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The wind in your hair, the freedom to go wherever you please —riding a motorcycle is a great way to travel. But as any experienced biker knows, there are a few downsides.
Motorcycles are definitely not immune from regular maintenance or breakdowns.
One big downside is flat tires. Nothing puts a damper on your day quite like seeing that tell-tale sign of deflation coming from one of your wheels.
It doesn’t have to be all bad news though – if you know what you’re doing and come prepared with the right tools and knowledge, changing a tire on your motorcycle isn’t such an ordeal after all!
We’ll walk through everything you need to know about dealing with flat tires on two wheels (and maybe even make it sound fun—nah, not really).
We’ll discuss how to identify when one or more of your tires is low on air pressure, how best to prepare for potential tire issues while out riding, and finally provide step-by-step instructions for both removing and replacing your bike’s tires safely.
So let’s get started – because who wants to stay stuck with a flat?
What to Do if Your Tire Goes Flat While Riding
If your tire goes flat while riding, the most important thing to do is to pull over and stop safely.
If you are on a highway or other roads with higher speed limits, take special care when pulling over—try to find a straight stretch of road (or even an emergency lane if available) and signal your intentions early so that other drivers can adjust accordingly.
When you get a flat while moving, you’ll want to:
- Continue in a straight path as you slow down.
- Ease off the throttle.
- Avoid using the brakes.
- Maintain a firm grip on the handlebars.
- Signal to other drivers that you’re getting off the road.
Once you have stopped, check your air pressure gauge or use a tire pressure gauge to double-check the tire’s air pressure.
If it reads significantly lower than it should be, then it is probably best to get off the bike and inspect the tire for any visible damage (punctures, tears). If no damage is noticeable, look for any foreign objects such as nails or glass lodged in the treads.
If a puncture is present, it may still be possible to ride slowly back home or to a service station for repairs; however, depending on the size of the puncture this could be dangerous as further deflation could lead to an increased risk of losing control of the vehicle.
If you are stranded with no nearby service station or place of safety nearby, contact someone who can help pick you up and transport your motorcycle back home. This could be a roadside assistance service such as AAA if available in your area.
How to Repair a Flat Tire on a Motorcycle
Repairing a flat tire on your motorcycle is a simple process that requires the right tools and knowledge. We’ll break down the steps below.
1. Get Your Tools Ready
Gather all necessary tools, such as a jack to lift the bike, tire levers/irons, pliers, and a compressor or air pump to fill the tire with air once repaired.
Place the jack securely under your motorcycle frame and make sure it is steady before attempting to lift it off the ground. It’s best to use a dedicated motorcycle jack since these are designed specifically for two-wheelers.
Lift the motorcycle using the jack until you have enough clearance for you to access the wheel and remove it from the vehicle. Make sure that your bike is secure before continuing with any work.
2. Remove the Wheel
Once you’ve gained access to the wheel with it off the bike, release the air pressure in order to deflate it completely by unscrewing the valve stem cap before pushing down on it with one of your tire levers or pliers.
3. Work the Tire Off the Rim
Using both hands, carefully pry off each side of the tire in order to remove it from its rim while taking care not to cut yourself in any way with any sharp edges present on either part of this assembly (rims and tires).
Be careful not to damage the rim as you make your way around removing the tire.
4. Inspect, Repair, or Replace the Tire
Inspect both sides of the interior of your tire for signs of punctures or tears before proceeding with repairs—if one exists, use some rubber cement (or specialized patch kits available at most auto stores) alongside an old toothbrush in order to seal up any holes or tears before reassembling everything back together again.
If the puncture is large or unsafe to repair, replace the tire with a new one.
5. Reinstall Your Tire on the Rim
Reattach both sides of your bike’s tire onto its rim starting at one end and working towards its other side until each side is secured firmly enough so that there is no risk of them slipping outwards during operation – this should be done in small increments as opposed to one fluid motion when attaching both parts together again so as not to cause any further damage due to excessive force being applied too quickly or unevenly distributed throughout this process.
Finally fill up your newly repaired tire with air using either an air compressor or manual pump – make sure that you check your pressure gauge regularly throughout this process in order to determine when enough air has been added to your newly reattached wheel(s).
You want to be sure that the tire’s beads are fully seated in the rim. You can gentle bounce the tire as you fill it up to help the beads sit, if necessary.
Top Causes of a Flat
Some common reasons your bike’s tires might go flat include:
- Low-quality tires: Tires that are of low quality or do not offer the level of performance required for your bike may be more prone to punctures and flats due to their lesser protection against road hazards.
- Road debris: Anything from nails, glass, rocks and other sharp objects can cause damage to your tire’s inner tube leading to deflation over time if left unrepaired.
- Old/worn-out tires: Older tires tend to lose their elasticity over time which leads to increased likelihood of them being affected by external forces such as those described above. (Learn when to replace your motorcycle tires).
- Overinflating: Air pressure should be checked regularly in order to ensure it is at the optimal level as specified in your bike’s manual. Overinflating can lead to additional stress and wear on the tire itself, making its structure more prone to punctures and flats.
How to Prevent Flat Tires
In order to avoid flat tires, there are a few key steps you can take:
- Purchase high-quality tires that offer the proper amount of protection against potential road hazards.
- Check your tire pressure regularly in order to ensure it is at the optimal level as specified in your bike’s manual.
- Inspect your tires for signs of wear and tear before each ride and replace them when necessary.
- Avoid leaving any sharp objects on the ground that can puncture your tires – this includes items such as nails, glass shards, etc.
- Carry a spare tube or patch kit in case of emergencies.
By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your bike is well-protected against flat tires and will be able to enjoy a safe and comfortable ride.
Additionally, if you ever find yourself dealing with a flat tire on your motorcycle, it’s important to remember to stay calm and work carefully in order to prevent any further damage or injury.