Rear Flat at 80 MPH! - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 27 Old Sep 13th, 2009, 8:29 pm Thread Starter
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Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

This is a long one, but hopefully it will provide some valuable information based on my experience...

On my return trip from Destin, FL, over the Labor Day weekend, I encountered an unexpected awakening while traveling on I-475, just past exit 7 in Macon, GA; my rear tire blew out traveling at 80 MPH. Fortunately for me I was able to control the bike and did not lay it down. However, the experience is one not to forget! The rear suddenly dipped down and the entire bike starter swerving, but at the time I did not know if I had hit something or had a flat?

All of this happened so fast, but yet as soon as it started I new right then that this was not normal and there was a problem. I quickly let off the throttle then the bike whipped from side to side once again, at that moment I hit my flashers and applied the front and rear brakes as evenly as possible to control whatever was coming next. Fortunately I was ahead of traffic and was able to switch from the center lane to the shoulder and stop without crashing…this is where ABS is a life saver!

Once I got the bike on the shoulder I noticed not much room on the shoulder and sloped from left to right; that became a problem as I could not lean the bike on the side stand to get off and investigate the problem; I still did not know what tire was flat as it was hard to maneuver and steer at a crawling speed. So, I had to walk the bike in first gear for about 60 yards until the shoulder opened up wide enough for me to turn the bike side ways so that I could put down the kickstand and tilt the bike so that it would fall. Once this was possible I then realized that the rear tire had blown. Lucky for me the tire did not shred, it stayed intact.

Although I now had the bike on the side stand, I was now facing an unexpected challenge that I did not anticipate, getting the bike on the center stand…impossible! Because the rear tire lifts the bike about 4” or so the weight distribution on the center stand allows one to lift and move the bike past the pivot point on the center stand with some effort; we all know that it can be tricky getting the bike on and off the center stand. However, try doing this with no air in the rear tire; it’s impossible on your own. If anyone out there knows the trick or technique for getting an LT on the center stand without air on the rear tire please let me know?

Meanwhile, once I got my thoughts together, I called roadside assistance and started to put a plan into action to get myself and the bike off the interstate, it was now 6:25 PM. An hour and a half later the tow truck showed up, fortunately the driver had experience with towing bikes; I also had the K1200LT towing procedure handy so we were able to load & strap the bike down properly. The driver towed me close to the nearest cycle shop, Capitol Cycle (Honda), luckily there was a Howard Johnson’s about a 1.5 miles away, it was the only hotel on that exit…never was I so happy to see a Ho Jo’s while traveling!

The next morning I pulled the rear wheel off and found what appeared to be a puncture in the center on the tire. During the ordeal the tire also came off the bead and rubbed against the right underside of the hard bag...pics are attached by the way.

There is some good in all of this, first of all I did not crash and burn. Second, Capitol Cycle Cycle was able to order and overnight ship a replacement tire to their shop at no extra cost. The next day I dropped off the wheel and according to the service manager the cause appeared to be a leak on the base of the valve stem which lead to the puncture then flat. I’ve been running the steel 90 degree valve stems for years and replaced them every other tire change. Not no more, I will have the valve stems changed every time a new tire goes on the rim.

Lastly, I contacted Avon Tyres; I’m running the Avon Storm ST’s which have the reinforced sidewalls. This particular tire only had about 3,000 miles, it was purchased in April 09. The folks at Avon contacted Capitol Cycle and decided to cover the costs of the new tire…that made my day! Avon is actually shipping me a new rear tire, so I now have a new rear on and will have a new spare. That’s great customer service from Avon!

I highly recommend that riders check and replace the valve stems regularly.

Be safe and expect the unexpected when ridding because when you least expect it is when it will likely happen.
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Jose Gonzalez
2001 K1200LT
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post #2 of 27 Old Sep 13th, 2009, 8:50 pm
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

The most important thing is that you are okay.

I have been with 3 or 4 riders that have had a major blowout and everyone was due to under inflation. The center of the tread goes so fast when the tire is not inflated correctly. When I ride I always look at the other riders tires as they pass me or I pass them. Even when I'm in my car I look at the bike tires and have told quite a few riders that their tires need air.

Cheers,
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post #3 of 27 Old Sep 13th, 2009, 8:55 pm
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

Great landing there "Maverick". Glad you are a-ok. Noted on the valve stems.

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post #4 of 27 Old Sep 13th, 2009, 9:04 pm
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

Man that is a scary story! Glad to hear you are all right. I hope if it ever happens to me I can save it the same way.
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post #5 of 27 Old Sep 14th, 2009, 9:37 am
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

Glad you are ok and everything worked out for you.

I had the same thing happen after about 200 miles on a new set of metz on going about 35 though.

I replaced my valve stems with metal ones from Napa as I do not trust the rubber laminated ones.

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post #6 of 27 Old Sep 14th, 2009, 9:45 am
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Exclamation Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

Glad to hear you made it through the event without losing it, but I would NEVER, EVER use 90 degree valve stems - especially mounted sideways the way yours are. Of course if they were mounted in line the convenience factor would be gone, but they would still be a safety hazard.

Think of them as a small lever constantly moving up and down with every minor vibration and bump, working and wiggling the base back and forth until it fractures and fails.

I'm surprised the Honda shop didn't recommend removing them.


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post #7 of 27 Old Sep 14th, 2009, 9:59 am
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

Trick for getting it onto the center stand......go find a large rock...2x4...etc and use the reverse to back up on to it. This will elevate the rear enough to get it onto the center stand.

There have been many issues with the valve stem. I had 2 occurrences and changed out to metal valve stems. My first one was riding 2 up pulling a bunkhouse pop up camper.

Ron


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post #8 of 27 Old Sep 14th, 2009, 1:31 pm
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

This is an important topic (90 degree valve stems). I had two of the cheap, rubber-base models fail at speed (the first I mistook for a tire issue) before I learned my lesson.

Please do not use these on anything that goes faster than 55 mph:



These cost more but actually work:


Todd R.
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post #9 of 27 Old Sep 14th, 2009, 2:37 pm
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

I've seen plenty of these brass 90 degree stems mounted permanently as well. Whenever we have a ride in appointment they are taken off and handed back to the rider in a baggie.

When I warn them about the potential danger the most frequent response I get is that since they "bought them at their BMW dealer" they must be OK!

(They're made by Wudo and should be used only for filling)
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post #10 of 27 Old Sep 14th, 2009, 3:45 pm
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

Okay I am confused as to this statement:

"appeared to be a leak on the base of the valve stem which lead to the puncture then flat"

I can see the leaking valve stem leading to a flat then to a puncture!!



Other notes you pushed the bike with a flat tire 60 yards - now that was a real show of strength!!


As for right angle valve stems - nope not going to use them or anything in the area that could flex under normal operation.

As for changing valve stems - each and every tire change on the fronts as I use rubber valve stems. On the rear I use a metal straight one and have had no issues.

As for tire pressures - I use a Smartire remote Tire Pressure and Temperature instrumentation (no longer made)
I always know my tire pressures and temperatures and the system alerts me when the pressure or temperature changes by 10% in a quick period of time!!

Dan Finazzo
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post #11 of 27 Old Sep 14th, 2009, 4:43 pm
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

How different are brands of tires made for the LT?? I've been running Metzlers and I had a flat at about 65 mph. It just seemed like something was a little "off". I even rode a little farther letting my buddy look to see if something was wrong. He told me it was flat so then I found a place to pull off. My point being, the Metz seemed to have a very sturdy side wall which didn't allow the bike to start swurve.

Brands are different when they're rated for the LT??
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post #12 of 27 Old Sep 14th, 2009, 6:44 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

Hi Bill,

Thanks, I'm glad that nothing serious happened...things could have turned bad!

Yes, that's a good habit to get into, checking out the other riders tires and bike(s).

Take care,

Jose Gonzalez
2001 K1200LT
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post #13 of 27 Old Sep 14th, 2009, 7:32 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

Thanks to all for the input and suggestions!

I did not realize or considered the potential impact of using 90 degree valve stems at high speeds? The fact that the stem will bend and flex at high speeds would certainly lead to premature failure.

After thinking things through I would agree with Ron & Dan, not to use the 90 degree valve stems. As a matter of fact the Honda dealer mentioned a similar thing and told me that they only install the straight valve stems.

Todd posted a couple examples of metal/steel valve stems, but they also appear to have a rubber based mounting point, as all valve stems appear to be manufactured in similar fashion? However, the second valve stem with the “B” stamped on the body appears to be more solid & reliable? Any feedback on that particular valve stem & style?

Jose Gonzalez
2001 K1200LT
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post #14 of 27 Old Sep 14th, 2009, 7:47 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

Hi Dan,

Sorry for the confusion...you mentioned:

"appeared to be a leak on the base of the valve stem which lead to the puncture then flat"
"I can see the leaking valve stem leading to a flat then to a puncture!!"

My thought & the Honda dealer was that when the tire ran low on air it likely made it easier for it to pick up the nail/screw; that would be because of displacement and a softer tire. This is the chicken and the egg thing, which came first, second, then last:

1) Loss of air through the valve stem?
2) Nail/puncture or?
3) Flat tire?

The fact is that all three occurred and we could determine the exact order of events. My explanation is as close to reality as possible.

You also mentioned "Other notes you pushed the bike with a flat tire 60 yards - now that was a real show of strength"

I should not have said pushed, but rather straddled and "Duck Walked" the bike for 60 yards. I agree with you, if I could have pushed that LT even 5 yards I would have shown real strength...it's tough enough getting it on and off the stand as is!!

Thanks!

Jose Gonzalez
2001 K1200LT
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post #15 of 27 Old Sep 14th, 2009, 8:11 pm
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

Hey Jose!

Man this is a small world.

I live just down the road a-bit from where you had the blow out.

I have a trailer and always keep a spare rear LT tire in the garage. Too late now!

Glad it worked out for you!
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post #16 of 27 Old Sep 14th, 2009, 8:13 pm
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RonKMiller
I've seen plenty of these brass 90 degree stems mounted permanently as well. Whenever we have a ride in appointment they are taken off and handed back to the rider in a baggie.

When I warn them about the potential danger the most frequent response I get is that since they "bought them at their BMW dealer" they must be OK!

(They're made by Wudo and should be used only for filling)
+2 on not using the 90 degree valve stems. They are to be fitted to the OEM stem only when filling up the tire with air.

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post #17 of 27 Old Sep 15th, 2009, 11:49 am Thread Starter
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

Hi Warden,

I appreciate the thought...it would have been great to been able to find a replacement tire the same day!

I've never stayed in the Macon area before, so it was something new for me to see!

Jose Gonzalez
2001 K1200LT
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post #18 of 27 Old Sep 15th, 2009, 2:58 pm
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

This exact same thing just happen to me recently, and about the same speed.
Man, its a weird felling go down the highway with a flat rear. Brand new
Metzeler $$ ouch!!

Would agree with checking those stems. Vertical verses angle stems
appear to be best and metal too if you can. I looked into buying stabilizers
at the base of the stem on my last go around, inexpensive investment.
I check my tire pressures much more frequently now too.

Not to mention the cost of these tires,, jeepers.


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post #19 of 27 Old Sep 16th, 2009, 10:29 am
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

The Ariete 83 degree metal stems like the one in my second photo above are bullet proof and made for high speed use on sport bikes. They do have a rubber washer around the base but it's all metal construction, low profile, and they have a nut that threads on from the inside of the wheel. They cannot flex.

They are a godsend on my FJR due to the low amount of clearance between the front rotors and the valve stem. They cost a bit more ($29 for a pair) but they're lifetime use and the fact that they allow me to check the pressure so easily is worth it.

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post #20 of 27 Old Sep 16th, 2009, 12:12 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

Todd,

Thanks for the update!

...those are pricey at $29, but would pay for themselves in the long run.

Jose Gonzalez
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post #21 of 27 Old Sep 17th, 2009, 10:15 am
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

I'm glad that the previous posters have convinced you to get rid of the angled valve stems,
you can get good steel ones at any good auto parts stores.

I'm also impressed with Avon's customer service,
getting a tire replaced is almost unheard of.

But don't ignore the fact that the majority of riders still use the Metzler ME880,
I do and one of the reasons is that when they do go flat

the sidewalls are so strong that the bead stay's where it's supposed to
(most of the time)
and the bike doesn't go "out of control"


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post #22 of 27 Old Sep 18th, 2009, 9:22 pm
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwhd
This is an important topic (90 degree valve stems). I had two of the cheap, rubber-base models fail at speed (the first I mistook for a tire issue) before I learned my lesson.

Please do not use these on anything that goes faster than 55 mph:



These cost more but actually work:


Sorry Todd, I'm going to have to disagree - these present as big a safety issue as any since the wheel needs to be specially modified for installation according to the manufacturer. They note the following exception for use:

"All BMW R1150RT, R1200GS and 1999-2008 BMW K1200LT. The valves will not fit, without modifying the rim or valve stem. Area around rim hole opening has a "rib" that prevents the valve from seating. Grinding the valve stem or rim "rib" would be required. "

There might be an angled valve stem out there that is acceptable for an LT - but I have not seen one yet that I would install on my bike.



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post #23 of 27 Old Sep 18th, 2009, 9:54 pm
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RonKMiller
Glad to hear you made it through the event without losing it, but I would NEVER, EVER use 90 degree valve stems - especially mounted sideways the way yours are. Of course if they were mounted in line the convenience factor would be gone, but they would still be a safety hazard.

Think of them as a small lever constantly moving up and down with every minor vibration and bump, working and wiggling the base back and forth until it fractures and fails.

I'm surprised the Honda shop didn't recommend removing them.
I would add in addition to flexing with every bump and vibration, at speed they actually stay flexed downward due to the centrifugal force of the spinning wheel. Very bad.

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post #24 of 27 Old Sep 20th, 2009, 7:53 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

Hans,

I've switched from the ME880's in 03 to the Bridgestone BT020's then to the Avon ST Storm because of better grip in wet road conditions. Now that's not to say that the ME880 is not a good tire.

It's been 6 years and technology has advanced dramatically; what is your thought on the ME880's and wet conditions? Do you ride much in the rain?

Prior to getting a flat last week, I was thinking about switching tire brands altogether. Now I have a new Avon rear tire and by the way the warranty replacement tire arrived Wednesday, it will be a while before I switch brands.

I ride down to St. Pete 3 to 4 times a year, my uncle lives in South Pasadena, so if you see a green LT with Georgia plates...it's probably me!

Take care,

Jose Gonzalez
2001 K1200LT
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post #25 of 27 Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 12:51 pm
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RonKMiller
Sorry Todd, I'm going to have to disagree - these present as big a safety issue as any since the wheel needs to be specially modified for installation according to the manufacturer. They note the following exception for use:

"All BMW R1150RT, R1200GS and 1999-2008 BMW K1200LT. The valves will not fit, without modifying the rim or valve stem. Area around rim hole opening has a "rib" that prevents the valve from seating. Grinding the valve stem or rim "rib" would be required. "

There might be an angled valve stem out there that is acceptable for an LT - but I have not seen one yet that I would install on my bike.

Fair point. I was thinking in more general terms than just BMW-specific wheels since a lot of folks here have more than one brand in the stable.

Still, I'd argue that the amount of material you actually have to remove from a BMW wheel to make the good ones fit is of no actual consequence. But to each his own.

Todd R.
Grapevine, TX USA

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'06 FJR1300A

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post #26 of 27 Old Sep 24th, 2009, 8:34 pm
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwhd
Fair point. I was thinking in more general terms than just BMW-specific wheels since a lot of folks here have more than one brand in the stable.

Still, I'd argue that the amount of material you actually have to remove from a BMW wheel to make the good ones fit is of no actual consequence. But to each his own.
Yep, I think just a minute with the ol' Dremel and grinding wheel would make quick work of that little ridge - I'll bet that metal is easy to cut.


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post #27 of 27 Old Sep 30th, 2009, 8:05 am
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Re: Rear Flat at 80 MPH!

A rear valve stem failure cost me $105 one Saturday on a charity ride. That was a tow and a new valve stem. So, the $29 for a pair of good ones is not too much to pay.......

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