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Discussion Starter #1
I realize it's risky to plug or patch any motorcylce tire... IMO, it's personal choice with risk accepted... I don't really want to debate that, but I do have a question about plugs vs patches.

I rode to the coast this last weekend and met up with my family. The morning we were leaving, I found my rear tire pressure was really low. I carry a small pump, so I added air and went to have lunch. Before heading home, I checked pressure, again it was low. Rolling the tire around, I found a nail in the tire. Needing to get home, I put a plug in the tire. Seemed to be holding fine and got me home (100 miles, about 2 hours ride).

About a half an hour after being home, tire was loosing air rapidly again. Yesterday I pulled the tire off, pulled the plug out (from the inside), and put a tire patch on from the inside. I would have prefered to use a "tire rivet" (a patch from the inside with a plug that is pulled through to the outside to fill the puncture hole), but didn't have access to one.

I worked at a service station for a few years and have patched many car tires. I'm confident I got it placed correctly and never had problems with car tires that were patched in that manner.

So my question, other than the patch failing to seal and losing air again, what is the risk of patching a motorcycle tire? Is there any more/less risk than a tire plug?

Thanks
 

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I keep seeing people say it is better to patch than plug, or even use both. I've always just used plugs, but have come to realize it really depends on just where the hole is located. In the meat of the tire, plug is fine for me. If it's in a tread groove, patch or the plug/patch (rivet).

And here we likely go with the never-plug-a-motorcycle-tire gang. :mrgreen:
 

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A patch allows moisture to enter the belts and possibly do damage. I used the Neeley plug once, and it worked well. It is used to form a mushroom head inside the tire as part of the plug.
 

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I've been using string plugs on motorcycle tires and car tires for 30 years, but I will only ride a plugged front motorcycle tire a short while until I can replace the tire. It's rare to catch a screw or nail in the front.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Agree location on tire and front vs back could change my opinion.

I feel a patch has less force acting on it, just pressure inside holding it in place, where a plug gets pushed inward every rotation of the tire and will wear with tire tread. The hole in the tire from the puncture does allow water and grit to get in though... hadn't thought about effect on belts..

I like the concept of a plug/patch, best of both worlds, but more effort to install than a plug or patch alone. Thanks for the thoughts
 

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Plug/patches are only a small amount of extra effort over just a regular patch. I keep a set of plugs in my saddle bags for emergency use but I would probably have the ire patches or replaced a soon as I could in the event of a puncture.

We use plugs at work on most tires. If the tire and/or car is fairly new it gets patch/plugged. Plugs typically don't completely stop a leak. They just slow it down a lot. It's not uncommon for me to check the air in a set of tires, find one that's 4-5PSI lower than the other three and then find a plug somewhere in the tread. On those vehicles I'm sure the tires don't get checked except when the vehicle is in for service so we're talking about a very small drop over 3-4 months.
 

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I use the worms but if I could get the tire off and do a proper patch, why not?
We had hot patches in the Army but that was high tech 45 years ago. Worse case, put a tube in it until the tread wears out.
If you are riding tires that have long enough for water to rust the steel belting you ain't riding enough. Seems like tires at least once a year. Sometimes 6 months!
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)

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that just another way of saying, plug. a hot-patch is the only way to patch from the inside. and i haven't seen any hot-patches for decades. g-luck on your fix.
Never heard of a hot patch. All the patches I've used take automotive grade rubber cement. You can run a bead of glue around the rim of the patch after you have it seated and light it on fire for a few seconds if you want. But I've never had a problem with just gluing them sans thermal reaction.
 

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In the tread, I plug them. They usually leak after some miles. I plug them again. And again. Motorcycle tires are expensive. Never had a failure on a tubeless tire plug...only slow leakage.
 

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I used a string type plug for the first time a couple of years ago. I was very wary of it and rode home slowly just to be safe.

The following day I went to the dealership and got them to replace the punctured tyre so I got a chance to look at my repair job after the tyre had been removed. I was very impressed with how secure the plug was. It was clear there was no way that plug was ever coming out, and at worst might have one day resulted in a slow leak.

The plug I used came with a tube of glue, and I slathered the string in the stuff. The installation instructions also said to twist the application tool as you withdraw it (which I did). The end results was a big solid glued knot on the inside of the tyre. Very secure. This was to repair a hole caused by a 1/4" drill bit that I ran over. Correct me if I'm wrong, but a hole that size, in a tyre with 40psi, means the plug is having to resist 2lbs of pressure at most (likely a lot less, as the hole would contract after the drill bit is removed). (Pi * 0.25/2 * 0.25/2 * 40psi ?) The plug would have no problem with that.

Next time I need to use a plug I will keep using the tyre until the tread runs out like usual.
 

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UPDATE: I have now put on 600 plus miles with a internally patched rear tire. It leaks about 2pounds per week maybe less.

I have no plans to replace until tread wears, unless I decide to start going on two up camping trips.

Picture of the puncture.
 

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I guess put most simply...
Would you buy your motorcycle from someone else if they had a patched or plugged rear?!
I know for certain that I would factor a replacement rear tire into the purchase price, if I did.
Picture of the puncture.
You pretty much answered your own question. There are people who are very capable when it comes to repairing things, and then there are those few who just want to do a quick fix. Used market is always " Buyer Beware ". I carry plugs with me all the time, electric pump and co2 capsules, never needed them yet in my 59K miles.
 

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I bought an A3 to replace my rear stocker TW.
400 miles later the A3 was punctured by something roughly the size of a nail, through the thickest part. I got a nice patch job on the inside of the tire, due to no replacement rears in any shops nearby. The patch leaked very slowly, and after 200 more miles I just replaced it with another new A3.

It is not that the patch would not have held, or that the tire pressure needed to be checked before every ride... I just feel much more comfortable and confident with a rear tire that I know is not damaged (regardless of who repaired it with what). I always had caution in my mind with the patched rear, I was not able to bring my self to push the bike.

I definitely do not have cash laying around to spend $400 on two rear tires for my Strom. With that said, I made the choice to further delay some "needed" farkles in order to make sure my rear is as dependable as possible.
But it seems obvious to me that TIRES are absolutely a vital part of a motorBIcycle.

I guess put most simply...
Would you buy your motorcycle from someone else if they had a patched or plugged rear?!
I know for certain that I would factor a replacement rear tire into the purchase price, if I did.


Picture of the puncture.
My current plug has been through two 110F Arizona summers, I trust plugs plenty. If an OP installed one that leaked I would simply push it out and replug the tire, or if all else failed throw a tube in it. I'd never waste a perfectly good tire just because it was punctured.
 

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My current plug has been through two 110F Arizona summers, I trust plugs plenty. If an OP installed one that leaked I would simply push it out and replug the tire, or if all else failed throw a tube in it. I'd never waste a perfectly good tire just because it was punctured.
I agree. And the above math is correct (pi x radius squared x pressure = force) but remember, the plug is not only getting pushed but twisted and sheared, all at the same time. I have had great success with plugs dead center in the tread, as the hole moves toward the treads edge...less success. I will not plug a sidewall except to get me off the road.
 

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I have plugged a lot of tires and sometimes they hold and sometimes not. The price of a new tire is worth the peace of mind all by itself.
 
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