We've probably all run in to this at least once. One day you're out riding, the next you're looking at a flat tire. So now the question is what do with it... Without question the issue of whether to repair or replace a punctured motorcycle tire is one of the most polarizing issues that you'll ever find among groups of riders. Here is some information which may help you make the "patch or pitch" decision.
Let's talk about safety first. Plainly put, the odds of a professionally repaired tire failing are about the same as the odds of running over a nail in the first place. The tire doesn't care where the air loss is coming from, and neither should the rider. It's eventually going to go flat in either case, and you simply can't predict when it's going to happen.
"...but Acme Motorcycle Shop says to replace it!"
We live in a day and age where everyone is encouraged to sue anyone for anything, so it's understandable that some shops and/or manufacturers have difficulty seeing past the big L word, "liability". That being said, Dunlop offers this advice when it comes to patching a motorcycle tire:
"Some punctures in motorcycle tires can be repaired if no other damage is present. Dunlop recommends only individual permanent plug-patch repairs of small tread area punctures from within the demounted tire by a qualified tire repair shop or motorcycle dealer. "
Of other condsieration is that most motorcycle tire manufacturers will reduce or void the speed rating of a repaired tire.
Notice the wording "plug-patch". These are often also referred to as "mushroom plugs", due to their shape. This style of patch is the combination of a stem or plug inserted into the puncture, and a flat bandage which surrounds the wound by a significant margin. When properly installed using a vulcanizing cement this style of patch will often last the remaining life of the tire.
Regarding those "sticky rope" plugs - these should only ever be considered a temporary solution. Compared to an internal patch there's not much keeping a rope plug captive. They're the sort of thing to throw in a tank bag or the cage's trunk with a small pump to get you home and not much more.
The tire should not be repaired if any of the following apply:
The decision is always left up to you, the rider. Keep the shiney side up!
With sources from Dunlop Motorcycle Tires, ducati.ms, msgroup.org.