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I had a weird/very scary incident last weekend and would like some input on possible causes. I bought a brand new 2017 Chief Vintage in January. It had 1 mile when I test rode it so I have put all the miles on it myself.

At around 500 miles, I got a flat rear tire from a nail that looked a lot like a roofing nail (short but thick). I had it towed to the dealer and they said they only had to replace the inner tube but the tire was OK.

Thanksgiving weekend, my boyfriend and I took a long trip. We were just outside San Antonio and had been riding for about 6 hours that day. We had stopped for lunch around noon and around 4:30 pm (so about 4 hours later) we were riding about 60 mph down a straight road when my rear tire exploded. At first I didn't know what the noise was and for another 10 seconds, my bike was fine, but I had let up on the throttle because it startled me. Then everything started vibrating really hard like I was running over rumble strips so I pulled over.

When we looked, the rear tire was flat and my inner tube was lying on the road. We had it towed to a dealer in San Antonio. There was a 3" long hole in the tire. The inner tube was completely gone. They replaced both front and rear tire. After they heard my whole story, here is what they said:
  • It was definitely caused by the inner tube exploding.
  • Although the tires were due for replacement, that would not have caused the inner tube to explode like it did.
  • If I had brought my bike to them when I got the nail in the tire, they would have recommended replacing the tire as well and thought it was crazy that the dealer didn't.
  • They think that this was caused by a twisted tube. That would lead me to believe it was improperly installed by the dealer who fixed my flat.
My bike had 8600 miles on it when this happened. I know I didn't run over anything before the tube blew - the road was really clean.

I have ridden it fairly consistently this whole year - meaning it didn't just sit in the garage. I don't ride it really hard. I always check the tire pressure before every ride and fill it up if needed to be within 1 pound of the required psi per the MOM.

If this whole thing had only cost me a day of riding and two new tires, I wouldn't be posting this question. I needed new tires anyway so I am not really out any money (the tow was covered by Indian).

My frustration is that when the tube blew a hole in the tire, the steel belt on the tire snapped and dented my fender, popped some paint off of it, destroyed my tip over sensor, and demolished the fringe on my rear mud flap. So now my brand new bike doesn't look so brand new. I know this isn't something that should have happened, but have no idea who should be paying for this. The dealer in San Antonio said the treads on the tires were too worn for the tire mfr. to take responsibility. That leaves me with the dealer who fixed the flat.

I don't have a lot of confidence in the technicians there based on an appointment I had there a few months ago for some minor stuff. They didn't really seem to know what they were doing.

There is one other thing I noticed but I am not sure if it is relevant. The day the tube blew, I noticed that when I would lean into a corner, the bike would bounce. It was really weird. Once I got the tires replaced, it stopped doing it. I am not sure if it was a symptom of whatever caused the tube to explode or just because I had worn tires. My suspension is fine (we adjusted it just a few weeks ago) and my tire pressure was checked that morning.

Does anyone have any opinion on this? I haven't called the dealer yet because I would like to make sure I have all the information I need before I approach them. I have attached some pics. Please let me know what you think.
IMG_0061.jpg
IMG_0055.jpg
 

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It sounds to me like you developed a knot or bump on a worn tire that finally just gave out. That might have caused the bumping you felt in the corners. Might not have had anything to do with the original flat. I've had similar happen on car tires.

Considering you got 8000 miles out of the tire after your first flat, it doesn't sound like you did too bad. Glad you were safe. Much better to blow out the rear than the front.
 

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Just looking at what tread was on the tire, you were LONG well past the wear bars on the tire.
It blew out most likely from running on the 'rag'... once a tire gets that worn it goes real quick on a trip.

The tread DID NOT go away with the blow out..... you were running on the rag when it happened.
Your tread was gone, gone, gone! If you show that dealer the pictures you took he will most likely laugh at you for suggesting that he was at fault....


View attachment 367170
 

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Ya, that tire was toast long ago. Just the heat from riding on the cords would have caused the tube to overheat and blow. I tend to believe this is on you.........However, the dealer that sold you the tube should have highly recommended a tire replacement as well. A good dealer would have not sold you a tube without a tire unless you signed a waiver.
 

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the cords in a tire are the only thing that keep it from stretching like a tube, if you run through the cords then the inner layer of rubber will push out through that spot since there is no supporting structure to keep it contained thus possibly giving you the bumping when turning. once that balloon in the tire lets go the tube pushes through the hole and bang things go to hell in a hurry. This is purely my opinion but if tire was replaced at wear indicators this may not have happened, they are there for a reason.
 
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Related to that it would seem that if you are close to the wear indicator disappearing I would change the tire. People who try to see how many miles they can get out of a tire are looking for problems. Once you get over 10000 miles I check them more often. Glad Noone got hurt.....
 

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Tube ?? For some reason I thought all Polaris Indian models were tubeless ! Obviously not.
 

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I thought they were tubeless as well... front certainly IS tubeless on my 2017 and bias ply, rear I thought was a different type though (yet still tubeless).

I see that O/P is talking about a Vintage... spoked wheels makes the difference!
 

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Tube ?? For some reason I thought all Polaris Indian models were tubeless ! Obviously not.
Vintage comes with tubes in keeping with the theme and the spoked wheels.
 
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My bike had 8600 miles on it when this happened.

I have ridden it fairly consistently this whole year - meaning it didn't just sit in the garage. I don't ride it really hard. I always check the tire pressure before every ride and fill it up if needed to be within 1 pound of the required psi per the MOM.

I needed new tires anyway so I am not really out any money (the tow was covered by Indian).

Does anyone have any opinion on this? Please let me know what you think.
View attachment 367166 View attachment 367168
OK. I've quoted what I consider your relevant points to this discussion. First, Ronnie is the resident expert here - if he says it, you can pretty much bank on him being correct. Second off you say you don't ride very hard. Your tires say otherwise. I wouldn't brag about getting only 8600 miles out of a new set of motorcycle tires. Third, you say you check the pressures before every ride. DO you do a "walk around inspection"? Doesn't look like it because, as Ronnie says, you were "running on the rag". If you saw all that exposed cord you should have known better than to ride on it. The "walk around" is useless if you don't know or care what you find when you perform it. Fourth, you admit that you knew you needed new tires, so, Duh! Sorry to say, this learning experience is all on you - and all the repairs. Count yourself lucky you learned your lesson and lived since this could have ended very badly. :cool:
 

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The only weird thing I see about your experience is that the tire was worn out after only 8000 miles. I regularly get above 15 thousand miles on the tires on my 14 Vintage. And I'm on my forth set at 75 K. And I don't believe just one nail hole in a tire will cause it to prematurely fail. I picked up a nail in the summer and have put 5 thousand miles on it without any problem since then. (after replacing the tube, of course)
 

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I believe this one is on you as the bike owner...

No way you should only 8K miles out of a tire first of all... you couldn’t have been running at the proper pressure regularly...
low inflation is THE main cause of premature tire wear and excessive heat... looking at that tire you had to be stone cold crazy to drive anywhere on it...

Furthermore who in their right mind rides a motorcycle with a hole in the tire? Tubed or not tubed...doesn’t matter you don’t do it....

When a tire fails you patch/plug it temporarily till you can get somewhere to replace it..
This is a motorcycle not a car... you have two tiny contact patches with the road... why risk your life over a couple hundred bucks worth of tire replacement...

IMHO be glad you’re alive... repair your bike and learn from this... wow
I really don’t mean to sound like a douchebag but damn.....ya gotta be smarter than the bike
 

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I would have agree with every one else. This is something that you should have taken care off the minute the tire was beyond use. 8600 miles on a tire is nothing. Should be getting at least twice that. How many burnouts did you do in those 8600 miles? If you have any cord showing on any tire, car, truck or motorcycle, it is past replacement time and into prayer time. That bumping you felt may have been the tube pushing through what was left of the cord. Like a hernia.
So now your bike has some slight damage. It can be a reminder that tires need to be checked for more than just pressure. I really don't think it was anyone else's fault. Not Polaris nor any dealer. The person you should be the most frustrated with is the person in the mirror. The tire manufacturer won't cover it because the tire is worn beyond use. The guy that did the tire repair did it 8100 miles ago. He isn't going to cover it.

Chalk it up to experience, learn from it and go on.
 

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Yep I agree with eerbody. Tire was literally wore slap out. Pic proves it. These dunlops will go much farther than 8,000 before looking like that. I put 20,000 on my rear tire and it still wasn't showing the rags like that. I know have 11,000 on the replacement and it is showing wear but still has at least another 5,000 or so to go.
 

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Also, what are those really bright spots obliterating the tube rim size in the photo...only bright spots in photo.
 
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