Motorcycle Equipment Failures

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An article by MSF. If your motorcycle is properly maintained, you greatly reduce the possibility of any equipment failure.

If you run tires of good quality, keep them at proper pressure, and change them when the tread is worn, the chances of having a blowout are small. However, should it happen to either of your tires, you must act quickly and properly.

  • Do not use the brakes; braking hard will only make things worse. If you must use some brake, apply gradual pressure to the brake on the good tire and ease over to a safe spot to stop.
  • Ease off the throttle and slow down gradually; rapid deceleration could throw the bike out of control.
  • Hold those handlebars firmly; a great shuddering may take place as the out-of-round tire flops against the pavement, but you are concerned only with keeping that front wheel pointed ahead until you stop.

Most riders have had bad dreams about this, but few have experienced the problem. That is why all contemporary motorcycles have a cut-off switch by the right thumb. Just in case. Practice flipping the cut-off switch. Chances are you will never have a throttle stick, but if you do, you'll know how to deal with it. As you hit the cut-off switch, pull in the clutch (you will probably be in gear); then look for a safe place to coast to a stop.

Imagine you are cruising along in fifth gear; you want to shift down; you pull in the clutch lever - and there's no return action. No fun, but not dangerous. You can shift the bike without a clutch. This is not advisable unless necessary, but it can be done. Back off on the throttle and shift down a gear. If you have a sensitive foot, you can probably find neutral before coming to a complete stop. If not, get set for a jerky halt.

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