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2003 Buell XB9S, 1989 Yamaha Radian YX600
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Picked up my 2nd bike, a 1997 VFR750 with 40k gently used miles, 2 weeks ago. Fun bike. Lots of power and plenty of torque at any speed, but could stand to lose some weight. Very smooth over bumps and so much more stable at every speed than my old bike. Wanted something capable of highway riding so I can commute to my new job.

I rode home the hour back from the office on Friday and everything was fine. Wasn't until Sunday when my uncle noticed the rear tire was looking low that the alarm bells went off. I had just checked the tires earlier in the week, so they shouldn't have been low. Went out to the garage and sure enough the tire was flatter than a pancake. Ended up finding a nail about an inch away from the edge of the tire.

And of course, nobody is willing to plug a motorcycle tire around here. Had to drop the wheel off at a shop this morning before work and order a brand new Dunlop Roadsmart 3 (the bike had a fairly new Pirelli Angel GT on it) for a pretty penny. Should have just ordered one online instead, since the shop doesn't offer road hazard protection and I DON'T want to pay for this again.

I'm just glad I didn't get stranded on the highway in the middle of the night (I work 2nd shift). Think I might need to consider carrying a tire repair kit from now on. And I got to take advantage of the single sided swing-arm on the VFR! Much easier than removing the rear axle, brake drum, and chain on my old Radian 600.
 

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Very Famous Person
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Before my Sunday ride, my remote tire pressure sensor said, "11 #". Took a little time, but I plugged the screw hole and then left on the ride. Of course no shops would have been open on Sunday, but still if I did bring the tire to them it could take many hours before they would get to it. Or bring the bike if I loaded it into my trailer by pushing it on with a flat tire. Good luck on that.

Point is, over the years I've saved some money by plugging the nail holes I've gotten. The big things are the convenience of doing it right there and the cost. As to buying a new tire, only it it was a sidewall cut. I carry a tire plug tool, plugs, a jar of rubber cement, and a 12v tire pump. I switch the repair bag to whatever vehicle I'm using (ATV, truck, car, bike).

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Ace Tuner
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And of course, nobody is willing to plug a motorcycle tire around here.
And rightfully so.

Riders have been killed when a plug/patch* failed (got ripped out) due to a puncture next to or at the plug and a total loss of air accrued at speed.
A *plug/patch is a combination of a conventional patch with a plug in the middle and is installed from the inside of the tire.
It was the only patch considered safe for a motorcycle tire until it was proven otherwise.
Like a smart guy once said... The worst way to lose a customer is to do something that gets him killed!

I carry a plug kit but it is not a permanent fix. I'll only use it to keep from being stranded and the bike will be parked until a new tire can be installed.
Tube type tires, give it a new tube.
 

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2003 Buell XB9S, 1989 Yamaha Radian YX600
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62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Weird how that works, Rode a Honda Scrambler for 8 yrs, never had a flat, between a Sporty and Wide glide,
2 flats in 3 years, I felt so de-flated.
Right? I've never had a tire go flat until now, be it car or bike. I must have been overdue.

Took a little time, but I plugged the screw hole and then left on the ride. Of course no shops would have been open on Sunday, but still if I did bring the tire to them it could take many hours before they would get to it. Or bring the bike if I loaded it into my trailer by pushing it on with a flat tire. Good luck on that.
Yeah, it would have been a huge mess if the tire didn't hold until after I'd made it home. Definitely a good reason to have a plug kit and a tire pump! I like the idea of having a "service kit" to keep with you.

Riders have been killed when a plug/patch* failed (got ripped out) due to a puncture next to or at the plug and a total loss of air accrued at speed.

(...)

I carry a plug kit but it is not a permanent fix. I'll only use it to keep from being stranded and the bike will be parked until a new tire can be installed.
On one hand I feel like the conditions for total failure of a plug/patch are rare, and it's not like a tire can't fail in a similar manner without already having a patch in it (although much less likely). But riding is all about weighing which risks are worth taking, and often an ounce of prevention is worth a couple pounds of flesh. That's why I ordered a new tire from a shop instead of a plug kit off Amazon. I would plug a tire to get home, or even long-term if a shop considered it safe, but if it's so risky a shop won't even offer the service? It's easier to just drop the $200 for a new tire than to worry whether my $5 patch job will hold together in rush hour traffic.
 

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Biker
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Quote from SemiFast, "Riders have been killed when a plug/patch* failed (got ripped out) due to a puncture next to or at the plug
and a total loss of air accrued at speed." Unquote

Seems it would have been better to get a bike tow service than to use a patch/plug kit.
 

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Visionary
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The wise thing to do if you plug a tire on the road is to slowly and carefully ride it home or to a shop on side roads. Even if you get another flat, it's not likely to kill you doing that type of riding.

The unwise thing to do would be to plug it, get right back on the interstate and test the plug at warp speed to make sure it holds....

Quote from SemiFast, "Riders have been killed when a plug/patch* failed (got ripped out) due to a puncture next to or at the plug
and a total loss of air accrued at speed." Unquote

Seems it would have been better to get a bike tow service than to use a patch/plug kit.
 

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Biker
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Hello Mike721,

Yes I can see it being much safer to ride at 30 to 40 mph than really 'Hanging it out' my two bikes have Emergency flashers.
Are these kits similar to that tool at a garage, that inserts a plug used for a car tire? So I guess it means one carries a small
hand pump? or electric job that could plug into battery tender receptacle, or Gator clips,while bike is running of course.
 

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What you need is ride on sealant (works awesome!) and to carry a plug kit and learn how to use it (very easy). I had a nail that was 3/4" inside my tube and was riding 2 up. Went out for a 3 hour ride. Picked up a nail. Im assuming from that ride. Never noticed it. Got home and checked my tires/pressure next day knowing they are near the end of their life and I have a vacation coming up. It was 15psi in the rear where nail was. Replaced the tubes and tires. Never again will I buy spoked wheels. Got a good deal on the bike though. Need piece of mind and the ability to plug in case of emergency. Some shops just won't do it for liability reasons of course. I have known people to use plugs in sportbike tires for the rest of their tread life. Its not smart but its been done. Its a great (15 minute)way to get home instead of waiting (who knows, maybe 3 hours) for a tow truck. Tubes , you're screwed on a big twin. Ive been working on getting replacements for a while now and its hard to find good used ones.
 

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I've been carrying a tire plug kit with the CO2 inflator cartridges or portable 12v compressor for several years. I've only had to use it twice, but both times it got me back home and only took a few minutes to plug, inflate and go. I agree with the others, I wouldn't permanently ride on a plugged tire, and plugs only work on tubeless tires.
 
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