Punctures are very good at spoiling your motorcycle trip – they are no fun: I have yet to meet a Motorcyclist who looks forward to trying to repair one! The best advice is to ‘be prepared’, so that you can be back on the road quickly and safely.
This article is purely a personal view on the best way of dealing with punctures, and will concentrate on tubeless tyres, which are fitted to the vast majority of modern BMWs – the F800GS being a notable exception with tubed tyres. It is important to think about the context of how you use a motorcycle, how you plan for a trip to the shops might be quite different to how you plan for a trip to the Nordkapp! As I am interested in long distance touring this is what I am going to focus on in this article.
So when a puncture occurs the first thing to do is to make sure you and the bike are safe, off the road if possible and with a warning triangle displayed (if legally required). This is where your high visibility vest can come in very handy in making sure other motorists can see you. I always carry a small Petzl head torch in a bright easy to find colour, punctures don’t always happen during daylight and trying to locate a black torch, in a dark tank bag, in the dark, is an interesting experience (!).
So assuming you are in a safe position to try and repair the puncture the first thing to do is to assess the damage. In my experience it is NOT a good idea to ride with a metal object in the tyre as this can cause catastrophic damage – its generally better to remove it and attempt a repair or worst case call for recovery.
There has been a lot of discussion about the best puncture repair kit over the years but my advice would be to invest in the STOP & GO tubeless tyre repair kit; why do I suggest this? Well it has a unique system for inserting the plug in the tyre, which is easy to use (see the videos below for demonstrations); it uses mushrooms without glue so it can work with tyre sealants and finally I have repaired two punctures with it on long trips so I know it works in practice. John Ottaway used it on his ride on the Dalton Highway in Alaska with success. For the record I have also repaired a puncture in a Honda Fireblade using the BMW Tubeless Tyre repair kit – it works but it is MUCH easier with the STOP & GO system. I have tried to repair a puncture using another puncture repair kit and was very surprised to find it was extremely difficult – in fact three of us working together failed to get the insert in the tyre! So STOP & GO is definitely recommended.
The STOP N’ GO kit comes in a small plastic case, which you will need to store in your bike. I have a Cymarc toolbox inside the pannier mount of my R1200 GSA, but the kit will also fit under the seat of a K1600GT or R1200RT.
I would strongly recommend taking the kit out and familiarising yourself with the components and operation at home with a cup of tea – the first time I opened mine was to repair a puncture in Spain, in the rain, I was VERY grateful that Stop n’ Go thought to laminate the instruction card!
The actual repair is quite simple once you understand what you are doing, have a look at the two videos below, which should give you the idea:
There is one thing that is missing from the STOP & GO kit: a small pair of pliers to pull the mushroom plug outwards and into position. You might have something in your bike toolkit but I would suggest you add a small pair of pliers to your puncture repair kit so you don’t need to unpack everything to do the repair (I also carry some plastic disposable gloves in my kit).
Inflating the tyre!
So hopefully the tyre is now repaired, but you will need to inflate it to get going again. You might be lucky to be stopped at a garage but my strong advice would be to carry a small electric pump to inflate your tyre from the motorcycle battery (CO2 cartridges are an alternative but I would not recommend them myself).
The best available pump is the BEST REST products CyclePump see https://bestrestproducts.com/product-category/cyclepump-ez-gauge/. This is a bullet proof product that was used by the British Army to inflate Land Rover tyres in Afghanisatan, however it is expensive. A cheaper alternative is STOP & GO’s small compact pump which I have also used and this works well. There are other small pumps on the market which would be suitable. Apart from the initial inflating is it quite possible that the new repair may lose a little pressure so having your pump on hand to top-up is very useful. In terms of durability I have covered over 4,000 miles on two STOP & GO repairs before replacing the tyre but of course this depends on the location of the puncture. The main objective is to get you home or to where a professional repair or replacement can be made.
You can get the STOP & GO puncture repair kit and pump from several suppliers in the UK, including Sport Touring:
With summer overseas trips coming up it is a very good idea to be prepared for the worst with punctures and the STOP & GO kit works well; I use this together with Ultraseal in my tyres as a first line of puncture repair, you can find out more about Ultraseal at www.ultraseal.com .
Good luck and hopefully you will be better able to repair punctures and stay mobile in the future. If anyone has useful insights on puncture repair it would be worth sharing them on the Oxford Section Facebook group.
Originally posted 2017-03-16 18:05:40.