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2446 Views 12 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  corvairbob
Obviously I am not an experienced rider with this question, but I
am just thinking ahead. Do bikes get blow outs just like a car?
If it's on the front tire, does the bike go out of control and lose
steering/braking control? Which leads to another question, if the
650 had ABS (not yet available in the US), would that assist in
a controlled stop?

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Tire blowouts on a motorcycle are rare. In 40 years of riding, I've never experienced one. Most experienced riders do keep a close eye on tire condition and air pressure. They will also replace a tire before the wear becomes extreme. But if a blowout did occur, whether with the front tire or the back, it could make the cycle or scooter very difficult to control. I think ABS would be of very little assistance in that situation. ABS is designed to help with a slick road surface, but with good tires to work with. A quite different problem.

You would want to gradually coast to a stop, rather than use much in the way of braking. I recently read one article that said that staying slightly ON the throttle as you are trying to coast to a stop helps in maintaining stability. There are certainly other things that could complicate the situation, such as lack of a suitable road shoulder or breakdown lane to pull off to, or a vehicle slowing or stopped in your path.
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Thanks Paul. Just didn't want to be a 270lb canon ball
(the other people would stand a chance).
My experience

In 40+ years of riding I've only experienced one loss of air pressure on the road in a rear tire on a Honda Helix. It felt like I'd ridden onto a very slick surface. Fortunately I was only travelling at about 45 mph in very light traffic and had a wide shoulder to pull off on. Didn't use the brakes until I got to the shoulder and then very lightly to come to a controlled stop.

IMHO, with today's tubeless tires, you shouldn't experience a catastrophic "blowout" under most circumstances.


Over thirty years ago I had a blow out on the rear tire at about 70 MPH.
There was total loss of directional control as the tire flopped first one way & then the other. I was in all three lanes of the freeway more than once
& would have gone off if the tire hadn't flopped the other way more than once. I can't imagine what a front tire would be like.
It is much less likely to happen now with tubeless tires as the loss of pressure would usually be much slower & the tires run better even when flat.
Do you have any idea how hard it is to push a motorcycle off the freeway with a flat tire & your pants full of s .... .. - ?

In 34 years of motorcycling, and over 300,000 miles on more bikes than I care to remember, I have only had five tires loose preasure on me. All of them were rear tires, and all happened slowly after picking up a nail or sheet metal screw causing a slow leak. In each case the bike felt as if it was disconnected from the handle bars and just quit responding. In each case slowing down slowly and staying off of the brakes resulted in a safe stop. It is nothing that I worry about, but if the handling feels funny, I always stop and check the tire preasure, even though I check it every weekend after I put the bike away for the week. A cell phone, and a good friend with a truck also add peace of mind. T. Michael
Like most of the others, I haven't had one go out on the front, but back in the '70's, with my brother on the back, I had a rear go at around 85, while being tailed very closely by a ******* in a muscle car. We went sideways for some time, finally getting it onto the shoulder. He flipped us off as he went around. I never did figure out why we didn't come off.

I did get to see a front flat - at speed - some years ago. A Gold Wing lost front air on Interstate 5, somewhere near L.A. They were loaded pretty heavily, but managed to get it through two lanes of traffic before dropping it rather hard on it's side just as they reached the shoulder. It was pretty scary for me - and I was in a cage!

Last spring, with only 2000 km on my new 650, I ran over something that punched a nice, clean, 1/4 inch hole in the rear tire. I noticed that steering suddenly got heavier but the bike kept on in a straight line. I was only doing about 50 MPH and rode about 1/2 mile to a gas station where I could pull over. Of course the tire was completely flat but did a fine job of maintaining stability and direction. I could barely tell that it was flat. It was much different than the last one I had on my '73 BMW with tube tires. I picked up a nail and the tire went flat suddenly, causing me to have a fun ride all over my lane about 60 MPH. These Bridgestone tires have a very thick, low profile side-wall and hold up well when they're flat.
I remember a long time ago my dad was riding my 650 twin on a 4 lane highway when the front tire went flat suddenly.

He told me that he just hung on real tight, did NOT touch any brakes and gradually pulled to the shoulder and coasted until stopped.

I wasn't there but he managed OK, so I guess it's possible.
Not something I would want to try. :(
well fellas ok. now for my experience. i have been riding 40 plus years like alot of you and i have had my share of rear blowouts, mostly on small cc motorcycles way back when i can hardly remember but all the blowouts caused the same effect the tire bunched up like was mentioned already but then the rear of the bike took of to the side about a 45 deg angle. now my speed then was 35-45 on city roads but plenty scary. my helix had 2 blowouts and same thing happened but the tire never went to any side just kind of stayed there, the rear of the bike did get squishy and swayed side to side 45 deg mostly.
now for the front. on a 750 Honda going down the X-ray at you guessed it 70 mph i had a blowout but you know i didn't know when it happened because the bike never showed any signs of it the steering seemed ok or i would have stopped i noticed it as i was leaving the X-ray at about 35 mph the front steering went to the side right now. never had that on the helix
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well i agree they are tough but i changed that helix tire in my yard 2 times with those little tire bead tools, and outside of the little bead keeper on the inside just like car rims have all went good. you want to change a hard tire try a 4" tubeless tire like the ones on your hand truck or lawn mower, now they are a challange if they have tubes in them! WOW!
and no don't send me any flat tires anyone. fix your own!
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