Sidewall Repair

From time to time you’ll end up cutting your sidewall causing your tube to bulge out and eventually pop.

If you have newer tires and hate to throw them out just because of a small cut, then the best thing to do is repair it. Here’s how…

Take your patch kit, sand the inside down…not too much, but enough to score the surface.

Place enough glue in the tire.

Install the patch.

Run some glue on the outside.

Let everything dry out before installing, and that’s it! You’re ready to roll!

“we don’t recommend this as a permanent fix, but it can get you home”


  1. Ghost Rider

    A strip of duct tape works even better — no sanding, no glue…just press it on and ROLL!

    In an emergency, a wrapper from a Powerbar works really well, too. Even a dollar bill makes a durable “boot” to cover a tear in the sidewall.

  2. Steve

    Except as a temporary fix to get you home, it is a really bad idea to patch a badly damaged tire. If the tire fails suddenly while you’re going fast, you can get pitched off the bike and badly hurt.

    It’s worth $20 for a new tire to avoid that.

  3. Noah

    I agree – I’d never “boot” a tire unless it was just to limp it to a bike shop, home, or office. You might also want to mention swapping the damaged tire to the rear if it was on the front. In the case of catastrophic tire failure, I’d take a cato’d rear over a front, any day of the week.

  4. Ghost Rider

    Guys, normally I would agree with you, but I spent over a year doing aggressive MTB riding on a tire with a 4″ sidewall gash patched with three layers of duct tape (poor college student, expensive tire that I couldn’t afford to replace). The tube never bulged out, but I could see a thin sliver of silver duct tape on occasion.

    While I wouldn’t rely on such a thing for “mission critical” riding (getting to work on time, etc.), a decent tire boot is a lot tougher than we might think.

  5. LLrider

    Ya, or recycle the tire and wrap it around a your mountain bike chainstay for a cheapo chain stay protector. Works great!

  6. Noah

    Ghost Rider – I’ve driven a car 5,000 miles on tires so bald you could almost see the air inside, but it doesn’t make it acceptable.

    While it’s a neat trick, and I’ve had to do it twice myself (once, like you riding on a boot longer than I should have), I think that an entry like this one should come with a heavy dose of “at your own risk” and “we don’t recommend this as a permanent fix” on a site like this.

    I’d hate to see us lose one of our own from a tip like this that was meant to make life easier.

  7. Ghost Rider

    Noah, you’re right — just because I was VERY lucky doesn’t make it acceptable to recommend the same for others. Folks, DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME!!!

    I’ve done the unsafe driving thing, too…drove from Mobile Alabama to Chicago and back with steel bead showing on all four tires of my truck. Not my smartest move, but I arrived back unscathed.

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