Tips For Patching A Tube On Your Dirt Bike

Tip #255 from the pages of The Total Motorcycling Manual

patch a tube, dirt riding, dirt bike repair

When I’m out dirt riding and I get a flat, I don’t patch a tube by the trail—I just throw in a new tube and patch the old one at the lunch stop or in the evening. But three flats in a day? It’s patch city, baby.

STEP 1 If the leak is obvious (big nail sticking out?) you might not even need to remove the whole tube—just lever off that section of the tire with the wheel on the bike and fish out the damaged part. Otherwise locate the leak by looking for the hole, listening for air, or getting it wet and watching where the bubbles are coming from.

STEP 2 Clean and dry the area around the hole. Roughen the area with a bit of sandpaper, the grater-like tool from a patch kit, a metal file, or even a rock.

STEP 3 Spread glue over the hole. The total glue coverage should be slightly larger than the patch.

STEP 4 Let the glue dry until tacky. In really cold temperatures, setting the glue on fire for a few seconds may speed the process.

STEP 5 Lay the patch on smoothly and evenly, and hold it in place for a minute. Cover the patch with a handkerchief, and use a smooth stone or stick to burnish it down.

But what can you do about a giant hole or tear? It’s possible to use a needle and thread to sew the hole up. Apply glue liberally and make an extra-large patch out of a scrap piece of old tube.