Front-end shake? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 10 Old Aug 23rd, 2007, 5:07 am Thread Starter
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Front-end shake?

Greetings people

I've been reading again the horror stories our USA counterparts are having in regard to this "front-end shake" business. My '99 has impeccable manners at all speeds even when I've experimented by "shadowing" my bars with my hands to determine if the LT's really do in fact shake their bars during the overun. I can't generate any shake below 120kph. I can't determine if she'll do it above this speed as I'm not going to remove my hands from the bars at those speeds.

Has anyone experienced this phenomenom here in AU or is it something isolated to the USA?

Kindest regards to all.

Paul Harrington
SA
E: [email protected]

1999 K1200LT Champagne "Bismarck"
1983 base K100 "Bavarian Belle"
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post #2 of 10 Old Aug 23rd, 2007, 6:25 am
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G'day Paul,

My 03 LT suffered terrible head shake, We had the rear tyres changed, front wheel and tyre, ball joint etc. It was then going to be check by BMW Mulgrave but the week before we were to take it in we ended up rigghting it off at 100kmh on the freeway, hit a Diesel spill and lost control. I wrote to BMW after this event my question raised was that at one point I nearly regained control and then could not hold the bars. The accident was caused by the Diesel spill which covered a full lane. I wondered if the bike did not suffer head shake that their may have been the possiblity of regaing. We will never know now. We actually walked away with very few injuries. A very lucky result that we were not killed.

So yes the bike was at such a state that you really could not take your hand off the bars.

My 04/05 handle very well but still suffers head shake at about 65-70kmh.

Jake

Jake
04 K12LT
Melbourne, Australia
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post #3 of 10 Old Aug 23rd, 2007, 3:21 pm
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My '04 has a bit of a head shake at around 60-70 kmh, but I'm putting that down to the scalloping of the front tyre. Before the scalloping got real bad, she was rock steady at all speeds. Currently trying to convince the MOWF to let me spend the dollars for a new tyre.

Rids safe all

Regards

Big Dog
'04 K1200LT
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post #4 of 10 Old Aug 23rd, 2007, 7:57 pm
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Hi Paul.
Happens when slowing doing from, or cruising at, approx 80kph, at seems to be more prevalent on the '05's and later with the change in rake.
I've discussed it, with many others, on the main LT forum a few times.
Video of my bike doing it here, ran it up to 80kph, then released tension on the bars, just because I wanted to know if we were all talking about the same effect, and its seems pretty much that we are.
Many on the main forum have put it down to tyres needing replacing, although I have replaced my tyres and had the problem continue. BMW have wiped their hands of it. I'm waiting to run a few more thousand k's off my bike before I put another new set on (probably just in time for the Snowy Ride again) and see if it helps any.
cheers mate

Chris
Sydney, NSW
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post #5 of 10 Old Aug 24th, 2007, 3:24 am
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My 99 will only do it if the tyres are scolloped badly.
Once new tyres are fittied, I won't have the problem for at least another 8,000 kilometres, then it slowly comes back until I change tyres again.

Cheers

Barry

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Australia
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post #6 of 10 Old Aug 24th, 2007, 7:46 am Thread Starter
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Greetings gentlemen.

I was shocked when I viewed your video clip of your LT Chris, especially the severity of those bars shaking. I find it hard to believe BMW could have allowed this to occur considering all the know succesful combinations of motorcycle frame geometry.

How this could have slipped through BMW's R & D department and testing defies logic. Is this a bad side effect of the change in rake, trail or steering head angle of the later LT's? If this is an improvement by BMW they should all be hanging their heads in shame. I'll be staying with my '99 for a while longer then.

Any further comment?

Kindest regards to all.

Paul Harrington
SA
E: [email protected]

1999 K1200LT Champagne "Bismarck"
1983 base K100 "Bavarian Belle"
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post #7 of 10 Old Aug 26th, 2007, 8:43 am
 
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My 99 shakes about with scalloped tyres at 90 kms. However with new tyres it behaves very well at all speeds ( even at warp 180). It seems that the shake does not gradually come on as the tyres wear, it all of a sudden begins to shake,scared the $#*t out of me first time, an LT with bad manners!!!
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post #8 of 10 Old Aug 26th, 2007, 6:39 pm
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I dont think you "notice" it until you put yourself in the position where the front end starts to oscillate. I don't recall any problem on my first (OEM) set of Metz 880's, until they had around 10,000km on them, and I happened to stick it in cruise control on a straight 90kph stretch near home and released my grip (wasn't the first time I'd done it, but never with that result before). Started to think it was going to be a "tank slapper" until I grabbed the bars again. Reported it to BMW and after next inspection they said there wasn't any problem with the bike. Eventually I put a new set of Metz 880's on, and found that I still had the problem. Mind you I was now very aware of the issue and was looking for it, testing the response as soon as I got onto the road. BMW eventually replaced the steering dampener (warranty), but that made little change in the result, "marginally improved" was my response to them.
My current tyres are starting to show uneven wear, so I'll change them out again soon, and try to get a little more attention paid to the balancing.
One line of thought I had (which no-one responded to) was that I wondered if the age and therefore hardening of the tyres might make a difference to the wear and subsequent delayed onset of the problem? My original OEM Metz were about 18 months old when the bike was delivered new (April 04 build, Sept 05 delivery), so I presume they were well hardened by sitting around not being ridden on and therefore took longer to wear unevenly, not that I had noticed that they were uneven, in fact I think they were quite evenly worn. No idea how old the replacement Metz were, I would presume since they were in limited stock that there was reasonable turnover of the few available at the dealers, so my thought is that they would be less-hardened (softer) and therefore wear more quickly. That along with the balance maybe being a touch off might be why I still had the problems with the new set of Metz.
I don't know, grasping at straws now on this one.....

Chris
Sydney, NSW
2005 Dark Graphite Metallic K1200LT
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post #9 of 10 Old Aug 27th, 2007, 1:12 am
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I can't recall having encountered this problem ever.
I am riding a 99 model and took her over from Europe.
I just recently rode from Brisbane to Kununurra (WA), 3660km in 3 days, no problem with that, just the final drive bearing in shreds, fixed it on the road, had the spares with me.
I guess apart from some flaws, it's a very well engeneered motorbike.
Best regards
Patrik

99' K12LT champagne
80' XJ 650 red
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post #10 of 10 Old Aug 27th, 2007, 8:46 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harrowbmw
Greetings gentlemen.

I was shocked when I viewed your video clip of your LT Chris, especially the severity of those bars shaking. I find it hard to believe BMW could have allowed this to occur considering all the know succesful combinations of motorcycle frame geometry.

How this could have slipped through BMW's R & D department and testing defies logic. Is this a bad side effect of the change in rake, trail or steering head angle of the later LT's? If this is an improvement by BMW they should all be hanging their heads in shame. I'll be staying with my '99 for a while longer then.

Any further comment?
Hey, Paul - I prolly shouldn't type this without backup (cleaned out my office coupla weeks ago and now can't find squat!!) - butt I had kept a list that included just about every *brand* of motorcycle where a front end shake wuz mentioned in an article or in a post. Not only true 'tank slappers', butt just wobbles/shakes/bar oscillations/etc. Lots of suggestions and blame, as to why this phenomenon occurs. One thang I did notice in a lot of the articles wuz the combined mention of *hands off the grips while de-celerating down thru the 50-45-40 mph range. Hondas, Suzukis, Yamahas, BMWs, and on and on --- and of course, as you might expect, a lot of the blame wuz placed on the particular manufacturer of the brand specified in the article.

I'm of the opinion that the manufacturer is not the ultimate culprit in these instances, butt rather, it's the combination of several factors that are the causation of the event --- road surface, tire inflation, tire condition, bike load and weight distribution, condition of the shocks, condition of the steering damper, and the obvious result of the fork angle/front end rake of two wheeled vehicles --- coupled with the removal of the handlebar stabilization items (one's hands!!).

Just my opinion, understand. And I wish there wuz a definitive 'white paper' available on the subject, so that the phenomenon had an understandable cause for occurring.

BTW - ole Toad experienced this 'feature' several years ago when I needed to tighten the gauntlet of one glove and didn't have the cruise control set and we de-celerated through the range - scary wobble. We've never experienced it since, until just recently when I, on purpose, tried to induce it again. Yup, front tire has extremely worn center tread (won't pass state inspection) and hands off the bars at 47 mph on a fairly irregular road surface. Pucker factor up, even tho I figgered it might happen!! New tire is on order!!
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