Flat Tire at Speed - Best Way To Stop Bike

Discussion in 'Touring Models' started by propflux01, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. propflux01

    propflux01 Active Member

    Just got back from a 4869 mile trek from Arkansastan to Tacoma, WA and back. Before I left, I had both Front and Rear tires replaced with Dunlop E3's. While on my way there, about 40 miles out of Twin Falls, ID, I'm just cruising along and suddenly the highway starts to make the back end wobble around--well, so I thought it was the highway.....Anyhow, it gets progressively worse and my mind is thinking, 'new tires....can't be a flat... there is nothing in the road that I hit.....Hmmm...??' Of course, all this is going through my mind in a split second, and the bike is very rapidly becoming uncontrollable. So I let off gas, pull in clutch, shaking is almost throwing me off the bike, I hit front brake-- shaking gets even worse.. Now, I am just seconds away from becoming highway fodder, and the semi truck I just passed is watching all this and mashing his brakes as well. So, I just squeezed the brake as hard as I could, fought the good fight and got her off the road. I inspect the tire, and no nails, holes, etc. I get out my 12V compressor and air it up...... Comes right up!!!! Now I'm really wondering.. then I see it.. Valve stem is split. Seems the Indy does not routinely replace valve stems when replacing a tire ( he does now after my phone call!). So lesson one, when replacing tires, ENSURE they put new stems on as well, don't just assume they do it..
    Now, for lesson two. Stopping the bike with a flat rear tire. The MSF says to use the brake on the wheel thats not flat, saying if you brake on the flat tire, it may unbead the tire, and make things worse. Sounds OK to me, but why when I used the front brake only, did the bike get even worse on its shaking? Is there something I am missing in case this ever happens to me again? I will admit, I just knew i was gonna be plastered all over the highway, and it was gonna hurt! and to be honest, it scared the bejesus out of me as well.. Any input?
  2. HDDon

    HDDon Experienced Member Contributor Retired Moderators

    First we are all glad you came through this in one piece. Second congradulations on getting the bike off the road and stopped. I have had several rear flats two at speed and one of those in the rain. By grabbing the front brake you caused the bike to shift the weight forward and I would think this is what made the bike shake. The hard part about stopping with a flat tire is to do things very lightly and slowly. If you have room to just let the bike slow down without using the brake it will fishtail (rear tire flat) but will stay fairly stright even in the rain. Again nice riding and I hope this is the only time you have this experience. Thanks for the reminder to check for new valve stems!!
  3. Scrappy

    Scrappy Active Member

    scary story man, glad all ended well.. I have nothing to add to this. I will remember and learn. thanks
  4. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

    Glad your OK. The work of a "Slacker" almost got you hurt. I always wondered what it was going to like if & when it happens.

    True story,,
    Last week I went on a ride with two buddies, one's name is Charley. He has a 2010 SuperGlide. So after breakfast, we walk outside and I am looking at his bike and he has rubber valve stems. I said "Charley, the next time you get fresh tires, get rid of those rubber stems and install the chrome brass ones". (and I went on to tell him why. Me & my big mouth)
    He turns to me and says "You worry about things that are never going to happen. I have never had a rubber valve stem go bad in my entire life"

    I said "Charley, your not on 4 wheels." and left it at that. Why would someone NOT install chrome brass stems (or even argue about them). Heck, they even look better.!:)
    Makes no sense to me.

    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

    Some people just choose the old school thing...ya know, if it ain't broke or never broke before why change. Sometimes simple technology change is for the better, but there is always some who resist.

    Hey, tradition/classic "look" just works...black turn of the century black rubber stem is only couple bucks...why speed 5 or 10x that for "no reason"?!!!...that attitude dies hard. I still like carburation, it is "toilet bowl" technology for crying out loud...do I want to change to EFI...maybe, but I'm good with what I go so far, the 2004-2006 was the latest carburetion H-D offered. I'll leave the technology to my car and truck :D
  6. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

    Yes,,but I bet you have BOTH carburetor pull cables attached to you carb even though you "really" only need one. :)

    Another true story... Have a friend who has a 1979 Sporty and installed a SS Shorty on it. He is showing me his new carb and I said "Tom, where is your "pull back" cable for the butterfly".

    He told me, "you don't need it with this carb because it has a return spring":)
  7. HDDon

    HDDon Experienced Member Contributor Retired Moderators

    Hoople I'm thinking your friends never met Mr. Murphy.
  8. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    Reducing the speed of the bike in a deliberate manner worked for me when a rear tyre went flat no heavy breaking just close the throttle and light on the brakes
    it was a long time ago 1978
    i now always go my own tyres

  9. FLHTrider08

    FLHTrider08 Active Member Contributor

    Glad to hear you survived. I'm lucky enough to have not experienced this but now have a better idea what to do if it happens.
  10. chuck60

    chuck60 Active Member

    I have had two rear flat tire's, one when I went to go for a ride the tire was flat, the second one in a Harley parking lot, they made me pay for a new tire even though the week before I just bought a new tire there and had them install it.