Does a tire blowout on a motorcycle = death for the rider?

I had a tire blow out on me as I was passing another car. Luckily, I didn’t hit the concrete barrier to my left or the driver on my right, and I was able to pull to the side of the road. This got me thinking… I’ve never seen a motorcycle with a blowout, but I assume it can happen. Does a motorcyclist have no chance if this happens? Or is it virtually impossible to have a blowout with today’s hi-tech tires? I happened to hit a bouncing piece of steel that was kicked up by the truck in front of me. Avoiding it wasn’t an option. However, I wonder if the weight of the car combined with the metal projectile had the combined effect to cause the catastrophic failure of my tire…
Can anyone out there shed some light on this?

Sustaining serious mechanical failure in an automobile is one thing, having a serious failure while blasting down the road on your motorcycle is a completely different matter.

Having a blowout on a motorcycle is a serious situation as the bike will lose a great deal of stability and control. One could still bring the motorcycle to a stop in the same manner you would if you were driving a car by releasing the accelerator, NOT hitting the brakes, and by not trying to oversteer. I have had a blowout while driving my car and it wasn’t too bad a situation and always dreaded ever having a blowout on my motorcycle despite the fact I am a fairly skilled rider.

It is essential that bikers make sure their tires are in A1 condition and that they are hyper attentive to what’s on the road. The small stuff can kill you just as easily as the folks in their cars who don’t realize you’re there.

I have had a tire blow out on a cycle at speeds in excess of 55, and both time was able to safely handle the bike and get to the side of the rode. That doesn’t mean that a blowout isn’t serious.

I’ve heard that a blowout on a bike is not the same as a car and you have plenty of time to react.

What do I know about this anyway, I never drove/ridden a bike

i’ve had a blow out on my motorcycle… luckily for me i wasn’t too fast at the time… the back of my bike fishtailed before i could get it under control… steering wasn’t much of an option… but i could use the front brakes, since only the back had blown out… i am certain that if i was going fast i’d be, if not dead, seriously injured. at my speed, it wasn’t really a “blow out” but more of a sudden and complete puncture… i was on tubed tyres.

i understand that many bikes today use tubeless tyres. This would, to my knowledge, prevent blowouts. Even a big nail in the tyre would reduce air pressure gradually… and as the air pressure lowers you will feel a distinct fishtailing effect (atleast for the back tyre. perhaps the front tyre would give you steering problems) offering you enough time to react and slowdown.

IMHO, another advantage in a bike is that you will notice a puncture a lot earlier than you would a similar puncture in a car, provided it is a slow puncture. A full blow out on tubed tyres have all the potential of causing fatalities.

I’ve seen a motorcyclist with a blowout safely stop, he did some minor fishtailing. I’ve had blowouts on my bicycle at speed, and again they are no picnic but not necessarily an injury waiting to happen.

One thing to remember about motorcycles is that their wheels are in the center of the vehicle. One of the reasons a car is harder to control after a blowout is that the car will pull to one side or the other. The motorcycle won’t necessarily have that problem, just general stability issues.

A blowout in a high speed turn would be serious, however.

I have blown out both front and rear tires (separate incidents). Both were tubeless, and both were extremely demanding of a CALM response. Riding straight with no attempt at braking on the affected wheel and dropping the throttle got me stopped. I AM glad I wasn’t on a curve. Check your tires, bikers, and if there’s even slight indications of damage, replace them!

is it possible, then, for tubeless tyres to blowout ? under what conditions ? could someone please corroborate that statement ? i was, and still am, under the impression that tubeless tyres cannot blowout, but have slow punctures instead…

Tubeless car tires can blowout, I had 1 but luckily it was on a rear tire. I was going about 60 but I was able to stop without a problem. Tubeless tires probably have way less blowouts than tubed tires. I don’t think you can buy tires with tubes for cars now and the same is probably true for motorcycles.

The problem with Firestone tires on Explorers were blowouts when the tread came off the tire.

by blowout i’m assuming the steel rim of the tyres come in contact with the road because there is no rubber left, i.e. the entire rubber has been blown out.

as i understand a tread coming off, there is still a treadless rubber tyre in contact with the road, offering sufficient support to keep the car from wildly skidding off the road or into the dividers…

is this the case ? or can a tubeless tyre blowout to the extent that the steel rim of the tyre comes in contact with the road ?

in india, tubed tyres are still the norm, and only people knowledgeable about cars and tyres and auto stuff switch to tubeless… but it looks like this will change in the near future…

To most people a blowout is when your tire loses all the air very quickly. In some cases the metal wheel hits the road but not all cases. In my case the tire was still on the wheel but it had a large hole in it on the sidewall.

I’ve had two tyre blowouts on motorcycles. Both were on tubed tyres, both were while I was doing about 120kph (75mph), both were the rear tyres (I think the front tyre would be a lot more scary). Both were when a wheel spoke snapped and flung itself out through the tube and tyre.

Obviously I survived both. It was a matter of using the front brake and decelerration to slowly bring myself to a stop in a straight line. There was a bit of fishtailing but the most dangerous part was the fact that I eventually came to a stop in the middle lane of the freeway with cars and trucks hurtling around me and had to make my way across to the breakdown lane while pushing my bike.

I’ve also had a a rear blowout in a car. That was actually a lot more scary and there was a lot of fishtailing.

BTW YWalker regarding tubed tyres, just about all motorcycle tyres are tubeless. For bikes that require tubes (all spoked wheels except the trick BMW ones), you just buy a tubeless tyre and put a tube in it.

Absolutely, it is possible for a tubeless tire to blow out… the tire itself has no ability to hold air under pressure until you put it on a rim. It is simply a doughnut-shaped bucket, open at the inside circumference. When you put it on the rim, it forms a seal (bead)with the rim because it is slightly smaller in inside diameter (I.D.) than the rim’s outside diameter (O.D.). The seal is maintained by the pressure inside the tire. If there is a large drop in pressure, the seal could collapse. A hard enough bump on a narrow surface ( a urb, railroad track, etc) could deform the rim, breaking the bead and causing a rapid deflation. If the tire is damaged, it could easily rupture (blowout).

In one of my two experiences, I hit a piece of road debris. The tire did not deflate immediatly, but the sidewall was damaged. It blew out as I was on my way home. If I had been smarter, I would have parked the bike and borrowed a truck to go back out and get it.

I survived a rear tyre blowout at about 50, downhill, but in good driving conditions. It was a nail in a tubed tyre, but a tubeless would probably have gone as rapidly. The bike fishtails a lot, and you MUSTN’T brake hard. I suspect that a front wheel blowout would have had me off.

Of course, coming off does not necessarily mean dead. I have come off several times, the fastest at around 70 (down from 100!), and it’s no problem at all, so long as you don’t hit anything while you slide down the road (and so long as you’re wearing proper protective clothing). The only bump you get is from the 2 ft vertical fall. Of course, if you hit a bollard or any other traffic, you’re probably dead.

I have also had both front and rear wheel blow-outs in a car (either I’m unlucky or my tyre maintenance leaves a lot to be desired), and have had no problems maintaining control. I suspect it depends of the car and its suspension.

Incidentally, a blowout might be better than a slow leak, which would leave a tyre in a floppy state. You would find this out next time you went round a tight corner, and probably come off then!