Sudden Flats, Run Flat Tires - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 08-17-2018, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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Sudden Flats, Run Flat Tires

Dear All:

I've been a lurker here for awhile, but thought I'd share a couple of recent experiences.

Pulled the bike on a trailer from North Dakota a week ago. Left Delta, Colorado (near my old hometowm) Tuesday morning with my son on my '08 KLR. Navigated about 25 miles worth of Gunnison Gorge trails. Then on to Ouray and Silverteron. Next day a traverse of Engineer Pass back to Ouray, extremely tough for a heavily loaded KLR. An endurance test of sorts. And a test of nerves.

On to Telluride, Norwood, Naturita, Uravan (a uranium town that now lies buried), and camp in the high desert south of Naturita. Then to Hovenweep National Monument, Monument Valley Utah, stop in Kayenta.

13 miles south of Kayenta at about 60 mph I lost pressure rather suddenly in the front tire. Very difficult situation. Very little to do but hang on and avoid over-correcting. We got off the road on two wheels. Very thankful for that.

I'm running Shinko 244s w. about 1,500 miles on them. No apparent damage to the tire. Post mortem I expected a shredded tube or at least a ripped out stem. Instead only a slow leak. It appears that the tire had deflated slowly, and slipped off the bead quickly.

2 LESSONS:

1) CHECK PRESSURE FREQUENTLY both front and rear. That'll be an obsessive habit now.

2) try to find tires that will really "run flat."

A KLR.net discussion says Dunlop 606's will do it. But I'd like something closer to a 50/50 dirt/street combo or maybe 60/40 dirt/street.

Recommendations or suggestions please? Thanks!
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-18-2018, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kelandsmith View Post
Dear All:

I've been a lurker here for awhile, but thought I'd share a couple of recent experiences.

Pulled the bike on a trailer from North Dakota a week ago. Left Delta, Colorado (near my old hometowm) Tuesday morning with my son on my '08 KLR. Navigated about 25 miles worth of Gunnison Gorge trails. Then on to Ouray and Silverteron. Next day a traverse of Engineer Pass back to Ouray, extremely tough for a heavily loaded KLR. An endurance test of sorts. And a test of nerves.

On to Telluride, Norwood, Naturita, Uravan (a uranium town that now lies buried), and camp in the high desert south of Naturita. Then to Hovenweep National Monument, Monument Valley Utah, stop in Kayenta.

13 miles south of Kayenta at about 60 mph I lost pressure rather suddenly in the front tire. Very difficult situation. Very little to do but hang on and avoid over-correcting. We got off the road on two wheels. Very thankful for that.

I'm running Shinko 244s w. about 1,500 miles on them. No apparent damage to the tire. Post mortem I expected a shredded tube or at least a ripped out stem. Instead only a slow leak. It appears that the tire had deflated slowly, and slipped off the bead quickly.

2 LESSONS:

1) CHECK PRESSURE FREQUENTLY both front and rear. That'll be an obsessive habit now.

2) try to find tires that will really "run flat."

A KLR.net discussion says Dunlop 606's will do it. But I'd like something closer to a 50/50 dirt/street combo or maybe 60/40 dirt/street.

Recommendations or suggestions please? Thanks!
A TPMS system? They wonít help with a blow-out, but for your slow leak scenario they are the catís pajamas.
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post #3 of 12 Old 08-20-2018, 10:09 AM
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Heidenau K60 Scouts and Continental Trail Attacks will run flat for quite a way. (Do not ask me how I know this!)

Happen to have a set of new, never-mounted Trail Attacks sitting in the storage facility . . .
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post #4 of 12 Old 08-20-2018, 11:10 AM
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I check my tire pressures before each ride......even a quick squeeze will tell you if the tire pressure is really low.

Any tire with a stiff sidewall (like the D606 or K60) will have a better chance of staying on the rim with no pressure as will a tubeless tire (used with a tube, of course)....but don't count on this as a foolproof solution.

Cheers,
Dave
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post #5 of 12 Old 08-21-2018, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kelandsmith View Post
[...]

2 LESSONS:

1) CHECK PRESSURE FREQUENTLY both front and rear. That'll be an obsessive habit now.

[...]
That's certainly good advice, but still not good enough, IMO. Checking tire pressure, while not a huge job, is tedious enough that it really becomes a chore over time. And even worse, it only ensures that your pressure is good at the start of the ride-- get a puncture while you are riding and you'll never know until the ride degrades enough to feel it (and, at that point, it's probably dangerous).

Having a TPMS is, IMO, the only way to go. No need to check your pressures manually and you'll know if you're losing pressure during a ride. Thus, I installed a "FULLELE Wireless Waterproof Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) for Motorcycle, 2 External Sensors" (search that on Amazon-- I can't post links) last spring and have been using it all season. It works fantastically.

I charged it fully when I first got it, and it went four months before it needed a charge! And after all that time it still wasn't even fully discharged-- it took that long for the gauge to come off the "fully charged" position. I now give it a charge every weekend when I lube the chain, but it always indicates that it's fully charged and only charges for 3-4 minutes before it stops accepting a charge. So, I think it would go more than a month without a charge, and the battery is so small it could be easily recharged with a tiny rechargeable power supply.

It's not particularly secure on the bike and it wouldn't be too difficult to steal if someone was intent on getting it, but at $50 I consider it almost disposable. For the safety I feel it provides me, I'll just replace it if it breaks or is stolen and consider it a cost of riding. In fact, I already purchased a backup and have it at the ready in the event that something happens to the one I have mounted.

I won't ride a MC without a TPMS, and I find this aftermarket version to be an excellent way to have a TPMS on any bike I ride.

Last edited by jrogers110; 08-21-2018 at 09:54 AM.
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post #6 of 12 Old 08-21-2018, 10:30 AM
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FULL DISCLOSURE: I own a motorcycle with OEM TPMS.

That said, I don't consider the feature mandatory/essential/deal-breaker in significance.

In my view, motorcycle tires (not unlike automobile tires) function effectively over considerable latitude of air pressure. Pressure can be manually measured occasionally, determining the presence of "slow leaks," without great expenditure of effort, IMHO.

Otherwise, a FLAT is unambiguous. A sudden loss of pressure in a tire results in a decided difference in handling, in my experience and observation. At the point of a FLAT, the TPMS isn't useful in reporting zero air pressure, seems to me; the rider ALREADY knows that parameter value.

TPMS a convenience for monitoring air pressure for routine maintenance? Surely. Necessary? Not so much, in my view.

A separate issue, not related to TPMS value, but to instrument visibility design, perhaps: When my tire pressure falls under the TPMS minimum setting, the dashboard display goes APE! Flashing, winking-and-blinking WARNING notices (as in, THE SKY IS FALLING!) obfuscate other dashboard data indications. I think, "OK, OK. I now KNOW my rear tire is a few psi low. I'll take care of the problem." Wish I could TURN THE WARNING OFF, after I receive the message!

Again, YMMV, regarding TPMS and its worth.
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post #7 of 12 Old 08-21-2018, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Damocles View Post
FULL DISCLOSURE: I own a motorcycle with OEM TPMS.

That said, I don't consider the feature mandatory/essential/deal-breaker in significance.

In my view, motorcycle tires (not unlike automobile tires) function effectively over considerable latitude of air pressure. Pressure can be manually measured occasionally, determining the presence of "slow leaks," without great expenditure of effort, IMHO.

Otherwise, a FLAT is unambiguous. A sudden loss of pressure in a tire results in a decided difference in handling, in my experience and observation. At the point of a FLAT, the TPMS isn't useful in reporting zero air pressure, seems to me; the rider ALREADY knows that parameter value.

TPMS a convenience for monitoring air pressure for routine maintenance? Surely. Necessary? Not so much, in my view.

A separate issue, not related to TPMS value, but to instrument visibility design, perhaps: When my tire pressure falls under the TPMS minimum setting, the dashboard display goes APE! Flashing, winking-and-blinking WARNING notices (as in, THE SKY IS FALLING!) obfuscate other dashboard data indications. I think, "OK, OK. I now KNOW my rear tire is a few psi low. I'll take care of the problem." Wish I could TURN THE WARNING OFF, after I receive the message!

Again, YMMV, regarding TPMS and its worth.

Agreed; TPMS isn't going to help you in the event of a sudden loss of pressure anyhow and I find that checking the pressure before the ride to be easy enough. .....then again I'm a firm advocate to the KISS principle which is why I don't like ABS, EFI, traction control and my bikes have manual petcocks and the sidestand and clutch safeties reside in my spare parts bin.

JMHO, this has worked for me for the past 45 years and 41 motocycles.


Dave
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post #8 of 12 Old 08-21-2018, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Damocles View Post

[...]

Again, YMMV, regarding TPMS and its worth.
Yeah, my mileage definitely differs!

If one has a catastrophic rupture of the tube, then a TPMS probably won't be helpful. But those type of flats aren't as common. Usually even a fast leak is going to take a minute or two before the tire is dangerously low on air. That amount of time to take corrective action (e.g., get out of the fast lane at 70 mph and on to the shoulder) is important (at least to me).

Also, it seems like every time I ride I go over some surface (tar snakes, rain grooves, etc.) where handling suddenly gets a little weird, causing me to wonder if I'm getting a flat for the next five minutes or so. To me that's a stressful distraction that takes away from the fun of riding, and I'd rather avoid it. So, it's really nice to be able to look down at the gauge and immediately confirm the tires are OK. Thus, I find that knowing that my pressures are OK at all times is very reassuring and it makes riding more fun.

Fortunately, the system I installed is not annoying in the way you described for yours-- I can see why that system would get on your nerves.

For $50, the system I installed is (for me, anyway) a pretty cost-effective way to increase the fun of riding, so why go without it? At least that's my logic on it.

Cheers! <-- couldn't find the smiley, so just have to type it!
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post #9 of 12 Old 08-21-2018, 06:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DPelletier View Post
Agreed; TPMS isn't going to help you in the event of a sudden loss of pressure anyhow and I find that checking the pressure before the ride to be easy enough. .....then again I'm a firm advocate to the KISS principle which is why I don't like ABS, EFI, traction control and my bikes have manual petcocks and the sidestand and clutch safeties reside in my spare parts bin.

JMHO, this has worked for me for the past 45 years and 41 motocycles.


Dave
And when you break down you walk 5 miles to the nearest pay phone to call for help, right?
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post #10 of 12 Old 08-21-2018, 06:12 PM
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And when you break down you walk 5 miles to the nearest pay phone to call for help, right?
Pay phone? are you crazy? ....smoke signals are the foolproof way to go!




Dave
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