When listing some of the essential parts of a motorcycle, the rear wheel cannot be neglected. Especially, in rear-wheel-drive motorcycles, it holds a special significance by powering the engine and causing the bike to move.

Before diving into the causes of rear-wheel lockup, we should understand the arrangement and working mechanism of the rear wheel.


On the inner side, there is a metallic rim on which the tire is mounted. The wheel provides a path and support to the other components such as brakes. Inside the rim, there are spokes that increase the inertia of the wheel helping in the smooth and steady motion of the bike.

The rim is connected to the engine through a chain drive. One sprocket is attached to the engine and the other to the rear wheel.


When the driver applies to race, the engine starts moving the chain. The chain makes the rear wheel rotate and the bike starts moving.

Chain drive is a good option because there are very few chances of slippage. When more race is applied, the chain makes the wheel rotate with a higher velocity.

Rear Wheel Lockup

One of the problems that many motorcycle riders face is that the rear wheel locks up suddenly.

So, what is meant by rear wheel locking up? It is a condition in which the tire continues to scrape on the road without rotating. What are the possible causes behind this? Stated as:

  1. When the rider is shifting to a lower gear and while doing this, he releases the clutch too quickly. This might cause the rear wheel to skid. So, it is recommended to release the clutch in a slow and measured way while changing gears.
  2. Sometimes when sudden braking is required, the rider applies the brakes too strongly. This makes the brake discs come in contact with the tire and it stops rotating.

Rear-wheel lockup can be very fatal at high speeds as this has caused wrecks to many motorcycles. At slower speeds, it is less dangerous as the bike can be controlled.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What causes a motorcycle’s rear wheel to lock up?

The motorcycle’s rear wheel can lock up if brakes are applied suddenly with full power. This causes the brake discs to come in contact with the moving wheel which creates a huge amount of friction and the wheel stops rotating.

2. What would cause rear tires to lock up?

Rear tires can lock up if the clutch is dumped too fast while changing the gears. Different incidents have shown that brakes are not the only cause behind the rear wheel being locked up, but the dumping of the clutch while changing gears is also a big reason.


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