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Booting a Tire

One of the most valuable skills in cycling is the ability to fashion a tire boot. On long rides, most cyclists are equipped with an extra tube and a patch kit, but few carry a spare tire. A large puncture or slash that compromises the tires casing can prevent proper inflation. Nothing is more frustrating than hearing your second tube pop before it even approaches a rideable pressure, due to a damaged tire.

A tire boot is an invaluable, and simple, solution to damaged tires. Simply find a stiff piece of paper or foil—dollar bills work great, as do Clif Bar wrappers. Insert this boot between the damaged tire section and the tube. It is important to minimize the presence of the boot as much as possible; that is, fold your boot to be thin while providing a rigid reinforcement to the tire casing. A dollar bill folded into quarters is an ideal size. The Park Tool TB-2 Emergency Tire Boot is an excellent option for those who plan ahead.

Make sure the boot lays flat against the tire; protruding edges can puncture the tube on re-inflation. Finally, reseat the tire and spare tube and inflate as usual. Tire boots made of paper or foil aren't a replacement for a proper tire, but they will get you home.

Another favorite boot trick of ours puts that good old patch kit to work. Simply install a patch to the underside of the tire, between the tire and tube. Once it seals up, the patch does a great job of reinforcing the tire casing. This method just boots the tire; the punctured tube will also need a patch or replacement. This is an excellent method for patching smaller holes in the tire, like those made by a nail or large shard of glass, for example. A tire booted with a patch can often be ridden for many more miles.

As with any rebuilt/repaired parts, a booted tire will not deliver the performance or safety of an undamaged tire. These tips are intended primarily as a guide to get you home in the event of inopportune tire damage, or get a few more miles out of a damaged, but not ruined, tire. Never race or participate in competitive group rides on a booted tire! A reinforced casing will not bear the same loads as a new tire. WesternBikeworks.com does not assume any responsibility for the failure of booted tires.

Any questions? Get in touch with us at 1-800-651-4050 or [email protected].