5 Tire Sidewall Repair Hacks, Tested

5 Tire Sidewall Repair Hacks, Tested


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. Now to make some tears in the sidewall. I’m using a sharp file from my multi tool,
as sidewall tears are jagged in real life. Using a blade wouldn’t give us a realistic
tear. I’m making an effort to place and tear these
5 holes as equally as possible. Now let’s pump up the tire a bit and see
what they look like. So you can see here that the inner tube starts
to bulge out and becomes vulnerable. It also puts pressure on the tear, which could
cause it to rip more. All the holes are about equal except for the
one for the glueless patch. I don’t expect that to be very effective
anyway so we’ll just have fun with it and see what happens. First let’s install the tape. Realistically anyone doing this repair would
have a little role of it, and likely put a few layers on. I’m making sure the tape is nicely spread
out as to really hold the sidewall together. Next, the patch. This is how we repaired Alex’s tire and
it held us over. The patch feels really sturdy and the rubber
cement holds it on quite well. I have high hopes for this. Then, the the Reifenflicken, or Tire Boot. This is really sturdy and adheres impressively
to the sidewall. I also have high hopes for this. Then the glueless patch. I’m sure this will give out first, as it’s
pretty anemic and patching a slightly larger hole than the other methods. Now, I’m mounting the tire and pumping up
the tube a little, so I can slide a rolled up dollar bill in for the final hack. This needs to be done while mounting the tire
in order to stay in place. Now for little pressure. let’s do 30 PSI and take a look at our repairs. We can see the dollar bill is firmly in place,
and although the tear can flap open freely, there’s no bulging or signs of stress on
the sidewall. The tire boot is holding up quite well, as
I would expect it to. So is the patch, although there are some signs
of stress on the sidewall. Maybe that’s because the patch is rubbery
and allowed to stretch. Then we have the tape which looks pretty good,
and the glueless patch which looks like it’s ready to blow. Let’s bump the pressure up to 60 PSI and
check these again. Now things are getting a little interesting. The tape is now showing some signs of stress,
as we can see by the deformation in the tire. The patch is as well, although surprisingly
not so much worse than it was at 30 PSI. The glueless patch is just hanging on by a
thread. The dollar is clearly visible through the
hole, which is now stressed a bit more. Still there not that much deformation. The tire boot is about the same. The hole does look stressed but the tire isn’t
really deformed or bulging out. So far, the boot and the bill are in the lead. Let’s bump it up to 100 PSI, but first let’s
take the glueless patch out and replace it with a reifenflicken/Tire Boot. If we leave it as is and this thing tears
wide open the experiment will be over. What a like about this boot is that it covers
a wide area and really stays in place. We have yet to see if it performs better than
a dollar bill though. Now to give it hell. 100PSI. Alright, it looks like the tape is stressed
pretty bad, but still not bulging terribly. In terms of deformation the patch is doing
bad. You can clearly see the bulge in the tire
and it’s only a matter of time before it leads to something worse. Now this was the big glueless patch hole which
we replaced with a tire boot, and although the hole easily flaps open, there’s barely
any deformation in the tire. The smaller hole looks about the same. It’s obviously stressed around the tear,
but it’s not bulging. Then we have our one dollar bill, which is
performing every bit as good as the tire boot. This hack keeps surprising me, because it’s
just sitting there bracing the hole. Wow, just wow. A hack that actually works. What the hell. All of these look manageable so let’s step
it up to 120 and see what happens. The tire boot is clearly stressed now but
still not showing any signs of significant bulging. The same goes for the bigger hole. Although the tear is stressed it’s not bulging
all that much. The tape is quite deformed, and looking pretty
scary. My recommendation would be to use 4 layers
of tape if you’re doing this. Maybe 5. The patch is bulging worse than any of the
other hacks, and clearly it’s hanging on for dear life. I’d only recommend this as a last resort. And finally the dollar. The more I look at this the more it looks
like the dollar got the luck of the draw in terms of holes. But upon closer inspection, it’s just a
good hack. There’s a reason why so many people will
tell you this has gotten them home. Do we have reason to believe that this would
perform any better than another rolled up peice of paper? Well yes. Currency is made of very good material which
resists moisture, handling, and all sorts of stress. On a big tear I’d be more inclined to use
the boot since it sticks in place, but man the case for the dollar is pretty strong. What do you guys think? I know this experiment was far from scientific
and the holes were far from perfect, but the results were interesting enough to warrant
some more testing. What would you like to see? Have you used any of these hacks to get home
before? Thanks for riding with me today, and I’ll
see you next time.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Very very interesting.
    I have a couple of 1$ notes from a previous trip. Never thought they could be useful at that.
    thx. very informative.

  2. If I hadn't watched this a year ago I probably would've walked home or spend cash I don't have today. I used a Philippine Peso bill and it got me home.

    Edit: The ride was around 10km

  3. If US Dollar and Serbian Dinar(my country)are made from similar material it would be great..we have a 10 dinar note(about 0.12 dollars) its even cheaper 😂. We could make a tire only using bank notes and spend 20 dollars on two bank note tires 😂😂

  4. to 1:31 this is something you can find all over the german language.
    In english you say tire patch.
    we germans just put the words for tire (Reifen) and patch (Flicken) together and form a new word. This works basically for every combination of two or more words you can combine in a way that makes sense.

  5. I have a sidewall puncture from a thorn, and I’m trying to transition to tubeless. Would a simple patch suffice? Again, puncture, not a tear. But it is on the sidewall.

  6. I know this comment is late, but I wonder how Canadian currency would work to brace the side wall. It’s made from plastic witch is different than the American bill. Could be interesting!

  7. a blade s legit, unbelievably my bmx rear tire got slashed…who slashes bike tires…pretty sure I kno who did it, was not a sketch situation or scenario….

  8. dollar bill is good, section of an old tire works too..as with using old tubes for patch rubber, a lot of satisfaction racking up miles on a multi patched tube, with a brand new one as a back up

  9. I've had a dollar hold for nearly a year before. It crumbled when I removed it. You can even get away with receipt paper if you fold it several times and don't get it wet.

  10. Have stuffed a flexible plastic coupon card between a tare and the inner tube. Got me around 100 km until it broke and I felt like replacing the tire

  11. Was riding a century and blew a hole in my sidewall. I used a GU wrapper to brace it and it rode the rest of the 70 or so miles. Would like to see a gel wrapper tested

  12. i like saving money so i do patch then multiple layers of duct tape- then ride the tyre untill the tread wears out. It works very well, even going as far as aston hill bike park without breaking down. I now have new tyres thank god 😂😂

  13. Great video! Though, I would've liked to see you ride around on them a bit to see how the tire deformation from normal riding would affect the fixes.

  14. Well actually, in German, you can kinda jam words together. Reifen meaning tire and flicken meaning boot

  15. Dubai rich kids be like
    hold my dads oil and im gonna fix my golden mtbs sidewall with a 500 euro bill!

    (as expensive as 500 dollars)

  16. I did cause this dude cut our tire while my friend and I where at the pool so we watched this video and used our ice cream money to patch it to get home

  17. Man, thank you, I'm planning to use the R guy for my road tyres, unfortunately I'm not american so I cannot use the one-dollar hack. Really appreciate!

    Do you think they could last for the rest of the tyre life (I suppose 2000 km with pressure around 8bars)?

  18. If you forced the patch with a roller it would have been the best because I blew mine at 140 psi and it is a tin tire + was still good as new… But still good video!

  19. This is on my innertube but i used some rubber cement and gorlia tape and its been on my tube for a year bc i forgot

  20. I think the glue patch was the best it preformed the best out of all of them and I would trust my life on it

  21. Maybe someone can answer my question? Thanks in advance.

    So, in case I don't have tubless tires and I would try to do manual, jumping with bike etc, then I have much greater chance to change my tubes and/or tires often or these skills/actions don't have significant role to tubes and/or tires damage?

  22. Well, we Germans have a word for everything, because it's possible to mix every noun with each other to create a long word

  23. I've got an old Schwinn 24" S6 tire (hard to find), that had a 3 inch bulge balloon out, like a tumor. So, thanks, for the various hack suggestions, and stress tests. I'll try some glue, then some 4" length of fabric, then about 4 layers of tape. Wish me luck.

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