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Saturday, 14 July 2012

Something you hope never to use!

Poseurs excepted, motorcyclists invariably head for the wide open spaces where there isn't much traffic. One of the problems of heading into the Wide Blue Yonder is getting marooned or seriously inconvenienced if you get a puncture.  I know it's pushing Karma to mention it but I've only had 2 punctures since returning to bikes in the 1980's, neither of which stopped me in my tracks.  That's not to say it's not prudent to take precautions though.

There are various products on the market and this is the kit which has resided in my bike pack for many years

 Hmmmm..... must be getting on for 10 years old

The kit consists of 2 CO2 cylinders and a right-angled fitting (nice touch ,that), a reamer for cleaning the hole, some sticky rope which I think are called dog turds in some quarters (chihuahua-sized, one presumes) and an awl to drive the turds into the puncture.  I'll admit that the presence of the kit has given a certain peace of mind over the years, but not without a couple of nagging doubts.  A piece of sticky rope blocking a hole with 40psi or thereabouts of tyre pressure behind it, plus added centrifugal force when moving doesn't fill me with confidence, even taking it easy.  Secondly, 2 CO2 cartridges are highly unlikely to deliver full pressure to a tyre - maybe enough to limp to the nearest gas station pump, maybe not.

In the end, the worry about inflation got the better of me.  I popped down to the local store and bought an inflator which plugs into a cigarette lighter port.  As the case was large and the working internals are small, I simply removed the case and now have a pump which is less than 12 cm down its longest side. Chop the plug off and fit crocodile clips to attach to the bike battery and you have a compact and lightweight inflator.  Here 'tis:

Inflator and digital pressure gauge

Incidentally, the gauge on the pump is a mile out of calibration (just like a lot of gas station gauges) so I  always carry a good quality digital gauge.

Last weekend, we were passing our local Triumph dealer so stopped off to buy oil and a filter.  On the counter was a Gryyp-brand puncture repair outfit.  I'd read good reports about these so decided to splash out the rather expensive NZ$89 to get one.  Here's a picture of the kit:

Gryyp puncture repair kit

The business end of the kit is a threaded plastic key (see close-up below).  All you do is mark the puncture location with the thoughtfully-provided chalk, pull out the cause of the puncture with the supplied pliers and turn the threaded key in until the head snaps off.  What could be simpler than that and you actually have mechanical grip to hold the plug in.

4 plastic keys supplied in the kit

Must say that I feel a lot happier with this kit in my pack, although I'll still use my still battery-powered pump rather than CO2 cartridges should a puncture occur.

Here's a YouTube demo from UK-based magazine MCN showing how easy the whole process is:

In the video, the commentator talks about replacing the tyre. In a bike puncture I had which must have been in the mid 1990's, a small sliver of tinplate went through the tyre almost immediately I'd left the shop from having a new one fitted! In that instance, the tyre shop simply vulcanised a reinforced patch on the inside of the tyre rather than having to fork out for yet another new tyre.

37 comments:

  1. Geoff:

    I have Roll-on tyre sealant installed inside my tires. It is supposed to remain as a GEL and actually plugs the hole as you ride but I also carry tire plugs, both worms and mushroom. Plus I have a air compressor under the seat.

    Like an umbrella, I hope never to use it

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

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  2. Hi Bob,

    I thought all you guys were away at the moto-bloggers convention! Must have misread the dates. I've heard of those gels - one called Slime over here but that's the sum total of my knowledge! You're clearly on top of your game though! Good insurance.

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  3. Ha, I was planning on posting a similar blog - Biggo wanted to know what sort of compressor I carried...

    I've the same kit as your original one and a slightly larger compressor. I've ridden 500+km on a string repair in a very worn rear tyre (belts showing when I got home) with no issues - I did keep an eye on the tyre pressure all the way home though (very easy to do on a Connie thanks to the TPS system).

    Better get my post sorted...

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  4. Unfortunately, I have tubes so more of a challeng patching the tubes. I carry both spare tubes and a patching kit. I still have the original, stock hand pump but also a small compressor. Some opt to run without tubes on the cast rims but I'm told that the rims aren't designed for tubeless tires.

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    1. Hello Richard!
      Yep, patching or replacing tubes could well be quite a challenge. Do you actually have to remove the wheel or is there a cunning way to do it in place?

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    2. Nope, pulling the wheels, and digging out the tire irons is the only way to patch the tube. I have heard of folks doing the front while on the center stand but it's supposedly difficult. Considering how simple it is to pull the wheels, why not?

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    3. On some modern bikes, it's a pain to get thr wheels off, especially the rear. Guess shaft drive helps - it certainly did on my K 100.

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  5. Hi Andrew!
    I wonder if there's some form of collective telepathy going on?

    That's a good example of a string repair working thanks. Also didn't realise that the Connie had TPS - really smart. I like the apparent simplicity of the screw-in repair, especially if it's throwing it down in the middle of the night :-).

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    1. TPS is outstanding! Although the batteries are getting on to nearly 5 years old so I'm gonna need to replace the sensors in the wheels at some stage...

      http://banditrider.blogspot.co.nz/2012/07/just-in-case.html

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    2. That's a great post on your blog Andrew - looks like we've covered off things pretty well. Wonder if anyone has any experience with Bobscoot's slimy stuff?

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  6. Hi Geoff

    I have the same kit as your string one used it last Sunday when a friend I was riding with got a flatty ! Ended up doing two holes with the string on what to be honest was a fairly well worn tyre. Worked well but 3 air cylinders didnt fully inflate the tyre. Interested in your compressor and Andrew has one so I think thats on my list. Ironic thing is I have used the string repair kit twice now with great success but never on my own bike !!

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    1. Gidday Phil
      Yet another example of string working! Wow, if 3 cylinders didn't fully inflate the tyre, I certainly had a false sense of security with just 2 of them!! I've had that compressor for maybe a couple of years or more now. I went to the Warehouse and bought the Arlec black plastic car compressor for about $25 and tossed the case away.

      Yeah, and the moment you stop carrying the kit, that's when Fate will step in!

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    2. Compressors are the shizzle!

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    3. Hi Geoff
      I think 2 cylinders would give you enough air to get to the nearest servo or compressor. Turns out we actually had two punctures on Sunday, we had been over some fresh grit that the council has put on the road where its prone to ice. The cylinders are fine if for instance you have an obvious screw or nail in the tyre to repair. Problem is when you cant find a hole so we used one cylinder to put some air in to try and find the leak before we could plug it. With a compressor it would be easy to just give it a squirt of air to check for leaks first.

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    4. Thanks for the explanation Phil, it's reassuring although the compressor is always with me now!

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  7. Hi Geoff,

    Hubby and I both have tubed tires, not so easy to fix on the side of the road. We thought about carrying spare tubes but with limited luggage space we ended up getting the Slime (or equivelent brand that I cant remember the name of). Touch wood, neither of us has had a flat yet so dont know first hand if it works, but we have seen a couple of posts on various forums from people who say it's worked for them. We both carry patch kits and those Co2 cylinders, but really I dont know how we'd fix a tube on a deserted outback highway if we needed to.

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    1. Hi Brenda,
      I didn't realize that tubed tyres were still common for some types of bikes and yes, they do present the need for a different approach. I used to carry a pressurized can of stuff which was the forerunner to gel when I had my BMW but mercifully, never had to use it,

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  8. Holey crap, I've been riding around the last 20 years with no puncture repair kit. Luckily I've only ever had one flat tyre which resulted in the bike being trailer home. Maybe I should look into getting one. Thanks Geoff

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    1. Hi Steve,
      I never used to carry one either but it was increasingly going to remote places which convinced me to get one. Of course, sport bike riders have golden balls, so you should be fine without one :-). Mind you, you're the only blogger so far without one!

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    2. I have the same kit as in your first photo. I bought four extra CO2 bottles as well and touch wood, I have never had to use it. I have had one trailer rescue flat because it was easier but are you over thinking this repair kit thing Geoff? Three kits and never needed one yet......?

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    3. Golden balls? I've not heard that one before, please explain.

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    4. Guilty as charged! However,in mitigation, I live way out in the sticks and it's about managing risk for some crucial trips like my monthly IAM training run to Auckland leaving home at pretty unsocial hour. Besides, Karma is bound to bite me in the arse if I didn't carry one :-)

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  9. Steve,
    Golden Balls means you can do no wrong. Doesn't that apply to sports bike riders, especially those with R1's? ;-)

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  10. I've got the Gryyp kit and carry about 4 canisters.

    I still shudder at the memory of a rapid front tyre deflation I experienced on the old cross ply, tubed tyre on my Z1R in the early 1980's!

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    1. Hi Jules!
      It's a nice bit of kit, isn't it? Looks so quick to use.

      Crickey mate, that sounds really scary! Guess that the new generation of radial is pretty tough with the multiple ply layers.

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  11. A good reminder Geoff to carry a kit. I am usually with another rider so don't usually carry one on my bike, but the Bonneville happened to have a small kit in the saddlebags when we bought it complete with CO2 bottle. It has since been switched to under Max's seat so I have it with me just in case.

    Most riders around here seem to carry these compact kits and I think it is what hubby carries. http://www.motorcycle-superstore.com/1/4/77/13761/ITEM/Slime-Power-Sport-Smart-Spair-Kit.aspx

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    1. Hi Brandy,
      Thanks for the link. Slime is available in NZ but I don't think it is all that common. Have never seen the compressor though and that's a really nice unit. I can see me getting one of those when mine dies.

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  12. Geoff, I have a great bit of kit with the Slime compressor and worm plugs. I haven't had to use it on my own tires but I have on a friend's tire. I tossed the "slime" and added a small tube of rubber cement instead to help seal the worms and to save room. I know that with enough worms you can even repair a significant slash in a tire. Spoke wheels and tube tire riders are on their own, sorry.
    http://www.slime.com/shop/power-sport-tire-inflator-40001/

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    1. Hi Brad, there seems to be a common thread that most people who have a repair kit have only used it to help people who haven't got one! That trend even sows up on the links feedback which you and Brandy sent.

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  13. Aye..once "limped" home after fixing a puncture .

    Since then always carry pump to get correct pressure into tyre , CO2 not enough puff !!

    X11 with low pressure tyre not good for health / heart ..lol

    Andrew

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  14. Hey Andrew,
    I wouldn't want to push an X11 far either!!

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  15. MAte, I always carry a "dog turd" one, but am going to look at the one you just mentioned. Hardly ever leave home with out it. Only ever used it once for myself, but have saved a fair few un prepared bikers over he last few years.

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  16. Hey Rog!
    May Karma continue to be on your side. Yeah, I like the apparent simplicity of the Gryyp system. Less chance for me to stuff it up if I get caught out.

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  17. Geoff, I hate to sound like a total "wus" but I carry a cell phone and a CAA (roadside assistance card) and always hope to hell that I have cell service. I have tubed tires, and really wouldn't have the strength or wisdom to to anything with spare parts if I had them ... but it doesn't stop me. You and your readers totally impress me!

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    1. Karen,
      Nothing "wussy" about taking precautions. Hope that your CAA membership covers you for your current trip into the USA! If it doesn't, I'd be worried about assistance from any good ol' boys with a pick-up and a gun rack (or banjo rack) in the back ;-).

      Yeah, tubed tyres seem a bit more problematic than modern tubeless and I don't quite know what I'd do if I had them.

      Safe journeying - loving your trip report!

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  18. A bit late to the discussion Geoff, but the small canisters are good for about 8psi max. As said already, often you need to use air to get some pressure into the tyre to find the hole, or you've lost air finding the hole, or punching the hole in prep for dog turd etc.

    I carry most of a genuine innovations dog turd style kit and an air compressor. Air compressor is also to control air pressure for adv riding.

    It's one of the few things I can do to the BMW without an authorised service centre!

    Gremlin

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  19. Alan,
    Thanks for the heads-up with respect to just how little those canisters reinflate a tyre. Yep, an inflator is a smart move, particularly for the long hauls which you do. I always carry mine when heading out of town.

    Other than punctures, I'd imagine that there's not a lot you have to do with a Beemer other than ride it!

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