by Gus Breiland
So I guess we really didn’t plan everything. Or maybe we did. Road trips are supposed to be filled with fun, frivolity and challenge. We decided to get that challenge right out in the open instead of immediately drinking ourselves into oblivion. I guess the beer would have to wait as we have a tire to resource.
Our little band of merry men had just pulled into Burlington Ontario for the 2005 Mad Bastard Scooter Rally and we were unloading our scoots in anticipation for the start of the ride the next day. We had picked up the Helix from a friend of Mikes in the dark. Mike rode it home and deemed it reliable for Keith. Hell, Mike didn’t have to ride it, for all he cared it could have been me riding it.
The tire looked good in the dark. Looked good as we quickly loaded the bikes to get on the road the day before and looked just fine for the 900+ miles being pulled behind Keith’s truck. Once we got into the hotel parking lot the tire told us a completely different story.
You know how they say the tread should touch the top of Lincoln’s head on a penny when stuck in the groove? Well, if there was a groove to stick said penny in, Lincoln could have been bald and it still would not have touched his skull. Of course, the outside tread was immaculate.
To the hotel phone we go calling every little place in town that was motorcycle, scooter or wheel barrel related. We fortunately found Vespa Burlington, an obscure, not advertised scooter dealer just up the road, who happens to have the right 10in internal diameter with a little smaller rolling diameter. Full steam ahead, “Save it for us, we will be right there…. by the way, where is there?”
Great, we have a scooter that needs to be shod with a new tire, we have a new tire but do we have tools? Well look at this, Gus brought his Aerostich Tire Repair Kit and MSR Removable Socket T-Handle Wrench set in his makeshift attempt at a toll roll filled with tootsie rolls, Twinkies and a leatherman.
Starting with the wrench; it is a T-handle with a quarter inch drive on each end of the T. The T measures around 3 inches across the T, and 6 inches down the leg of the T and includes an 8, 10, 12 and 13 socket. What I like about this wrench is the ability to use it with other sockets, which enables you to take a wrench with leverage and multiple sockets versus the fixed versions that are available.
The T-handle came in handy while striping guards and rim bolts in order to remove the rear wheel. With the rear wheel off we can focus on the Aerostich Tire Repair Kit. It is a wonderful kit, loaded with goodies that every rider loathes the idea of having to use. The kit includes 2 tire irons (steel or titanium), 5 plugs strips, 6 patches, 3 patch-plug combos, an insertion too, reamer, tube prep tool, cements, water less hand cleaner, stem tool and that odd little device called the Enginair hose with fittings, not to mention a full set of instructions. Pack it all in a nice little bag and it takes up a 4 x 10 x 2in piece of real estate in your saddle bag. Being the fact that we only needed to change a tire, the plugs and reamers were not needed, but a comfort to have none the less. I am honestly nervous to use the Enginair attachment because I have never owned a motorcycle that has a big enough battery to pump cylinder air into my tire without melting my bike down with only a half inflated tire. I think the space that it occupied in the repair kit would be better if it were filled with a bar of soap (lubrication) and a couple of compressed air cylinders, if not a bicycle pump.
We were in the comfort of a hotel parking lot with a service station across the street. The biggest saving grace of this kit was the stem removal tool. Without it, you are going to have a damn hard time getting your tire on and off. After some swearing, sweating and sending the old man out to pasture to fill his tire, the new tire was on. Thanks to the tire irons and valve stem tool.
If needed, changing a tire is a great way to occupy that down time between arrival and the pre-rally party. Without it, Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly would have had a heck of a bigger beer bill labeled “Strategy Meeting” to pay for.
The MSR Removable Socket T-handle Wrench set (#4620) costs $18 and the Aerostich Tire Repair Kit price is dependant on whether you like steel or super cool titanium tire irons. The steel kit (#4508) costs $37 while the titanium kit (#4509) costs $80.
Both are available at www.aerostich.com, 1800 222 1994 or MMM’s preferred method of riding up to Duluth, Minnesota for a little scenery and gear. Aerostich is also the proud host of this summer’s Riding Gnome. Get your pics in quick and get your butt up to ‘stich.