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Controling a front wheel blowout


Boffin

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Last Saturday I had a front tyre blowout - I hit a pothole that had a metal 'catseye' reflector in it, bending the rim of my wheel.

 

This was in Scotland, a country with great biking roads. The damage occurred at the start of a half-mile long straight, so I just gently closed the throttle and let the bike slow naturally, following the speed down with the gears. I avoided the brakes as I felt the linked braking system on my 04RT would just add to my woes.

 

The thing is, this was the only stretch of straight road for miles. I dread to think what would have happened if I was in a twisty section.

Could I have braked? Should I have braked?

I would be especially interested in hearing from the professional riders in our group.

 

Andy

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Nice n Easy Rider

Andy, my response would have been the same as yours. But I'm not one of those "professional" riders so I'll be anxious to hear what they say as well. Not only did you have the sudden and total deflation to contend with but a bent rim as well.

 

Congrats on keeping it up and for avoiding injury. :thumbsup: Sorry for your inconvenience and financial loss. :(

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First off, glad you were not hurt.

 

Does the 04 have rear-to-front linking on the brakes? All I'm recalling is a front-to-rear link.

 

From my point of view, braking in such a situation should be a functional decision: does it contribute to bringing the bike to a safe stop. Seems you were able to maintain good control of the bike without braking so it wasn't necessary. Reducing unnecessary inputs seems a good idea. There's also the ABS to consider. Hard to know whether it would have released the brakes (at least?) once per rotation.

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Paul Mihalka

I think if a front tire lets go while you are leaned over in a curve, you are sliding on your butt or do other gymnastic actions. My last full front tire failure was when I went off the road in a turn because of a pickup truck coming at me sliding in my lane. I hit a rock when I was more or less straight, off-road, hopping around. I just kept riding the thing. Got it back on the road, stopped. Remembered problems from other occasions and slowly worked the bike over to the left side of the road. I learned time ago that with a flat tire if the road has camber I can't put down the side stand on the right side of the road.

Really the only thing you can do is keep riding it as long as you can. The longer you do the slower you crash, if you end up crashing.

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Andy,

 

Fantastic job controlling the bike. I've always heard to do exactly what you did if one suffers a front end blow out! Great info. Thanks for sharing.

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I was travelling at around 60-70 MPH, and yes, it is a fantastic area for motorcycling.

 

I have just sent a claim into the Roads department of the Angus council who are responsible for the upkeep of that piece of road.

 

Google maps

 

Andy

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Joe Frickin' Friday

Musta been one hell of a pothole. Back in 1999 - a week after coming home with my new R1100RT - I hit a Detroit pothole that bent both rims and nearly pitched me off of the bike. If you hit one bad enough to let the air out of your front tire, you must have been wearing your seat belt. :grin:

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Glad things turned out OK, except for the tire, of course.

 

One more reason to not have linked brakes.

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i had a spoke punch through a front tube after crossing an expansion joint crossing a bridge at 60mph, the tire was flat before i got half way across... and then the suzuki went into a tank slapper...

 

years previous an old dispatch rider told me that only solution was to accelerate, it got me of the bridge and then i rode it into the ditch and wrestled the tank slapper to a stop

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The key in any tire situation is gentle and measured inputs.

Anything abrupt or excessive is a recipe for more trouble.

Many over react and jump out of the throttle and jam on the binders and wonder why they get pitched...

Your reactions sound OK to me with the only caveat that one needs to avoid "too early" downshifts when doing that.

Depending on time and distance available to stop, I might have selected some rear brake. No front unless I absolutely was out of all other options distance wise.

The front brake could cause an immediate spill in such a situation but the overriding safety concern if a hit cannot be avoided is to scrub as much speed as possible and pick any softer landing spot around

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Bill_Walker
Depending on time and distance available to stop, I might have selected some rear brake. No front unless I absolutely was out of all other options distance wise.

The front brake could cause an immediate spill in such a situation but the overriding safety concern if a hit cannot be avoided is to scrub as much speed as possible and pick any softer landing spot around

 

On an '04 1150RT, you can't be sure of applying only the rear brake, since the brakes are linked.

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If linked rear to front then yes I'd try to stay off even rear as long as possible. Current model 1200 linked front to rear but not rear to front, allows use of rear only. No 1150s in the garage here- only 1100S, 1200 and a K bike.

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Musta been one hell of a pothole. Back in 1999 - a week after coming home with my new R1100RT - I hit a Detroit pothole that bent both rims and nearly pitched me off of the bike. If you hit one bad enough to let the air out of your front tire, you must have been wearing your seat belt. :grin:

 

I learned while riding in the dirt that you must stand and absorb the impact with your legs. If you don't, the seat comes up and hits your rump . . . hard . . . and you take off upward like a rocket. I'm not saying this happened to you. Your legs can only absorb so much.

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Good job keep it upright! MSF says to gradually roll off the throttle, and slowly decelerate while easing the bike to the side of the road. NO QUICK BRAKING OR DOWNSHIFTS!It goes on to say that if you don't have linked brakes, you may gradually apply brake to the good wheel.

It sounds like you reacted perfectly, congrats on staying cool and keeping it under control!

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