Motorcycle tires will inevitably get punctured, whether it be due to some sharp debris on the road or because of wear and tear over time. These punctures will make the tire pressure drop and result in a flat tire.
The answer is that it depends on the severity of the puncture. A permanent fix is to plug and patch the tire from the inside. Another option is to temporarily patch a motorcycle tire just so you can drive it to the nearest motorcycle repair shop. It is not advisable to drive around with a punctured tire as you can get into an accident. A severely punctured or slashed tire must be replaced with a new one.
Not all motorcycle flat tires are the same so it is important to be familiar with what to do at different severities and instances.
What To Do In Case Of A Flat Tire?
There are numerous factors to be considered in this scenario. You can go for permanent plugging and patching, call a tow truck, or use a temporary repair kit.
Plug And Patch From The Inside
This is deemed to be the only acceptable form of permanent repair for motorcycle tires. This is applicable when the puncture is located within the belt package, on the tread wear. You cannot do this if the puncture is located at the sidewalls because that area flexes too much and too easily. It will just remove the plug immediately. That means that only fifty percent of the center of the motorcycle tire is eligible for repair.
Another condition to do this is that there should be at least 1.32 inches or 0.8 mm of tread left. This means that the tire is still thick enough to be patched and plugged from the inside. If the tread that is left is less than the aforementioned, then it will be too flexible and will be unable to sustain the insidious repairs. Some mechanics also say that it is safer to repair the rear tire instead of the front one. A damaged front tire is very dangerous
The plugging and patching are performed by expert mechanics to ensure safety. After the repair, it is advisable to avoid off-road trails for the time being as that environment can undo the patch.
Call A Tow Truck
If the nearest motorcycle repair shop is still a few miles away, it is far too dangerous to risk riding your patched motorcycle tire. It is smarter to just call a tow truck and have the shop haul your motorcycle for you.
This is particularly applicable for specific motorcycle tire brands like Continental, Shinko, Pirelli, and Michelin. This also works for severe motorcycle tire damage, like huge slashes. If you notice that there are motorcycle tire carcasses, then it is absolutely unsafe to ride it and it is smarter to call a mechanic to pick your motorcycle up.
Plug The Hole Yourself With A Repair Kit
If you suddenly popped your tire in the middle of nowhere, then it is a good idea to temporarily plug the hole yourself using a tire repair kit. This is best applied for tubeless motorcycle tires. This technology prevents serious intrusions by screws, nails, and other sharp and foreign objects. The simple punctures are now manageable and they do not escalate into full-blown tire explosions.
These punctures can occur sporadically which is why it helps to always keep a tubeless tire repair kit in your motorcycle storage box. The first step is to pull out the object that caused the puncture. You might need to use a pair of pliers to thoroughly get everything out.
Next, take the reamer from the repair kit. Use this to clean out the puncture wound and to widen the hole enough to allow you to patch it properly. Be careful and tread slowly if your tire happens to have metal steel belts below the tread line.
Take a “worm” or rubber string from the kit and insert it into the hole. Leave the tapered end out as that will be used for pulling it out once done. Use the insertion tool or reamer to assist you in the installation process. If the worm falls inside of the tire, just start with a new one. Once you have patched up the hole, take some rubber cement and blob. Pour these over the hole to seal the puncture.
Once it is completely dry, you can take a knife to cut off any protrusions from the worm you used to patch up the wound with. Cut off the excess so that you will be left with a smooth surface that you can comfortably ride. Then, you can proceed to pump up the tire and inflating it to the desired tire pressure.
For the final step, take some water or soapy mixture and spray it over the punctured wound. Watch out for any air bubbles that will signify that there is a leak. You will need to redo the process or add more rubber cement until the leak is resolved.
Dangers Of Plugging And Patching
Plugging and patching aren’t readily available options for all types of motorcycle tires. It still depends on the type of motorcycle and tire that you have. For example, most superbikes have tubeless tires that have steel belt ply below the tread. The steel retains structural integrity and can hold to the plug or patch until you can drive your motorcycle to the nearest repair shop. This type of tire cannot withstand permanent patching and plugging solutions.
Dirt bikes, on the other hand, have pliable canvas belts under the tread. Unlike steel belts, this can hold unto the repair for a very long time and is therefore good for permanent sealing. It all depends on the size of the hole that you intend to repair. The fact remains that the type of tire will greatly influence whether or not plugging is a permanent solution.