By Tom Jow — The current state of tubeless tires and wheels for mountain bike is so good that most riders rarely experience a flat anymore. That is, however, contingent on having the tires properly inflated, the proper amount of sealant in the tires, and avoiding sharp rocks that will cut the tread or sidewall. While tubeless tire sealant does a pretty good job of sealing small thorn and glass punctures, larger holes and ragged cuts do not seal well with sealant alone.
What does bacon have to do with it? Tubeless tire plugs, affectionately known as bacon, are small brown strips of rubber can be inserted into the puncture to reduce the hole size and encourage clotting of the tire sealant. It is a method that has been highly effective for repairing automotive tires for quite some time.
The tools required are inexpensive and the process is easy. A tubeless repair kit consists of an insertion tool and plugs. Depending on the brand, a starter kit will cost approximately $10 – $30. A refill pack of 10 plugs will run from $10 – $20.
To repair the tire, install a plug onto the insertion tool. Insert the plug into the puncture, leaving slightly more than the tire tread height exposed. Remove the tool. Inflate the tire. Flip the wheel over so the plug is at the bottom. Shake back and forth to encourage sealant to seal around the plug.
Trail repairs, including tire punctures, often follow Murphy’s law. They will occur when you are cold, tired, and hungry. If possible, practice in the comfort of your own home. Then you can have some edible bacon ready when the job is done.
Got a bike question? Email Tom at [email protected]