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Brand new (in 2020) BMW GS Adventure and a friend and I hit some trails. Sure enough, we're back on pavement for about 10 minutes and the dash lights up telling me to pull my fat arse over ASAP as rear tire is going flat. Very little signal on the cellphones in that area and my friend (who also has a Road Glide) has his handy tire patch kit and air pump. The hole in the tire was so massive that the kit and pump were of no value. Walked around enough to barely get a signal and BMW MOA (Their version of HOG) got me a flat bed and a trip to a closed dealer. The poor bike didn't even have 200 miles on it. I could have used a sat phone or the Garmin In-Reach that I had in my Jeep. Ugh!
 

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As far as flats go, it's a bit of a racket. The tire selling world has indoctrinated the motorcycle riding world to the idea that a repaired motorcycle tire is unsafe. And if you get carried into a dealer with a flat, they will sell you a new tire at a premium price. Sure, you can offset this cost with insurance, but that will set you back about the cost of a tire every 2-3 years. The simple fact is, that it's very hard to sue over a punctured tire. The puncture more or less makes it an unwinnable case. A repaired tire is another thing entirely. The act of charging for the repair is also guaranteeing that the tire will not fail. And it is very easy to prevail in court if a repaired tire fails. So way take on the liability when its so much more profitable to just replace the tire. And there is no worry of another dealer calling you out on it.

And while plugging a tire involves the use of hope (Hope should never be part of any long term plan) it is perfectly acceptable for getting you off of the road. The problem with plugging tires is three fold. 1) On radial tires the location is important. Its only acceptable in the center of the tread area. 2) It has to be done properly so that the plug becomes part of the tire. That process is called vulcanization and it requires heat. Most plugs use a chemical reaction to create this heat, and that can be an iffy process. 3) When you plug a tire, you have no idea what the damage looks like on the inside of the tire where the liner is. You hope its similar to what you see on the outside. So the plug is a temporary repair. You still need to put eyeballs on the inside of the tire.

The repair needs to seal the tire to keep the air in. We all know that. But it also needs to seal the hole so that air does not get between the plies of the tire and cause a bubble. It also need to prevent water from being forced between the plies of the tire from the outside. And to do that, a push in plug is not your best repair. The patch plug is what you want to use. Problem is, few dealers will do the job. Simple reason is that its vastly more profitable to sell you a new tire. The tire has profit built into the price, and the time that they bike is tying up a tech and his lift is less than it would be for applying a patch plug to the tire. There is also a lower skill level required.

If you have a flat out on the road, and its a clean hole from a nail or a screw, there is no reason that you cant repair it with a rope plug. You want to be sure to use a quality plug, not one of those 10 for $5 things they sell at Walmart. And you want to have the tire properly repaired as soon as its convenient.

Me I carry a plug kit and some CO2 cartridges. Takes up the space of a zippered bank bag and about an inch thick. And Knock on wood, the only flat I've had in years went down while the scooter was parked in the shop. Drywall screw went in head first. So the hole is an the very large end of what can be repaired with a plug, but it was also dead center of a bias ply tire. Its also about a year ago when AE's were not to be had anywhere. So I plugged it. I did it text book, cleaned the hole with rubber solvent and then heated the area after the plug was installed with my heat gun to make sure it vulcanized. and rode it for the rest of the season. This spring I bought another tire and set the repaired tire aside. When I went to look at it as far as making a permanent repair, I found that I could not just pull the plug out of the hole. It has completely bonded to the tire. So I will apply a boot to the inside and that's my next rear tire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
Great perspective T-dyne....much appreciated.

With my rear tire badly (and bigly) punctured I've been looking for a replacement. Geezle-Pete....the motorcycle tire world is the wild wild west right now. I wanted a Dunlop AE (not the oem H-D tire) and spent a couple hours online and on-phone. Finally located my size (180/55B18) and grabbed one online for $262 with free shipping.
 

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Great perspective T-dyne....much appreciated.

With my rear tire badly (and bigly) punctured I've been looking for a replacement. Geezle-Pete....the motorcycle tire world is the wild wild west right now. I wanted a Dunlop AE (not the oem H-D tire) and spent a couple hours online and on-phone. Finally located my size (180/55B18) and grabbed one online for $262 with free shipping.
I am keeping sidecar on a while car tire in the rear is cheap.
 

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If only there was a run flat motorcycle tire. Ya know with very heavy sidewalls for a go slow and get you someplace safe type of thing. They make em for cars. Havent seen any for trucks or bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Well, I know there are different thoughts and experiences with regard to use of sealants on bikes with RDRS and the factory TPMS. I spoke with several service managers yesterday (searching for a tire) and asked them about using Ride-On or other sealants on RDRS-equipped bikes. I also sought the counsel of The Great Google and learned something. There is no agreement on the safety of using sealants with TPMS. H-D's position on it is "don't do it". For now...I've decided to not use it. I'm going to keep trying to learn what I can about the oem H-D sensors and whether sealant (specifically Ride-On) can negatively affect them. I really want to use it.
 

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Well, I know there are different thoughts and experiences with regard to use of sealants on bikes with RDRS and the factory TPMS. I spoke with several service managers yesterday (searching for a tire) and asked them about using Ride-On or other sealants on RDRS-equipped bikes. I also sought the counsel of The Great Google and learned something. There is no agreement on the safety of using sealants with TPMS. H-D's position on it is "don't do it". For now...I've decided to not use it. I'm going to keep trying to learn what I can about the oem H-D sensors and whether sealant (specifically Ride-On) can negatively affect them. I really want to use it.
Until TPMS I used Ride on and never any question I would keep using it. Ride on and RDRS would not be a concern . But the TPMS is questionable. I stil use it in sidecar tire . That is why I have not enabled the TPMS to monitor the 3 rd tire..
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
Until TPMS I used Ride on and never any question I would keep using it. Ride on and RDRS would not be a concern . But the TPMS is questionable. I stil use it in sidecar tire . That is why I have not enabled the TPMS to monitor the 3 rd tire..
The TPMS is part of the RDRS package of course which is why I mentioned it. I have often wondered whether the information on tire pressure (from the sensors) is incorporated into the computer as part of its data for RDRS controls / adjustments while riding.
 

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The TPMS is part of the RDRS package of course which is why I mentioned it. I have often wondered whether the information on tire pressure (from the sensors) is incorporated into the computer as part of its data for RDRS controls / adjustments while riding.
As you may know. I have had to do a lot of research and playing with the RDRS due to sidecar questions.
RDRS does not care one bit about TPMS. Does not even know it is there.
I am not 100% sold on the TPMS anyway . It is not reliable . It is a tool but not one to put a lot of faith in.
RDRS on the other hand has won me over. I started out not wanting it. Had no choice ended up with it.
Doing my home work and riding with it won me over.
 

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If only there was a run flat motorcycle tire. Ya know with very heavy sidewalls for a go slow and get you someplace safe type of thing. They make em for cars. Havent seen any for trucks or bikes.
the tires on the police bikes are run flats. at least they used to be.
 
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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Today I raised the bike up and gave the front tire a good inspection, as it suffered a hit from the object that destroyed the rear tire. This is what I found on the front:

Hood Water Automotive tire Road surface Asphalt


Automotive tire Grey Road surface Asphalt Rectangle


Took a lot of searching but new Dunlop AE for the front is now on the way.
 

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Today I raised the bike up and gave the front tire a good inspection, as it suffered a hit from the object that destroyed the rear tire. This is what I found on the front:

View attachment 444035

View attachment 444036

Took a lot of searching but new Dunlop AE for the front is now on the way.
If you have a HOG membership you get one free tow a year. You can upgrade the HOG membership to cover more travel issues. Basically the HOG has a triple A aspect to the membership. To me worth the money.
 

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Short spin yesterday. 2 miles from home ....riding through a wooded area of dappled sun & shadow ...I rounded an easy curve and hit something that felt like a tennis ball-sized jagged rock, or possibly a piece of metallic debris. The area is loaded with deer and I was scanning the roadsides ahead, but never saw the rock due to the mixed shadows. Thud..bang...whump. It was a nasty strike by both tires and jarred hell out of us. I barely gathered my wits when the BOOM screen warned me of suddenly dropping tire pressure. The Dakota Digital readout confirmed it...rear air pressure dropping steadily at +1 pound per second. I stopped the bike at 1.5 miles from home. I carry plugs and a small compressor but my gut told me this wasn't going to be the strategy today. We spent 5 minutes in discussion and I left to walk home and get the cargo trailer. This was a safe area and my wife remained with the bike. 20 min later I was back with the truck and trailer. We loaded up and headed on home.

I lifted the bike back at the house, to find the rim was in good shape but the rear tire with a fatal damaging wound. Looked like a compound jagged puncture in the center of the tire. I knew it was a goner, so tried plugging it just to see if it would hold. Not a chance. So now I have to locate a tire and have it changed this week....hopefully.

Jarring reality hit me in the gut. What if this had happened 150 miles from home on a Sunday at 5 pm? What if it happened where no cell service was available? Who would we contact and how would we get the bike moved? How would we get home? It really bugs me to think we've been riding on pure luck for years...no solid plan to deal with such an occurrence. Any breakdown of any vehicle can do this of course, but it's different on a bike. I have to get this figured out...a solid plan of action we can depend on if it happens again far from home.

I'm really curious how you would (or did) deal with this? Are you trusting your luck every ride?
Don't sweat the small stuff, it's all small stuff, I'll worry about it if it ever happens just like any other thing life throws at me.
 

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While passing over a train crossing in the middle of N Arkansas on our 2020 RGL, our TPMS told me that our rear tire was losing air quickly. I was able to stop and get pulled over on a side road. I had prepared somewhat and brought a mini compressor and tire plug kit, however I was unable to roll the bike forward and find where the tire was leaking from as we were on a side incline. The mini compressor couldn't get enough air in the tire to even see where the puncture was regardless.
With my 1 bar of cellular signal, I was able to call HOG Roadside Assistance. After waiting over and hour, I finally was able to speak to someone. She basically told me to call around and see who could tow me. They have a $100 towing policy, as the tow truck was $75 just to show up, and the Harley dealer was near 100 miles away, they wouldn't help me out without paying hundreds of $. The rep was basically Googling tire repair shops, and suggested I walk 15 miles to a non-existent car repair shop and ask if they could help. (This is the moment that I decided to never renew a HOG membership).
Thankfully the farmer whom lived at the property across the street came home and offered to assist. I rode slowly on the flat down his gravel driveway to his garage. He was able to help me locate the puncture while I slowly moved the bike forward and back after using his large air compressor to get enough air in the tire to actually see air being expelled. We then used the tire plug kit to fix the puncture, which thankfully was in the center of the tire tread, and made by a screw or bolt. We thanked him profusely, and left heading toward Eureka Springs for the night. I watched the rear TPMS like a hawk the entire time, which never showed any pressure loss. We stopped to fuel up in the next town that I had cell signal, and I called and told the HD dealer (Pig Trail HD) in Rogers, AR, that I'd be there when they opened in the AM for a new rear tire. The next morning other than the normal decrease in air pressure for a cold tire, we had no pressure loss. Pig Trail got us in for the first appointment, and out within an hour. (I can't say enough how good their customer service is. This is the second time I've had them put on tires for me, on motorcycle trips in AR [story for another time with my Crossbones]).
Long story...sorry. Once back home, I ordered an EZ-Up center stand, which I can put a piece of plywood under to lift the rear of the bike up, so I can rotate the tire to find a puncture. I also added a rope style puncture kit to my Stop & Go tire plug kit & mini compressor, along with a hose extension. Most importantly I didn't renew my HOG membership, and instead have gone with the BMW MOA Platinum Roadside Assistance plan. For $109 a year it has 100 mile towing and trip interruption, AND 2 TIRE REPLACEMENTS PER YEAR!. I figured that if I had to replace a tire within 5 years, I'd break even. The reviews are about as good as you are going to get for motorcycle roadside assistance, and they make sure to get a towing service that knows how to tow motorcycles (at least that's what the reviews say).
 

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Discussion Starter · #58 ·
Murphy's Law as expressed in math science: 'The probability of an occurrence is inversely proportional to its desirability'. This means your next lottery ticket isn't likely to be a winner, and your next flat tire won't happen at a convenient time and location. That's especially true if you like to ride in scenic areas with little habitation and spotty cell service.

Regarding H.O.G.: I've talked with my local dealership owner about the benefits of their roadside assistance program. His advice was along the lines of 'don't waste your money on them for roadside assistance'. Much better to go with RA thru a AAA membership, insurance coverage, or 3rd party purchase. Be aware that many 'we also offer roadside assistance' deals are extremely limited in dollars and miles. They also are typically routing RA calls to their own 3rd party call center (a contractor) who then tries to get a towing company to you. The person taking your call is somewhere eating Cheetos and wishing their shift was over.
 

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Murphy's Law as expressed in math science: 'The probability of an occurrence is inversely proportional to its desirability'. This means your next lottery ticket isn't likely to be a winner, and your next flat tire won't happen at a convenient time and location. That's especially true if you like to ride in scenic areas with little habitation and spotty cell service.

Regarding H.O.G.: I've talked with my local dealership owner about the benefits of their roadside assistance program. His advice was along the lines of 'don't waste your money on them for roadside assistance'. Much better to go with RA thru a AAA membership, insurance coverage, or 3rd party purchase. Be aware that many 'we also offer roadside assistance' deals are extremely limited in dollars and miles. They also are typically routing RA calls to their own 3rd party call center (a contractor) who then tries to get a towing company to you. The person taking your call is somewhere eating Cheetos and wishing their shift was over.
I couldn't agree more. That's why I iterate every time I learn. Hence having a new trauma kit in my tour pack now as well. Along with a small tool kit.

The HOG RA is all farmed out, along with the vast majority of other RA plans. It's really all about researching the 3rd party options, and what may be available via your insurance provider. State Farm (our provider) has RA for automobiles, but not motorcycles. So that left me with only 3rd party options. Good Sam looks to be viable if you already have an RV. AAA has to be a Platinum plan I believe to cover motorcycles. Many plans only cover 1 motorcycle, and I have 2, so BMW MOA was the best fit for me, at least until I'm proven otherwise, which is likely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #60 ·
AAA has to be a Platinum plan I believe to cover motorcycles. Many plans only cover 1 motorcycle,
Just as an fyi...

AAA: Motorcycle and RV coverage is an option on both the Plus and Premium plans. The cost is $37 annually for the option. Your bike or vehicle doesn't need to be registered with AAA, therefore the benefit will work with any bike or car you're driving, including someone else's. In addition to motorcycles it will cover RA for an RV (think camper), trailer (think cargo or utility) or other street license-able unit.

  • Optional benefit for an additional $37 annual fee per household
  • Any of your 4 allowable service calls per membership year may be used for RV/motorcycle tows, extrication and winching and RV tire changes. Up to $500 per service call; $1,000 annual max. per household
 
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