On Road Drivetrain Malfunctions...Escape Route?


May 18, 2008
So- I keep having this recurring nightmare: that I have an on-road bike malfunction such as a broken chain, or chain that sucks up into the flywheel or any number of freakish problems that could happen.

Generally speaking- what should I physically plan for in the event of a catastrophic drivetrain problem?

How do I control the bike with traffic behind me or in front of me? If something happens I could care less what happens to the bike, I'm just trying to stay away from the underside of a car.

Thanks...I wear I DOT helmet by the way, but still I don't think anyone rides with a suit of armor.


Jun 19, 2008
Most things (that don't destroy the rear wheel) will result in the rear wheel locking up. Similar to just hitting the rear brake and skidding. So if you know how to control a skid you should be OK.


Active Member
Apr 17, 2008
hit the shute and aim for a soft spot. if you use the chin chain and tensioner--expect your worst thoughts coming true. mitch


Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2008
If this is a concern, you might try knee and elbow pads. Then you can bail out, tuck and roll.

If I'm riding in any real traffic I wear knee pads and a weight belt (lower back protection) for just this reason. I'll try elbow pads one day.


New Member
Apr 20, 2008
luckily, you outweigh the vehicle, if you find yourself in an emergency you'll be suprised at your abilities.

the above is assuming you've been paying attention to evolving safety standards that MBc is becoming known for :cool:


I have to agree with the skidding theory should a drive line problem occur....
Of course my fear in a drive line catastrophe is blowing the engine at speed and having the shrapnel impale me...not to mention being whipped and cut by the fast moving chain!....of course this is all happening at the same time as the fuel line is being severed and the gasoline being spilled is ignited by the sparks from the ignition system or the scraping of the bike on the pavement resulting in a huge fireball....Hmmmm Toasty!


PS - So you can sleep a little better I have had 2 engines so far in my lifetime throw rods
(one was a diesel engine and the other was a lawn mower engine)....Both were
relatively uneventful, although with the mower engine the case was slightly bulged and cracked where the rod was trying to push through....The diesel simply stopped turning and would not crank with the starter....upon teardown, the mechanic saw where the rod lodged up inside the block....no exterior trauma in that event....


Active Member
Mar 19, 2008
I'm also pretty afraid of slinging a rod. I'm not afraid about my motor locking up since I have a dual freewheel hub, but I'm certainly afraid of anything falling between my spokes, especially if I were standing up (I'm known to do that from time to time).

I'm all about some helmets and gloves, not so much elbow and knee pads, but they'd certainly help in the event of an accident... oh yea!


Apr 13, 2008
as said above knowing how to rear wheel skid will help. Practice. By shifting weight to the handlebars there will be less weight on the rear tire so you'll have more control. Generally one clenches the frame between their legs to steer the skid. Plan how you'll do that with hot parts in there.

I'm lucky my roads have ditches or soft spots. There are some short bridges without shoulders that I legitimately fear; I time my crossing to where there's no traffic with me. On a bike I can see the river or rail road tracks below, and they're waaaay down there.

If TSHTF and your bike's on fire or got no brakes and you need to dismount... now... flip a leg over the rear wheel while still standing on the pedal on the opposite side and holding the handlebars, then leap! The gyro effect will keep your bike going in a straight line and you'll tumble to a faster stop. One can also practice this as a controlled dismount; I used it all the time delivering newspapers.
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