The Bottom Line
The Bell Deluxe Patch-it Bicycle Tube Repair Kit is one of those products that will break your heart and let you down when you need it most. Carried by Wal-Mart and other mass-marketers for what seems to be a very reasonable couple of bucks, the Bell Tube Repair Kit seems to be a dream. It's got 20 glueless patches, tire levers, a buffer, all in a handy plastic case. The problem? The patches don't work very well at patching flats, which is the only reason you buy this product. So stay away from these and stick with the old school rubber cement adhesive patches if you only want to fix a flat once.
- Relatively easy to use
- Handy case
- Patches don't stick very well!
- Twenty glueless patches that don't seem to hold
- Three flimsy tire levers
- Metal tube buffer and carrying case
Guide Review - Bell Deluxe Patch it Bicycle Tube Repair Kit
I picked up the Bell Deluxe Patch-it Bicycle Tube Repair Kit at Wal-Mart after using an old-school rubber cement-style patch kit to patch my tubes for a number of years. It sounded great - no more glue to mess with. Who wouldn't want that? Just roughen the tube with the metal buffer, appy one of the clear patches, pump up your tube and off you go.
What I found however, was that I had consistent problems with the glueless patches failing. Where a tube patched with a traditional patch held on with rubber cement was generally reliable, the tubes I patched with the Bell glueless patches would not hold air. They'd leak. Sometimes immediately -- and fast enough that the tire remained unrideable - and sometimes more slowly. Enough to get you where you need to go, but you'd have to reinflate the tire again to get back home.
Especially problematic were spots where the patch went over a seam. That was almost a sure failure as the adhesive on the patch wasn't strong enough to draw it down to the tube on either side of the seam.
The tire levers that were included were flimsy as well. They bent anytime I used them on a tire that was the least bit difficult in pulling off the rim.
I don't mind much fixing flats, but I only want to do it once if I have to. So stay away from this kit. The glueless patches that Bell uses in this kit make patching flats an exercise in frustration.