Calling in for a tow truck because you got a flat tire is one of the lamest things we can think of doing while you’re on a motorcycle ride. Seriously.
Today there are goods on the market that can get you through most flat tire scenarios, without the hassle and expense of calling a tow truck. Most flats can be repaired in less than 15 minutes as long as you have the right items in tow. They don’t take up much space and some of them you’ll use just about every time you ride whether you get a flat or not.
Today, I do see more riders carrying the proper tools, but there are plenty who do not. So, keep in mind, while you may have everything you need to fix, say, a tubeless tire on your motorcycle, what about that friend with the tube tire that has nothing?
Here’s a list of the key items that will solve just about any flat tire issue, unless the rubber just tears up big time – which is very rare. Prices are 2017 retail.
There are lots of tire inflators on the market. Some are very cheap and can’t withstand the rigors of motorcycle riding. Potholes, weather and time all tend to take the el cheapos down pretty quickly.
At the other end of the spectrum or super-expensive, over-built examples of modern technology. If you’re looking at a Sherman tank style pump that sells for $100 or more, keep in mind, you can get the same results and own an entire tire care outfit like the one described here for about the same price as an over-built pump alone.
We recommend the Slime Powersports Tire Inflator. We have 15 years’ experience and more than 100,000 miles of travel on our in-house unit. Unlike over-priced units that utilize clip-on brass air chucks that don’t seat 100%, the PSTI features a 90-degree locking air chuck that guarantees a solid connection every time you hook-up to the tire valve. It’s compact, gets the job done right every time and won’t empty your wallet.
If you think carrying CO2 cartridges will get you through a flat, think again. Often, it takes a few miles for the tire repair to fully seal and you will lose pressure during that time. CO2 cartridges are heavy, costly and you’d have to carry a bunch to cover your butt on a repair that doesn’t take right away.
EZ Gauge DLX In-line Air Gauge - $30
A good air gauge is an essential part of any tire service outfit. The pen style types can be less than helpful because they require continual removal and placement back on the stem during inflation to insure the pressure is just right. That’s a pain.
A better solution is an inline gauge. These gauges connect between the tire valve and pump so you can read inflation in real-time while inflating the tire. They often include a bleeder valve as well, in case you need to deflate the tire down some. The trouble with them is they utilize that pesky brass clip-on chuck and don’t seat solid.
We solved that issue by creating our own units, replacing the brass clip-on chuck with a 90 degree locking air chuck. The same one found on the Slime PSTI. We call it the EZ Gauge DLX and it can only be purchased through our store.
If you already own a pump or gauge with the pesky clip-on brass chuck, you can mail it to use for a retrofit.
Tech Tire Repair Kit - $39
There are many “powersports” tire repair kits on the market. Most are inferior, utilizing bicycle patches that do not bond properly to the tube or tubeless tire surface. The sticky strings also do not bind to the tire carcass well, since they can’t vulcanize with the existing rubber. Mushroom plugs have about a 50% fail rate on motorcycle tires since the carcass is much thinner than a car tire, for which they are designed for and, again, can’t vulcanize to the rubber.
We addressed all these problems back in 2006 and designed the Tech Tire tire repair kit that solves all these issues. We utilize trucker-grade self-vulcanizing inserts, rather than strings, and include self-vulcanizing patches that are much larger than bicycle tire patches. We also include a buffer/stitcher tool to scruff the surface of the rubber insuring the self-vulcanizing patches, which can be used on an inner tube or tubeless interior, will bind the first time out.
Slow leaks can often be traced to a faulty valve core, rather than a leak in the tire. We include valve-core replacements with the kit as well.
Tire Irons - $17
Then there are the times when the tire must come off. If it’s a tube tire there’s only one way to repair the tube – it must be released from the inner tire. Tubeless tires can also be removed from a tire to insure the insert used during the repair is intact solidly inside and the braids from a radial are not unravelling inside after several miles. They don’t cost much and they don’t take up much space.
Slime Motorcycle Tire Sealant - $10
So, let’s suppose you get a flat during ultra-hot weather or maybe ultra-cold. Fixing a flat in 100 plus degree heat or 40-degree cold is not fun. A safer, short-term fix may be to locate the culprit such as a nail or staple, remove it and fill the tire with Slime Motorcycle Tire Sealant, until you can get to where a more permanent repair can be made comfortably.
If you learned a few things from this post, feel free to share it with other riders. The smarter and better prepared we are on a ride, the better the ride will be.