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I was riding home last night and heard a rhythmic noise from the rear wheel. On stopping I found this:

enter image description here

The bead had parted company with the sidewall, and the inner tube was herniating out in a blister. The noise was this lump hitting a brake every wheel rotation. The tube is not punctured here.

Clearly the tyre is dead, but I still need to get home. So I tried to reinforce this with duct tape inside the tyre, and more tape wrapped around the innertube at this same point. The tape was about the same size as the inflated tube would have been so not tightly constrictive.

enter image description here

This lasted me around 3 km before losing air. Instead of struggling on for the rest of the ride (another 25 km) I walked back to work and picked up a spare bike.

QUESTION: How would you have temporarily fixed this to get-home ?


So its a week later, and I finally got the chance to inspect this. Turns out, I had a legitimate puncture elsewhere on the tyre that night, and this dirty-hack with duct tape was still holding fine.

I was slightly tempted to patch the puncture and reassemble with the duct tape in place, just to see how it copes but then common sense prevailed so I binned the tyre and fitted a half-used spare.

Upshot - never assume that you only have one problem.

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  • 2
    One essential thing is to reduce tire pressure to the absolute minimum. May 16, 2023 at 12:03
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    By the way, the rim looks -- may I say virgin? -- but such damage is typical for misaligned rim brake pads rubbing through the tire. May 16, 2023 at 21:01
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    @Peter-ReinstateMonica also for rims with rough spots, especially with slightly low pressure
    – Chris H
    May 17, 2023 at 10:56
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    @Criggie I'm 86kg, and the loaded bike over 20kg. With 32mm tyres at 40ish psi it was definitely squirmy, but rideable. I rode standing on the pedals, with weight forwards, in case of unseen bumps, and took all but the gentlest bends dead slow
    – Chris H
    May 17, 2023 at 10:59
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    I’m surprised the duct tape was not strong enough, maybe you didn’t use enough? I’d have gone over the bead, not just on the inside. I’ve heard of people who used thread+needle to temporarily repair torn tyres.
    – Michael
    May 17, 2023 at 14:27

5 Answers 5

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I have had to deal with this (Strava - you need to either be logged out or be following me). There's a photo of the damage but not the repair. I was 40km from home, and luckily with someone who could call for a lift, but it was below freezing and snowing so I patched it well enough to limp a few km to the nearest warm cafe. There was also a bike shop there where I could have bought a new tyre.

With everything damp it was harder, but I used a tyre boot as the first layer. That didn't stick very well, and never does next to the bead; anyway it wasn't as long as the blowout. On top of that I used duct tape, wrapped over the bead. I considered wrapping tape right round the rim, as I have disc brakes, but was worried about making a patch of tread slippery with snow patches on the road. I'm still not sure whether a wrap would have helped, as the road would abrade the tape quickly. Then I ran the tyre as soft as I dared, probably under 3 bar (around 40 psi) on a 32mm tyre.

I often carry a tyre (a folding Durano 28mm) on long rides, but had forgotten to pack it this time. The duct tape I carry wrapped round my pump or a Sharpie in my tool kit.

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Not so much roadside, but trail side. When I tore my side wall, Luckly I'd not long seen some hack repair on YT, GMBN I think it was. Got hooked up on some trail debris I'm guessing. I stuffed a wrapper from an energy gel in my tire where the cut was and inflated the tube to hold in place. Then wrapped a few zip ties around the tire & rim to hold the shape.
Wasn't great, but good enough to get me around 15km back to the trail head.

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  • Presumably this was a disk brake too - If it hadn't been for my rim brakes I probably wouldn't have noticed this.
    – Criggie
    May 16, 2023 at 5:31
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    Yes, quite correct. Was disc brakes. Might have worked without zip ties but video I saw used them so I did too
    – Hursey
    May 16, 2023 at 6:24
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    I've used a dollar bill before - but along the bead like this that would be tough. May 16, 2023 at 13:36
  • @user2259438 that's the key issue, I reckon - most of these hacks work for cuts rather than tears at the bead like this
    – Chris H
    May 17, 2023 at 11:00
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I've done this quite successfully with a piece cut from the lid of a (disposable) plastic food box, held in place with electrical tape. It took a few attempts to shape the patch properly, but it withstood reasonable pressure---at least 40 PSI by memory. I actually forgot about it until it went properly a few months later, which points to the differences:

  • I might have done 25k in a week, not a single ride
  • I had larger, sturdier ('puncture resistant') tires (although I was also lugging panniers about, including patches of cobbled streets)

The trick in the end was making a long patch, about twice as long as the blowout and cut to fit the tyre, spread over as much of the tyre wall as possible. This reduced the bulging far enough that my rim brakes didn't rub. Once I saw it held I went with reasonable pressure to avoid the patch slipping.

Unless you have a plastic lunchbox with you (or can obtain one) this isn't really 'roadside'. But if there's a takeaway within walking distance it might be worth trying.

Incidentally, do your brake pads contact the tire, perhaps under high braking loads?

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I've had great success with a dollar bill for smaller holes. You can just fold it up and place it under the hole, making sure that it stays in place while you inflate the tire. This tip is courtesy of Seth's Bike Hacks:

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  • Are US bills still paper or are they mylar plastic now? Sadly the smallest denomination I have is $5 bills because $1 and $2 are coins locally.
    – Criggie
    May 16, 2023 at 20:42
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    Interestingly, the US dollar bill is made of 25% linen and 75% cotton. This is what gives it the durability needed for use as a tire boot, and more importantly for everyday use. Ironically, that makes it a cheaper tire boot than an actual tire boot.
    – Jonathon
    May 17, 2023 at 21:11
  • @Jonathon Cut up an old, worn-out tire. May 28, 2023 at 20:53
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I use band-aids to repair tire cuts from sharp stones because they are non-elastic unlike duct tape. Cuts up to several mm have always been reliably repaired for months in wet conditions. I imagine they would be optimal in the pictured situation as well but have never tried.

The item must be made of fabric instead of plastic. Recommended is a continuous roll without soft central part(antibiotic strip) and something to cut it. But all kinds work reasonably well. N~=5 Personally, I carry one with central strip as I use it on myself as well:

enter image description here

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    Do you mean the "waterproof" plastic ones? They're not really elastic but do stretch a bit - probably more than duct tape unless you find really thick ones. And that sort always seem to have a non-stick dressing in the middle. The stretch fabric sort (that have a far better chance of staying on skin) are available as a roll of tape with no pad as well.
    – Chris H
    May 28, 2023 at 7:20
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    @ChrisH thanks, tried to clarify. I've seen wide rolls without central strip - I think they are intended for MDs to fix stuff to a patient's body. Not too useful for dressing small wounds obviously.
    – Vorac
    May 28, 2023 at 8:38

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