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Q: I picked up a very small nail that is causing a small leak on my Honda VTX1800. My bike has only 4K miles on it and still has the original tires. The owner's manual says to never repair a tire, to always replace it. The dealer says it can be plugged. Who do I believe? Also, isn't a patch better than a plug?
A: Many dealers refuse to patch tires due to liability issues. But your tire can often be repaired, depending on where and how large the hole is. If it's in the tread area and is small (not more than 1/8th"), it can be patched from the inside. If the hole is in the sidewall, it can't be fixed. I would avoid plugs. They can work loose and cause a flat while you're riding. And there is an alternative to patches -- Ride-On tire sealer (www.ride-on.com). It does not harden over time, and seals small holes in the tread area while you ride. You can buy a Ride-On kit for about $30 that will fill both front and rear tires. If you get a nail in the tread, you just pull it out and ride for a couple of miles. Heat and centrifugal force cause the sealant to work its way into the hole. I have been using this stuff in the tires on both my truck and motorcycle, and find it very effective.

I've been using Ride-on for a couple years. I'd heard enough endorsements from guys I trust to believe what they say. Now, I have no absolute proof it works ..... but I havn't had a flat either <g>, And, no, it doesn't hurt your wheel balance (may even help). grambo
You put Ride-on in each tire (deflated) in your garage. The idea is that with that stuff in there, most non-sidewall punctures will go unnoticed, as they are imediately sealed by the stuff. So not having a flat can mean it works .... or just that I havn't run over anything<g> grambo
Don't disagree on the "push-through" plug you see for lawn tractor tires and such. There is a type of plug called a "mushroom" plug/patch that is better than both a simple plug or a patch. It's actually a patch and a plug made together so that it can't come out after it's installed. "Ride-on" is the best stuff if you're on the road and have a flat, though, for sure. MokiMan
This patch is the type that has a stem, that is pulled through the hole, attached to a circular patch about 2" or so in diameter. Glue is applied to the stem and patch. Knowing this I called several dealer service department to see if they will mushroom patch my rear tire. None of them would citing liability reasons. They all offered to insert an inner tube. I was told that this is a safe alternative. To get my bike back on the road I had the inner tube installed and didn't have any problem with it for a couple hundred miles before my riding season ended. The safest thing to do would be to put in a new tire. You will have to decide if patching it is a viable alternative. Ken
A pluged tire that holds air is fine...sidewall plugs are not. Tires are one of the MOST CRUCIAL parts of the bike..really..after years racing I can tell you that even a 2 lb diffrence is measuralble on a race track...on th road in every day riding...yes..still makes a diffrence. I have not evaluated the current crop of tires on the market now..I used Dunlop tires alot..not sure how they fair now-a - days .... .Alot of folks here reccomend the Metzlers..they may know of what they speak. You have to look at the climate and types of riding you are subjected to, Those in the NW should find tires that work well on rain soaked roads...those in the south should look at tires with a higher temp rating... As a rule...the less tread on a tire the better...but wet conditions must be considered. I'd like to see some evaluations of something other than the Metzlers...... Knifemaker

I must clarify that I was speaking of the current technology of musshroom or at least liquid sealing plugs.(.the kind you use with some type of adhesive bond.) These..in everyday use ARE fine,, However...relying on them at crucial moments is questionable.

"Dianna Hughey"
Subject: Re: About tires I believe we have discussed plugged tires before and the regular plug is a safety hazard on any tire. With 4 tires on my car I still almost totalled it when I had a high spped blow-out on a front tire (Yes it was one of those firestones!) There is a mushroom type plug that works much better without the possibility of the plug working itself out. There is also a sealant that can be added to the tires to stop leaks. Any any case, once a tire is repaired, I would mark it as a candidate for replacement. Of course I am one that also believes in an ounce or prevention rather than a pound of cure. When I ask myself.. "Self... is your life worth $80-$110?" My response has always been.. "You betcha!!"

I was following this thread and recalled reading something about it in my 1999 owners manual. On page 99: "Tires that have been punctured and repaired do not have the same capabilities as undamaged tires. Do not exceed 60 mph within 24 hours after repair and 110 mph any time after that." It also reads on page 98: "An accepted estimate is that 90% of all tire failures occur during the last 10% of tread life (90% worn)." I know 110 mph sounds like a sufficient level, but if our bikes can do 115 mph, the original safety zone has to be way above that. I would speculate it is past 150 mph.

Adding to this are other realities:

1. Repaired tire are already worn. For example, if the repaired tire had 5000 miles on it, the structure isn't as strong as when the tire was new.

2. Weather conditions (e.g. hot weather) and rough highway road conditions further challenges a weakened tire structure. My vote is to keep the old tire for a spare and put on a new one. Tom Jue 1999 Vulcan 750 Danvile, CA

A patched or plugged tire does not have the same durability as an unflawed one.. I had a blow out on the rear tire doing 60+ once.. It wasn't pretty, for me or the bike (It was a plugged tire with low mileage).. Plus, in a car, you carry a spare.. It's no fun being out the middle of no where with a flat on a bike.. If nothing else, the safety issue should be considered.. If you've never layed a bike down, open your car door doing about 50 then slide the bottom of your foot along the pavement.. Now, imagine your body doing that, then ask yourself if the chance you are taking is worth the price of a new tire.. If there was a spot on me not covered with road rash, I couldn't find it.. Raz
A lot has been said on this topic in the past few days. I found an excellent web page that echos what has been stated here and goes into a lot more about the various pro's and cons of patching and ways of patching. One of the most interesting points that was make is that a patched tire MAY be fine it it was PROPERLY patched. Hmmmm.. And that a patched tire is no longer a perfect tire, and we all know that sometimes even new tires are not perfect (right ?) (So the image that comes to my mind is the mechanic saying : How lucky do you feel? Did I properly patch this tire or didn't I ? It's been so busy here today I don't remember....) Here is the page on tire plugging: Ton of good information here. http://www.ibmwr.org/otech/tireplug.html Bottom line, no matter what, Murphy is alive and well. So if you patch and ride, better hang an extra ride bell.

Well first off, before spending some cash on a repair kit..I suggest you get some Ride-On tire sealant. This may make the repair kit uneeded... There are many kits on the market, and the only one I like is the kind with the "gun" that inserts mushroom headed plugs..JCW carries one for $37.99 Item # AGS127276N it's made specificly for tubeless tires... KM

I think any tire damage on the road that Ride-on can't fix sure won't be fixed by a tire repair kit either, or safe to ride on if attempted My tire-repair kit is Ride-on! Seeing some one pull a drywall screw and another pull a sheet metal screw out of their tires and not have them go flat gave this little polly-anna consumer enough confidence in the product that I put ride-on in all my tires. I would still replace a tire that had sidewall damage. Besides.. Grambo likes the stuff too and that is good enough for me *G*

My endorsement for ride-on comes from several first-hand accounts on VROC. Guys I feel I know and know I trust. Works as advertised (and helps balance wheels, too). I guess it's like insurance .... fully covered, so won't get sick. Maybe it's a nail-repellent, too! grambo

I got mine (tire repair kit) from Northern Tool. It's a nice little package with CO2, patches, and plugs. I think it was like $20.

This is a great little compressor for carrying in your saddlebag.
JC Whitney K-64-03-D1 Economy 250 psi 12v Compressor $12.99 about 6x6x2 inches. It's part # ZX266096 at JC Whitney @ $12.99. Another web site gives dimensions as 5" L x 5 1/2" W x 3 1/2" H, and weight as 1.8 lbs FSB
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