Mechanical Problems On Motorcycles

Motorcycle maintenance is a critical issue regarding motorcycle safety.  The reasons for this are discussed on the Illinois Motorcycle Maintenance page.

If a motorcycle owner neglects proper maintenance, the risk of encountering mechanical problems will likely increase, perhaps substantially.  Even if motorcycle maintenance is regularly and properly performed, there always exists the potential for mechanical problems to develop.

These mechanical issues can range from those that are relatively minor, to serious mechanical problems.  Such mechanical problems are especially problematical if they are encountered while the motorcyclist is out on a ride.  Such may have been the case as seen in the July 30, 2015 post titled “Motorcyclist Fatally Struck While Making U-Turn In Aurora.”

Another recent fatal accident in which a motorcyclist riding in Peoria County had a serious equipment issue is seen in the June 28 post titled “Two Fatal Motorcycle Accidents In Peoria County.”  In that accident, a motorcyclist experienced a tire blowout.

There are a variety of possible mechanical issues, as well as other equipment issues that may cause either the motorcycle and/or its components to not properly operate.  When this becomes the case, some adverse scenarios include the motorcycle either not working (i.e. a “breakdown” or stall) or the motorcyclist may lose control of the bike, which may cause an accident resulting in injuries or death.

While the list of mechanical problems that can be experienced on a motorcycle is extensive, below are some various problems and a discussion of each:

Tire Punctures:  Tire punctures can range in severity.  While tire punctures can happen to any tire, tires that are worn may be more prone to punctures.  Tire pressure should be regularly monitored, as punctures may not be apparent when one is riding the motorcycle.  Even slow leaks should be addressed immediately, as they may quickly grow in severity.

Among the worst type of tire punctures are those that lead to tire blowouts, as mentioned above.

Leaks:  Leaks can happen to a variety of motorcycle components, including gas tanks, fuel lines, oil pans, and the gearbox.  Leaks can also occur in various gaskets and seals.  Leaks can vary in severity.  While some leaks seem minor, they should be noticed and addressed so they don’t grow in severity.  Leaks can not only potentially impair the operation of the motorcycle, but they can also, depending upon the leak and its location, be a potential fire danger.

Defective motorcycle components and/or parts:  Mechanical “breakdowns” can be caused by defective motorcycle parts and/or defective motorcycle components.   Due to the nature of these defective parts, they may fail unpredictably and in a sudden fashion.  The manufacturer of such defective parts and components may be liable for injuries and/or other damages that may arise from accidents caused by failing parts.

Handling Issues:  If, for whatever reason, the motorcycle starts handling strangely or the “ride” suddenly changes, immediate investigation is likely warranted.  While there may be many reasons why a motorcycle’s handling dynamics change, the danger is that whatever has caused the problem will either cause severe problems and/or cause a loss of control of the motorcycle, which may lead to a crash.

Unusual noises:  Another “red flag” that may develop while riding a motorcycle is if “unusual noises” start happening.  While there are many reasons as to why “unusual noises” may occur, this may well indicate component failure or impairment.  Immediate investigation into the cause of the noises is warranted, as the issues associated with the noises may be significant.

“Slowing” Of Motorcycle:  If the motorcycle is not riding as “quickly” as it usually does, this is cause of concern.  The reason for this reduction in speed should be immediately investigated.  There can be many reasons for such reduced speed, and these reasons can include many different motorcycle components and parts, including the brakes, the engine, the transmission (gearbox), and the tires.  Depending on the cause of such slowing and the severity of the problem, a “loss of control” issue can potentially (quickly) develop.


The above discusses various reasons for mechanical issues in motorcycles.  As mentioned above, there are many ways one can seek to minimize the probability of mechanical issues developing.  Perhaps the optimal way is to be diligent with regard to maintenance.  As well, there are various signs, some of which are mentioned above, that can alert motorcyclists that “something is not right” and the cause of such should be immediately investigated.

Due to the dynamics of a motorcycle, such mechanical problems should be deemed as very important, as mechanical problems can lead to a motorcyclist’s “loss of control,” which can lead to instability and possibly an accident.