Fixing a flat on the road

motorcycle repair on the side of the road

Nothing puts a damper on an awesome day on two wheels quicker than a flat tire. So, what do you do? Call BCAA? A buddy with a truck? Or are you prepared to tackle it yourself. Depending where you are, you may not have a choice! And yes, I still live in the medieval times and have tubes. If you’re tubeless, get out your bacon strips and plug away! But….you may have to put a tube in if the tire damage is too great.

Being Prepared

First things first, you need to put together a list that works for YOU! Not what somebody else tells you to carry (and yes, there’s a bit of irony here). So, I’ll lay out what Icarry and what works for ME, and I’ll talk about some things that I don’t carry, that you might. But no matter how good your kit is, you gotta know how to use it! So practice, practice, practice. I do all my own tire work at home using the same kit, so I have it relatively sorted by now…

The Kit

I’ll break it down into where I carry everything as well. Basically 3 spots; fender bag, backpack, and tool roll. The fender bag isn’t always on the fender, but it carry’s all the tire related bits. The stuff that isn’t needed that often. The tool roll lives on the top of a side pannier and has all the tools I more regularly use.

in the Fender Bag

I use and love the Enduristan fender bag. Waterproof and easy on/off while still being secure on the fender.

  • Spare tube. I only carry one, a 21 that fits the front perfectly, and the rear in a pinch to get me rolling.
  • Trail Stand. Adjustable and can be used to support the bike to take either wheel off.
  • Motion Pro beadpro levers. These things are gold. Never had an issue breaking a bead with these, including stubborn tubeless tires. and can naturally be used as regular levers as well.
  • Motion Pro combo lever. So 3 levers in total, the magic number for me. I Cary the one with the small end, that fit’s the valve stem locking nut.
  • Motion Pro bead buddy. Invaluable to keep the bead forced down into the trough in the middle of the rim. Using 2 is even better.
  • Tube fishing tool. I have fat fingers and can’t easily get my hand in the tire to pull the valve stem through. This little thing is a huge frustration saver. Also has a valve core remover in the end.
  • Extra valve stem core. Those little things could disappear anywhere!
  • Axle nut tool. A little flat wrench with the sizes for front and rear axles.
  • Tire mounting slime. I have a tub of it to use at home, and carry a little in the kit. Slippery stuff.
  • A rag to put down before you put the wheel on the ground, always rotor side up.

In the Backpack

In the tool roll

I use the Enduristan Lyndon organizer. Perfect size for me

  • Surprise, it’s tools! Carry whatever you bike needs, every one is different. 

Getting the Tube Out

Again, you are different and your bike is different. This is just how I go about things. Take it all with a grain of salt and adjust so that you do you.
  • Step One – Take your wheel off. I’m going to go into that, you know your bike. But the Trail Stand is a must unless you have a centre stand or a strap to hang the bike from a tree. And really, you can just lay the bike on the ground like an animal if you want. Pro-tip, use a strap around the front brake lever if you are doing the rear, and leave it in gear if you are doing the front.
  • Step Two – Valve core removal. Pull that little sucker out, but don’t loose it!
  • Step Three – Break the bead on both sides. Using the bead breakers, you jam the forked end in far as you can, then the narrow other one on the middle and pry. POP! Easy peasy.
  • Step Four – Once both beads are broken, pick a spot on one side about 45degrees away from the valve stem and push in the bead buddy. This will push the bead down into the trough of the rim. This is key, it offsets the tire and gives you the space you need to start prying on the side opposite the bead buddy.
  • Step Five – LUBE! It really does help, and in some cases it’s the difference between success or failure. Or just lots of swearing… I carry a little bit of  commercial tire mounting goo, but anything will work in a pinch. Soap from a bathroom works well, or even WD40 if you have to…
  • Step Six – Start prying. I can only say so much about this, there’s no substitute for practice. The silver Motion Pro lever has an awesome little hook lip that catches on the rim or tire and helps alot. Work your way around, little bites at a time. If you have to use TOO much muscle, readjust the tire so that it’s sitting in the trough.
  • Step Seven – Push the valve through and get the tube outta there. Make sure you check the tire to see if whatever gave you the flat isn’t still there. It sucks doing this all twice…

Putting it all back together

So you’ve now either patched the old tube or have a replacement ready to go in. 

  • Step One – Getting the tube in place. Feed the oh-so-handy stem threader though the hole and screw it into the inside of the stem. I keep the stem a few inches to one side of the rim hole, push the tube in all the way around, then rotate the tire and tube together towards the hole. pulling on the threading tool the entire time. Once the stem is through, remove the tool and immediately get that lock but on the stem so it doesn’t disappear on you.
  • Step Two – Put the bead buddy back in, same place about 45degrees away from the stem.
  • Step Three – Re-install the valve core. I then like to pump the tube up slightly, like really slightly. Not enough pressure to force the tire anywhere, but just enough to get it into the tire and away from the rim.
  • Step Four – Again, lube is your friend. Slather the bead on both sides with whatever you have. 
  • Step Five – Make sure the tire is offset, with the far side bead down in the rim. Then take small bites and start working the bead back on. Again, if you’re using too much muscle you run a good chance of pinching that new tube. Work your way around and get the bead all on there. Practice practice practice…
  • Step Six – Inflation. More lube, get both beads slathered in something. This will really help getting those beads to seat. Now, get pumping!! Or use your battery powered pump if you have one. Overpump, and make sure those beads seat on both sides. Then you can deflate back down to your pressure of choice.

That’s It! Almost done

Now get that wheel back on there, put everything away. Wet wipes sure help with clean-up. Make sure you didn’t leave anything laying around, gear up, and get rolling!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Bonus Linkage

a map of the Buchanan Lookout tower motorcycle route

Buchanan Lookout

The Buchanan Lookout stands tall at 1,912 m (6,272 Ft) and offers stunning views of the Kootenay Lake, Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, Goat Range Provincial

Read More »
motorcycle riders resting travelling on Kootenay Lake ferry

Kootenay Lake Ferry

The Kootenay Lake ferry runs across Kootenay Lake, 35 kilometres east of Nelson on Highway 3A, between Balfour (west side) and Kootenay Bay (east side),

Read More »