Even if you ride a mountain bike with tubeless tires, you’re not immune to sidewall tears. To get home, you would need an inner tube, and something to brace the tear. In all cases, significant damage is a death sentence for your tire. Anything you do to fix it is a hack designed to get you home.

A few weeks ago, Alex and I used a rubber patch and some Gorilla tape to fix the sidewall on his road bike. We lucked out, and got to a bike shop 35 miles away in Key Largo. We had our jankey sidewall repair to thank for that.

Today, I’m replacing the front tire on my BMX and destroying my old one in the name of science. We’ll test these 5 hacks from 30 all the way to 120 PSI.

First we have duct tape, labeled T for tape. Alex and I did have this with us during our trip.

Next we have a standard rubber bike patch, labeled P. This is for patching inner tubes and is held on with rubber cement. Alex and I also had this during our trip.

Next, a glueless patch. To me this would be a last resort since it’s not very rigid. It’s labeled G for glueless.

Then we have a dollar bill. This is a well known hack, which I’ll demonstrate in this video.

Then finally, we have a Park Emergency Tire Boot which is made for sidewall repairs. I labeled it B for boot, but changed it to R for Reifenflicken! It seems that our German friends have a dedicated word just for tire patches.


# Comments

  • OKI

    I’ve never in 20years mtb’ing torn, cut, slam sliced or popped a sidewall. Flats…many many flats, never a sidewall though.

    Is this an imaginary industry thing to promote sales? Or is it those sub 800g 2.3 tyres I always use. Hmm

  • mongwolf

    To OKI on FB. The only sidewall tear I’ve experienced was on a Specialized Control tire with the control casing — a little thin for my tastes and trails. The tear was over an inch long on the front tire and occurred at high speed on a small jump off a small an 18″ rock drop which I had been off many a times. It resulted in an instantaneous and painful flight over the handlebars. I slid down the trail primarily on my left shoulder and helmet. For my trails (oftentimes rocky), I think it definitely pays to ride with heavier carcasses as you have suggested.

  • triton189

    Never tore a sidewall either, although I tend to slow down considerably around rock gardens and gnarly stretches. The dollar bill hack definitely looks like a winner though, just wish the wife would let me have one!

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