When the elements outside start to become a bit wild, that can leave you with some questions especially if you have a motorcycle. It’s hard to predict what the weather can do to our belongings.
Wind especially is hard to calibrate. One moment the grass is slowly swaying in the breeze and the next thing you know there are tree branches flying past your window. It’s common to question the impact wind can have on a motorcycle.
Can wind blow over a parked motorcycle? It is possible for wind to blow over a parked motorcycle. A lot of it depends on how big the motorcycle is, where it is parked, how it is standing up, and how strong the winds are. The average 400 pound motorcycle can blow over starting at winds that are 50 – 60 miles per hour.
Seeing a motorcycle tipped over on it’s side looks a bit unnatural. It’s one thing to accidentally let it happen while you’re handling it and it’s another when mother nature decides to push it over. This guide will discuss how you can prevent such a thing from happening as well as other information you should know about wind and your motorcycle.
When It’s Possible For Wind To Blow Over A Motorcycle
Wind is an interesting phenomenon. It’s an element that we are unable to see but can certainly feel. While it can be a welcomed sensation on a hot, sunny day, it can also bring a lot of devastation if it’s powerful enough.
The amount of damage wind can cause is endless. Some of those damages may include a parked motorcycle. Many motorcyclists believe that it’s not possible for wind to blow over a motorcycle unless you’re in a category 5 hurricane; that’s simply not true. Though the wind does need to be blowing hard, it’s best to know at what point your motorcycle is at risk.
An average motorcycle weighs about 400 pounds. Once wind starts hitting somewhere between 50-60 miles per hour, your motorcycle is at risk of blowing over. This is, of course, a very average situation and the point of when a motorcycle blows over in the wind depends a lot on the size of the motorcycle, what it’s using to keep it up in the first place, and how much the wind is blowing.
A smaller, light weight motorcycle has almost the same amount of chance of blowing over in the wind as a bulky and heavy motorcycle. The light weight makes it easy for the wind to tip it because there’s really not much anchoring it down.
Big and bulky motorcycles almost act as a sail since it has more surface area blowing against it, so it’s an easy target for wind. The motorcycles in between these two categories vary with how much it requires to blow them over.
According to the National Weather Service, you start getting structural damage to houses around 43 miles per hour. This includes chimney caps coming off, shingles blowing away, and side panels tearing. Once wind reaches to about 55 miles per hour, trees begin to uproot and significant damage to buildings start to happen. Ultimately, once wind starts getting into the low 60 miles per hour range, some widespread damage occurs.
If you notice it’s a windy day outside, take extra precautions and check the weather and see exactly how much the wind is blowing. You should start taking safety and preventative measures if the wind starts anywhere in the 40 miles per hour range in preparation of possible higher winds.
The Possible Damages Wind Will Do To Your Motorcycle
When you think about the damage weather can do to a motorcycle, wind is probably the last thing on your mind that you’re thinking about. People normally assume that rain and snow are the worst parts of the weather that can hurt a bike.
While rain and snow can cause significant damage to a motorcycle if not treated properly, wind can do just as much damage if not more. People don’t realize that their motorcycle can blow over in the wind; they assume since it’s a small yet heavy vehicle, their motorcycle is immune.
The first and main issue you’ll have to worry about is cosmetic related if your motorcycle ends up blowing over. Things such as a scratched tank, scratched crank case, bent handlebars, and bent foot pegs are a probability in a situation like this. Luckily, that’s usually the only damage that’s done if you discover quickly your motorcycle is on it’s side.
If your motorcycle was blown over and you didn’t realize for a few hours, you may run in to some issues with the engine. When a motorcycle is on it’s side for too long, oil can start seeping into the combustion chamber which will cause issues with the fuel and air combustion that happens in those chambers.
Since there’s too much material and not enough space for air to get in, your motorcycle may not run. This is a phenomenon called hydrolock. For more information about what happens to a motorcycle when it lays on it’s side, see my article here.
If you are worried about your motorcycle getting blown over without knowing it, you can try using a disc lock alarm that will go off when the motorcycle is tipped over because of the motion of the bike. You can see the disc lock alarm I recommend here in my list of suggested motorcycle security.
Outside of what happens to your motorcycle if it blows over, if winds are high enough to blow it over in the first place there’s probably a lot of other materials floating around that can damage it.
Remember, trees can start uprooting at around 55 miles per hour. You may have shingles, chairs, trampolines, tree branches, and other large objects blowing around that could hit into your motorcycle. This will usually only cause cosmetic issues, but these items can cause more cosmetic damage to a motorcycle than it would with a motorcycle simply blowing over on to it’s side.
How To Prevent Wind From Blowing Over Your Motorcycle
While no object is 100% safe in a strong enough wind storm, there are still some preventative measures you can take to lessen the chances of your motorcycle blowing over in the wind.
The first and most obvious way to keep it from blowing over is keeping it inside somewhere. This includes a garage, shed, or even your house. A lot of people don’t have those resources so they need to get a bit creative.
If your motorcycle must be parked outside during a bad wind storm, the first thing you should do is consider which direction the wind is blowing. Put down your motorcycle’s kick stand and have the motorcycle leaning in the same direction as the wind. The wind will push the motorcycle against the kickstand which will give it a better chance at staying up.
Because wind is so unpredictable and can change directions at any given time, you might also want to try tying some sort of brick or cinder block to the kick stand.
I don’t recommend you put the kick stand on top of the cinder block, rather I suggest you put the cinder block on top of the kick stand and tie them together. This will decrease your chances of the motorcycle blowing over if the wind decides to change it’s direction.
If possible, try parking your motorcycle by some sort of wall or building. This will lessen the blow of the wind while acting as a prop to keep the motorcycle up (at least on one side). You may also want to try strapping your motorcycle to the ground. You can do this by using four tow straps and connecting them to the four corners of the motorcycle and fastening them to the ground somehow.
How To Ride A Motorcycle In High Winds
You may be caught in a situation where a high wind storm arose while you were out on your motorcycle either on an errand, while at work, etc. If this is your case, parking your motorcycle isn’t going to be your only problem. Getting home in such conditions isn’t easy.
If possible, leave your motorcycle somewhere safe and have someone come and get you in a car. Riding a motorcycle in winds strong enough to blow your motorcycle over isn’t safe.
If getting a ride isn’t an option, proceed on your motorcycle with caution. Be prepared to be thrown around a little bit from the wind. Ride at a slower but steady speed. You may need to lean according to whichever the direction of the wind is coming from.
Be on the lookout for any large objects moving through the air as well as any large objects on the road. Pull over and rest if your body is getting tired; you want to have full control of your body in a situation like this with no depleting strength.
Is it safe to ride a motorcycle in a lightning storm? It is not safe to ride a motorcycle in a lightning storm. Since you are touching the vehicle, your head is considered the highest point of it which will increase your risk of a lightning strike. Click here to see my article for more information.
Can wind knock over a motorcycle when it’s being ridden? It is completely possible for wind to blow over a motorcycle while it is being ridden. It is important that a motorcyclist knows how to handle wind so getting knocked over doesn’t happen.