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Trail-Side Tire Repair Tools for Off-Road Riding

Tire repair is a necessary skill when you ride a motorcycle into the backcountry. Dual sport riders routinely travel well outside the range of support vehicles, so it behooves the rider to have the tools necessary to be self-sufficient on the trail. Having everything you need makes the whole experience all the less intimidating. We definitely recommend practicing at home or with friends before an actual field repair is necessary. Riding with more experienced riders was definitely the way to go for us until we got the hang of it.
There are a few items that we have found to be helpful when changing tubes on a ride. The first is an actual tube! Heavy duty and ultra-heavy duty tubes are difficult to get into the tire on the trail, so it's best to carry a standard tube for emergencies that you can swap out later for a thicker tube. If space is at an absolute premium, a lot of guys carry a front tube by itself that can be used on the front or the rear in an emergency. We have a number of tubes available here.

Any off-road rider worth their salt is aware of their air pressure in their tires. Pick yourself up a simple tire pressure gauge to keep with you while you ride. Everyone has a different preference with what pressures they like, but remember, if you go too low you increase the chances of a pinch flat, in rocky terrain at least. You'll need a broader gauge for larger bikes and a gauge with a narrower range for smaller bikes since a pound one way or the other makes a much bigger difference on a smaller tire.
We've made an air compressor a mandatory tire repair item on our adventure bikes. It's relatively light for the torture it would save trying to hand pump, and I don't even want to know how many CO2 cartridges it would take to fill a 150/70-17. The best bang for the buck is the Slime Mini 12-Volt Pump, measuring about 6x6x2-inches. It's nice to have an SAE outlet installed from the battery to a convenient area on the bike so you can plug the pump in, but it also comes with alligator clips that attach straight to your battery.
Not on an adventure bike? We love the Genuine Inventions Mountain Pipe pump for our light-weight dual sport bikes. A few minutes of spirited pumping will inflate a 120/90-18 rear, or you could use a couple CO2 cartridges to make life even easier. The valve adapter screws onto the valve, allowing you to pop the pump on and off quickly without releasing a significant amount of air. The pump itself is well-built, very compact, and easily hidden in a backpack or bike bag. It comes with a C02 cartridge, but don't forget to buy extras.
Next, are tire irons. It takes time to learn good technique, and there's nothing worse than banging your knuckles on the wheel after slipping off the end of a tire iron. The MSR Handle Grip Tire Iron is a huge help in coaxing the tire off the rim and creating enough leverage to slip it back on. also like the Motion Pro Bead Pro breaker/levers, which double as a bead breaker and tire iron in one. It's a clever design that will help break the bead to remove the tire while saving room in your pack by being able to use them as very capable tire irons. The spoons are nice and wide and the length is perfect for slipping under the brake rotor to hold your place. Lang Valve Stem Fishing Tool doesn't catch fish. It catches hard-to-reach valve stems once you're trying to put the tire back on. Even with a little air in the tube, it's often very difficult to 'fish' the valve stem out of the tiny hole in the rim. Try it, and you won't want to live without it.
Unless your tire has been sitting out in the sun long enough to get nice and soft, it's tough wrestling the bead over the rim. If you're a fan of stiff sidewalls, it's even more difficult. No-Mar Tire Mounting Paste is super slick and has no ill effects by leaving residue on the tire. In fact, it will moisturize all the rubber parts, inhibit rust on the metal parts, and it's vegetable-based and water soluble. That means you can mix it with water, keep it in a tiny spray bottle, and spray it on in a rush.

Oh, and pick yourself up some baby powder or talcum powder for your tubes to eliminate friction inside of the tire. If you can do this ahead of time and keep the tubes in zip lock bags, you'll be ready to go!
By Aram

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