Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Flat tire repair

It's been a very active week. We (car club) had our awards banquet and Christmas Bash last Saturday, and Sunday was our grand daughter's 5th Birthday party, so I knew that I couldn't manage to sneek away for a ride, so I brought my scooter in for its scheduled maintenance last week and left it there. While the weather was not forecast to be that good, we had lots of sunny & cloudy periods and it was quite pleasant. Pleasant enough to have ridden to work these past few days, but I was scooterless. I managed to pick it up tonight and go for an extended ride on the way home and MAN, it felt very good to be leaning in the corners again. Temperatures are more towards the chilly side and your visor fogs up if you breathe the wrong way so while I am stopped at a light, I have adopted the breathe sideways through your mouth so as not to blow on the cold shield to minimize condensation. With service out of the way, I am good to go until Spring. New plug, check, fresh oil, check, new air filter, check, inspect brake pads, check, all systems go. Did I mention that it felt good to be back on two wheels after nearly a week. I should have brought it in before the insurance expired on my SV then I would not have been bikeless during this short period.
One of the things that I always worry about when I ride, is the fear of having a "flat" tire. It's not so much of a problem in the car since you have a spare tire in the trunk. It's just the inconvenience of having to jack up the car, try to find the mag wheel key, and loosen the nuts and hope that your tire has enough air to get you home. How may of us actually check the air pressure of your spare tire ? I would guess not many. A year ago I "won" a small portable air compressor


You know the type that you plug into your cigarette lighter, or is it more politically correct to call it a power adapter plug. This is a higher PSI unit which I now carry in the trunk of my car in the hopes that it will never be used. It's the old philosophy of bringing an umbrella to stop the rain. I also purchased a flat tire repair kit


I know that there are different types of plug kits. This is a mushroom type which is installed from the "outside" of your tire using the Plug inserter tool. You firstly remove the "nail" or object, then use the hole reamer to clean up the 'spot'. Then you load a mushroom plug into a chamber/tube of that cylinder on the right and "screw" it down by using that allen key as your winding mechanism. The mushroom is compressed and forced down the shaft through the tip, while it is inserted into the tire. You use these type of plugs as temporary fixes only to get you back to a place where your tire can be professionally repaired, or you purchase a new tire depending upon the circumstance. Many do not like these type of plugs as they are "not" glued and are only held in by friction and air pressure. That's why I also carry those "worm type" or pipe cleaner patches


Like the type on the Left. You have a file which "roughs" up the Hole and an inserted which looks sort of like a large sewing needle with a slit in it. The pipe cleaner is forced into the hole and when you remove the inserter the gooey portion remains in the tire. The glue helps to bond the rubber together so this type of patch is more durable than the mushroom type. You also have some CO2 cartridges in case you need more pressure to seal the tire to the rim.


all of my bikes have battery tender plug-ins which are connected directly to the battery and serves at least 2 purposes. One is to connect the battery tender, and the second to connect my electric vest as they both use the same type of connector.


I also made up a power cable, with a 2-wire (trailer type) connector on one end and a cigarette type power connector on the other so I can have enough wire to reach all the tires, especially on the car. I recently purchased another ATV type tire repair kit (on the left). This one uses the 'worm' type and also comes with C02 cartriges, and a tube of extra glue. You can't have enough emergency supplies. so I purchased another portable compressor like this one


so now I am set. One set for the car, and another set for the bike. It gives you a great feeling to know that you are prepared for an unexpected flat tire and I hope that I will never have to use it. I also have some of those pressurized cannisters with "stuff" inside that is supposed to seal the tire. They say that they are tire friendly but those tire people don't like the mess they create. I've never used any of this stuff but I am thinking that when the chips are down and I have a flat tire in the middle of no-where, I hope that one of these solutions will get me home.


  1. Dear Bobscoot:

    I did a big piece on this about three weeks ago, in asking readers what they thought would constitute a great "indispensable" kit. Does your scooter have tubeless tires? I have never had a flat carrying the kit. And I have never needed the jumping cables, sice I started carrying those too. Although I have jumped a number of bikes for other riders.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack Riepe
    Twisted Roads

  2. Like Jack, I've never had to use my repair kits on my own vehicles, however, my mini-compressor has proved invaluable for those folks that I have stopped to help that were a bit less prepared for the situation.

  3. Bobskoot, on the war against tire punctures, you are the Commander-in-Chief! Thanks for showing all the possibilities, many of which I was not aware.

    I just used the mini-compressor this week on our minivan, giving it just enough air to get it down to Les Schwab's for a proper repair. They are invaluable.

  4. Jack:

    In the absence of an inflatable "Jack Riepe" I have to carry my own repair kit and hope that it will never have to be used. Flats are something that only happen to someone else


    Tire kits and mini-compressors are part of my "non-flat" policy too


    I am master of none. There are pros and cons to each type of plug so I just thought that I should have both, just in case. I have a large compressor for home use. some of my vehicles are only insured during the summer so it is not very convenient having to remove tires and rims to take to the service station. and also some fueling stations are now starting to charge for AIR