What Common Bike Breakdowns Feel Like

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February 7, 2014


Motorcycle Breakdown

There you are, riding along, not a care in the world, when your bike starts feeling funny. What does it mean? Here’s what common bike breakdowns feel like.

1) The Feel: Unstable Steering
As you’re riding, the steering suddenly becomes imprecise and the bars start to wag back and forth.

The Cause: Punctured Rear Tire
Your rear tire has lost enough air that it’s unable to maintain its shape and is flopping around.

What You Can Do: Pull Over
Don’t panic brake or anything like that, just carefully begin to slow down and pull off the road. You do carry a puncture repair kit, right?

2) The Feel: Brake Lever Comes Back To Bar
Applying the front brake, the lever doesn’t resist your pull and comes back further than usual with less than normal braking power.

The Cause: Compromised Front Brake
You’ve either got air in the lines, you’ve blown a seal, boiled the fluid or something else in the front brake isn’t working properly.

What You Can Do: Pull Over
Without a front brake, you’re pretty much done. Bleeding the brake properly takes specialty equipment. Either ride very slowly and carefully to home or a mechanic or call a tow truck.

3) The Feel: Engine Revs, Bike Doesn’t Accelerate
You open the throttle and the engine RPMs rise, but the power doesn’t reach the rear wheel or result in acceleration.

The Cause: Slipping Clutch
Clutch wear has reached the point where there’s no longer enough friction between the plates. You need new ones.

What You Can Do: Replace It
The good news is, clutch slip starts small. It’ll slip a little only at high RPMs and big throttle openings, then get a little worse over days or weeks. So, as soon as you start feeling it, order those new clutch plates and/or springs and replace them.

4) The Feel: Engine Cuts Out At Constant RPM
You’re cruising at a constant speed when, after a regular period of time, the engine cuts, struggles and then dies. You pull over, wait a while and it will restart, only to repeat the problem.

The Cause: Blocked Fuel Tank Breather
As the fuel pump sucks gas out of the tank, the breather isn’t replacing its volume with air creating a vacuum from which the pump can no longer pull gas.

What You Can Do: Clear The Breather
Find the breather tube and clear it. Somewhere on your tank, a rubber hose will protrude. This often happens on dirt bikes or dual sports, which get clogged with sand or muck when you topple over and their breathers are right up top.

5) The Feel: Front Brake Lever Pulses When Braking
When you pull the front lever, it vibrates at a high frequency.

The Cause: Warped Rotors
At some point, you’ve exceed the heat tolerance of our rotors, causing them to become wavy in the wrong way.

What You Can Do: Replace The Rotors
Use common sense and determine if it’s safe to keep riding your bike with somewhat diminished braking capacity. Then, replace your brake rotors ASAP.

6) The Feel: A Popping Sound, Then The Bike Cuts Out
Everything’s fine when, all of a sudden, a loud noise pops out of the bike’s depths and everything goes dark.

The Cause: Italian Build Quality
Congratulations on the Benelli! Man, that things going to look great parked in your garage.

What You Can Do: Spend A Lot Of Money
Start by checking and replacing the fuses, hopefully it’s just one of those. If not, it’s probably the generator. Order one, wait a few months for it to arrive, swap it out and see if that’s fixed the problem. No? Start writing some more checks…

Have you broken down recently? What was the firs sign of trouble?

Author: advgrrl

Avid ADV rider! This Blog is all about the adventure in adventure riding. Researching new bikes, routes, accessories, learning about other riders and hopefully a great place for others to comment and explore with me. PLUS, up and down's, wildlife, my dogs, my life!

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