Tire Went Flat Overnight - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
1987 to 2007 Wrenching & Mods For maintaining, repair or modifications of Generation 1 KLR's. 2007 and earlier.

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post #1 of 17 Old 01-09-2017, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Southern Arizona
Posts: 7
Tire Went Flat Overnight

Hello all! I have been lurking on these forums for a couple of months and finally purchased a 2004 KLR 650 with 6,600 miles last week. The bike was owned by an older gentleman who was shifting his riding styles to more pavement riding. The bike was well maintained and has a Rick Mayor seat, crash bars, luggage rack with softbags, and the Doohickey upgrade. This is my first KLR 650, and for all intents and purposes I am brand new to working on motorcycles. I look forward to becoming an active member on these forums as it appears to be a great community!

Due to the age and low miles on the bike, I was a bit concerned about mechanical issues stemming from the bike sitting unused for so long such as dry rotted tires or a gummed up carb. However, the tires (Tubeless Avon Gripsters) appear to be in decent shape with lots of tread life/relatively little cracking and the bike fires right up and runs like a champ. After purchasing the bike I have logged about 100 miles, most of which were on the pavement, but some were off-road and some were two-up with no issues whatsoever

On Saturday we had some great weather here in southern Arizona and I felt like getting back to my limited high school motocross roots. I rode the bike pretty hard and quickly learned why the Gripsters are nicknamed "Slicksters" off-road. I rode the bike back to my house and everything seemed to be fine.

However, the next day I went to go take the short pavement ride to the gym and hopped on the bike to discover the rear tire had unexpectedly gone flat overnight. I inspected the tire and did not find any signs of damage, but did notice an unexpected noise from inside the tire such as something rolling around in the space between the tire and rim. I do not recall hearing that noise when inspecting the bike and rotating the rear tire up on the center stand before as I cleaned/lubed the chain and do not see any damage to the tire.

I spent pretty much all day Sunday searching the forum, YouTube, etc. trying to find information on the possible cause and solution, and initially ended up far more confused than I was when I started. I believe now I have a decent understanding of how these tube vs. tubeless tires work and feel prepared to take the tire off of the rim and inspect it or replace it if necessary. I just wanted to run a few questions past those of you who are more experienced as I did not locate this kind of scenario utilizing the search feature. I filled the tire up with air tonight and I cannot hear air leaking, but it's too late to conduct the soapy water test tonight and I will check the PSI again in the morning.

- Assuming the tire holds air overnight, how concerned should I be about the tire unexpectedly losing pressure?

- Any thoughts on what could be floating around the inside of the tire?

- These tires are in decent shape. If it is just a slow leak and goes flat again in the morning, what are your opinions on refilling the tire with air and utilizing the Ride-on tire sealant?

- Could the air have leaked out through a bad spoke? If so, do you recommend repairing or replacing?

- If it goes flat again, what would you do next in this situation?

Thanks in advance for the help all. If some of these questions seem very elementary, please take it easy on me. I have been amazed at how many hours I could spend reading about different types of tires, tubes, and rims and still feel so lost haha
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post #2 of 17 Old 01-09-2017, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Southern Arizona
Posts: 7
Update: Just went out and checked the tire again after typing up the message and waiting a bit. Lost 10 PSI already. Obviously still leaking.

Any point in trying Ride-On or just pull the tire off the rim and go from there?
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post #3 of 17 Old 01-09-2017, 10:44 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Redondo Beach
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Irrespective of any markings on the tire, you have a tube in front and rear tires. I'd doubt that the gentleman had gone to the trouble of converting the front and rear rims to tubeless. Most of the tires we fit to the KLR are marked "Tubeless". That simply means that they have the proper construction to be run tubeless on a tubeless rim, but it doesn't preclude them from being run with a tube in them on a spoked rim.

As the gecko says, "You have a flat tire!".

You need to get the tube repaired or replaced.

The flat could be a thorn or goathead that you can't see. It could be a faulty valve core or a deteriorated tube or a leak at the base of the stem.

Doesn't really matter what it is; it's 10 years old.

I wouldn't ride on 10 year old tires, or even 5 year old tires that had been sitting. The tires really aren't in that decent shape. They are old and dry even if they don't appear to be cracked. I'd remove the rear wheel and fit a new tire and tube.

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“On the way downtown I stopped at a bar and had a couple of double Scotches. They didn't do me any good. All they did was make me think of Silver-Wig, and I never saw her again.” -Philip Marlowe

“'Why' and 'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used.” -Napoleon Bonaparte

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post #4 of 17 Old 01-10-2017, 10:15 AM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lander, Wyoming
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I will agree with Tom on the need for a new inner tube in that tire.
But I politely disagree about the need to replace the old tires.
The internal carcass or cording of the tires should still be structurally sound.

Yes, I know the rubber is older, slightly drier on its outer surface and may only offer 90% traction on dry pavement and probably some less on wet pavement. But heh, I'm cheap. And I'll guess that you may ride at a 70% level.

Chances are that a brand New (No longer available/discontinued) Gripster would Not Have enough more traction in the same dirt for me to tell the difference. And IT was my favorite tire. I got between 8500-11,000 miles out of 4 consecutive rear Gripsters and 15,000 miles out of fronts.

If the age of the tires causes you to hesitate, replace them.

Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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post #5 of 17 Old 01-10-2017, 12:33 PM
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Southern Arizona. ;^)


Tom [email protected]

“On the way downtown I stopped at a bar and had a couple of double Scotches. They didn't do me any good. All they did was make me think of Silver-Wig, and I never saw her again.” -Philip Marlowe

“'Why' and 'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used.” -Napoleon Bonaparte

Sting like a butterfly.
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post #6 of 17 Old 01-10-2017, 12:50 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 206
Just to add a nickel. I used to be in the tire business. 4 or 5 thousand years ago.
Should the tire have sat flat, there will be a weak spot on the side wall where it was sitting.
Should you load the bike down and with the extra flex she could cause a problem.
I suggest that with it flat, roll the tire and look for cracks in the sidewall.

On another note, welcome!
Also the last two comments before mine are the real experts on all thinks KLR!
While I sit and watch the storm and knowing I have a foot of snow to shovel when I get home, I reluctantly say enjoy the weather down there and do a little extra riding for us snow locked folk.
Best to ya!
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post #7 of 17 Old 01-10-2017, 05:48 PM
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Location: Texas
Posts: 1,260
Since you are new to the KLR I will give you a little more information on the tires and wheels. It comes from the factory with spoke wheels and inner tubes just like a bicycle.

Some motorcycled have solid nonspoked wheels with three or four solid ribs between the wheel and the center hub. These wheels can use tubeless tires without tubes like a car wheel. These same tubeless tires will fit and work on the KLR, but have to be used with tubes otherwise the air would leak out through all the spoke holes in the wheel. Some KLR owners have gone to a great deal of trouble to try to use glue and tape to seal all the spoke holes and convert to tubeless operation. A few have been successful, but most have wound up with leaks.

If your valve stem is threaded all the way down from the tip into the wheel, it is attached to an inner tube in the tire. If it has a big rubber bump next to the wheel like on a car so that it can not be pushed back into the wheel, it is a tubeless valve stem.

Most of the time when you have a flat you will fine a nail, screw, staple, wire......or something in the tire. You were smart to look for this because you would want to remove it and mark on the wheel where it was to make it easier to find the hole in the tube when you remove it. Some times there is no nail. I have had a flat from the tube rubbing on a rough spot on the tire bead and one from a small fold in the tube rubbing on itself.

Since yours has gone flat twice you need to remove the tire and find the problem. The first time you do it will be difficult, but you will get better with experience. Google "motorcycle tire changing" for several videos and articles on tire changing. The best hint I can give you is when reinstalling the tire NEVER BRING YOUR TIRE IRON UP MORE THAN 90 DEGREES FROM THE SPOKES. If you go more than 90 degrees past vertical, you risk pinching a new hole in the tube with the end of the tool.

I don't recommend "Slime" type repairs for anything but emergencies to get you to a shop or home for a better more permanent repair. I only tried it one time on the Trans-Canada Adventure Trail in Labrador. It leaked down every 40 miles or so, but got me to a ferry I needed to catch. It continued to leak so I replaced the tube with the spare I carry on such trips at the next town.

I always replace the tube with a new one rather than patch it, if a have a new one available. I have only had one patch fail after several months of service, but it is not worth the hassle if I have a new tube.
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post #8 of 17 Old 01-10-2017, 11:11 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Southern Arizona
Posts: 7
These awesome responses are exactly what I hoped to elicit by starting this thread, thank you all so much! Such great information for noobies. When I get a chance this week I will be pulling the tire off of the bike, removing it from the rim, and inspecting them. I will post pics/videos of my findings with the tire and the tube and will progress from there accordingly. I will keep y'all updated
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post #9 of 17 Old 01-11-2017, 05:18 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Kelowna, B.C.
Posts: 2,810
Like they said; you need a tube minimum. .....and I'll agree with Tom in that I think that running old tires is a bad idea. I bought a mint 2000 KLR last spring with only 577 miles on it and the original tires. While I planned on replacing the tires anyhow, I did ride it for a few days first......when I removed the tires, I realized that was a huge mistake;

Oh, and welcome. :-)

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post #10 of 17 Old 01-12-2017, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Southern Arizona
Posts: 7
I was able to get the rear tire off and remove the tire from the rim without too much trouble. After removing the tube, I filled it with air and stuck it in the bathtub and quickly located my leak. It appears the leak was coming from an old patch job. I don't understand why someone would go through the trouble of patching the tube when a new heavy duty tube can be purchased for $20. It doesn't appear as anything ever penetrated the tire and struck the tube, but rather the old patch job did not hold up.

After removing the tire it appears as though it is in much better condition and much newer than I expected. I have attached a couple of photos of the tire and the only small nick the tire has on it. Obviously I am no tire expert, but the tires still appear fairly new with plenty of life left in them. Please feel free to chime in with your thoughts on the tire's condition after viewing the attached pictures. There is no damage or cracking anywhere to the tire other than the small mark pictured.

I found a small metal cylindrical piece floating around inside the tire. It appears as though it is related to the valve stem in some fashion. Attached is a picture of the piece. Is it anything that needs to go back on the wheel/new valve stem when I slide the new valve stem in there? I'm not sure how this piece would have worked its way loose and off of the valve stem if the valve stem was secured through the hole in the wheel???

I do not have any experience with wheels, but I ran my hand over the rubber piece running along the center of the wheel and did not feel any of the spokes poking through the rubber, so I am assuming it will be okay?

Well, it's not allowing me to post a link to my pictures until I have 15 or more posts. Type in imgur dot com and then /a/JlWrJ to view the pictures.


Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 01-12-2017 at 10:34 PM. Reason: Added link (several pictures)
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