one with 23 patches on the inner tube). I never did find it.
Yeah, I don't think patched tubes work very well in the long term. I have tended to have a lot more flats with them when I used to recycle. Now I only use them as an emergency to get home and then replace them. I do however keep the tube as the rubber comes in useful to cut up for things like mounting lights etc.
I must respectfully disagree with Phil H & Ash. I've run for many, many months on patched tubes. If you do a good job of patching the tube it's just as good as a new one. The only reason I would replace a tube is if the valve stem lets go from the rubber of the tube. The rubber cement that comes in patch kits effectively vulcanises the patch onto the tube after a few hours and is impossible to separate.
I do carry a spare tube and my preference is to change the tube on the road (after checking for what caused the punc) and fixing the punctured tube at home, in the warm.
I've found the Rema Tip-Top patches to be easiest to apply successfully. AW.
Repair of tube is my last choice. It is limited to the case when I don't bring anymore new tubes with me. Repaired tubes sometimes long unexpectedly, but you can't fully rely on them. In case you go on a race or go out to a long tour drive, I think you should bring a couple of new tubes with you. By the way I'm carrying a few spokes inside the saddle pillar for emergency's sake.
Most of my repaired tubes are for spares or for my commute bike. I have a lot of punctured tubes that need repairing so may do what Phil does and get it done in front of the TV.
I must admit, I can't do it as well as the guys in the shop who often can make the patch invisible with a bit of filing, hammering and whatever... Some times I make a complete mess of a repair job with the patch half falling off or not sealing properly around the whole circumferrence. I've been practising a bit on my son's mama chari lately... getting better but certainly wouldn't get a job as a repairman in a shop.
I've found that 60mm valves are getting harder to find in the shops lateley so I'm trying to keep all my old 60mm tubes and fix them soon...
I've also tried various patches form various makers... still not sure which are good or bad. Sometimes I think I have a bad tube of glue...or I'm too impatient and don't wait long enough for it to dry properly.
I actually have a set of powerpoint presentations for my high school kids one of them is how to repair a puncture...they have to memorize it all and do in front of the class... like this....
New to site, saw this and have been having trouble the last 2 days. 5 flats and have been unable to repair them. Would like to be directed to a local bike shop/shops near Motohasunsma Station ... .Toei Mita Line. These skinny 650 x 23c tires are new for me as is the bike. My patches are wider than my tires and they do not hold, plus the tires are rated for 10 bars (145PSI). I am not sure what to do and believe the wheels need new rim tape...but am not sure where to purchase these materials in Tokyo. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!! John