So on my way to work yesterday I heard a bit of a bang and figured I had just blown my throttle boot off the throttle bodies (which is one particular Vee nuance I had yet to enjoy). The bike continued to run fine so I thought nothing of it.
Got on the bike after a hard day at the office, ready to head home and I feel the steering is all wrong. I hop off and notice that my rear tyre has completely deflated. This doesn't come as a surprise because I have had a slow leak for about 4 months now and I figure that whatever the problem area was had just suffered catostrophic failure. Serves me right for not fixing it earlier.
So I rotate the tyre to give it a once over and what do I spy but a metallic round protrusion in the tyre. Suddenly the "pop" sound I heard earlier in the day makes sense.
I have no experience in tyre repair and I don't have anything on me at the time. However, I did recall seeing a tyre repair kit in Big W (Aussie version of "Wallmart", I guess) and it is not to far to walk, so off I go. I get to Big W, find the tyre repair kit ($8 ), a pair of Vice Grips ($22, but I've always wanted a pair so...) and the cheapest foot pump I can find ($10).
I walk all the way back to the bike and grip the metallic object and give it a pull. Out comes a 1/4" drill bit, about 1.5" long and I shake my head in disgust, saying "this would never have happened on a Wee!". I open up the tyre repair kit and have a quick read through the instructions. The last part of the instructions says "Cut off excess rubber strip as close to tyre as possible". There is no blade included in the kit.
So off I go back to Big W again to buy a box cutter. I can't find any in the DIY section so I ask a staff member. He drags me off to the craft section but to no avail. He disappears for 5 minutes then returns with the manager who has a look around before saying that they obviously don't stock anything like the implement I need. Presumably, this is because they can no longer assume that Joe 12-pack can be expected to be responsible enough to avoid accidentally decapitating himself and they don't want the legal liability. Either that or children who live in homes that are inexplicably bereft of knives are buying Big W's blades with which to murder each other.
So I head off to the kitchen section where, fortunately, sharp implements are presently still allowed and buy myself a steak knife. By now I am sweating like a pig, still wearing my office costume plus biker jacket on a warm afternoon. Trudge off back to my bike trying valiantly to ignore the swamp of sweat that is developing in the crotch of my underwear and after working for several minutes I actually manage to finish the repair. The repair kit instructions say nothing about maximum speed limits or how long to wait for the glue to dry so I head off home immediately and try to stay below 80km/h. I wasn't sure how well my repair was going to hold up so I was suffering significant stress during the ride but the longer I went the more confident I felt.
I got home safely but arranged to replace the tyre the following day (today). I had a look at the old tyre after the dealership had removed it to see how my repair looked from the inside and I was pleasantly surprised. There was a good amount of rubber on the inside, despite me being able to only cram 1/4 of the length of the rubber strip into the tyre, rather than the specified 1/2 length.
I had to get the tyre replaced today so I was basically stuck with getting whatever the dealership had in stock (which was not a lot). He had one which had the word "Tourance" on it and I said to myself "I've seen that word on stromtrooper.com" so I said "I'll have that one!". It turns out that it was in fact a Tourance EXP, which gives superior grip (which I don't really need) at the expense of shorter life (which I don't want). Anyway, if it lasts 10,000km it will do, but it really brought home to me the fact that I have to learn to do my own tyre replacements. The tyre alone was $269 (yeah, that's what tyres cost over here, cheaper to get one shipped from the U.S. !).
Anyway, I was pretty chuffed with myself for getting the bike back on the road, my very first puncture repair. AND I now have a repair kit for next time !
While I'm on the subject, what is the general view about riding on a repaired tyre long-term? I needed to replace the tyre anyway so it was a non-issue, but is it safe to just keep riding a repaired tyre?
Wow, that's quite a wall of text eh? That's what happens when you can type faster than you can speak