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The Tubolito Flix-Kit is a cheap and very effective way to repair expensive TPU inner tubes. The overall process will be familiar to many, although the time it takes to dry fully is significantly longer than a regular puncture repair kit, so it's better for use at home than for mid-ride flat-fixing.
The kit consists of 10 patches, which are essentially just small sections of TPU material, five small alcohol wipes and a small tub of specific glue. It's all supplied in a small cardboard box, which is good for green credentials but not really suitable for taking with you on a ride. Not that I'd recommend trying to repair a tube on your ride...
Over the last few years I have experimented with TPU inner tubes from several brands, their incredibly low weight and space saving being the main draw. All TPU inner tubes are expensive, typically costing £25 to £30 each, and despite some fantastic performance, I have had some disappointment with punctures and then an inability to form a permanent repair.
While I was testing the Schwalbe Aerothan inner tubes last year Schwalbe suggested using glueless patches designed for butyl tubes. While they would hold for a short time, they all eventually failed when pumped up to typical road tyre pressures.
Unfortunately, this kit came into use early on in testing the Tubolito S-Tubo CX/Gravel inner tube, as I experienced a puncture on the first ride. I've also used the kit since to repair the Schwalbe Aerothans, and it's worked well.
The process is very similar to using a vulcanised rubber patch for a butyl tube: first clean the area needing to be repaired with one of the alcohol wipes provided. Once that has evaporated, spread some glue on, ensuring that it covers the whole size of the chosen patch.
After sticking the patch on, the instructions suggest that pressure is applied for 30 seconds. While testing I found this wasn't long enough, and I also found it difficult to hold down the patch so that every part is glued (you don't get the same tackiness that you have with a butyl patch).
Once the patch is glued in place, the recommendation is to leave it to dry for 30 minutes, which is significantly longer than a butyl tube, and not ideal for on-the-go repairs.
At this stage (at home), I found it helped to clamp the patch and tube between two hard surfaces, such as hardback books, and put a weighted object on top. Doing that, I found the patches stuck very strongly.
Five of the patches are circular and five elliptical. I tended to only use the circular ones, even on one snakebite puncture (when the tube impacts both rim walls at the same time); the elliptical patches are quite short and likely to only suit narrow road bike rims, not wider rims found on gravel bikes and mountain bikes.
For the snakebite puncture I simply used two patches next to each other. While it worked absolutely fine, it required separate repairs, meaning over an hour total to fully dry and repair.
To test one repair after it had dried, I inflated the tube to the maximum pressure of the tyre, 110psi, and left it in place at this pressure for three days. The repair held perfectly, losing a minimal amount of air. Following that, I dropped the tyre to my normal riding pressure and have continued to use it for several weeks without a problem.
Costing just £3.99 for the kit, it really should be a no-brainer for anyone who has or is considering trying TPU inner tubes.
While there are certain benefits to TPI inner tubes, I was previously put off by what I thought was the inability to repair them. With the Tubolito Flix-Kit, repairs are now possible and while the process does take longer than a standard butyl repair, the patches are strong and reliable and save you having to throw away expensive TPU inner tubes.
An essential item for anyone who uses TPU inner tubes or is considering switching
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Tubolito Flix-Kit patch kit
Size tested: 10 patches
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
'Just in case: Tubo-Patch Kit consists of 5 big and 5 small patches to easily repair holes of different sizes. The patches can be placed on Tubolitos using a special glue coming along with the Patch-Kit. Increased heat resistance ensures a reliable sealing also at higher temperatures.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Suitable for use on all Tubolito TPU inner tubes
5 x small patches
5 x large patches
5 x alcohol wipes
1 x tube of glue
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Takes some time to completely seal so not ideal for mid-ride repairs, but when installed and fully glued the patches hold up really well. I tested them at the maximum tyre pressure for days, and they stayed in place perfectly.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Very strong glue that holds the patches in place well once fully cured.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Constant pressure needed to seal and then time needed to cure. Also 10 patches provided but only five wipes.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
No other TPU-specific repair kits available that I am aware of...
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The patches take a lot longer to work than a typical butyl tube patch, but they provide a very reliable seal once fully dried and cured. For the money, I would recommend them to everyone who uses TPU inner tubes.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is: Cannondale SystemSix
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, sportives, mtb, Lots of gravel style riding