So Flat! - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
Never let your guard down This forum is for discussions on close calls and other safety issues.

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post #1 of 18 Old 05-06-2020, 01:11 AM Thread Starter
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So Flat!

I'm relatively new to riding the street and have a lot to learn from you guys. My son and I just purchased 2 KLR's and have logged around 2000 miles so far. So experience and skill are on the short side.

Anyway, I had a really close call the other day. We were into a ride about 100 miles. The roads were fairly straight and the sparse traffic was doing around 65mph. The twisty section of road was coming up and we slowed to about 50mph (my son was behind me). Half way through the first left curve my front tire blew out (tube ruptured). The front washed out to the right and I was veering into the oncoming lane. There was a car in the lane and got close enough that I can still see the splattered bugs all over the bumper. I thought for sure I was going to lay it down and get run over. Somehow, the front tire grabbed and stood be back up. The bike and I then pitched way over to the right and veered back across my lane and nearly into a guard rail protecting from a near vertical drop of 30' or so. I was trying to turn and not hit the rail or get wedged under it. All the while sliding so low that I wore a patch in my other boot. Again I got lucky and the tire grabbed and stood me back up. I had just enough time to lift my right leg and raise it above the guard rail. At this point I had probably slowed to 20mph and was able to coast to a stop just beyond the guard rail end. It was really close to being a BAD DAY!

I was able to ride the shoulder far enough to get to a wide spot and my son rode 60 miles back to the house for the truck and trailer. I didn't feel like wrestling a tire on the side of the road.

What caused the sudden loss of pressure?

I figured it out. We had ridden off road for 25 miles or so. I found a tiny cactus thorn in the sidewall. It must have been a slow enough leak that it was not noticed for the 25 miles or so we had done prior to the twisty section. The low pressure had worn the side of the tube all the way around both sides of the tube. When it had enough....it just let go!

I'm not sure if anyone has or recommends using a tire pressure monitoring system. I have one on order!
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post #2 of 18 Old 05-06-2020, 07:25 AM
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Yikes! Sounds like an amazing save. Only thought is to check tire pressures before any ride BUT it doesn't sound like that would have helped you avoid this mis-adventure! TPM sounds like a good way to go to restore some piece of mind. Be sure to balance that wheel with the sensor in place.
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post #3 of 18 Old 05-06-2020, 09:55 AM
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TPMS won't do anything for a catastrophic loss of pressure.....it will let you know about a slow leak possibly. I wouldn't bother myself and yes, check the pressure before every ride. I doubt the tube wore to the point of failure, I'd bet the thorn caused a tear; synthetic tubes are known to rip or tear when punctured causing a rapid loss of pressure. I use real rubber tubes which will still puncture but are far more resistant to tearing.


2 cents,
Dave
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post #4 of 18 Old 05-06-2020, 10:10 AM
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I agree with Dave, synthetic tubes pop like a balloon when punctured.
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post #5 of 18 Old 05-06-2020, 01:20 PM
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Was it the OEM tire on the front? Dunlop 209 or something (memory is going) I know it was not a great tire for off road. Pirelli MT21 or I like the Kenda's trackmaster II or others. Since you are new to KLRs have you gotten yourself a decent set of tire irons yet.

You truly havent made love to your bike until you swap out a big knobbie for the rear with a set of tire irons. glad you got through the blowout without much harm, drive safe. line6distortion
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post #6 of 18 Old 05-06-2020, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by line6distortion View Post
Was it the OEM tire on the front? Dunlop 209 or something (memory is going) I know it was not a great tire for off road. Pirelli MT21 or I like the Kenda's trackmaster II or others. Since you are new to KLRs have you gotten yourself a decent set of tire irons yet.

You truly havent made love to your bike until you swap out a big knobbie for the rear with a set of tire irons. glad you got through the blowout without much harm, drive safe. line6distortion
I do have a set of tire irons. The tire was a Shinko 705. I replace the tire with another of the same. I don't know if it was the original tire or not. Both bikes have the same tires on them. We purchased both used. One is a 2016 and the other a 2013. The flat came on the 2016.

While new to the "street" riding, I've been riding all my life off road. I think the off road riding is what kept me from going down. Well that and my theory of "HANG ON and RIDE IT OUT" vs "If you think you're going down, get away from the bike". The later guarantees a crash!

I've changed many tires before on dirt bikes. All are so much easier in the garage! I looked around for something to prop the bike on. There were some sizable rocks. All would have had to been carried up to the road. Plus it was getting late, no cell service where we were. I took the easy way out.

Since the flat tire and near death experience, I've done less than 100 miles. I can't shake the Chicken S**t feeling every time I come to a curve. Even at moderate speeds. I'm sure it's just more time needed in the saddle.

The other thing that just drives me nuts is the "counter steering". Now that's a hard one to get used to! It just feels so unnatural!
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post #7 of 18 Old 05-06-2020, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DPelletier View Post
TPMS won't do anything for a catastrophic loss of pressure.....it will let you know about a slow leak possibly. I wouldn't bother myself and yes, check the pressure before every ride. I doubt the tube wore to the point of failure, I'd bet the thorn caused a tear; synthetic tubes are known to rip or tear when punctured causing a rapid loss of pressure. I use real rubber tubes which will still puncture but are far more resistant to tearing.


2 cents,
Dave
I agree that the TPMS wouldn't do anything for a catastrophic loss of pressure. But in the case of a slow leak, "MAYBE" I would have seen it. I don't know. The kit was only 50 bucks. It's probably a POS and will give me some false confidence.

The tube that came out did feel like real rubber. I replaced it with a real rubber heavy duty.

Mike
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post #8 of 18 Old 05-06-2020, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by DPelletier View Post
TPMS won't do anything for a catastrophic loss of pressure.....it will let you know about a slow leak possibly. I wouldn't bother myself and yes, check the pressure before every ride. I doubt the tube wore to the point of failure, I'd bet the thorn caused a tear; synthetic tubes are known to rip or tear when punctured causing a rapid loss of pressure. I use real rubber tubes which will still puncture but are far more resistant to tearing.


2 cents,
Dave
It's an ugly option, but ... Bridgestone Ultra Heavy Duty Tubes, 100% natural rubber, and are about 4mm thick. They will generally last through 3-5 sets of tires.

They're ugly cause they cost $35-45 each, and cause they are very heavy, adding a bunch of rotating weight and causing the handling to feel noticeably sluggish. They are immune to most punctures and even when you pick up a rusty 16p nail from touring through an old mining camp, they let you down slowly and gracefully. Worth it for some of us.
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post #9 of 18 Old 05-07-2020, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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It's an ugly option, but ... Bridgestone Ultra Heavy Duty Tubes, 100% natural rubber, and are about 4mm thick. They will generally last through 3-5 sets of tires.

They're ugly cause they cost $35-45 each, and cause they are very heavy, adding a bunch of rotating weight and causing the handling to feel noticeably sluggish. They are immune to most punctures and even when you pick up a rusty 16p nail from touring through an old mining camp, they let you down slowly and gracefully. Worth it for some of us.
Great! That's the tube I put in it. Now I need to do the rear soon. I want to learn a little more about what tires guys like. Then I'll do the tube in the rear also. I want something that will stay planted on road and not be horrible off road. The Shinko's on there now do NOT fit the bill in the dirt. They feel pretty good (in my limited experience) on pavement. In the dirt, sand or mud, they're horrible.
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post #10 of 18 Old 05-07-2020, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike Lis View Post
It's probably a POS and will give me some false confidence.

The tube that came out did feel like real rubber. I replaced it with a real rubber heavy duty.

Mike
1) that would be my guess

2) real rubber tubes almost never tear......it would be interesting to see if there was a brand/stamp on it


Dave
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