7 Reasons Why Burnouts are Bad for Your Motorcycle [Video]

Contrary to popular belief, burnouts are very bad for motorcycles! This stunt can lead to several types if damage or even to serious accidents. The most common types of damage and issues that burnouts cause are as follows:

  1. Tire damage
  2. Clutch damage
  3. Drivetrain issues
  4. Overheating
  5. Accidents
  6. Other types of damage
  7. Legal issues

If you would like to learn more about the potential risks of burnouts, this post is for you. We at PowerSportsGuide have done the research and gathered information on all of them under one roof!

What is a Burnout on a Motorcycle?

A burnout on a motorcycle is a stunt in which the rider quickly spins the rear wheel while the bike remains stationary or moves slowly at a controlled speed. There are many different types of motorcycle burnouts but the most well-known are probably as follows:

  • Regular burnout
  • Rolling burnout
  • Merry-Go-Round burnout
  • Chainsaw burnout

Burnouts first appeared on the scene in drag racing when racers used them for raising the temperature of the rear tire. Since they cause a lot of smoke and engine noise, burnouts attract a lot of attention.

This is why they’ve become a stunt that is regularly seen on shows, and sometimes even on the street.

Are Burnouts Bad for Your Motorcycle?

At first glance they may seem quite harmless, but burnouts can damage your motorcycle in many ways. Even if burnouts are common on stunt shows it doesn’t mean they’re safe or even legal on the street! Let’s drill into the details to see why burnouts are bad for your motorcycle!

1. Are Burnouts Bad for Your Tires?

Yes, the main reason why this stunt is not recommended for everyday riders is the fact that burnouts are bad for your tires. Let’s face it, motorcycle tires are quite expensive, and the more burnouts you do the more rear tires you’ll have to buy!

It’s also good to know that burning the rear wheel wear out the center of the tire, the part that gets the most abuse anyway.

What’s more, burnouts can even cause a flat spot at the center of the rear tire, very similar to what you see on bikes that constantly ride the highways.

To have more fun and get more attention, some riders prefer burning their worn-out rear tire until it explodes. This too is a dangerous practice since if the rear wheel isn’t stopped in time the rim will get damaged!

Because of this, burnouts with worn tires are definitely not recommended!

2. Do Burnouts Damage Your Clutch?

Yes, another reason why burnouts are harmful for motorcycles is that they can damage the clutch. Believe it or not, this happens more often than you think! Are you wondering why burnouts are bad for the clutch? It’s because many beginners slip the clutch before the rear wheel starts spinning, which can easily burn it.

It’s like pulling a heavy weight or starting the bike on a steep slope!

This means that poorly executed burnouts put a lot of wear and tear on the clutch or in a worst case, severely damage it.

Instead of slipping the clutch, it has to be fully released as soon as possible. If you are not familiar with how to start spinning the rear wheel, you can slip your clutch too long. And the rule of thumb is the longer you slip the clutch the higher the chances of damaging it!

3. Drivetrain Issues

Besides the clutch, burnouts can damage the motorcycle’s entire drivetrain. It stretches the chain, damages the sprockets, and can even damage the transmission.

Moreover, pieces of the tire can accumulate in the chain causing more issues in the long run. Therefore, if you want to keep your motorcycle in a good condition, it’s recommended that you “steer clear of” doing burnouts!

4. Overheating – Can Burnouts Damage Your Engine?

Yes, the bad news is that burnouts can damage the engine of the motorcycle. If you do burnouts too long, it can lead to overheating issues. If it happens, it may end in blown radiators and coolant hoses, or in the worst-case scenario a blown engine!

The biggest concern is that many beginners run their engine in first gear too long.

Advanced riders always shift to second gear for longer burnouts. This helps keep the engine RPM low. Finally, this means less heat and risks of engine damage.

In addition to the potential damage on the internals of the engine, an excessive overheating issue can even cause a fire. What’s more, just like the engine, the tire itself can build up enough heat to catch fire during a lengthy burnout.

And let’s face it, fire is the last thing you want on a machine with a full tank of gas!

5. Risk of Accidents

Although burnouts are considered one of the “easiest” motorcycle stunts, they can still easily go wrong.  Sometimes it just ends in a wheelie but if you’re unlucky the consequences can be catastrophic.

If you lose control of the motorcycle it can hit other vehicles/objects, and even cause you to be injured.

The situation is can even be more dangerous if you try a “rolling” or other types of burnouts when the motorcycle is not stationary. Doing these stunts wrong can easily lead to an accident, which happens more often than you’d believe.

If you have doubts you may want to take a look in this video:

6. Other Types of Damage

On top of the above-mentioned risks, burnouts are bad for your brakes, bearings, swing arms, and so on. The power of the motorcycle puts a lot of stress on these parts as well as the whole frame.

Additionally, the tire cords can wind up on the hub causing many headaches while molten rubber pieces are prone to damaging the rear fender, the light, or anything behind the rear wheel!

7. Is Doing Burnouts Illegal?

Finally, keep in mind that doing burnouts on public property and roads is illegal in most states. Even if burnouts are legal on private property in your state, keep in mind that you still need to get permission (if you don’t own the property) and it’s also not recommended that you disturb others.

Even if you love the sound and the smoke caused by burnouts your neighbors may not appreciate it!

Conclusion – Should You Do Burnouts on a Motorcycle?

As you can see, burnouts are not just bad for your motorcycle in many ways, doing them wrong can lead to a damaged clutch or even an overheated engine. The worst-case scenario is if you lose control of the bike and cause an accident. Because of these risks, it’s definitely recommended that you not do burnouts on your motorcycle!






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