Ever repaired a motorcycle tire?

Motorcycle tire repair is not as daunting as you might think, if you follow the guidlines...

Having to repair a motorcycle tire is not my idea of fun, but face it, if you have been riding your motorcycle for any real length of time and you have never experienced the unbridled pleasure of a flat the the gods are truly smiling on you my friend!

Look on the bright side...

If you walk out to the parking lot and find your motorcycle tire sitting on one of its rims, count yourself lucky;at least you didn’t get a flat while you were riding it! A puncture at speed can be very tricky to deal with . if it happens to you, here’s what to do..

Carefully back off on the throttle -- smoothness is key.

Apply the brake to the unaffected wheel, gradually bringing your bike to a stop in a safe place.

Linked brakes require extra caution. Be safe whatever you do, don’t stop in the outside lane of some highway or motorway, get over to the inside and as far off the highway as you can safely manage. The nearside of a busy road is one of the most dangerous places to be, so please make sure you stay safe.

Check out the damage...

Take a look at the cause of the flat motorcycle tire to see what you can do. If the flat tire is from a nail or similar object in the tread of your tubeless tire, you should be able to patch it. Cuts or sidewall damage means your motorcycle tire needs more than you can give it; time to reach for the cellphone!

Tube tire? Be careful...

If the hole is in a tube tire, you'll really need to take the wheel off the bike and the tire from the rim while supporting your bike on the side of the road. In other words, most cruiser riders probably need a cell phone to summon the cavalry. In a pinch, those cans of sealant and inflator might do a patch up job, but most of the tire companies warn that the material that oozes out can get between the layer and the motorcycle tire, making it likely that the tire will come apart.

In other words, if you have to use a can of flat-fix, you should replace the tire ASAP.

Easy with the right tools...

Patching a punctured tubeless tire is actually pretty easy if you have the right tools. A motorcycle tire repair kit will include an auger, plugs, cement, CO2 cartridges and maybe a tool to hold the plug in place while the cement sets.

Using the auger, clean and roughen the inside of the hole. Prepare the plug by removing the plastic ring around the vulcanizing rubber and coat the entire plug as well as the hole with the included cement.

Wedge the plug into the opening until it is snugly in place and hold it in position with the tool for a minute or two. After removing the tool, I’d recommend letting the plug bond for 10 to 15 minutes (longer in colder weather) before inflating the tire.

careful inflation...

Filling the motorcycle tire with a CO2 cartridge is a one-shot affair, so it makes sense to always carry a couple of extras in case the plug doesn’t cement into place properly. Most flat-fix kits include three cartridges, but carrying a couple of spares won’t do any harm just to be safe.

The alternative to the cartridges is the engine-powered pumps. They use engine compression to operate a pump that inflates the tire; not a bad idea if you want to avoid the drawback of cartridges.

Once the motorcycle tire is inflated, trim off any parts of the plug standing proud of the tire. If you can’t get the tire to its proper pressure, next stop should be a gas station to bring the tire up to the right pressure.

When you’re riding, keep in mind that a plug is just a temporary stop gap to get your bike to a shop to permanently repair or replace the tire.

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Copyright Motorcycle parts accessories and more, Michael Holmes 2004