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Verdict: 
Brilliantly effective tyre boot that can also be used to buy cake
Weight: 
1g
Bank of England Five Pound Note
10 10

Stuck in the middle of nowhere with a gert big gash in a lightweight tyre? The Bank of England Five Pound Note is an excellent, robust tyre boot that will get you home, and then you can pop out and spend it on well-deserved cake.

On Sunday's ride, about 8km from Saffron Walden, I hit a patch of completely trashed road. All the tarmac had been scraped off in preparation for resurfacing, leaving the concrete slab base and lots of sharp stone chips. I hit one with the rear wheel, resulting in an instant puncture and a centimetre-long gash in the tyre.

All around me were fields. It looked like a long walk to the nearest village, and a quick look round yielded no roadside debris that I could use as a tyre boot. Lightbulb! I have cash, in the form of one of them new-fangled plastic fivers. I'll try that.

When the bank of England put its new fiver into circulation on 13 September last year, one of the proudly touted advantages of the new plastic note was that it was stronger and more durable than the previous paper version. The Bank said: 'Each new polymer note is expected to last at least 2.5 times longer than the current paper notes. This is because polymer is stronger than paper so the notes can better withstand being repeatedly folded into wallets or scrunched up into pockets.'

Bank Of England Five Pound Note in tyre.JPG

Bank Of England Five Pound Note in tyre.JPG

Surely a banknote intended to withstand that sort of day to day abuse could also hold my inner tube in place enough to get me home...

I slipped the fiver between the tyre and tube, and held it in place with one hand while I pushed the bead back over the rim with the other. That's a bit tricky, but I can hardly complain that the Bank doesn't supply some sort of adhesive to help keep the cash in place. I might pop a bit of double-sided sticky tape in my ride pack for future disasters though.

> Money-saving tips for cyclists

I pumped the tyre up, inflating it to about 70psi – enough to hold the rim off the ground, keep the tyre in shape and keep the fiver in place, but not so hard that it was likely to bulge the note out of the tyre. The new fiver may be durable, but it didn't seen sensible to find out if it could stand being rubbed against the road.

I carried on into Saffron Walden, stopping at the excellent Bicicletta cafe for cake and cappuccino. It's a bike shop too, so I considered buying a replacement tyre. But the fiver had held so far, and it's not like I'm short of spares at home, so I pressed on.

Another 25km and I was home. The tyre was still inflated, and when I took it out the fiver was hardly marked. Not only had it got me home, but I'm confident I could have safely done a much longer ride and it would have held up.

Make sure there's a new fiver in your wallet every time you ride. If you don't need it as a tyre boot, you can always spend it on cake.

Verdict

Brilliantly effective tyre boot that can also be used to buy cake

road.cc test report

Make and model: Bank of England Five Pound Note

Size tested: N/A

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?

The Bank of England says quite a few things about the five pound note, but for our purposes the important bit is:

"Each new polymer note is expected to last at least 2.5 times longer than the current paper notes. This is because polymer is stronger than paper so the notes can better withstand being repeatedly folded into wallets or scrunched up into pockets."

It can also withstand being used as a tyre boot, and it does so admirably.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

The plastic Five Pound Note is an upgrade from the previous paper model, using high-tech plastic to make a note that is sufficiently tough and waterproof it can be very successfully used to reinforce a damaged tyre.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
10/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
10/10

The note was almost unscathed after 35km of riding. I'd happily trust it for a much longer ride.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
10/10

It may say one gram up there, but that's because our system demands you put in a weight. In fact it doesn't register on our scales at all.

Rate the product for value:
 
10/10

Taking a Five Pound Note out of the cash machine my reduce your bank balance by five quid, but when you've used it as a tyre boot you can take it out of the tyre and use it to buy cake at its full face value. Try doing that with an old bit of tyre!

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Brilliantly. It allowed me to finish a ride as if nothing had happened.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Being able to use it to buy cake afterward.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The veneration of Winston Churchill, a figure who deserves to be far more controversial than he is.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? I have.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

The Five Pound Note weighs next to nothing, stops the tube bulging out of your tyre after you've picked up a tyre gash, and can be used afterwards for its alternative purpose as a means of exchange. It's perfect!

Overall rating: 10/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 5ft 11in  Weight: 85kg

I usually ride: Scapin Style  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

47 comments

Avatar
Alessandro [126 posts] 2 months ago
26 likes

How much does one of these cost and is there a Rapha version available?

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Peowpeowpeowlasers [509 posts] 2 months ago
6 likes

This article just saved me £10.  I have my cycling gear in the washing machine right now, I saw the title and remembered that there was a tenner in my back pocket.  Which is now drying on the window sill  1

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Al__S [1227 posts] 2 months ago
7 likes

But John, what about the vegans?

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Al__S [1227 posts] 2 months ago
13 likes
AST1986 wrote:

 is there a Rapha version available?

There's a new tenner coming and I think a twenty to follow it (the Assos version)

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check12 [101 posts] 2 months ago
9 likes

Too pricey, I'll wait for the copies to arrive on eBay. 

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don simon [1164 posts] 2 months ago
24 likes
Al__S wrote:

But John, what about the vegans?

They don't make very good patches, a fiver seems much more suitable.

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flathunt [244 posts] 2 months ago
15 likes

I like that there's even a picture of an old boot on it in case you forget what it's for.

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handlebarcam [1014 posts] 2 months ago
12 likes

Only a fool pays the RRP. I know a bloke down the pub, who knows a bloke, who knows a bloke, who can get the same thing for £4 if you buy in bulk. The old woman on the front looks slightly different, but it's basically the same.

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surly_by_name [524 posts] 2 months ago
16 likes

5 stars! You must be joking. Maybe before Brexit but what with decline in value of sterling, now only deserves 3.5 stars.

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Beatnik69 [388 posts] 2 months ago
4 likes

CHain Reaction don't seem to be stocking these yet.  2

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StoopidUserName [309 posts] 2 months ago
8 likes
AST1986 wrote:

How much does one of these cost and is there a Rapha version available?

 

I just drew a pink stripe on mine. Looks less cheap and I'll be able to sell it on ebay with far less deprecation in the future

Avatar
fretters [53 posts] 2 months ago
7 likes

Cannot understand who would pay a fiver for one of them.  Must be for the stock broker belt MAMIL's who work in the city. I'm waiting till Aldi bring one out for a fraction of the price. Some people have more money than sense. 

Avatar
don simon [1164 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
handlebarcam wrote:

Only a fool pays the RRP. I know a bloke down the pub, who knows a bloke, who knows a bloke, who can get the same thing for £4 if you buy in bulk. The old woman on the front looks slightly different, but it's basically the same.

You know MickeyThomas too then?

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ChasP [12 posts] 2 months ago
6 likes

I see from the lack of braking surface in the picture you must have disc brakes, obviously the cause of the cut in your tyre...

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John Stevenson [290 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

ChasP wrote:

I see from the lack of braking surface in the picture you must have disc brakes, obviously the cause of the cut in your tyre...

Must have been the space warp I rode though!

Genuinely LOLing at the comments here — thanks everyone!

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StraelGuy [956 posts] 2 months ago
5 likes

Might as well carry one of your own. The ones marketed to cyclists will come in a fancy box and cost £24.99.

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nowasps [519 posts] 2 months ago
13 likes

Another review that reads more like an advert.

Will stick with €5 note. Pure cotton fibre, and only £4.38.

 

 

 

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Toast [53 posts] 2 months ago
9 likes

The design is way too fussy though, I've blacked mine out with Sharpie. More pro.

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Grahamd [545 posts] 2 months ago
1 like
Al__S wrote:
AST1986 wrote:

 is there a Rapha version available?

There's a new tenner coming and I think a twenty to follow it (the Assos version)

No, the Assos wearing riders will stick to their native Swiss francs, and undoubtedly go for 1000 franc note.

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700c [1130 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

Brilliant!

article and comments LOL

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leqin [197 posts] 2 months ago
6 likes

I got mine from Wiggle and, as a platinum customer, it only cost me £4.15 including free delivery and a free bag of Haribo yes

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alansmurphy [599 posts] 2 months ago
8 likes

As luck would have it, half day today and had the same issue on the way home, unfortuntely I only had 5 £1 coins.

 

Seems to have done the job but think the bearings might be gone - terrible rattling sound back there! 

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nniff [169 posts] 2 months ago
11 likes

I'm with you right up to the point of inflation - surely that part makes it worth less.

 

I'll get my coat....

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nbrus [374 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes
guyrwood wrote:

Might as well carry one of your own. The ones marketed to cyclists will come in a fancy box and cost £24.99.

That's the Rapha version I think you are referring to...

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Mungecrundle [803 posts] 2 months ago
12 likes

You forget to mention that the new note (at 0.7g) is more than 20% lighter than the £5 note it replaces and is also considerably stiffer.

I would however be interested to see the power savings and difference over a 25 mile TT before being totally convinced that this not simply another marketing hype by the manufacturers.

 

 

Avatar
srchar [541 posts] 2 months ago
1 like
AST1986 wrote:

How much does one of these cost and is there a Rapha version available?

The Rapha version has a tiny portrait of Jane Austen on it. Limited edition and yours for £50,000.

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Leviathan [2668 posts] 2 months ago
6 likes

Rapha may not have released one of these yet, but there is a new start up called The Bank of Scotland. Their offering will do the same job, just with more of a local flavour to the design. Please be aware that if you do intend to swap this handy item for comestible goods you must utter the mystic manta 'It's Legal Tender,' in the voice of Scrooge McDuck before exchange can be made.

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Al__S [1227 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

I realise trusting a bank from Glasgow is risky, but the Clydesdale also do polymer fivers. Northern Bank (now Danske Bank) have been doing so so long their first ones can now buy beer themselves

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ktache [565 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Good comments.  Thank you.

I knew the old style linen paper could be used as the tyre boot, had wondered how good the new fiver might be.  Properly throwing away money on the Park Tools ones myself.

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Beecho [135 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes

These have been available Down Under for years, though they seem to cost a fuck of a lot more than they did 20 years ago...

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