No-one wants a puncture – it can totally ruin your day.
If you’re off touring abroad and you don’t have a puncture repair kit, not only will a puncture ruin your day but it can turn into a logistical nightmare too. If you’re stuck on the hard shoulder staring at your flat rear tyre, you won’t need the best motorcycle puncture repair kit, you’ll just wish you had any puncture repair kit!
Fortunately for most of us who go touring, we’re not heading to remote locations. If you are, then a puncture repair kit should be at the top of your packing list, closely followed by a tyre pressure gauge.
Whether you’re in the wilderness or on the M42, a flat tyre can be safely repaired in under 20 minutes if you know what you’re doing. So it makes sense to carry a puncture repair kit rather than chance your arm.
Table of Contents
There are plenty of options when it comes to puncture repair. In this guide, we’ve picked two great kits to keep you on the move. We’ve also highlighted a couple of good options for bikers on a budget, plus we discuss other areas that you might not have thought about when it comes to stopping a puncture from ruining your day.
British Standards for motorcycle puncture repairs
There is a British Standard for motorcycle tyre repairs, it is BSAU159. As it is a British Standard it is a recommendation and not a law.
The recommendation states that you should not repair a puncture to a tyre’s sidewall and that any repairs on the tyre should be to punctures that are within the central 50% of the tyre.
Any repairs should be inspected by a professional, who would remove the tyre in order to inspect the internal surfaces to check for any signs of damage.
The maximum number of repairs and size of the hole are dictated by the British Standard too.
Speed symbol up to J: Max 6mm and 2 repairs
Above J up to and including V: Max 3mm and 1 repair
Above V: Non-repairable
If in doubt, always contact a professional tyre-fitter.
Everything you need to fix a puncture at the roadside
Two Tyres are motorcycle tyre specialists and they’ve created this kit which comes with everything you need to fix a motorcycle puncture and re-inflate the tyre, quickly, safely and reliably. The kit includes rubber plugs, CO2 cylinders, a reaming tool and rubber solution. Plus there are hand wipes to help you clean up afterwards. A great item for your under seat storage.
Quality puncture repair kit
This Stop & Go kit is a slightly different take to our Best Buy, above but it follow the same method. You clean out the hole, drive-through the mushroom plug wih the insertion tool and re-inflate. It doesn’t come with gas cylinders, so you’ll need some of those or a mini bike pump to inflate your tyre once you’ve fixed it.
The cheapest motorbike puncture kit
If you’re comfortable with repairing your tyre and you’ve got the means to inflate it, then this motorcycle puncture repair kit from Slime is all you need. At under £8, it’s a no-brainer. You’ll obviously need something like a handy multi-tool to clip off the ends of the repair bung once it’s in place and it doesn’t come with any way to inflate your tyre, so you’ll need gas canisters, which is what our Best Rated kit above comes with.
Or you could opt to use Slime tyre sealant, which you pump into the tyre, then inflate it, carry on a few miles at a low speed to spread the Slime around the inside of the tyre, where it will seal the existing puncture and coat the rest of the tyre so that any new punctures will be sealed. Slime is billed as a temporary ‘get-you-home’ repair. It doesn’t always work, as larger holes tend not to seal and once you use it, your local motorcycle tyre shop won’t be able to apply a professional motorcycle puncture repair from the inside of the tyre as the Slime prevents the patch from sticking.
Anatomy of a good roadside puncture repair kit
There are various types of motorcycle puncture repair kits but the most common type is the plug and glue kit. A quality kit will have everything you need to get you going again but keep in mind that most canisters will get enough air in a tyre to make it safe but you'll have to top it up, either with a hand pump at the roadside, using a petrol station machine or sort it when you get back home.
- Gas canisters: It's no use sealing your tyre if you have no way of inflating it. You'll need to budget for two canisters to get a rear tyre up to a reasonable PSI, enough to safely head to a petrol station to properly inflate the tyre.
- Quality plugs: The tyre plugs are strips of sticky rubber. They're fairly gooey even when new but after a few years, they might perish. Not a problem as you can just buy replacement tyre plugs.
- Reamer and insertion tool: You'll need to remove the offending object whether that's a screw, a nail, piece of glass or random bit of metal. Then if the hole isn't too large, you'll use the file to clean out the hole and the insertion tool to push the plugin then partially withdraw it.
- Sealant glue: Some kits don't come with glue but it's a handy thing to have in order to get the best-possible seal on your puncture. You apply it to the strip before insertion.
- Blade: You don't need to have an additional blade or scissors if you carry a multi-tool but it's handy to have, in order to get a cleaner cut of the remnants of the plug so it's flush with the surface of the tyre.
Every Method Of Motorcycle Puncture Repair
(and my thoughts on their pros and cons…)
What is it: A tin of liquid foam, which you squirt into your tyre once you have a puncture. The aerosol helps inflate the tyre and the foam provides a temporary seal to the puncture.
What’s the catch? It’s only temporary. It’s not that effective on motorcycle punctures. Often the foam continues to seep through the hole, never fully sealing it. Once you have used it a motorcycle garage won’t be able to apply a permanent repair as the foam stops their patch from properly sealing to the tyre.
What is it: A kit that allows you to remove the offending object and insert a rubber string and re-inflate your tyre to the correct pressure. These can be drilled out and replaced with a permanent repair.
What’s the catch? In our opinion this is the best motorcycle puncture repair solution as the bung fits into the gap left by almost any puncture. You can clean up the puncture hole, insert a bung and re-inflate the tyre in minutes. However they should be replaced by a professional repair at the earliest opportunity.
What is it: A barbed mushroom that you push into the puncture hole and then trim off the end. They’re quick and easy.
What’s the catch? These are a good solution. The only drawback is if your puncture hole isn’t nice and round. However I’ve used puncture repair spears a few times over the years and rate them. However you will need a method of re-inflating the tyre as the kits don’t come with any gas.
What is it: A thick liquid that escapes through a puncture hole but dries and seals it.
What’s the catch? For me, the biggest catch is that once you use Slime you can’t then apply a permanent repair as the Slime stops an internal patch from sticking. It’s popular in the bicycle world but it doesn’t work well on motorcycle tubes. It’s effective in tubeless tyres. I’m in two minds about Slime. On a scooter in the city, I’d use it. For a motorcycle, I’d rather not run Slime and use a temporary bung as and when I picked up a puncture.
What is it: A plastic screw you twist into the puncture hole and snap off.
What’s the catch? These are great are fixing smaller puncture holes, from things like staples and nails but for larger holes created by screws they’re not large enough to create a perfect seal. You should limit your speed with these puncture repairs and get them replaced by a permanent patch as soon as you can. A great plus point is you can unscrew them to apply a permanent repair.
What is it: A large patch attached to a rubber-coated wire bung, inserted from the inside of the tyre, out. This permanently plugs the puncture hole.
What’s the catch? You can’t apply these at the road side. This permanent repair makes the tyre as good as new and is what motorcycle tyre shops use.
Tyre Slime (and why I don’t trust it)
There are many schools of thought when it comes to repairing a puncture or preventing a puncture.
Some riders put tyre slime in their tyres before a puncture. The idea of this puncture preventative measure is that the slime will ‘self-seal’ a tyre should an object penetrate the carcass and it does work. However you may end up riding around with a screw in your tyre and not know about it. Do you want to be doing 100mph with Slime and a screw in your tyre? I’m not sure I would..
It’s worth noting that most Slime kits aren’t legal for tyres of higher speed ratings, so if you have a V or Z rated tyre, double check. You might only be able to limp to a motorcycle garage when you have foam or Slime in place.
Tyre foam, also known as tyre weld, really is a ‘get-you-home’ solution. Once you use it, you can’t apply a permanent mushroom at your local motorbike garage as the liquid prevents a patch from working.
The reality is that foam won’t plug anything other than a very small puncture (think a box nail or smaller) and it doesn’t have the strength to keep a tyre inflated. If you have managed to creep to a petrol station and all they have is foam, then it’s useful if it gets you to a garage who can replace the tyre. Think of it as something which slows the puncture down rather than fixes it.
Slime and Foam are both relatively large items to carry, so if space is at a premium, you could also use slime as a layer of protection before your trip and then carry a repair kit should you need it.
Any repairs – bar a professional mushroom inserted from the inside of the tyre – is a stop-gap to a new tyre or a permanent repair. That said, I’ve fitted the string-type repair on the way to the ferry at the start of a 2,500 mile trip around France (just my luck!!) and it’s held all trip. I’ve replaced it when I got back to the UK. I also have friends who have stuck with their ‘temporary’ bung for hundreds of miles. As long as you’re aware of your repair and you check it regularly, you can make your own decision. However you need to know that 100mph on a temporary repair is not advisable.
Flat motorcycle tyres: Ben's top tips
Under-inflated tyres pick up punctures, so check your pressures.
No matter what anyone says, it's not safe to repair a puncture in a front tyre. If the puncture repair lets go you'll rapidly lose pressure and a deflated front is incredibly hard to control.
The tyre plugs in your kit will only last a few years. To check if they're still good, peel one off its backing strip. If it's dry and hard, you need to replace them.
You'll need a blade to trim the plug once fitted - not all kits come with one.
If you have a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System on your bike, check that any tyre slime you use is safe to use with this system.
If your bike starts to feel hard to steer, that's a sign of a puncture. Best to pull over and check your pressures.
If you have a puncture in your sidewall, it's not safe (or legal) to repair it, even if you can get a bung to stick: it's new tyre time.
My best rated motorbike puncture repair kits
There are lots of other decent motorcycle puncture repair kits on the market. Here are a few I have tested for this review guide and rate.
Two Tyres Motorbike Puncture Repair Kit – Motorcycle tyre specialists Two Tyres have taken an existing kit but beefed it up to include an additional gas canister, top quality repair strips and hand wipes to allow you to quickly, reliably and cleanly repair a puncture.
Stop & Go Tyre Plugger – A quick and simple solution to fixing a puncture. The bullets aren’t quite as versatile as the bung method – and you need a way to inflate the tyre once you’ve fixed the motorbike tyre puncture – but it’s a quality compact kit.
BikeIt Tubeless tyre repair kit – Plug kit with 5 plugs – but you’ll need a way to pump up your tyres after you’ve repaired the puncture.
Cargol Twist & Go Puncture Kit – A comprehensive kit that uses screw-type bungs to easily plug a puncture hole.
Rema Tip Top Motorcycle Puncture Repair Kit – One of the better-known brands. Rema make kits for almost anything with a wheel and this motorbike kit is spot on.
Repairing tubed motorcycle tyres
Some road and all off-road motorcycles have tubed tyres. Spoked wheels are much better than cast wheels at dealing with rough terrain but due to the spoke’s inability to keep a reliable air-tight seal, inner tubes are used in almost all cases*
(* some of the modern KTM 1290s, and BMW 1250s and the Africa Twin 1100 have clever tubeless spoked wheels bust pretty much everything else that’s spoked needs a tube.)
You can’t use a plug or bung method when it comes to fixing a puncture on an inner tube, you’ll need to remove the wheel, take the tyre off the rim and repair the puncture, just like you would do on a bicycle.
My first tip for anyone with tubed motorcycle tyres is: take a spare tube with you. It’ll save a lot of messing around with a repair kit.
But a repair kit is a handy thing to have, especially if you’re doing a lot of miles. You can repair your tube properly at a later time when you’re not so stressed. However, ideally you throw your punctured tube away and buy a replacement when you can.
You’ll need a motorcycle – not bicycle- inner tube repair patch kit. You’ll also need at least two but probably 3 quality tyre levers like these ones or these ones and at least two but probably 3 rim protectors.
Of course, if you’re probably adventuring, you could get away with a set of flat-head screwdrivers if you know what you’re doing (read, ex-motorcycle tyre fitter) but if not, at least one tyre lever and one rim guard will help you out. You can then use a screwdriver or whatever comes to hand to take the place of the tyre spoon as you work your way around the rim.
These kits are essentially the same as a bicycle inner tube repair kit, except they don’t come with the plastic tyre levers and the patched are usually quite a bit larger.
But I stress: a spare tube is better than a repair kit. If you replace your repaired tube and then find out the patch hasn’t held, you’re in for a whole world of hassle.
Tubed motorcycle puncture repair tips:
- Carry a spare tube and if you can only carry one, carry a front. This is smaller and can be stuffed into a rear and inflated to a reasonable pressure to let you carry on your journey.
- Slime won’t seal a motorcycle inner tube reliably and it creates a mess, so don’t bother.
- Inflate your tubes to the correct pressure. Low pressures mean you’re more likely to pick up a nail or screw puncture or a pinch flat from the rim.
- If you’re adventuring, practice a tube replacement at home to get to grips with how tricky it can be. You don’t want to be figuring this stuff out 50-miles from nowhere.
- If you run an Adventure bike with tubeless rims, you can still run a tube as a way of dealing with a puncture if you have no other method to repair it. Just remove the offending object and insert the tube. Keep your speeds down when the tube is fitted.
Motorcycle tyre gadgets to make life easier
We’ve covered the kits that will help you deal with a puncture but there are a few other accessories you can use to help you spot a puncture and better deal with one.
Easy Access To Your Valves
One of the things that might be stopping you checking your tyre pressure as often as you should is the fact that on most bikes, getting access to your valves is a bit of a faff. Especially on the front wheel where you have to battle with the tight gap between the wheel rim and the brake discs.
Enter the 90-degree tyre valve which you fit on your rim when you next change your tyre, meaning you have much easier access to your valve and thus you’ll probably check your tyre pressures more often.
This is a permanent valve and shouldn’t be confused with the majority of these 90-degree valves which are designed to be screwed on to your existing valve in order to make access easier.
These temporary valves can’t be left on as they may unscrew under the huge forces generated when riding and may cause a rapid loss of tyre pressure. We don’t rate the temporary valves as screwing them on is just as much of a faff as getting the airline or tyre pressure gauge onto the standard valve in the first place.
Once you’ve fitted 90-degree valves, you’ll never go back!
A Quality Tyre Pressure Gauge
If you’re serious about your tyre pressures, don’t rely on a petrol-station readout. They only have to be checked every 6-months and the reality is that Trading Standards don’t have the resources to check every petrol station, so use them as a rough guide.
If you don’t have a TPMS on your bike, you have two choices when it comes to checking your pressures; analogue or digital.
The benefits of an analogue pressure gauge are that you have no risk of the batteries being flat, so it’ll always be there when you need it. This RaceX tyre pressure gauge won an Auto Express award and gets great Amazon customer reviews. It’s compact enough to be carried on the bike too.
Most digital tyre pressure gauges are smaller than their analogue cousins but you do need to ensure the batteries won’t let you down. One way to do this is to turn the batteries around so they won’t drain. We’ve picked this quality digital tyre pressure gauge.It’s compact, features a built-in light and clear LCD display plus it uses AAA batteries which are cheap and tiny, so you can always gaffa tape a spare onto the body of the gauge.
Motorcycle puncture repair FAQs
Can I use slime in a tubed tyre?
No. The slime is designed to work with a thick tyre which has a material carcass. A motorcycle tyre inner tube is thin rubber and the slime won’t create a solid structure.
How many times can I repair a puncture in my tyre?
This depends on where the puncture is located. The maximum number of repairs you’re allowed to have in one tyre is 3, however the punctures should be evenly spaced around the tyre. If they are located close to each other you’ll need to get a professional opinion.
How far can you ride on a flat tyre?
This depends on what you call flat. If you have a tear in the tyre and it holds zero pressure then you won’t be able to ride far at all. Riding 100-metres will feel like a feat in itself. If you have a puncture and the tyre is going flat but it’s still holding pressure, ride at bicycle speeds and pump it up when you can (for example at a petrol station) to enable you to get to a motorcycle tyre shop safely. If the puncture is in the front tyre, don’t risk riding on the bike. Front tyre punctures are rare but a sudden loss of pressure in the front tyre will mean you will lose control of the bike s you won’t be able to steer it. It’s not worth the risk.
How safe is plugging a motorcycle tyre?
Strictly speaking, any roadside repair is temporary but I have ridden 2,000+ miles around France, having picked up a puncture within the first few miles of touching down on French soil. You should look to replace your temporary bung with a professional repair as and when you can but it’s not unusual for a bung to last the life of the tyre if you’ve properly inserted it and you’re not regularly riding at silly speeds.
Can I repair a puncture in a front motorcycle tyre?
If you are miles from anywhere and a roadside repair kit if your only hope, then yes. However this tyre should be replaced AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. The reason being: a blow-out on a front tyre will cause you to lose the ability to steer and can be catastrophic. A rear bung letting go will be a handful to deal with at speed but is unlikely to cause you to crash.
Can you ride on a motorbike with a flat tyre?
If you have a flat tyre and it won’t hold any pressure, then no. It’s not safe. If you have a puncture then the first thing to do is to try and re-inflate the tyre. Then judge how much air is leaking. Ride the bike at bicycle speeds to your closest motorcycle tyre shop to have the puncture repaired or the tyre replaced.
Do they make run-flat motorcycle tyres?
The short answer is no. They have experimented with these (aimed at police motorcycles) but they are too heavy and affect the bike’s handling and safety at high speed.
How do you find a slow puncture on a motorcycle?
Get a spray bottle and put some washing up liquid and water in it. Spray this on the tyre and any holes will create bubbles in your solution. Spray the tyre, the rim and the valve to check for leaks. Wash the tyre off with water to remove the soapy residue.
How do you repair a puncture on a tubed motorcycle tyre?
If your motorcycle has spoked wheels, then it’s highly likely that you also run inner tubes. If you get a flat tyre then your tube will have a hole in it. Pretty much none of the products above will work for you. Instead, you’ll have to remove your wheel, get the tyre off and replace the inner tube. Before you fit your new inner tube, run your fingers around the inside of the tyre and inspect it from the outside, to check that whatever caused the puncture isn’t still present in the tyre’s carcass.
Is it safe to patch a motorcycle inner tube?
It really isn’t worth trying to patch the inner tube on your motorbike. The hassle involved in removing and re-fitting the wheel and tyre means that if you get a puncture, just replace the tube. Carry a spare with you if needs be. If you try and use a repair patch and it fails, you’re back to square one and you’ll have to remove and fit the wheel and tyre again. A big headache that you could do without. Especially if you’re at the side of the road doing it on your own.
Thanks to the following websites which helped us research and write this motorcycle puncture repair guide:
UK Government Tyre Safety Regulations
How accurate are petrol station forecourt tyre pressure gauges