Flat bike tires are a problem that has plagued the cycling community ever since we ditched metal wheels for rubber ones, but despite the fact we’ve been dealing with flats for nearly a century now, our repair methods are still fairly primitive. In the event that you find yourself deflated and immobilized, you’ve typically got two options: either take the tire off and replace the inner tube, or fill it with some kind of slime or ooze that will (hopefully) seal up the hole. Neither method is particularly convenient.
But there’s still hope: Thanks to a brilliant new device called Patchnride, you might never have to carry a can of Fix-A-Flat in your backpack ever again. The device, which is small enough to fit in the pocket of your pants, allows you to fix a flat permanently in just a minute or two, and doesn’t require you to remove your tire.
Instead of a messy goo of some sort, Patchnride is more like an oddly-shaped syringe that inserts a patch directly into your tire at the source of the leak. We haven’t had a chance to test it out for ourselves just yet, but according to the device’s creators, it can permanently patch a hole in just a minute or two, meaning repairs can be performed on the fly whenever they happen — no more walking your bike home when you get a flat.
Here’s how it works. Once you’ve got a flat, the next step is to locate the hole. Depending on the size of the puncture, this is sometimes easier said than done, so Patchnride designed a simple leak detection system into the device’s cap. Just wipe this thing along the tire, and if there’s still air leaking out, bubbles will form around the source of the leak.
Once you’ve tracked down the puncture, the next step is to insert Patchnride’s spike directly into it and press the start button. This will release a small amount of quick-drying adhesive into the inner tube, at which point you push a slider forward to insert a special patch into the tire. After that, pull the tool out out and press down on the repair site for a few seconds to set the adhesive. When you’re finished, just pump the tire back up and continue on your way.
The device hasn’t quite hit the market just yet, but has opened up pre-orders on its website to gather the necessary funds for large-scale production. Once Patchnride hits shelves, it’ll retail for 50 bucks — but if you pre-order now, you can lock one down for just $25.
The first production batch is expected to ship this fall, so in the meantime you can find out more here.