Low speed tire wobble - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 21 Old Jan 25th, 2019, 1:09 pm Thread Starter
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Low speed tire wobble

Dose anyone else have a problem with the low speed front wheel wobble?

You really can't pull your hands off the handle between 25-40, fine at high speed, fairly new tires, checked rim run-out it's OK, and the high speed damper seems fine. A friend said the most all of them wobble at low speed, I find it hard to believe that BMW has no fix.

Bill from Michigan, only 46K miles.
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post #2 of 21 Old Jan 25th, 2019, 1:35 pm
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Re: Low speed tire wobble

My 2004 has the wobble also. I do not have an answer to your question but there is some good discussion on the issue in the 'simalar threads' listed at the bottom of this page.

Scott and Theresa
Munising, MI
2004 K1200LT Black
2014 Kawasaki KLR650

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post #3 of 21 Old Jan 25th, 2019, 1:49 pm
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Re: Low speed tire wobble

Quote:
Originally Posted by raoul1958 View Post
Dose anyone else have a problem with the low speed front wheel wobble?

You really can't pull your hands off the handle between 25-40, fine at high speed, fairly new tires, checked rim run-out it's OK, and the high speed damper seems fine. A friend said the most all of them wobble at low speed, I find it hard to believe that BMW has no fix.

Bill from Michigan, only 46K miles.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Munmi View Post
My 2004 has the wobble also. I do not have an answer to your question but there is some good discussion on the issue in the 'simalar threads' listed at the bottom of this page.


WAIT, wait a minute here, are you guys sure you don't own a Goldwing instead...check the label on your bike. I bet you have an 1800GL and you thought you bought a Beemer.
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post #4 of 21 Old Jan 25th, 2019, 2:44 pm
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Re: Low speed tire wobble

Normal

Dave Selvig
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post #5 of 21 Old Jan 25th, 2019, 3:05 pm
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Re: Low speed tire wobble

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Originally Posted by saddleman View Post
Normal

That's what the die-hard tell ya on the Wing forum: "keep your hands on the handlebar and you wont feel the dysfunction"

On a beemer, I would guess this malfunction is a tire not well rounded, maybe twisted during manufacturing, or ill-installed. On a GL, it 'll be the front end for sure.

Normal, it aint! I had four RT, the GT and assorted other bikes, with the exception of the Wing, no other bike had a wobble in the front.
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post #6 of 21 Old Jan 25th, 2019, 4:18 pm
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Re: Low speed tire wobble

I have an 05 and it doesn't wobble at low speed.
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post #7 of 21 Old Jan 25th, 2019, 4:18 pm
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Possibly a bent rim

05 BMW K1200LT
13 Kawasaki Concours 1400
14 Kawasaki Teryx 4x4

Gone, but never forgotten:-
08 09 Conny 14
03 Honda Blackbird.
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post #8 of 21 Old Jan 25th, 2019, 7:06 pm
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Re: Low speed tire wobble

Known issue with hands off decelerating from 45. It is caused but either worn front or rear tire or balance of front tire. I have had it come and go over the last 14 years and new tires ALWAYS eliminate it until I have about 3 -5 K on them then it returns. I did cure it with a mid life re-balance as I pulled the front off to install an internal TPMs sensor and re-balance the front and the wobble was gone again. Don't let go with both hands.

John
2009 K1300GT Red Rocket
2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
K4AN

Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #9 of 21 Old Jan 26th, 2019, 10:16 am
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Re: Low speed tire wobble

My 01 did it for some reason with new tires helping for a while. The 03 I have now hasn't ever done it. But I think I also never let tires go nearly as worn as I used to.
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post #10 of 21 Old Jan 31st, 2019, 7:05 pm
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Re: Low speed tire wobble

My guess is tire balance...I do know that a loose steering head coupled with and/or an unbalanced tire and/or poor weight distribution (too much on the rear) will contribute to an ungodly dangerous wobble on my bike. I almost bit it big time on a 1980 R80 from 45 MPH to a dead stop. I was glad I got stopped when I did...had it started at 55 MPH or higher, I would have probably lost control before I got her stopped. I did find though, for subsequent wobbles if I sped up, it brought it out of the wobble. Since then...ALWAYS both hands on the grips....take one off and it will start immediately. I'm convinced it's balance on my machine.
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post #11 of 21 Old Jan 31st, 2019, 9:45 pm
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Re: Low speed tire wobble

I use tire beads (the little ceramic dots you put inside the tire for balancing) and I can honestly say I never suffered any sort of wobble at any speed. My '09 LT is smooth as silk at all speeds. I monitor the steering dampener but to date it has not required service. When I started doing my own tire work I found a huge savings in total cost of ownership. Don't hesitate to get into it.

2009 K1200LT (since new) 80K+ Miles.
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post #12 of 21 Old Feb 2nd, 2019, 12:06 pm
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Re: Low speed tire wobble

I had that problem on my '74 R90/6. Turned out the tire was not seated properly on the rim. Deflated tire, broke the bead, lubed the rim, e
reseated the tire and no more problem.
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post #13 of 21 Old Feb 2nd, 2019, 3:38 pm
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Re: Low speed tire wobble

As John Z said, known problem with K1200LT. If I remember correctly, I believe the pre-2005 bikes had more of tendency towards the problem as the front end rake changed slightly with the 2005 and later problems. Having said that, I had a 2007 and did have it happen one time on deceleration...scared the crap out of me and I didn't take both hands off the bars on deceleration after that!

Life happens...you control your reaction.

2018 Honda CRF250L Rally (fun in the woods)
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2007 K1200 LT (sold)
2005 DR 650 (sold)
2002 Harley Ultra (sold)
1999 Harley Road King (sold)
1996 K1100 LT (sold)
1990 Honda Shadow (sold)
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post #14 of 21 Old Feb 2nd, 2019, 5:12 pm
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Re: Low speed tire wobble

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Originally Posted by powwow View Post
As John Z said, known problem with K1200LT. If I remember correctly, I believe the pre-2005 bikes had more of tendency towards the problem as the front end rake changed slightly with the 2005 and later problems. Having said that, I had a 2007 and did have it happen one time on deceleration...scared the crap out of me and I didn't take both hands off the bars on deceleration after that!
I could never figure out why anyone would take both hands off the bars on a street bike.

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post #15 of 21 Old Feb 3rd, 2019, 2:50 am
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Re: Low speed tire wobble

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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
I could never figure out why anyone would take both hands off the bars on a street bike.

well strangely enough I believe people do it to see if they have the wobble and when it does it just becomes over whelming urge to let go to see if it's gone away.
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and no koalas are not Bears



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post #16 of 21 Old Feb 3rd, 2019, 3:58 am
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Re: Low speed tire wobble

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I could never figure out why anyone would take both hands off the bars on a street bike.
It is like Schrödinger's cat. If you never take both hands off the bars, you might or might not have the dreaded wobble but it won't matter. If you just have to know if that cat is dead or alive, take both hands off but at your own risk. Guess who the cat is in this analogy
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post #17 of 21 Old Feb 3rd, 2019, 7:09 am
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Re: Low speed tire wobble

Much like jzeiler mentioned I would often get up to 5000 miles on a new front tire, with proper inflation, before the wobble started. That of course was as a 2 wheel motorcycle. When I converted it to a trike and the tire scrubs flat more quickly, it's down to about 1000 miles on a new tire before it starts to wobble. No big deal, I'd rather have at least one hand on the handlebars at all time anyway!.....
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post #18 of 21 Old Feb 3rd, 2019, 7:48 am
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Re: Low speed tire wobble

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Originally Posted by bmwcoolk1200 View Post
It is like Schrödinger's cat. If you never take both hands off the bars, you might or might not have the dreaded wobble but it won't matter. If you just have to know if that cat is dead or alive, take both hands off but at your own risk. Guess who the cat is in this analogy
That is a good one. Most crisp handling motorcycles will have some instability when you remove your hands from the bars, particularly during deceleration when the front rake and trail are decreased as weight shifts to the front. Sure, you can design a bike that doesn’t wobble with hands off the bars, but that requires different geometry, more friction in the steering stem bearings, etc. and these all compromise handling.

Resonant frequencies are determined by the stiffness and mass of a system. For motorcycles, it is almost always better to use mass rather than stiffness in regard to the steering. This will make a much better handling bike. Since the rider’s hands should be on the bike anyway, it is good engineering to use the mass of the riders hands and arms and the extra stiffness these add to the system when designing the bike. This allows the steering to be lighter and have less friction. Alternatively, you can add lead weights to the ends of the bars or add a friction damper to the steering until the bike will ride wobble-free with both hands off the bars, but both solutions will make the handling slower and less precise. So, why not use the mass and stiffness of the rider’s hands and arms which should be on the handlebars anyway? Just makes sense to me.

I always have to laugh when people say that a bike with a front end wobble is poorly engineered, when in fact the exact opposite is true. It is somewhat like the F-16. It is dynamically unstable and is only flyable by a human when the computer flight controls are operative. This is what contributes to its fantastic maneuverability. Airplanes that are inherently stable are also less maneuverable. Much the same is true with motorcycles.
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post #19 of 21 Old Feb 3rd, 2019, 9:13 am
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Re: Low speed tire wobble

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I could never figure out why anyone would take both hands off the bars on a street bike.
How else could I remove my helmet to scratch my itchy head while on cruise control at 75 mph on the interstate. Can't do that with one hand.
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post #20 of 21 Old Feb 3rd, 2019, 9:36 am
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Re: Low speed tire wobble

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How else could I remove my helmet to scratch my itchy head while on cruise control at 75 mph on the interstate. Can't do that with one hand.
That is why I always take my wife with me.
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post #21 of 21 Old Feb 3rd, 2019, 3:38 pm
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Re: Low speed tire wobble

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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
I could never figure out why anyone would take both hands off the bars on a street bike.
It was one of those moments "going slow and slowing down, no traffic, hand off the throttle...guess I'll just quickly adjust whatever". Clearly, another one of my life's poor ideas that I luckily learned from without any permanent damage.
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Life happens...you control your reaction.

2018 Honda CRF250L Rally (fun in the woods)
2015 R1200 RT (holy cow…what a bike)
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2005 DR 650 (sold)
2002 Harley Ultra (sold)
1999 Harley Road King (sold)
1996 K1100 LT (sold)
1990 Honda Shadow (sold)
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Homemade Motor Bike (mounted a 3.5 HP Briggs & Stratton on my bicycle at age 12)
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