So, I tend to run 700x23c or 700x25c tires on my commuter bike. Sometimes I'm lazy and forget to check the air pressure and inevitably get a pinch flat when I hit some stationary object, pothole, or big curb.

When I get a snakebike type of pinch flat (2 holes somewhat separated, usually on opposite sides of a ridge in the tube, I find it hard to patch.

Either I use a small patch without having the small patch only extend past the holes 1mm or 2mm and usually placed over the ridge/seam in the tube, or I use a large patch which is really hard to apply since it is wider than the tube (making it hard to apply glue and appropriate pressure to patch when gluing) but provides coverage for both holes at once.

Park tool GP-2 glueless patches seem to work ok for this situation since they can easily be overlapped without issue. However, I hear anecdotal evidence that they are not as durable as patches used with vulcanizing fluid.

What is the preferred way to patch these type of tricky flats?

  • 1
    This doesn't quite answer your question, but have you considered fatter tires? 23-25mm seems more appropriate for racing than commuting to me. I run 32-35mm for around town on my touring bike, and it came with 28mm. I think I've had one snakebite, and that was obvious abuse.
    – Reid
    Commented Jun 1, 2012 at 3:48
  • I got into the habit of bouncing my tires on the door frame (threshold?) or a curb on my way out of the house. After an innumerable about of snakebites I just got into the habit. I know it can get annoying to have to check it all the time, but it is so much easier than getting a flat in the middle of nowhere. The sad thing is that there really is no easy "GOOD" fix for a snakebite, they are usually so hard to patch to where they will stay, that I have given up and will just replace the tube. I came here hoping to find a "GOOD" answer but I have tried all of these with no luck...
    – BillyNair
    Commented Jun 1, 2012 at 6:40

3 Answers 3

  1. Use the thinnest conventional (tube-of-glue type) patches you can find. They should be the type with feathered edges. A little overlap is OK, but trim the edges if there will be a lot.
  2. Better still, swap in your spare tube.
  3. Better still, don't let your tires go flat.

(Avoid using large patches as they won't expand as the tube expands.)


The issues you are seeing are more related to the type of patch and the air pressure. Glueless patches and high pressure don't mix. Even on a single puncture.

Try making sure you used the dime sized patches and vulcanizing fluid as directed.

Or just make it a rule to check your tires every 2 or 3 days. High PSI tires tend to drop in PSI fast because they are such low volume. You could also try a latex tube as they have smaller holes between the molecules of the tube, which has less air leak over time.

  • Latex tubes are also more prone to flatting/punctures as they are thinner walled and meant for racing or weight-weenie setups, not commuting. Checking your tire pressure is the easiest fix, it doesn't take long and it's easy to incorporate it into your daily routine of checking before you ride...you do that, right? Brakes work? tires pumped up? steering good? wheels seated properly? Shifting good?
    – Tha Riddla
    Commented May 31, 2012 at 13:57
  • Use one or two dime sized patches when one barley touches both holes when centered between them? Trim the edge of the patches (if using 2) to prevent overlap of patches so they can be better centered over the individual punctures?
    – Benzo
    Commented May 31, 2012 at 13:58
  • @theriddla, didnt think about that. good point on latex. I have actually never used them, just know they leak less. Patches dont have to be perfectly centered, they can be offset a bit (within reason) to make sure they dont overlap. Trimming standard patches can lead to peeling as the edges are thinner to help create a smoother transition & bond to the tube. So smaller patches, and offset just enouh so they dont overlap is good. But really. air up the tires on a regular basis will save 10x more time.
    – Matt Adams
    Commented May 31, 2012 at 14:05

I've had good luck with the Park GP-2's being extremely durable, lasting as long as the tube. Back when I was using them frequently, I think I was running somewhere in the 70-90 PSI range.

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