Mini bikes are just miniature motorcycles with smaller features and less engine power than regular motorcycles. They can be described as self-propelled vehicles with an electric motor. Flat tires on minibikes are not a rare occurrence, just like with other bikes and cars. Fixing flat tires on mini bikes is not a complex affair, and the rider needs to have the first-hand practical knowledge to be able to take care of emergencies.
Tires on mini bikes could be either tubeless or with an inner tube. Whichever tires come pre-installed on your mini bike, it is highly likely you will have flat tires somewhere along the way. There are different ways of fixing your flat tires depending on your current situation, location, kind of tires you are using, how badly damaged the tire is and how much time you have. Fixing flat tires on mini bikes is pretty much the same as fixing tires on dirt bikes and regular motorcycles. You may choose to go with one of the following options
Plugging the flat tire.
Mini bikes are not designed for riding on highways but more for off-road racing and biking activity. This just means more punctures. Plugging is a fairly easy and convenient way of fixing your flat tire before you can get to a proper repair or replacement shop. Staying prepared to plug your tires only requires you to have a puncture repair kit with you at all times. A few tutorials on how to plug your tires will get you through it.
Step one – Locate the puncture.
If the tire has a leak, you may feel it wobble a bit and that is your cue to pull over to the side of the road. Keep a safe distance away from traffic to avoid incoming traffic.
Before you begin to plug your tire, find the source of the leak. If caused by a nail screw or similar object, then you won’t have any difficulty locating it. Leaks that are coming off the tread area are okay to patch. If the damage is on the sidewall, the tire must be replaced.
Step two – Take out the offending item
Tire plug kits are well equipped but rarely ever come with a pair of pliers which is a must-have. Always keep a pair of pliers in your rider’s kit for days like these. Pulling out a nail or screw from a tire is not easy and the pliers help in getting a proper grip. If the tire is still full of air, it may turn it into a projectile so you must take caution. You will lose air really fast after it is out so you must prepare to act faster after this.
Step three – Plugging the hole.
Use the tool with a T-handle, or looks similar to work the hole with the leak. Put some glue on it then rub it into the hole. Once the hole is well lubed, take your plug and push it into the hole, using the same tool. It sort of looks like a sewing needle at the end so you know it is the suitable one. Push the plug in until you feel it is tightly fitted in and then slowly rotate and work the tool out. If too much of the stem is sticking out the top of the wheel, you can trim it with a razor. Your repair kit should have one. Check that the plug is well fitted by doing the water test. Pour some water around the patch area and see if there are any bubbles forming around it. If there is, you might have to rotate the patch around some more, pull it out a bit until it is well plugged in. Inflate your tire to the recommended pressure levels and you are ready to get back on the road. Do not at excessively high speeds after plugging your tire, until the shop repair confirms it perfect for high speed.
Remember that plugging your mini bike tire is a temporary fix and at the next available opportunity, you must have it checked by a dealer. They may decide to repair the tire in a more professional and permanent way or recommend having it replaced.
Is it safe to plug a mini bike’s tire?
If a plug job is well done, the tire may live or outlive out the rest of its lifespan as referenced by the manufacturer. If the tire is relatively new and in good condition, a properly installed plug will not affect it. However, remember to have a professional tire repair personnel flag it off as safe. The US Tyre Manufacturers Association does not recommend plugging or patching tires and considers it a hazard on the road.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advocates for the patch/plug combination in repairing tires, as it is stronger. The plug seals the hole, is well sealed with vulcanizing cement while the patch seals the inside. Each provides a back-u for the other.
Is it expensive to plug a mini bike tire?
Plugging a tire is an inexpensive procedure and will cost anything between $10 and $20. Definitely cheaper than replacement. In extreme damage, the replacement must be done despite the cost. If your tire is at the end of its lifespan and has frequent leaks, then it will be more economical to replace it.
When will plugging a mini bike tire not work?
- If the puncture is on the tire sidewall then it will not be repaired, it must be replaced. The tire sidewall is under a lot of pressure when the mini bike is in motion and folds up a lot. A patch or a plug will not hold. Any damage to the sidewall will get worse with motion.
- If the damage is extensive, major cuts, gashes and tread separation, then there is no compromise. The tire has to be replaced.
- If there are multiple punctures that are too close together, less than 16cms apart, then it is not reasonable to repair. Especially if they are more than three at a go.
- The injury is at the most, ¼ inch in diameter. If it is any larger than that, then it cannot be plugged.
In avoiding frequent punctures and putting tires at risk of damage, it is best to observe a few guidelines;
- Inspect your tires as often as possible. You may do this yourself or have the tire service shop check them for you. It will only take up a little time but will be useful in arresting potential damages early enough.
- Purchase good quality tires when your old ones are worn out. If you ride off-road more often than you do on- road, then this is vital.
- Do not use sealants and inflators in case of emergencies. They are capable of damaging tires that are easily reparable. They do not work well for mini bike tires and are not recommended by the manufacturers.
- Replace your tires as soon as their recommended life span is attained. If they do not look outwardly worn out, it does not mean they are not.
Minibike tires are tough but also need to be well taken care of so that they put in a great performance as required. Remember to have your minibike serviced regularly and thoroughly.