With a tubeless tire repair kit, you can repair a tire anywhere and be back on your way in 20 minutes.
Having ridden motorbikes for around 25 years, I find it hard to believe I haven’t been aware of this awesome little piece of kit before now.
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The classic screw-in-the-tire situation
A little while back, I rode over a screw which went into the front tire of my Kawasaki. The screw stayed in the tire which thankfully, didn’t deflate. As this was a 4 month old white walled tire, I was looking to salvage the situation rather than replace it.
I called my local bike repair shop hoping they could fix the tire by either repairing the puncture, or putting a tube into the tire. The guys at the bike shop weren’t too keen on putting a tube in. They said it’s never done for a racing bike. Even after saying that my bike is a cruiser and is never used for racing, they still Umm’d, and Ahh’d, and really didn’t want to do anything other than replace the tire.
I continued to ride the bike with the screw in the tire. I had started to mention my problem to my fellow riders. A work colleague told me about a product that he’d been using for years. It’s called a ‘tubeless roadside repair kit’.
I did a little research online, and watched some 'How To' videos. To be honest, even after watching the videos, I remained skeptical that this would fix the puncture.
As the kit itself is relatively cheap compared to getting a brand new tire or even fixing the puncture, I thought I’d give it a go. It all looked too simple, and although I had reservations, I bought a kit online.
Is this flat tire repair kit too good to be true?
Before giving it a go, I re-watched yet another YouTube video and followed the instructions included with the Kit to the letter.
This repair kit not only worked, but it worked incredibly well. It turned out so much better and easier than I expected.
The tire puncture was easily fixed and re-inflated in under 10 minutes. The instructions included with the kit said to wait a minimum of 10 minutes after fitting it to give it time to cure before riding. As I did my repair at home, I was able to leave mine to cure overnight.
How much does a Tubeless Tire Roadside Repair Kit cost?
Tubeless Tire Repair Kits start around $7 although the tools supplied with the kits in this price range tend to be a bit flimsy. Don't get me wrong, they will still do the job.
Kits at the lower price range end don't come with a carry case or a pair of pliers. Have you ever tried to get a nail or screw out of a tire without pliers? If you're repairing the puncture at home, then this probably won't be an issue and you can get away with the lower priced kit.
If you do go for a lower priced kit, then make sure you always carry a decent set of pliers on the bike.
If you're prepared to pay a few extra dollars to have one to travel with in case of an emergency, then get one with better quality tools. The extras will include a small cutting knife, a pair of pliers, and come with a sturdy carry case.
The nitty gritty of how it works
You can click on the image to see a larger version.
Step-by-step - How to plug a flat tire without removing the tire
Before you start the repair, make sure the section of the tire with the offending nail or screw is in a position that's easy to access.
1 - Remove the object
Use a set of pliers to remove the nail/screw. If the tire hasn't deflated at this point, it's going to deflate as soon as you remove the object.
2 - Widen the hole
Insert or coat the tip of the tool that looks like a long screw (which is called a spiral reaming tool), into the cement lubricant. Then insert it into the puncture hole. This will widen the hole so it's easier to insert the plug.
3 - Plug the hole
Thread one of the plugs to its halfway point into the eyelet tool. Watch the video below if you're not sure what I mean by this. Cover the tip of the tool with the cement and push it into the hole leaving a small section of the plug tip out, then pull the tool back out.
4 - Inflate the tire
Use a portable pump to inflate the tire to the recommended psi, and you're on your way.
YouTube video - How to use a Tubeless Tire Repair Kit
As essential as a set of jumper leads
Many of us already carry basic items in either our cars or on our bikes for emergency repairs. These usually include the tools for changing a car tire, or jump-starting a flat battery.
I see no reason why you wouldn’t include a Tubeless Roadside Tire Repair Kit as part of your essentials. This kit would quickly prove invaluable in the situation of an unexpected puncture along a roadway, or in an out-of-the-way location.
After all, we have bikes because we like the freedom they give us. This is just a bit of insurance so you don't get caught out, and end up paying for a tow truck to take your bike to the nearest garage.
A portable air pump
Along with a Tubeless Tire Repair Kit, a portable pump has become part of my standard kit that I carry in my pannier bag on my bike. I've also bought another kit to keep in my wife’s car, along with a portable pump that will operate off the car's cigarette lighter.
Portable air pumps come with a normal AC power plug, and either battery clamps to power the air pump directly off a battery, or with a cigarette lighter option.
An alternative if you want to cover all bases, is to buy a portable air pump with a cigarette lighter, AC power, plus buy an additional adapter that converters the outlet for the cigarette lighter, to battery clamps.
I’ve been riding bikes for a while, and thinking back I now realize how lucky I’ve been to never have gotten a puncture during a ride. This is not a true puncture repair but these are perfect for an emergency.
With this kit and the pump in my pannier bag, I know I can easily repair a puncture anywhere. Using this kit means I can be on my way again in around 15 to 20 minutes. Maybe I’m easily impressed, but I do believe this is an awesome little product.
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