Those of us who have been riding long enough have obviously had at least one flat tire while commuting or touring. While getting a flat fixed in the city is relatively easy as there are no shortages of “Ramulu’s” and “Pulayya’s” to get the job done for you, it’s a completely different story when you’re out touring on our NH’s or exploring some SH’s like we do.
Earlier the use of tubed tires on motorcycles made DIY tire puncture repairs next to impossible but nowadays with more and more manufactures using tubeless tire technology, fixing your own flat on the side of the road is no more than a 15-20 min job.
If you are riding a bike that has tubeless tires, carrying a tubeless tire puncture repair kit(starting as low as Rs 140/-) would see u back on the road in no time in the event of a puncture. The kit fits easily under the seat of most modern bikes where the company provided tool kit is usually located.
Pull out the below mentioned tools from the kit and lay them next to you at close reach.
“Rubber strips”: These rubber strips are made up of a combination of medium inner and an extremely soft outer rubber carcass with a little air reactive solvent on its external surface (once exposed to air, along with heat provided by friction, the solvent turns the soft outer rubber carcass into a sticky moldable putty that takes the shape of the hole forming an air tight plug).
“Rasper/Reamer tool”: This tool looks like a huge twisted nail with a plastic handle at the end of it and is used to even out and clean the inside circumference of the hole after you remove the offending object. This needs to be done as the rubber strips require a clean and perfectly round hole to form an air tight bond to the tire and not pop out once the tire is re-inflated to riding pressure.
“Needle tool”: This tool is used to insert the rubber strip into the evened out and cleaned puncture area. As the name suggests, it is just a giant needle with a handle which uses the rubber strips as thread to “stitch” the hole in the tire.
“Blade/cutting tool”: used to cut off the excess rubber strip.
Locate the offending object/objects that have caused the puncture and mark them so you don’t lose track of the location/locations during the rest of the process.
Once you locate the work area, make sure it is facing perpendicular outwards from the tire towards the back (for rear tire) or forwards (for front tire), this gives you proper leverage during the rest of the process. Putting the bike in gear while working on the back tire helps as well.
Before you use the nose plier to pull out the offending object, keep the reamer tool ready and just as you pull out the object insert the reamer tool into the hole and make swift to and fro agitations perpendicular to the tire to make a clean smooth perfectly round hole.
Leaving the reamer tool in the hole to avoid losing too much tire pressure, take one rubber strip out of the plastic wrapping and insert it into the needle tool like your mom does while stitching your torn jeans. Insert it half way through so both sides of the needle tool has equal amounts of the rubber strip sticking out.
Now remove the reamer tool and immediately using a constant pressure insert the needle tool with the rubber strip into the hole about 2/3rd’s of the way in.(because of the air pressure acting against you this can be quite difficult, position yourself well and get good leverage). Now just twist and pull out the needle tool.
If all the steps have been done correctly thus far, your puncture should be fixed. Use water or if you’re a true “Indian” spit to check if there is a leak from the repair area.
After confirming the repair is good, use the blade/cutting tool to cut off the excess 1/3rd of the rubber strip sticking out, flush to the tire.
Pack your tool’s, check your tire pressure, get your gear back on and you’re ready to continue on you journey!
NOTE: This method will not work for tears in the tire.
TOP TIPS: make sure you check for foreign objects on both your tires during your pre ride checks. Always find a safe place well away from traffic to do the repair and we would also suggest you use a high-viz pull over during any repairs on the side of the road.
Ride hard and ride safe!