B'Twin's 700 Puncture Repair Kit is designed to take the faff out of flats and get you back on the road in record time, and it does the job.
Your £7.99 buys a CO2 inflator and single 16g cartridge, a pack of glueless patches, emery paper and two bog standard, rim-friendly resin tyre levers. Once the preserve of well-heeled road racers, CO2 inflators are practical options for longer commutes and training duties, saving time and misery during the colder, darker months when combined with spare tube(s) and a standard pump of some description.
One cartridge is included, although I'd be inclined to buy a replenishment kit containing three for £4.99 at time of purchase, especially since there's a shelf life of three months once coupled with the inflator.
I can remember a time when these discharged their contents in one uncontrollable hit, but thankfully, the tuneable head allows steady release, so the likelihood of blowing a tube to smithereens is pretty small.
Simply press it firmly on Presta/Schrader valves and depress the button. Even without a neoprene cosy, the cartridges never became painfully cold, and I concur with Decathlon's claims of 120/130psi in 700x23 – in literally three seconds. It was much the same story with wider section tyres/tubes – there's enough CO2 to raise a 700x32/35 from flat to 100psi in an identical timescale. Predictably, 1.9 and 1.6in mountain bike rubber only hit a modest 40 and 60psi respectively in seven seconds.
In my experience, self-adhesive patches can be hit and miss. I tend to substitute the wounded butyl in situ and mend them at cafe/rest stops. These look uncannily similar to a popular British brand and mimic their performance too. Supple materials and decent adhesives mean that they'll stay put. Only bargain basement, ten-for-a-tenner tubes proved troublesome despite proper prep and concerted smoothing.
Two resin tyre levers stamped 'made in UK' had my badge engineering sensor on red alert, and they can't hold a candle to the polyamide versions (which I would chance on carbon hoops), whose much better engineered lips burrow beneath tyre beads and grip spokes more convincingly, ensuring speedier tyre removal/fitment. Nonetheless, they've withstood a fair bit of abuse when refitting the tyre's remaining 20 per cent. Of the wider sections, only my Vittoria Street Runner mountain bike slicks required backup from another brand's extra-long model.
Ultimately, this is a good no-frills starter package and I'm pleased that most of the money has been ploughed into a decent inflator. That said, buy a refill kit and invest in the better B'Twin levers for this kit to realise its true potential.
Competent kit for speedy recovery from roadside punctures, though I'd invest in B'Twin's higher quality polyamide levers
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Make and model: B'Twin 700 Puncture Repair Kit
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?
B'Twin says: "Removing your tyre, repairing and quickly re-inflating your inner tube. A must-have in the event of a puncture."
A user-friendly kit for speedy roadside recovery – along with a spare tube and hand pump of some description.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
1 CO₂ cartridge, 6 self-adhesive patches, 1 scraper, 1 universal inflation head that maintains the pressure several months after opening the cartridge, 2 tyre levers.
Presta/Schrader compatible head.
Quick, convenient and seemingly dependable.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, this kit represents excellent value for money and the CO2 system is particularly user friendly. Their performance is tempered slightly by the two resin tyre levers, which will do the job and seem basically kind but can't hold a candle to their polyamide counterparts.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Really user-friendly CO2 system, great value for money.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The tyre levers, while certainly fit for purpose, are a little low rent and I would invest in their vastly superior polyamide versions at time of purchase.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Definitely but would recommend B'Twin's polyamide tyre levers.
Age: 41 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)