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Maybe this belongs with Newbie Questions: I have been riding off and on for many years, but never (since I was a silly, reckless kid) touring far from home.

I want to do that now (touring, that is), but I have to wonder about service, especially in regard to tires. In a car this is no problem: you carry a spare, and changing the tire is straightforward. If you need a new tire, almost any garage can supply one immediately.

On a bike/scooter, though, it's different. I have always believed it is dangerous to repair a motorcycle tire. Changing one is a major exercise, and no bike I know of carries a spare. Two spares, really, for bikes with unlike tires. One hears that it is common to have to wait days, even weeks, to get a new tire at a cycle dealer.

So the question, for all you experienced tourers: how do you deal with this? How do you insure against getting stranded for a week six states from home? Do you just figure it won't happen, as a certain silly, reckless kid once did. (Fortunately he was lucky, too.) Or is there a way to beat the problem?

Thanks in advance for your replies.
 

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Hi Mike.

I always insert some Ultraseal anti-puncture compound into my bike tyres.Other brands are also available (I'm in the UK but I believe that Ultraseal is also available over there).

You can find out more about this stuff here .

(They will deliver to the USA).
 

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Most of us carry a tire plug kit, they cost about $2, and a small 12V compressor. (or co2 cartridges). The only tire failuer I ever heard of is nail puncture. as lung as the nail dosent go through the sidewall the plugs work pretty good, untill you get a new tire. Some members use some type of self seal agent in their tires. Some they can have some issues while others say no problem.
A lot of us keep a back-up tire (front and rear) in the garage or basement. Last year there was a bit of a shortage. I had to wait about 8 weeks to get mine. If I'm going on a lenghty trip (1K-2K miles), and the tires have about 3K-4K miles left on them, I would put new one on before I left and keep the others as a backup.
 

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If I was touring, I'd keep a plug kit and compressor on the bike to get me at least down the road to the next town with a bike shop. I'd also have a spare front and rear at home (or other location) where friend/family could overnight it to me if I did have tire problem.
 

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C'mon Mike. Where's yer sense of adventure? I not only carry almost nothing, I seldom look at a map.

I figure, whatever happens, I'll not (likely) die, and I just might do something unexpected or meet somebody interesting. 8)

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wasions, it's not that I don't have a sense of adventure (at least I hope it still survives); it's just that I get **** little vacation and my employers would be testy if I got stranded somewhere for a week.

Way back when I rode a two-cycle NSU all over Germany, and a Honda 500 all over Iraq without a care in the world. But all the wishing in the world won't bring those days back again, alas!

Have your adventures while yet you can.
 

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The good thing about modern motorcycles is that they have tubeless tires, which means that apart from blowouts being unlikely, they are easy to repair, using plug type repair kits. Provided one takes it easy until a new tire can be installed, they work just great. Don't let anything get in your way of having a long trip!

Cheers,

Bob
 

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I carry a plug kit and an electric air pump. I also buy my next set of tires in advance. I have a spare set sitting in my garage right now. Worst case, I could get my wife to ship a tire overnight. I also replace my tires a bit earlier than some folks - I would not start a tour with marginal tires.

The reality is that I have been riding for 40 years - around 250,000 road miles. I have only had two flat tires. Both were slow leaks from nail punctures. Basically, I parked the bike at my destination, and when I came back to ride it the next time I found the tire flat. While it can happen, it is not a frequent problem by any means. Best to be prepared though - just in case.
 

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The old POS Vespas and Lambrettas had spares btw....just a quick fyi :oops:
 

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The old Vespas had the spare wheel & tire concealed under one of the side covers. A pretty slick design. Newer ones do not have that feature. The old Lambrettas had an optional spare wheel & tire, but it required the optional luggage rack. My friend's dad had one, and his spare wheel even had a little custom hubcap. Cute.

The problem today is that just about all motorcycles & scooters have different wheel sizes for the front and the rear. So you'd need to carry two spare wheels. Also, those old scoots were designed for very easy wheel changes - something else you are not likely to find on today's bikes.
 

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MikeLucey said:
....... it's just that I get **** little vacation and my employers would be testy if I got stranded somewhere for a week.
Hey Mike, if you should have any type of serious mechanical problem or failure while on tour and time is a problem, just rent a van or pickup and haul the bike home. It's not the cheapest solution but neither is staying in a motel or getting in trouble with your boss.

Don
 

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On long trips I do carry a tire repair kit and a 12V compressor, but I have found that an ounce a prevention is worth a pound of cure:

I check my tire pressures (with an accurate gauge) frequently, and keep them at the high end of the recommended pressure range so they run cooler if somewhat rougher.

I measure my tread depth with a micrometer frequently, and change them when they get to the end of their recommended life. If they were even close to EOL before a long trip, I'd change them just to be on the safe side.
 

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I ride my tires 'til they don't ride no mo'. Tread on a streetbike tire is useless.

Steve
 

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wasions said:
...Tread on a streetbike tire is useless.
:?

You only ride on perfectly dry, perfectly clean streets then?
 

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Randy said:
wasions wrote:
...Tread on a streetbike tire is useless.
[quote:1sr7tt6a]Brian wrote
You only ride on perfectly dry, perfectly clean streets then?
Clean or not so long as the street is dry, a slick tire gives you more traction :)[/quote:1sr7tt6a]
No, it doesn't.

Oil, grit, small gravel and sand, etc. can all cause a tire to lose traction if trapped between the rubber and the road. Tread gives these foreign substances an escape route.

Also, considering that no one has yet invented a weather controller, dry streets may not always be dry; and a streetbike would be "useless" if we had to park it wherever we were every time it rained or a street cleaning machine went by.

Treadless tires, AKA "slicks" may be okay for dragsters that go in straight lines on carefully maintained tracks, but they have no place on regular streets -- whether on a car or a motorscooter. Obey the law and the tire/vehicle manufacturers' recommendations: change the tire when the tread gets below minimums.
 

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I think that was a joke Brian.

But in general speak, more tread on the ground gives you more traction but also more friction. Its the theory that is correct. Putting that theory into action is another thing. Yes, as anyone and everyone knows, street tires are made with tread to anticipate a variety of road conditions. Some places are wetter than others. Some places dryer, dirtier, etc.

We buy the tires with the tread we desire.

For my truck I buy agressive tread since I am more comfortable with that tread type in my neck of the woods with lots of rain and snow. Others in dryer climates might be more comfortable with a tire with more rubber on the road. And yes, some people are more comfortable utilizing the full life of their tires (or tyres).
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks to all who have contributed to this thread. I'll buy a plug kit and mini-compressor before I travel far.
 

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Brian,
It really was more in fun then being serious, it would take a bigger then I am to ride slick, but keep in mind bike racers doing high speed turns have slick tires on the track.
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Anyway. being from the old school I will not trust my well being on a repaired motorcycle tire.
So I don't Carry a plug kit or a compressors . If I get a flat I fill it with a auto Fix A Flat in a can, and then limp home or to the dealer for a new tire.
If I were out touring and the dealer could not get me a tire for a few days then I have one at home that can be sent Fex-X anywhere in the country over night.
 
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