Two months ago whilst completing my daily safety check on one of Taplow’s marked Police bikes I located a screw in the rear tyre. Using the Airpro emergency repair kit kept in the bike’s pannier, a colleague and I set to work on making the bike roadworthy again. The Airpro kit consists of a reamer tool to make the screw hole slightly larger, several sticky “rope” strips of fibre which is forced into the puncture to seal the hole and three bottles of compressed air. The repair took about 10 minutes to complete and the rear tyre was inflated using the compressed air bottles. I had 2 main concerns with the Airpro kit at the conclusion of the repair. The first relates to inflating the tyre, there is no way of knowing how much or how little air is actually going into the tyre. The second concern focuses on the repair itself. The sticky fibre strip once inserted into the puncture resembles a lump of chewing gum after riding the bike along the road for a couple of miles. My confidence in the repair was so low in fact; I returned the bike to Taplow and arranged for the bike to be recovered to the Police workshops. I know all repairs to a tyre have to be recognised as temporary however, this BMW kit is undeniably a “get you home repair” only.
The following week I set to work on finding a system available to everyone that is easy to use and offers more confidence to you as a rider! With the help of Craig from the Saferider team I located a tyre repair system that offered so much more than the previous kit I used. The system I discovered is called the Stop & Go Premier Tire Repair. As you can see from the spelling of “Tire” it’s an American based company however various repair kits are easily available in the UK. Craig contacted the President of the company Bill Merriman and obtained a system for me to trial. Its worth mentioning at this stage that Stop & Go offer a huge range of products ranging from repair systems for cycles through to systems for heavy plant vehicles. Bill sent over a compact kit called the 6000 Puncture Pilot (tubeless). This system is extremely compact and manages to fit snugly under the seat of my Blackbird.
The 6000 series consists of, a gauged electric compressor that attaches to the bike’s battery using crocodile clips, plugging unit, nozzle, probe tool, reamer tool, retractable razor knife, (15) mushroom plugs, alan key and laminated instructions. All items are stored in a canvas zipped case.
After receiving this concise kit, I had to trial it straight away and what better way than to puncture the rear tyre of my CBR1100 Blackbird! Don’t worry I haven’t gone mad; the tyres on the “Bird” needed replacing before I embark on my annual trip to Normandy France.
I selected a typical sized screw and inserted it into the rear inflated tyre. It’s worth mentioning at this stage that if a tyre receives a puncture outside the central section of the tyre any type of repair must be recognised as an emergency repair only and the tyre should be replaced ASAP!
After removing the foreign object (screw)from the tyre I then moved over to the laminated instructions and followed them to the letter. The first implement I used was the probe tool to ensure the foreign object had been completely removed. The next tool I used was the reamer. No matter what type of object has entered the tyre the hole left has to be opened (reamed) wider to make room for the tyre plug. Unfortunately the handle on the reamer tool slipped off the shaft in my hands. This appears to be an isolated fault with my kit because upon closer inspection the reamer had not been inserted far enough into the handle when it was manufactured. Nothing that a drop of Araldite didn’t fix anyway.
Once the hole in the tyre had been reamed out enough I then used the probe tool again and threaded it through the insert nozzle to guide the nozzle into the hole itself. This sounds confusing however the below picture should explain more.
I then placed one of the lubricated mushroom plugs into the plugging unit and screwed the unit into the nozzle that is already inserted into the tyre.
Now comes the clever bit! After inserting the alan key into the rear of the plugging tool I then turned the key clockwise until resistance was felt. Basically what happens is by turning the alan key the lubricated mushroom plug slides out of the plugging tool, through the nozzle and into the tyre itself. The whole unit is then pulled out of the tyre leaving the head of the mushroom inside the tyre and the stalk protruding outside.
With the stalk exposed a pair of pliers is needed to pull on the stalk stem several times to seat the mushroom head correctly inside the tyre. I then used the supplied blade to trim the stalk down and left it just proud of the tyre profile. That’s it the tyre has been plugged quickly and securely.
The whole process including reading the instructions step by step took me approximately 5 minutes to complete. I believe I can do the “whole” (pardon the pun) process in 2 minutes if I have to do it again.
I then attached the supplied mini compressor to the battery, screwed the nozzle onto the tyre valve and inflated the tyre. From completely flat, to 42 PSI (advised air pressure for my Blackbird) took just under 15 minutes. Not bad at all bearing in mind the compressor is as smaller than a cigarette packet. One other thing to mention is the accuracy of the pressure gauge on the compressor, the pressure shown was exactly the same as the pressure displayed on my calibrated tyre pressure gauge. Another function I liked regarding the mini compressor is that it has a very bright LED light incorporated in the housing. How handy will this be if you’re stranded at night?
I then rode the Blackbird straight after the tyre repair and completed a 30 mile test drive which incorporated fast sections of national speed limits, “twisties” and a short stint on the motorway. I then rode back home and checked the pressure and examined the plugged repair. The pressure was still held at 42PSI and the exposed stalk looked a hell of a lot more secure than the “chewing gum” mess I had experienced previously. The moist area around the stalk is my spit, sorry. 🙂
Finally I took the wheels off my Blackbird and ran them down to Tri-County Motorcycles in Bracknell where I had the tyres replaced. The final image shows the inside of the tyre with the mushroom head showing. Please note how the head of the mushroom has flattened out and expanded to seal the puncture completely from the inside. This sealing effect is caused by the air pressure in the tyre after it had been inflated on the wheel rim.
In my opinion this is the best tyre repair system on the market. It is compact, contains all the tools required to complete the repair quickly and more importantly after examining the inside of the tyre I was totally confident in the strength of the repair. I know that all tyre repairs have to be recognised as being temporary however in all honesty I would have been happy to leave this repair and forget about it if my tyres hadn’t have needed replacing.
Various Stop & Go repair systems including the compact air compressor are available via Ebay and Amazon. The price of the 6000 series that I trialled is priced at $64.95 (approximately £42) Please feel free to speak to Bill Merriman at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need further information about this revolutionary product.