ASK MBA: GIVING THE BOOT TO FLAT TIRES

NO STOPPING IT

NO STOPPING IT

There was no sealing up this large, thumb-sized slash from a sharp rock.

Q:

My rear tire sliced wide open, and no amount of tire plugs, sealant, leaves, or pine needles seemed to do the trick. I ended up walking out of the woods because my tube popped as well through the same hole that I tried to seal. I want to avoid hiking and hope there is a solution. I don’t feel like I missed any steps and got so frustrated I just rode the wheel out and damaged the rim on top of that. Oh well, I made it home in time for supper.

Jeremy Crowley

Reno, Nevada

A:

We’ve all tried to use leaves at some point to try and cover the torn sidewall or casing of our tire. Unfortunately, we’ve had little success with the tree-leaf method in most scenarios. We prefer to carry some type of dedicated tire boot. Remember, even with a tire boot, you’ll need to make sure you have as clean a surface as possible when repairing the damaged area of the tire. Sealant and dirt tend to be attracted to the spot needing repair, and it is important to remove as much debris as possible so the boot can adhere and cover the hole. This should combat the problem of the tube bursting through the gash so you can at least roll home safely. We have also successfully used a dollar bill and energy bar or gel wrapper to get things rolling again. Our other suggestion would be to consider tire inserts, like CushCore or Mynesweepers, to protect your rims in case you do need to push or slowly roll your bike back safely. It can take some time to make the proper repair, but it’s worth carrying tire boots in your repair pack on longer adventures out on the trails.

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