How to Patch a Motorcycle Inner Tube

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Patching a motorcycle inner tube has been the object of debate for some time: While the technique is fairly straightforward, there is disagreement on whether the practice should be done at all. Many mechanics will tell you that when a tube is punctured, it is safer to be discarded and replaced with a new one. In the real world of dollars and cents, this is not always possible. A repair kit costs much less than an inner tube and tire, and it can generally be used several times. If you decide to repair rather than replace, ensure that you follow the patch kit's manufacturer's guidelines very closely. The time it takes to patch an inner tube should be less than 1/2 an hour.

Things You'll Need

  • Sink with water
  • Air pump
  • Crayon or marker
  • Towel
  • Small screwdriver
  • Sandpaper
  • Tire repair kit with rubber cement and patches
  • Fill a tub or sink with water. Inflate the inner tube with air from an air pump or compressor. Place the tube into the sink and watch for bubbles. Mark the area where the bubbles are forming with a crayon or a marker.

  • Dry the outside of the tube with a towel. Let the air out of the tube by applying pressure to the valve stem core with a small screwdriver.

  • Roughen the area of the leak with sandpaper or with the tool included in the repair kit.

  • Apply rubber cement to the roughened area and allow to sit for approximately one minute. Press a tube patch over the area and apply pressure.

  • Allow the patch to cure overnight, if possible.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a patched tube as a temporary solution, until you have had the chance to replace it with a new tube, in order to guarantee safe riding conditions on your motorcycle.

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References

  • "FLT Models Service Manual;" Harley-Davidson; 2000
  • Photo Credit superbike tire image by Christopher Nolan from Fotolia.com
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