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"Wobble" Causes...

16765 Views 51 Replies 26 Participants Last post by  Vinish
So, I keep seeing a large number of posts about the "death wobble". Having working with several other bikes, the bearings are not always the reason for the issue. I just wanted to throw in my experience on the matter to give other troubleshooting to people in case the bearings don't fix the issue.

The death wobble is caused by one thing: the wheels not being perfectly aligned with each other both vertically and horizontally. You have two gyro's with the wheels. The larger is it is even slightly off from the smaller, it will always win. So, since the rear tire/wheel is larger, heavier than the front, and is much more ridgid (being mounted to the swing arm which in turn is mounted to the frame it has no horizontal movement) it will always win the fight to go where it wants to go, hence the front wobbiling.

So, if there is anything causing the two to be out of alignment it will cause the wobble. Here are a few things I have seen and known to cause this:

- rear bushings being out will cause the wheel to move at a slightly different angle.
- the rear shocks not having even amount of preload will could cause a slight torque of the rear end.
- forks being out of alignment: the top and bottom of the tripple tree being slightly off. I am not sure if the forks in our bikes are able to have this but any info would be good.
- (on chain bikes) alignment from adjusting the chain
- Wheels not being true
- Steering bearings allowing the forks to not hold the frontend straight.
- Bent frame
- Flat spotted or bulging tires can also cause something similar but it is more of a vibration than a wobble...

And any other items that could cause the wheels to be even slightly off from each other. Less than half of a degree of angle off could cause it.

A couple of notes:
- Tire pressure can cause the issue to become more apparent.
- It can cause a tank slapper... If you want to find out what that is search for videos on youtube.
- The "death wobble"... Not really unsafe unless it escalates to a death wobble.
- It can cause uneven wear on the tires (mainly the front) usually cupping of the tire. The tread will not feel even. (Thats the best way I can put it)

If anything here is incorrect or you have anything to add let me know. I am thinking about setting up a wiki to put info like this since the stickys can only hold so much.
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swing arm bearings will cause it too.

But like said above 90% of the wobble is the cheep ball bearings used in a heavy cruiser application.
from what i'm reading i think i should replace my steering bearings i got an 06 1300 with 1900 miles..but i haven't had any wobbling problems with it yet
you will get there might read up on the replacement and get the parts then when the ride season is over get to work on it.

Maine thing now is make sure to inflate the tires to 38-40 front and 40 rear.
Rvator97, thank you for the information about what I can expect from the dealership to replace my steering bearing.

I am still getting cupping on my front tire and it is driving me crazy. Last July I replaced my tires with Metzeler ME 880 Marathons. I have been running 38 PSI in the front and 40 PSI in the rear tire since I had them installed and check my tire pressure every week religously. I also went with the dynabeads - 2 oz in front tire, 3 oz in rear tire.

Was doing a visual on my bike before taking off to work the other day and noticed the tell-tale signs of excessive wear on the right side of the front tire! I have 8500 miles on the tires and the rear tire still looks like brand new. Front tire is not holding up so well. It is very worn down thread-wise compared to the rear tire.

Only thing I haven't done to try and alleviate this problem is replace the steering bearing. I will wait until this winter. I hope that cures the problem.

Right side wear isn't normal You need to check your fork tube placement in the trees and replace the fluid in them then follow the directions for axle alignment.
Hi guys, new vtx owner here, 2005 C 18k plus miles, I noticed that whenever I took my hands off the handlebar the bike will start this crazy wobble and wanted to know if this is what you guys are talking about, and if I can fix it myself. Thanks.
That is what the post is about.

$40 set of bearings and a few hours of your time to fix it.
sometimes it is as simple as proper psi in the tires and the shocks set for the proper weight.
If there is a windshield the angle can also cause it.
I had a dealer do my bearings, I put on new tires and inflated to 38/40 and I changed my shock bushings to the green poly's and I still have the wobble. It's not as bad as it was before but I still have it and I figure I always will have it.
what bearings
Swing arm

got to be more info than that.

Did you have the rims checked since you have spokes they need checked before tire is on then after tire is on
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