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Flat Tire (Prepared)

Steve Kolenda

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Steve Kolenda

We just returned from a trip around Lake Huron, Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. One morning as we were leaving our hotel in a remote part of Lake Michigan the red triangle on our 2011 R1200RT started flashing showing tire pressure as a problem. We pulled into a nearby parking area put the bike on the center stand and discovered a nail in the tire. Fortunately we were prepared and back on the road in less than an hour. A good portion of this time was spent getting the items required to fix this out of the bike and back in again. I used the needle nose pliers on my multi tool to remove the nail then the Nealey tire repair kit which was extremely easy to use and I have had no loss of tire pressure after at least 2000 miles. I also carry a Slime 12 volt air pump which worked great. In addition, I have one of the outlets on the bike connected directly to the battery so I had no problem running the pump with the Canbus system using a cigarette to BMW adapter. I also carry a RoadGear digital pressure gage. I can't imagine what kind of delay we would have encountered if we couldn't have fixed it ourselves. Not a good thing to happen but because we were prepared it was just a very small delay.

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Agree entirely.

I have got the complete toolkit from Adventure Designs. Plus a pump and tire repair kit.

As the RT's have ample storage space in their panniers, there is no excuse not to be prepared.

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...I can't imagine what kind of delay we would have encountered if we couldn't have fixed it ourselves....


Here's how it goes: You pop your tire around noon. One guy goes into town and calls a wrecker. Eventually the bike goes on the truck, and into town. You drop it off at one of just two available garages. They're both closed because it's Sunday. You look at each other, and walk to the motel. Get a couple rooms. Then you walk across the street and order some pizza (which turns out to be delicious!). And with a full belly, you wander down to the other end of town, and spend a few entertaining hours at the only pub for miles in any direction. Then back to the motel, 15 minutes in the sauna downstairs, and a good night's sleep. The next morning the mechanic fishes around for an innertube that fits (well, sorta...), lifts up your machine with a jury-rigged tow strap attached to a car hoist, and bingo bango, you're on your way home.


This is how it went down when my buddy got a flat. Quite a pleasant experience, all in all. My own flats take about a 1/2 hour. And that includes the emergency potty break in the bushes.... (btw, I keep a little TP in my breakdown kit now.)

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Last week coming home from Alaska, last day of a great 3 week vacation. I picked up a giant fencing staple in the back tire. Near Oroville WA, and it was 37 degrees C !


I bought a Pocket Tire Plugger at the MOA rally about 5 years ago, never opened the kit.


The staple was so big the two holes were about an inch apart. Reamed out the holes, put the mushroom shaped plugs in, inflated the tire with the previously untested 12V pump, trimmed the plugs, and away we went. We were off the road for about half an hour.


One plug was weeping a little air and had to be topped up a couple of time, but we were home in four more hours.


I've since replaced the weepy plug, and riding this tire to Billings MO in a couple of days.

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  • 9 months later...

I just got new Michelin Pilot 4's on both wheels this Spring and noticed I picked up a small sharp object in the middle of the rear tire tread and it's leaking air. There's not yet 300 miles on this tire. Would you patch it and ride it or get a new tire?

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Joe Frickin' Friday

I have a habit of checking my tire pressures at the start of each riding day; if you get a slow leak, chances are it's most likely to show up after the bike's been sitting for 10+ hours.


A couple of years ago while touring Wisconsin, one morning I found that my tire was down to less than 30 psi. Like you, I was ready: pulled the staple out with a pair of needlenose pliers, installed a plug, and fired up the slime pump. Wow, the Slime pump is noisy, and it was about 7AM, and I was parked right next to the hotel! So I decided to push the bike to a remote part of the parking lot. Holy crap, the bike is hard to push with a dead flat tire (all air had come out during the repair procedure). Anyway, fired up the pump again - and soon realized that the pump works a LOT faster when you fire up the engine and get system voltage up to 14.5 volts instead of 12 volts.


Anyway, yeah, solved my own problem, tiny cost and minimal delay. Being able to do it in town was a lot nicer than having to do it 30 miles out of town, with services to back me up if my plugging efforts failed somehow.

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