How to Plug a Motorcycle Tire

When you’re motoring across uncharted territory in your dirt riding gear and accessories and enjoying everything the road has to offer, there’s few things worse than a flat tire. A flat motorcycle tire can be bad news anywhere, but is particularly frustrating if you’re away from home. Unlike your car, you probably don’t have a spare tire kicking around. Here’s a helpful guide to plug your tire by using one of the best motorcycle tire repair kits.

Tube or Non-Tube?

You need to determine whether you’re cruising on a tubed or non-tube tire. Non-tube tires are a popular street option for modern motorcycles, but tubed are a classic tire. It’s important to distinguish the two, as repair kits are completely different for each type of tire.

Repairing a Non-Tube Tire

This is the easiest type of repair to make on the road. Assuming you have a tubeless tire, you’re able to use a plug and get back on the road just long enough to hit the nearest mechanic or tire shop. Before plugging your tire, it’s important to remember that any road fix is temporary. A plugged tire should be completely replaced or patched as soon as possible.

Your repair kit will come with a few handy plugs, a reamer tool and a plug tool. Once you’ve found that annoying nail, metal shard or other offending object, you need to make the hole nice and smooth to ensure the plug will do its job. Obviously, when you pull the piece of metal out of your tire you’ll be greeted with an air leak, so the rest of these steps will be in quick succession.

Grab your reamer to make a smooth, circular hole. If the hole is larger than a quarter of an inch, you may have to give up and call a tow truck. Otherwise, thread a plug through your plug tool. Plunge the tool into the hole and pull it straight back out.

If done correctly, the plug will have folded in half and successfully filled the gap. Trim the two tails down with a knife and hop back on your bike. Once you’re home or in a garage, shop for aftermarket or OEM bike parts and tires to get you back on the road.

Repairing a Tubed Tire

If you’re unfortunate enough to be driving on tubed tires, plugging won’t work. A tubed tire needs to be removed, the tube needs to be patched and then put back on the bike. Oftentimes this process causes your tire to go flat and you need an air compressor before you can hobble back to the shop.

Riding Responsibly
A plug kit is an amazing accessory to have on any ride. However, plugs are temporary fixes only. If you try to keep driving long distances on your plugged tire you’ll soon have another flat and probably an even bigger hole. Use it in emergency situations and slowly make your way to the nearest garage. Whether you’re just getting started with a basic bike or have a tricked-out ride with all the best Suzuki SV650 aftermarket parts and accessories, be sure to include a plug kit on your next shopping list. 

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