The tires on a motorcycle are vital components; they are essentially what controls the motorcycle and is the main part that’s between you and the road you’re riding on.
If a motorcycle tire blows while you’re riding, it can be catastrophic if you don’t know how to handle such an unexpected occurrence. It can even happen to the best of riders.
So, what do you do if a motorcycle tire blows? If a motorcycle tire blows while you are riding, you should discontinue any acceleration. If your back tire blows, ease into using the front brake to slow yourself down and vice versa. If possible, do not make any turns and keep yourself riding in a straight line towards a safe spot to stop.
Having a tire blow while riding is a scary and completely unsafe situation to be in. That is why it’s so important to know how to prevent a tire from blowing and know exactly what to do in the case it does blow.
What To Do If A Motorcycle Tire Blows
No motorcycle rider ever wants to assume that they’re going to encounter a blown tire and hopefully all of you out there never have to experience it. But it’s still safe to know exactly what to in case it does happen because a blown tire can be very dangerous.
A lot of people assume that a blown motorcycle tire is like experiencing a blown tire on a car. The two are very different from each other. A car has four tires, so it has three other wheels to stabilize the vehicle. A motorcycle obviously has two wheels so when one blows, you only have one that stabilizing the vehicle.
When a tire blows on a motorcycle, that means either one of the tires suddenly became flat or the tire literally explodes. If you find yourself in this situation, the first thing to remember is to not panic and keep calm. Panicking can lead to sudden movements and swerves that will make your situation worse.
Discontinue using the throttle if your tire blows. If you’re going at higher speeds, don’t suddenly let off the throttle, rather ease off of it quickly. Continuing to use the throttle will risk whatever is remaining on the tire to slip off the rim which makes it extremely hard to control.
Once you let off the throttle, determine which tire has blown. It’s usually pretty obvious, but if one of them suddenly becomes flat it could be harder to tell. Once you know which tire is the problem, use the brake for the opposite tire. For example, if the back tire blows, quickly ease in to using the front brake. Never suddenly pull on the brake as that can make your situation worse. A blown tire will slow you down anyway.
Also, it’s not a good idea to use the brake on the wheel with the blown tire. This again will risk what’s remaining of the tire to slip off the rim which causes complete rim to concrete contact; that is extremely hard to control.
Maintain riding in as straight of a line as possible. If the situation allows, don’t make any turns. Drive straight towards an area where you can safely pull over and stop.
Though either tire blown is a scary situation, having a blown front tire is harder to manage than a blown back tire because the front tire is what you use to steer. Use the above procedure to help you pull over safely for either blown tire, just know the front tire is more delicate.
Why Motorcycle Tires Blow
There are several reasons why a motorcycle blows, so it’s a good idea to be aware of why to help keep you prepared and perhaps even prevent you from getting one in the first place.
One of the biggest reasons a tire blows is because people put too much air in their tires. This usually results in the tire literally exploding. Compare it to a balloon; it pops when you blow too much air into it or it may maintain the air inside of it until someone applies pressure to it. Cold and over inflated tires are especially prone to blowing because they’re less flexible.
Sharp objects on the road is another culprit to blown tires. As a rider, you can’t necessarily prevent sharp objects being left on the road, but you can be aware while riding and stop yourself from running them over. Sharp objects usually cause a sudden flat though they have been know to cause the tire to explode.
A bend in the rim can also cause a blown tire. When a rim is bent, the tire doesn’t have the proper suction applied against the rim which causes more opportunity for air to escape. This especially applies to tubeless tires. Click here to see an article I wrote about bent rims and how to fix them.
How To Prevent Tires From Blowing
There are several things you need to do to keep up with the maintenance of your motorcycle tires that will save you from experiencing such an awful situations. The first thing you should do is inspect your tires before every ride. Make sure there aren’t any nails or anything sharp sticking to them that could cause them to rupture.
Look for cracks anywhere on the motorcycle. Cracks are more common on the side of the tires and are likely to happen with older tires. If any single crack if found, you should immediately get a new tire. Also occasionally inspect the tread of the tire. A bald tire means less cushion and is more likely to flatten.
Be sure to maintain the right tire pressure. Before every ride or at least every week check the PSI and make sure it’s in an acceptable range. You can know exactly what PSI your tire should be at by reading what the side of the tire indicates.
If the motorcycle has sat for long periods of time without any use (anything over three years), it’s a good idea to get new tires. Unused tires wear out much more quickly than they would if you used them because the rubber breaks down with no exercise in it’s elasticity.
If the motorcycle is regularly used, your tires will last much longer with regular maintenance and inspection. But even if you take the best care of them, you should never have tires that are older than seven years from the time they were manufactured.
Other Damages A Blown Tire Can Cause
A lot of us assume that if we have a blown tire and manage to pull off the road safely, there are no other damages to the motorcycle. People often just get a new tire and call it good.
If you were a victim of a blown tire, there are likely other damages that have happened to your motorcycle that you should be aware of and inspect after the incident.
Even if all you had was a sudden deflated tire, there is still possible damage. The biggest opportunity for damage is on the rim. A flat or blown tire doesn’t provide the necessary cushion the rim needs between it and the road, so often times you’ll find big dents and bends in the rim. Using a dented or bent rim risks you getting another tire blowout in the near future. Often times people have to get new rims after a tire blows.
If the tire exploded, there could be other damages outside of the rim. A tire explosion risks having the shredded tire whip against the frame as well as the chain. Make sure there aren’t any dents or bends in your frame and check the tension on your chain after any tire blows to ensure they’re still in working order.
Can a motorcycle hydroplane? A motorcycle is just as susceptible to hydroplaning as any other vehicle would be. The consequences are more severe than most vehicles. The repelling of the water that motorcycle tires do becomes much less effective at higher speeds on wet roads. Click here to see an article I wrote about motorcycles hydroplaning.
How should you store motorcycle tires long term? The best way to store motorcycle tires long term is to store them in a way that prevents them from getting flat spots if they’re still on the motorcycle. Keep the tires elevated. If they’re off the motorcycle, make sure they’re stacked in a way that won’t make any folds and that they’re out of harsh weather.