How to Safely Handle a Flat Tire
Safety Tip of the Week
It’s almost inevitable if you do a lot of riding: One day you’ll get a flat tire. When you do, you’ll notice a little wobbliness and, if you’re going fast, you might hear a hum. If the rear tire is going flat, it will see as if your motorcycle is losing oomph.
Now you have to get to side of the road and stop. Riding a motorcycle with a flat, even just a short ways, is dangerous because you can’t control speed or direction—and you’ll ruin that expensive rim. To pull over and stop, don’t make quick changes in direction. Instead, smoothly move off the throttle. If you know which tire is flat, gently brake the other tire. If you don’t know which tire is flat, gently apply both brakes once the motorcycle has slowed due to engine braking. Stay centered over the chassis as you stop.
If you have a tire repair kit, you might be able to plug a leak in a tubeless tire or replace the tube if your tire has one. In either case, using a canned tire-repair product is not safe for motorcycles, so don’t use it.
Fiddling with the tire by the side of a busy road can be dangerous. You can get roadside assistance to get you and your bike safely to a service station for the repair through your insurance, or a branded owners group, or through the American Motorcyclist Association. That way, all you have to carry is your cell phone.
Stay safe out there!