Posted: 12 Oct 2013
It’s always a good idea to join a breakdown recovery service, to avoid being stranded by the roadside if the worst happens when you’re out on your motorcycle. However, there are some steps you can take yourself to make sure you get home safely if you get a puncture.
If you find yourself with a tyre that is losing pressure while out on the road, you should find a safe place to stop immediately as riding on an under-inflated tyre may cause irreparable damage. However, always make sure you’re visible to other road users, particularly if it’s dark or if you’re parked just by the roadside.
Generally speaking, the motorcycle tyre industry isn’t in favour of tyre repairs on the fastest radials – professionals will usually recommend you replace a punctured tyre. However, there are some reliable puncture repair kits on the market today that you can use yourself.
The fluids that are available come in two forms. Pre-emptive fluids are put into the tyre when it is new, and stay in the tyre. These have numerous disadvantages for your motorcycle though, including added rotational unsprung weight, which can have an adverse effect on handling and suspension capabilities. In addition, if the puncture hole is of significant size, the sealant may not work properly. The pre-emptive fluids don’t come cheap either. They can cost around £20-25, and have to be replaced every time you fit new tyres.
The other type of fluid is a kind of foam, which you insert after a puncture and helps to re-inflate the tyre. This type of repair is only temporary, and you should restrict your riding speed until you reach your nearest garage. It should be noted that the industry isn’t in favour of puncture repair via fluids, as they don’t believe them to have received enough testing.
An alternative is to use a puncture repair kit, which are widely available from dealers and are light enough to carry in your motorcycle’s tool box. These take the form of a plug-type repair and usually come complete with CO2 cartridges to re-inflate the tyre afterwards. Although still not sanctioned by the tyre industry, they will generally look the other way. However, once a plug repair has been carried out, you can no longer have the tyre permanently repaired.
These kits should only ever be used as a short-term fix, and you should always seek help from a tyre professional at the earliest opportunity. Riding your motorcycle with an incorrectly repaired puncture or temporary repair for a prolonged period may affect your insurance.