Picking up a puncture can be a huge pain on the bike; at best, it fries the handling and at worst, can leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere waiting for a recovery truck. But this handy repair kit from Gear Gremlin can help you get back on your way again in little to no time.
First things first; it will only work with tubeless tyres though of course, the vast majority of road bikes use these. It’s mainly off-road or dual-sport bikes on spoked wheels that use tubed tyres and that’s a whole different kettle of fish – take a spare tube and levers with you off-road is the best bet.
So, tubeless tyres. The most common form of problem is riding over something that goes through the tyre and puts a hole in it, so it’s no longer air-tight. A nail, screw or similar are all far too common and in fact, I enjoyed exactly this on the ride home from the first MoT after recommissioning a ‘90s sportsbike – but that also is another story.
1. Gear Gremlin Motorcycle Tyre Repair Kit
1. Gear Gremlin Motorcycle Tyre Repair Kit
This kit works on the principle of plugging the hole and reinflating the tyre so you can continue on your journey although the instructions suggest you should proceed directly to a relevant workshop to have the repair carried out professionally at a maximum of 40mph though many bikers report using exactly this kind of repair for many, many miles.
The process of carrying out the repair is straightforward but does involve a bit of brute force. Firstly, you remove the offending article that caused the flat in the first place. Once you have done that, you use the reaming tool to open the hole out slightly to make it the right size for one of the included plugs. This can be a bit of a task but the reaming tool is well-designed and comfortable in the hand.
When the hole has been opened out, it’s out with the tube of rubberised adhesive and smear it in and around the hole before threading one of the tyre ‘worms’ through the inserter and plugging the hole with it, as if you were inserting a threaded needle into the tyre. Once the worm is in, you twist the handle and withdraw the handle, leaving the worm in place, plugging the hole.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? And the principle is but getting that threading tool with two layers of the 6mm worm into a 6mm diameter hole (maximum – the reamer is 6mm in diameter) in the flat tyre is no mean feat. In fact, when I did it, I had to use so much force that I almost pushed the bike off its side-stand. However, I got it in and once in and the threader withdrawn, I left it for a few minutes for the adhesive to go off.
You’re now left with a tyre with an ugly worm sticking out like toes left in the sand at the beach when the tide goes out. But you trim it flush with the tyre surface using the included knife and you’re good to go.
Well, almost. The issue now is that you may have an air-tight tyre but no air. The Gear Gremlin kit includes a reinflation system, using compressed CO2 canisters and an inflator. Three canisters are included, each attaching to the adapter, which fits to the tyre valve. You simply tighten the large knob and this pierces the canisters, directing the expanding gas into the tyre to inflate it.
It works well, though you need to make sure you don’t touch any of the metal parts – they get very cold. However, there simply aren’t enough to necessarily do the job. The three canisters included in the kit inflated a 2020 Tracer 700 rear tyre (180/55R17) to just 18psi – half what the manufacturer specifies as the cold pressure in the manual.
At this point, you either decide to risk riding to the nearest garage to top it up properly; you flag down another road user to see if they have a mini compressor; you use your own mini-compressor to bring the pressure up; or you use the additional canisters of gas that you purchased separately and planned well ahead enough to bring with you.
There are two main ways to get going again if you have a puncture – this or a can of spray-in tyre repair. But the latter makes a horrendous mess and many professionals may not entertain carrying out a permanent repair afterwards.
With this kit, they will (as long as the hole is smaller than the specified 6mm maximum) and assuming you have some way of reinflating the tyre (such as a small rechargeable compressor or additional canisters of gas, available in packs of three), you can use this kit up to five times before getting more worms. It’s small enough to take with you on any major ride.
Creates effective mechanical tyre repairs
Comprises everything you need to fix a flat
Small enough to take with you
Needs additional gas for full reinflation